10 Stops on the Way from Missoula to Glacier National Park

Pull over at these great sights lining the road on the 140-mile trip from Missoula to Glacier National Park including smokejumpers and an old mission.
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Pull over at these great sights lining the road on the 140-mile trip from Missoula to Glacier National Park including smokejumpers and an old mission.

Pull over at these great sights lining the road on the 140-mile trip from Missoula to Glacier National Park.

1. A Carousel for Missoula

Missoula Carousel Horse. Photo courtesy of Destination Missoula

Missoula Carousel Horse. Photo courtesy of Destination Missoula

Why Go: Built by volunteers, this is one of the fastest carousels in the world.

Access: Located in Caras Park in downtown. One of the chariots accomodates a wheelchair.

2. Black Coffee Roasters in Missoula

Why go: This local favorite serves organic coffee that is ethically traded, sustainably packaged and tastes great.

Access: 525 E. Spruce St. in Missoula

3. Smokejumpers Visitor Center in Missoula

Why go: Learn more about this daring group of professionals who parachute into forests to fight wildfires. It's the only place in the country where you can take a tour of a smokejumper training facility.

Access: 5765 W. Broadway St. in Missoula

4. Windmill Village Bakery in Ravalli

Donuts at the Windmill Village Bakery. Photo courtesy of Glacier Country Tourism

Donuts at the Windmill Village Bakery. Photo courtesy of Glacier Country Tourism

Why go: Taste the best doughnuts and cronuts around. Locals travel miles for this cross between a croissant and doughnut.

Access: It’s in Ravalli, 31 miles north of Missoula.

5. Wild Horse Island State Park

Hiking on Wild Horse Island. Photo courtesy Glacier Country Tourism

Hiking on Wild Horse Island. Photo courtesy Glacier Country Tourism

Why go: Hiking trails abound on this 2,160-acre island in Flathead Lake. Salish-Kootenai Indians allegedly swam their horses to the island to protect them from being stolen. Today five wild horses, eagles, mule deer and bighorn sheep inhabit the island.

Access: Take a boat tour to and from the island. Vendors include Wild Horse Island Charters out of Lakeside Marina in Lakeside, Mont.; flatheadlakeboattour.com, or WildHorse Island Boat Trips in Bigfork, Mont.; wildhorseislandboattrips.com.

6. Great Gray Gifts in Charlo

Great Gray Gifts. Courtesy photo

Great Gray Gifts. Courtesy photo

Why go: Find one-of-a-kind, Montana-made gifts at this little gem.

Access: Next to Ninepipes Lodge on the Flathead Indian Reservation, 69286 HWY 93.

7. St. Ignatius Mission

St. Ignatius Mission. Photo courtesy Glacier Country Tourism

St. Ignatius Mission. Photo courtesy Glacier Country Tourism

Why go: Completed in the early 1890s, this small but beautiful church was built by Native Americans and Jesuit missionaries. It features 58 original paintings on the walls and ceilings by Brother Joseph Carignano, a self-taught artist, mission cook and handyman. Look for two paintings in the back done in Native American form.

Access: 300 Bear Track Ave., in St. Ignatius on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

8. Hike the M in Missoula

View from the M in Missoula. Photo courtesy of Destination Missoula

View from the M in Missoula. Photo courtesy of Destination Missoula

Why go: Join the locals and hike the M trail, which takes you on 10-plus switchbacks and 620 feet above the valley floor in three quarters of a mile. Go a mile farther to reach the top of Mt. Sentinel.

Access: The trailhead is on the University of Montana campus.

9. The Huckleberry Patch in Hungry Horse

Huckleberry dessert. Photo courtesy Glacier Country Tourism

Huckleberry dessert. Photo courtesy Glacier Country Tourism

Why go: Enjoy a fresh huckleberry pie or buy huckleberry jam at this unique shop. Huckleberries only grow in the wild and Hungry Horse’s claim-to-fame is the “wild huckleberry capital of the world.”

Access: Just nine miles from the west entrance of Glacier National Park.

10. Fort Missoula

Why Go: Founded in 1877 during the Indian Wars, this historic fort has been reincarnated for a multitude of uses. In World War I, it served as a training school for Army mechanics. During World War II, Italian detainees and Japanese Americans were interned here. From 1921-41, the 1st Battalion of the 4th Regiment. Two battalions of the 4th Regiment served in Baghdad in 2003.

Access: Head to the Northern Rockies Heritage Center, 30 Fort Missoula Rd., in Missoula; nrhc.org

For more information

Destination Missoula
(800) 526-3465
destinationmissoula.org/YJ

Glacier Country
glaciermt.com

More: 102 Things to Do in Glacier Country
www.glaciermt.com/102-things-to-do.php

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