Missoula, Montana became known as “the hub of five valleys” for its strategic trading post along the Clark Fork River, where five mountain ranges converge. The second largest city in Montana, Missoula sprang up around a lumber industry surrounding the U.S. Forest Service Headquarters, and the flagship University of Montana. Though the lumber industry has diminished, Missoula maintains a strong culture of outdoor recreation, including a great running scene. For flatter, less challenging running, the best bets are the Clark Fork River Trails and the area around the University. The area’s mountains and canyons have trail running options for all abilities. The Missoulian’s Hike and Bike App is extremely useful for navigating local trails.
In the heart of the city, the Clark Fork Riverfront Trails, the verdant Greenough Park, and the neighborhood surrounding the University of Montana offer great centralized running routes. Because Missoula is surrounded by National Forest, trail running is extremely popular. The go-to trails include Mount Sentinel and Pattee Canyon, Blue Mountain, and Rattlesnake National Recreation Area.
Missoula is a relatively small city that is easy to get around on a bike or by foot. However, a car may be useful for accessing some of the farther-off trailheads. Within the city, the Mountain Line Bus System offers a convenient and affordable means of transportation.