Unleash Adventure: The Top 5 Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Missoula, Montana

man walking his two dogs along river in the woods

Unleash Adventure: The Top 5 Dog-Friendly Hiking Trails in Missoula, Montana

Nestled in the heart of the picturesque Rocky Mountains, Missoula, Montana, is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and their furry companions. With its abundance of scenic trails, lush forests, and breathtaking vistas, Missoula offers endless opportunities for unforgettable adventures with your four-legged friend. In this blog post, we’ll explore the top five dog-friendly hiking trails in Missoula, where you can unleash adventure and discover the beauty of nature together.

Where to Hike with Your Dog in Missoula

1. Mount Sentinel Trail:

Rising majestically above the University of Montana campus, Mount Sentinel offers a challenging yet rewarding hiking experience for you and your canine companion. The Mount Sentinel Trail, also known as the “M” Trail, features switchbacks that wind through fragrant pine forests and open meadows, leading to stunning panoramic views of the Missoula Valley and surrounding mountains. Dogs are welcome to explore this iconic trail on-leash, providing ample opportunities for exercise and exploration amid breathtaking scenery.

2. Blue Mountain Recreation Area:

Situated just a short drive from downtown Missoula, the Blue Mountain Recreation Area boasts a network of dog-friendly hiking trails that cater to all skill levels. From leisurely strolls along the Blue Mountain Nature Trail to more challenging treks up the Blue Mountain Summit Trail, there’s something for every adventurous duo to enjoy. With its diverse terrain, including forests, meadows, and rocky outcrops, this scenic area offers endless opportunities for you and your pup to discover the wonders of Montana’s wilderness.

3. Rattlesnake National Recreation Area:

For a true wilderness experience, head to the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, located just north of Missoula. This expansive area encompasses miles of pristine wilderness, rugged peaks, and crystal-clear streams, making it a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and their canine companions. Choose from a variety of dog-friendly trails, such as the Rattlesnake Trail, Sawmill Gulch Trail, or Spring Gulch Trail, and embark on an adventure through towering forests and lush valleys, with the soothing sounds of nature as your soundtrack.

4. Pattee Canyon Recreation Area:

Escape the hustle and bustle of the city and immerse yourself in the tranquility of Pattee Canyon Recreation Area, located just a short drive from downtown Missoula. This hidden gem offers a plethora of dog-friendly hiking trails that wind through old-growth forests, meadows, and rocky terrain. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely stroll along the Pattee Canyon Trail or a more challenging hike up the Crazy Canyon Trail to the summit of Mount Sentinel, you and your pup are sure to find plenty of opportunities for adventure and exploration.

5. Lolo National Forest:

Venture beyond the city limits and discover the pristine beauty of Lolo National Forest, a vast wilderness area that spans over two million acres of rugged terrain, alpine lakes, and towering peaks. With its extensive network of dog-friendly trails, including the Welcome Creek Wilderness Trails, Bass Creek Recreation Area, and Lochsa River Trail, Lolo National Forest offers endless possibilities for outdoor adventures with your canine companion. Whether you’re seeking a leisurely day hike or a multi-day backpacking excursion, you’ll find no shortage of scenic trails to explore in this breathtaking wilderness area.

Happy Hiking!

In conclusion, Missoula, Montana, is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and their companions, with its abundance of dog-friendly hiking trails and stunning natural scenery. Whether you’re exploring the iconic slopes of Mount Sentinel, wandering through the tranquil forests of the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, or venturing into the remote wilderness of Lolo National Forest, you and your pup are sure to create unforgettable memories together amidst the beauty of Big Sky Country. So leash up your furry companion, pack plenty of water and snacks, and embark on an adventure to discover the top dog-friendly hiking trails in Missoula. 

If your pup breaks their tooth on a big stick they find on your hike, or they’re simply due for a checkup, make sure to contact a board-certified veterinary dentist. At Missoula Veterinary Dentistry and Oral Surgery, we’ll help your dog maintain optimal dental health.


Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (4/11/2024). Photo by Cortney Chummoungpak on Unsplash