We got some exciting news this week: Alaska Airlines announced that it is adding seasonal DAILY, DIRECT flights from Portland, Oregon to Missoula, Montana. The flights will start June 5 and continue through August 27. Can we get a woohoo? (woohoooo!)

We’re completely tickled about this new offering! Not only will it allow Montana residents to jump a quick flight to Portland and the beautiful Oregon cost, but it will provide Portland area residents with a short, direct flight before they’re out exploring Western Montana.

And as an added bonus, passengers in either direction will be flying Horizon Air’s Q400 turboprop. This plane is one of the most environmentally friendly regional aircrafts, burning 30 percent to 40 percent less fuel than comparable jets. Very cool.

Because we’re so stoked about the this new flight, we’ve put together a list of 10 Not-To-Be-Missed Western Montana Activities & Attractions.

1) Check out our breweries. Portland is a great beer city and we’d love for you to taste some offerings from our local craft breweries. Plus, we dig the the names of our brews: Golden Grizzly Ale, Moose Drool, Dancing Trout and Old Stache Porter. (Yep, there’s a mustache on the bottle).

Image from www.tamarackbrewing.com

2) Rub elbows with smokejumpers at the Smokejumper Visitor Center in Missoula. During the summer, the smokejumpers train here before being called out to fires, most often found in remote mountainous terrain. (Hands down, one of my favorite attractions in all of Missoula).

3) From Missoula, you’re within easy reach of three blue-ribbon trout streams. Whether you’re looking to cast a line or float the waters, check out the Blackfoot, Clark Fork and Bitterroot rivers. Take a rafting or kayak trip with 10,000 Waves Raft & Kayak Adventure. For fishing guides in the area, click here.

4) Hike the M. This short hike on Mount Sentinel is one of the most popular in the state. It also provides a beautiful view of the Missoula Valley. After you’re done, reward yourself with ice cream from The Big Dipper.

Enjoying the view from the top.

5) Eat a Nap’s burger. These burgers make my mouth water just thinking about them. Located in Hamilton (about an hour’s drive south of Missoula), they are totally worth the drive. Trust me.

6) Visit the Bison Range. This range is one of the oldest in the nation and is home to 300 – 500 head of bison, as well as black bears, antelope, deer and more. Plus, the views are serenely beautiful.

The view from Red Sleep Mountain Drive.

7) Visit Flathead Lake. Take a boat cruise on The Shadow at KwaTaqNuk Resort in Polson, wade in the water or pick up perfectly ripe Flathead Cherries to snack on during your travels.

8) Ride the zips at Whitefish Mountain Resort. The resort offers tours on the “Original 4” or the full “6 Zips.” The 6 zip tours has an 1,800-foot long line that takes zippers 300 feet above the ground. If you have little ones? Take them down the Alpine Slide. They’re sure to love it!

A happy toddler.

9) For a quiet and beautiful drive, travel through the Seeley-Swan Valley. It’s home to countless lakes, charming little towns and endless outdoor recreation. One of my favorite activities: rent a canoe in town and paddle the Clearwater River Canoe Trail.

10) If you’re coming to Western Montana, Glacier National Park is a definite must see. The park has more than 700 miles of trails, plenty of lakes for water fun, boat tours, wildlife and historic lodges. Numerous outfitters also offer guided tours in and around the park, from red bus tours to trail rides and helicopter tours to rafting and fishing trips.

Red bus tour in Glacier National Park.

For more travel ideas, visit glaciermt.com.

Let’s hear it for direct flights!


March 4, 2011

Related: Direct Flights


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