Best Place to See the Leaves Change in Missoula- Our Top Five
There is not better season in Western Montana than fall. School is starting back up, high school football, Grizzly football and hunting season is just around the corner too. There is also another a reason fall is so great in Montana, the scenery! It soothes the soul watching the mountains turn from dark green to speckled yellow, red and orange. Being here in Missoula you have a front row seat. You can watch it from your backyard or you can load up and drive right into the heart of the autumn colors. Here are our top 5 places to see the leaves change in Missoula.
Located just 15 minutes southwest from Missoula, the 35-mile corridor connects Montana and Idaho. The drive is incredible during the early fall. With sweeping views of the mountain sides to you can see the fall colors for miles. The road winds along Lolo Creek for the full 35 miles, giving you great views of the Cottonwoods and foliage changing colors along the creek.
Heading northeast out of Missoula you can travel up the Blackfoot river drainage for another scenic drive in the colors of fall. From Missoula heading towards Great Falls, Highway 200 follows the Blackfoot river giving great views of the riverside foliage and tress. As you break into the Potomac valley you gain sweeping views of the mountains bursting in oranges and yellows. Once you arrive at Clearwater junction you can head towards Seeley lake or continue on to Lincoln. Both travels give breathtaking views of the Bob Marshal Wilderness and the surrounding mountain views.
Getting a little closer to home is the Rattlesnake Recreation Area and Wilderness. Just 5 miles from downtown Missoula you can find the trailhead that leads to 61,000 acres of Montana beauty. The trails wonder along Rattlesnake creek for miles underneath yellow and orange Cottonwood trees and Quaking Aspens. There is also a newly completed equestrian trailhead for those that like to explore on horseback.
Want the kids to experience the color of autumn? Then look no further Greenough park. The lower Rattlesnake creek wonders through the park on its way to the Clarkfork River. With bike paths, walking paths and hiking trails you can find your way to incredible pockets of trees in full autumn bloom. There are numerous play areas for the kids and ample parking for all.
Nothing says Fall in Missoula more than driving down University avenue underneath the Maple and Oak trees. Once you emerge from the tunnel vibrant colors you have the entire campus to stroll across admiring the autumn colors. For the more adventurous, climb the "M" and be rewarded for your efforts with a view of the Missoula valley draped in fall colors.