Montana, the Big Sky State, is home to some of the most beautiful photography spots in the world. Many of these underrated views are within an hour drive from Montana’s second largest city, Missoula. Here are a few of my favorite Missoula spots:
Mount Sentinel “M” Trail
This is probably the most iconic of Missoula views. The trailhead for the widely popular “M” Trail is right on campus, and a 30-minute hike will give you some of the best views possible of the valley.
2. Mount Jumbo
The Mount Jumbo hike is a bit longer than the “M” Trail, but certainly worth it for a lesser known lookout of the city.
3. Blue Mountain Recreation Area
Blue Mountain is a great area for a morning dog walk or a round of frisbee golf. This beautiful area is just a 10-minute drive from the city and has some amazing views of the South Hills.
4. Pattee Canyon
The Pattee Canyon road goes from the southeast corner of Missoula all the way to Bonner, Montana. Just be careful on the roads in winter.
5. “Top of the World”
“Top of the World” is the easiest of these spots to access. Simply drive all the way up Whitaker Drive and loop back down on Spanish Peaks Drive. Make sure to check out this view before the area is completely covered in real estate developments.
In today’s day in age, any experience (for the most part) is accompanied by sharing that experience on social media. Missoula, Montana is known for it’s beautiful rivers and mountain ranges, however, it is also considered the cultural center of Montana. With an eclectic downtown scene, distinctive dining and strong sense of community, Missoula has a lot to offer as far as experience, both on and offline.
As an Instagram enthusiast myself, and a believer in the #DoItForTheGram mentality, I am all about curating an aesthetic and a strong social media presence. So I present to you your complete Instagram Guide to Missoula, MT to help you navigate the most aesthetically pleasing AND high quality hot spots around town.
Coffee: Black Coffee Roasting Co.
The winner as far as aesthetics and quality coffee in Missoula goes, is definitely Black Coffee Roasting Co. Not only do they provide organic, craft roasted coffee while operating with sustainability, but they’re ambience is seriously on point. With a hipster-chic vibe and insanely good lighting, this is definitely the spot to go if you want some good latte art on your feed.
Walk in the Park: Greenough Park
Greenough is a true gem, nestled just up the Rattlesnake and covering 42 acres, it is a peaceful place to go on a bike ride, run or, of course, go take photos. In the fall, Greenough is a paradise of colorful trees and crisp autumn air and a complete winter wonderland once the first snow occurs. It’s also just generally beautiful all year round, so if you want to go on a nice walk while taking amazing photos along the way, Greenough is the park for you.
Eats: Caffe Dolce
As you may be able to tell, I love a good #FoodPorn flatlay. Caffe Dolce is by far the best spot across the board for breakfast, brunch, lunch AND dinner. Not only taste-wise, but to get a gorgeous food pic with minimal effort. Since Caffe Dolce’s establishment is made up of mainly windows, the lighting will always be perfection. Not to mention their tables are the ideal background color and texture, which is essential for any successful flatlay. Oh yeah, and the food looks pretty good too.
On the Town: Plonk
As a grandma at heart, I’m no expert on the Missoula going out scene. However, I have to say that Plonk scores major points as far as experience, quality and Instagram-ability goes. The classy, big city atmosphere and gorgeous drink presentation are sure to elevate your feed into #InstagramGoals status.
Shopping: The Hip Strip + NOBO
Missoula has an awesome local shopping scene. With an array of unique and high quality boutiques, it’s definitely worth exploring when you get the chance, specifically downtown on The Hip Strip and NOBO (aka North of Broadway.) These areas are abundant with quirky shops, gorgeous boutiques, great places to eat and lots of Insta-worthy alleys tucked away perfect for that #ootd!
Something Sweet: Sweet Peaks Ice Cream
I know, I’m a true Big Dipper fan at heart too, however, there is no denying that Sweet Peaks brings it in the aesthetics department as well as well as their super unique ice cream flavors that make you go “huh, that sounds weird but also kind of good so I’ll try it.” If you want to capture a cool cone, venture over to Sweet Peaks. Don’t worry, it’s totally okay to cheat on Big Dipper every once in a while, especially if you get a good gram out of it.
Outside: The “M” Trail
Now, I’ll admit I’ve only ever hiked the “M” in high school gym class, and once on a first date when a boy made me, and I was still in the “pretend to not be high maintenance phase” of the relationship. Needless to say, I don’t hike very much. But Missoula is the place for hikes, hiking and hikers so I had to include some kind of hike in this guide, to prevent getting Birkenstocks chucked at my head. All jokes aside the “M” trail is a beautiful hike, which is accessible to all levels of hiking ability and it takes a pretty damn good picture too, I must say.
I hope you enjoyed this Instagram Guide. Now you’re all set to go snap some #goals worthy IGs! But don’t forget to put down your phone to really appreciate the wonderful place that is Missoula, Montana. #Blessed, indeed (hate me yet?)
Do you have any favorite spots around Montana that didn’t make this list? Leave me a comment to let me know!
Photography by Michelle Dufflocq Williams, Aline Dufflocq Williams, McKenna Munden, Cloth & Crown, Betty’s Divine, Our Life Experiments and the University of Montana.