Outside of the Missoula City limits, East Missoulians march to a slightly different cadence.
This neighborhood is named for its directional relationship with Missoula, but in some ways it’s a community all its own. Through the Hellgate Canyon and the eastern side of Mount Jumbo, you’ll discover an open valley that follows the meandering contours of the Clark Fork River. This is East Missoula. The canyon entryway leads you into an entirely different mountainscape and may make you feel as though you’re miles away from town. Yet East Missoula is an easy three-mile bike ride to the University of Montana and a quick car ride to almost anywhere. With I-90 access, East Missoulians can make it to the airport in 10 minutes and can be downtown in five. There are very few commercial businesses in this neighborhood and most are located along the main thoroughfare, Highway 200. The highway gives East Missoulians a jump on others heading up the Blackfoot River, a mere five minutes away. Residents are laid back and friendly. Expect acknowledging waves from those passing in their cars, from kids riding their bikes, and conversation about the weather or the water levels from fellow dog walkers along the river. Neighbors like to share in the tranquil views and the community that sets them just slightly apart from the rest.
Where all of Missoula becomes your scenery.
Missoula’s layout makes a dramatic shift upward above South Higgins Avenue as road grades change and climb and houses dot the hillside. This is the appropriately named Farviews/Pattee Canyon Neighborhood, which at night, appears as hundreds of twinkling lights from the Missoula Valley floor. The homes are a mix of styles, some close together with sloping yards, and some farther up, on larger acreage lots or even hillside ranch land. The elevation of this whole neighborhood proves to be a welcome challenge for hikers and mountain bikers. There are even some brave runners who train for hills in these parts. The vast, steeply pitched terrain also makes for great golfing. Being above town doesn’t seem to affect the connection residents have with the rest of the community. The University, downtown, and the southern and western parts of town are readily accessible from here and many residents are active in the neighborhood as well as the community as a whole. They may have a different vantage point, but Farviews/Pattee Canyon neighbors share in the view of Missoula as an ideal place to live.
Franklin to the Fort
Sitting on the front porch of Missoula’s history, you will see an involved and bustling neighborhood.
This neighborhood extends west of Russell all the way to historic Fort Missoula on the west side of Reserve Street. It’s an eclectic mix of homes and commercial businesses. The inclusion of the Fort adds an important element of history as well as open space for recreation. Talk about a neighborhood that bands together for the common good. Franklin to the Fort neighbors work toward bringing many civic improvements to this constantly progressing neighborhood – most notably a major sidewalk connection project. Families in the area have also made a concerted effort to conform the neighborhood to provide safer routes to schools. These projects are helping to transition Franklin to the Fort to an even more pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. Neighbors come together on beautification and green space projects, while also maintaining the local and well-used Franklin Park. From digging in the dirt in common spaces to working toward making the streets more bike, foot, and stroller friendly, you’ll find that the connections run deep in this busy and vibrant neighborhood.
The lack of pressure, both in the physical space and in the way neighbors interact, makes you feel at ease.
Northwest of Missoula’s city center is a winding and beautiful drainage that traces the babbling of a high mountain creek. Nature and neighbors co-exist in the Grant Creek Neighborhood. Whether it’s the elk lingering in their winter meadow or the elementary school students, bundled against the weather waiting for the bus, you can see the connection between home and habitat. Open space characterizes this neighborhood, even in the more densely populated neighborhoods dotting the hillsides. Farther up Grant Creek Road the land is thicker forest and homes are more spread out. If you were to keep going, eventually you would come to the border of vast wilderness land that extends far beyond the road, all the way to the Canadian border. Participation in the community is available for those who want to have a social neighborhood connection, but for those who choose a more secluded life that option also exists. While this wild corridor may seem worlds away from the greater Missoula area, it’s really also quite convenient to get from Grant Creek to almost anywhere with quick access onto I-90 at Reserve Street. Neighbors often see each other on the various trails and sidewalks, exercising their dogs, pushing strollers, catching up on the latest news, or simply speculating on the upcoming ski season snowfall. Perhaps it’s due to the natural buffer of wilderness that surrounds Grant Creek, but there is a separate tranquility in this neighborhood that flows like the waters from a pristine and distant source.
Heart of Missoula
The Heart of Missoula is a perfectly accurate name for this vibrant area coursing with activity, civic involvement, and life.
Downtown Missoula is a bustling center of commerce and activity revered by all Missoulians, but it is also a neighborhood, a home to many residents who relish being in the middle of it all. There are grand historic homes along the east-west streets of Pine, Spruce, and Alder, which are named for native Montana tree species yet lined with other deciduous trees. There are also affordable apartments, high-end condos, and modest bungalows surrounding the downtown proper. Monday through Friday, Heart of Missoulians share their neighborhood with architects, lawyers, business professionals, Forest Service employees, retailers, and restaurateurs. On the weekends people flock from all over to shop, dine, and gather for entertainment. In the spring, summer, and fall the morning farmers’ markets turn over to festivals in Caras Park in the afternoon and evening. In the winter, downtown is still alive with holiday shopping, events, and a homegrown film festival in February. The Heart of Missoula recaptures a sense of neighborhood that pre-dates the 1940’s and 50’s Norman Rockwell vision. This dense area of homes and commerce harkens back to the old Western settlement where community was everywhere you turned and your grocer, banker, and barkeeper were also your neighbors.
Lewis & Clark/Southgate
Whether it’s sidewalks or trail treks, this active community is bustling with activity.
In this kid-friendly and family-oriented neighborhood, it’s no wonder Lewis & Clark Elementary School is the central hub. In fact, much of the immediate recreation was built around the school, including tennis courts, playgrounds, and several soccer fields. Sidewalks connect the variety of homes in this traditional 1950’s and 60’s neighborhood. Everyone seems to be out for a walk. Mixing, mingling, and the occasional leash entanglement just happen as neighbors congregate to enjoy the sunny Montana skies. New parents with their strollers pass older couples who raised their own families in this neighborhood. There’s a strong pride in the primarily owner-occupied homes with families tending to their gardens, landscaping the front walkways, and working on general upkeep. It’s less of a competition and more of a social event to wave a gardening-gloved hand at a neighbor across the way and share a common sentiment in these parts, “Nice day, isn’t it?”
Miller Creek/Linda Vista
From all outward appearances, this is a special place that you might not even know exists.
On the southwestern corner of Missoula, there is a hidden neighborhood tucked behind the commercial intersection of Reserve Street and Highway 93. Drive up a steady draw and parking lots immediately give way to thick vegetation, hearty growth that comes almost up to the road. Every so often, through the leaves and pine needles, you’ll see a driveway or a mailbox. You’ll encounter a fork in the road. Take a right where the trees break and sunshine illuminates horse meadows and large plots of land. You are heading into Linda Vista. Some homes are spread out like miniature farmsteads, but there are also more densely built neighborhoods. Views extend south into the breathtaking Bitterroot Valley. Keep moving upwards and you’ll find yourself at the Maloney Ranch. If you choose to take the left fork and head into Lower Miller Creek, the wooded wilds persist and will lead you to Forest Service recreation land. Other surprises await you in this neighborhood including kids’ activities, recreation, and a popular golf course. There is something truly special and intimate about this haven beyond the boundaries of Missoula as you may know it. Ranch and country homes complement traditional residential comforts. Neighborhood takes on a different form, yet the Missoula community is alive and well in Miller Creek.
Where elbow room is in abundance.
If you cross Reserve Street on Mullan Road and head west, you’ll find a collection of neighborhoods and open spaces connected by a well-traveled thread of roadway that traces Montana history itself. Located along the western portion of the Old Mullan Road, this neighborhood, which is named for the famous trailblazer Captain John Mullan, is a large swath of level valley floor once comprised of family ranches. Today there are still rural homes with acreage and even horses and livestock, but there are also several self-contained neighborhoods in this area. Residents are drawn to the western side of Missoula because it offers extensive views of mountains on all sides. They also enjoy quick access to the Clark Fork River that winds along the southern border of the neighborhood. From homesteaders to longtime residents to newer transplants, the Mullan Road Neighborhood is open to all kinds of neighbors that tend to share the desire for a peaceful life away from the hustle and bustle of the city, but close enough to get into the action if they so choose. With nearby recreation on the river and Forest Service land, there is still plenty of exploration to be done in this part of town.
This is an active and energetic neighborhood that is always working harder, coming together, and making itself better every day.
Within easy walking and biking distance from downtown and quick access to I-90 from Orange Street, the Northside-Westside Neighborhood moves from urban living into that traditional neighborhood appeal. This section of Missoula was developed early when the mills and the railroad were thriving. In fact, Montana Rail Link’s line bisects the neighborhood, yet the Northside and Westside are connected by both the Scott Street Bridge and the pedestrian bridge. Actually, the connection runs much deeper than that. While many new residents have moved into the neighborhood, particularly first-time homebuyers and young families, a large majority of the neighbors planted their roots here decades ago. The ties to this hardworking area remain strong, evidenced by the heavy involvement of the community in neighborhood projects and prosperity. Many of the homes here have front porches and people tend to use them. They know and take care of one another in the Northside-Westside neighborhood. They pitch in when a job needs doing and celebrate a job well done. Because of this hands-on approach, the Northside Westside Neighborhood is known for a do-it-yourself mentality and a sustainable approach to home improvement. Creating beauty at home extends into the neighborhood’s burgeoning art community as well. Efficient and eclectic use of space and passionate neighbors makes the Northside-Westside Neighborhood truly one of a kind.
Part of the fun of living in the Rattlesnake is learning how to adapt to the natural surroundings.
On Mount Jumbo’s west side is the Rattlesnake neighborhood – an intimidating name for one of Missoula’s most tranquil places to live. The area got its name from the Salish word for Rattlesnake, “Kehi-oo-lee.” Rattlesnake Creek once powered the Missoula Sawmill, supporting the livelihoods of early Missoulians. Today, you’ll find plenty of open space in the Rattlesnake as well as traditional neighborhood living. Life here is a wonderfully deceptive mix of wild land adventure and convenient access to the rest of the community. That access goes both ways. Many Missoulians and people from around the world frequent the Rattlesnake throughout the year. It is among the best places in Montana for mountain biking and hiking. Equestrians are also welcome to wander these trails and head further into the backcountry on horseback. Fly-fishing and bird and wildlife watching are also favorite pastimes in this plentiful outdoor paradise. Diversity of landscape is mirrored by the varying groups of people that also inhabit the Rattlesnake. There are many longtime residents who have lived here for 30 to 50 years, but younger families and professionals are moving in every day. University students also make up the population, primarily in the Lower Rattlesnake, with its quick access to campus. Living in this valley is about enjoying the outdoors and those occasional wild residents who live here too.
The neighborhood’s rural heritage can be seen in the century-old apple trees still growing in some yards.
It wasn’t that long ago that this neighborhood was more apple trees than front yards, but today’s Emma Dickinson/Orchard Homes Neighborhood still bears the fruit of a neighborhood with rural appeal. The Clark Fork River runs along the north side of this sun-drenched swath of land where large commercial businesses exist along with homes and family farms. This is still a growing community, in more ways than one. If you wonder where some of the food and flowers at Missoula’s farmers’ markets come from, you don’t even have to look outside of town. Much of the bounty is grown here. And if you’re going places, getting to downtown, the University, Southgate Mall, and Missoula’s two hospitals is a breeze. Entryways to the Riverfront Trail system are located near this neighborhood, so biking and walking are viable transportation options. Some neighbors may live in the same house they grew up in. Others may be young families new to Missoula. Some still live on large acreage, vestiges of the orchard days. Others live in higher density areas closer to their neighbors. This is a neighborhood that blooms
with diversity, blossoms with possibility, and lives on because of its strong roots.
Because of its shared resources, Riverfront folks welcome Missoula into their neighborhood everyday.
The Riverfront Neighborhood teems with life, but that’s really no coincidence. Bordered on its north side by the Clark Fork River, all things in this neighborhood logically flow in that direction. The proximity to the water and the nearby Riverfront Trail system is one of the area’s most distinctive characteristics, but the personal connections run much deeper. Residents are tied to the greater Missoula community because of their location. All Missoulians enjoy the trail system that turns the daily commute into a scenic journey, an afternoon jog into more of a sightseeing tour, and an evening lit by the full moon into a magical family adventure. Riverfronters are no exception. They also take part in local activities near home, like downtown lunch and dinner gatherings and festivals and University of Montana events, all without ever having to get in the car. The neighbors range from the young to the young at heart, the well established and those just starting out. They share a common pride in the aesthetics and diversity of the neighborhood and proudly support the wide variety of nearby businesses that are also among Missoula’s most treasured.
You just never know who you’ll run into around the corner.
If you were to look at the Rose Park Neighborhood from above, you’d quickly notice a strange take on the traditional grid with streets tilting about 45 degrees from due north. Affectionately known by many Missoulians as the “slant streets,” Rose Park residents are savvy navigators of this alternative layout. Because Rose Park is an extremely pedestrian and bike-friendly neighborhood, it’s not unusual for neighbors to be out and about. Long-time residents and young families make up the majority of the Rose Park residents. The slant streets may be a bit intimidating for those traveling by car, so there’s usually very little traffic. A slower, more laid back approach to life reigns here. Sitting on your front porch on a famously endless Missoula summer night, you might hear the sounds of kids squealing with delight or jaunty ragtime piano music drifting out of an open window next door. Your dog’s ears will perk up as a familiar neighbor and their dogs pass by. They’re headed for some ice cream and invite you to come along. Is there really any answer but, “Yes?” This is the essence of the Rose Park Neighborhood. It’s a place where enjoying the Missoula life goes well beyond stopping to smell the roses, but, incidentally, in this neighborhood you can do that too.
Easily get where you need to go and find yourself happy at home in the South 39th Street Neighborhood.
It’s not inaccurate to say that the South 39th Street Neighborhood is in the right place, all of the time. Minutes from local grocery stores, movie theaters, schools, and the mall, everything you need is at your fingertips. Pleasantly located in the southwest corner of town, 39th Street’s landscaped center boulevard is also a thoroughfare to the recreation gateway down Highway 93 into the Bitterroot Valley. Head the other direction and you’ll be in Pattee Canyon in just a few minutes. There are also small patches of wildness in this neighborhood, including a great place to bird watch in an unlikely spot just behind a local convenience store. These are the treasures one can expect even in the more populated parts of Missoula. South 39th is also centrally located to half of Missoula’s golf courses as well as ice-skating, hockey, soccer, and baseball. The level landscape, sidewalks, and bike lanes make this major roadway friendly to the cyclists and walkers sharing the road with motorists. Yards, whether large or small, are a place for residents to enjoy the beautiful Missoula weather and see one another passing by. From young families to students to long-time residents, a diverse mix of people live here, which offers so much to so many calling this neighborhood home.
Ranches meet residences and share in the neighborly bounty of their lookout from the South Hills.
The elevation gain on Missoula’s south side is a distinguishing geographic border separating the Missoula Valley from the Bitterroot Valley. Residents of the South Hills Neighborhood have the advantage of living upon the hillside with views of both Missoula and the jagged and dramatic peaks of the Bitterroots as well. Although locals call it a hill, South Hills residents themselves are on a mountain that climbs to a good 6,000 feet at its tree topped summit. You’ll also hear the area referred to as Moose Can Gully, a name with several different interpretations behind it. Up here, there’s a definite line where residential development stops and open space begins. Historically, these hills were dedicated to the agricultural trade with excellent sunshine and moisture from a mix of weather systems colliding between the two valleys. And well before that, these hills were the shallows of Glacial Lake Missoula that created the flat valley below. Today, South Hills neighbors are happily above water, enjoying the hallmark sunshine and expansive views, as well as the convenience of having everything Missoula has to offer on the valley floor.
There are many sides to living in the Southgate Triangle Neighborhood – all of them positive.
Not to be confused with the other famous geographical triangle, the Southgate Triangle Neighborhood is central to most of Missoula so you’ll never feel lost. Nor will you be at a loss for things to do. There is a little of everything in this neighborhood, from brick homes built in the 1960’s on larger lots to craftsman and bungalow styles built in the 1930’s and 40’s along Brooks Street. There are also commercial businesses. Most notably of course is the Southgate Mall. This triangular neighborhood is a result of Missoula’s strange and intriguing historical layout and the Bitterroot Spur Railroad tracks that run through the area. You can have the quiet comfort of a residential street yet still easily get where you need to be almost anywhere in town. If you prefer to bike or walk, you can access Missoula’s trail system quickly as well. And the diversity of the population from students to retirees means you’re sure to find commonality with your neighbors and fellow Missoulians.
Down the country roads in the Target Range Neighborhood, you can travel back into Missoula’s history.
Just across the Missoula city border is a large, historically rural neighborhood where large farm and ranch properties meld with more densely constructed residential homes. Even in these more traditional neighborhoods there is a real sense of country living that is attractive and unique to the Target Range Neighborhood. With very few commercial businesses in the neighborhood, traffic is fairly light. The main transactions that are taking place out this way occur at Dale’s Dairy, the market and local landmark famous for its giant cow out front. You may even encounter a tractor or two on the country roads. Horses graze in pastoral fields. Residents work in their gardens. Weathered, yet stately barns are still in use. Morning lawn mowers move in contrast to farm-scale tillers. Kids play little league, learn to ride Western, and have open land, riverfront, and mountain hideaways as their own playground. In the Target Range Neighborhood, there is a wonderful mix of preservation and appreciation for a collective country life that’s not too far from the rest of Missoula, but still maintains its rural sensibility.
The University District
Healthy minds have led to a vibrant and healthy community surrounding the university.
In addition to being the setting of “A River Runs Through It,” Missoula is known nationally as the home of the University of Montana. Tailgating for Griz home football games is a Saturday tradition in the fall, as are springtime days of sun illuminating the newly greened trees. Throughout the year, the university brings in cultural events, historic exhibits, major entertainment, and world-class athletics. UM also brings a diverse population to this Northern Rocky Mountain town. Among the beautiful tree-lined streets of the University Neighborhood, residents are happy to share their home with the city’s center of activity. Longtime residents, families, professors, and students inhabit the blocks around the campus proper. It is truly a melting pot of the community. The proximity to UM’s activities is a definite benefit to these neighbors. From evening lectures to concerts to basketball games, if you’re looking for something to do it’s all right there. There’s an open-minded attitude among the neighborhood. Perhaps it’s all of the higher learning taking place nearby, but the inquisitive nature permeates. And each new season brings fresh delight and a different energy to the neighborhood, from the colorful autumn foliage to the peaceful snow swirls of winter.
Missoula Organization of REALTORS®