Next time you head to a national park, take a close look at the town you pass through on the way in. Many of America’s parks are anchored by a nearby hub, usually in between a big town and small city in size and too often overlooked by the RVs and VW buses passing through on their way to the park gates. Missoula is one such place, and it deserves your attention.
This enclave in western Montana has managed to move beyond its past as a resource-economy town and embrace its location in a new manner — as one of the most epic places for a nature-loving traveler to dive in for a few days. Missoula isn’t just a town to pass through on your way to Glacier National Park. Much like tourist-favorite Boulder is to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, Missoula is an outdoor hub with a character all its own, and you should stop in for a few days to experience it.