This 95-mile drive up the Bitterroot Valley to the Idaho border goes from the urban setting of Missoula and south along the beautiful Bitterroot Mountains, with a view of the rolling Sapphire Mountains across the valley. This drive begins in Missoula, one of Montana’s largest cities. There is some discrepancy about where the name Missoula comes from, but the most commonly accepted story says it comes from the Salish word for “river of awe” or “by the chilling waters.” Whatever the origin, there is no doubt that the river passing through Missoula, the Clark Fork, is both awesome and chilly. Special attractions: Fort Missoula, the University of Montana, USDAFS Aerial Fire Depot and Smokejumper Visitor Center, International Wildlife Film Festival, Ravalli County Museum, Saint Mary’s Mission, Daly Mansion; wildlife refuges, urban and mountain trails, hot springs, theater, concerts, museums, art fairs, county fairs, lectures; skiing, bicycling, floating, fishing, and shopping. This eTrail is a complete description of a scenic drive with a route map and information on the best travel seasons, interesting sites, recreation opportunities, camping locations, and much more.
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