With a collection of hot springs, local breweries and easy access to skiing and other winter sports, Missoula, MT, has a full assortment of winter fun.
Missoula makes a great base for those interested in piecing together a multiday ski trip. Skiers can choose among six ski areas within a two-and-a-half hour drive of downtown, the closest being Montana Snowbowl in the Lolo National Forest about 25 minutes away. Cross-country skiing trails can be found in three national forest areas – on some local golf courses and at the Mount Haggin Nordic Ski Area. Guests can rent snowmobiles at a few local shops, then explore the vast network of snowmobile trails that wind through Missoula's surrounding forests. Ice skaters can glide on indoor and outdoor floors at Glacier Ice Rink, while anglers can ice fish at several lakes that freeze over in the Seely Swan Valley.
After experiencing water in all its frozen forms, guests can warm up and relax aching muscles in one of Missoula's hot springs. While some of the springs are located in natural settings and require a hike to reach, others have been tapped for commercial use and incorporated into resorts that feature mineral pools.
Missoula's restaurants serve everything from pizza, pub fare and BBQ to more refined recipes. With four breweries concocting original beers plus a variety of pubs, finding a drink is never a problem. In fact, we noticed Missoula's beer scene last year and named it one of the best unexpected beer cities in the country.
Activities: Downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, ice skating, ice fishing, sleigh rides
Average Annual Snowfall: 46
Winter Temps: 16 to 30
Must Try: A nighttime dip in a hot spring