by Sojos | March 21, 2013
If there’s one thing dogs love, it’s being outdoors - and the same can be said of residents and visitors of Missoula, Mont. Nicknamed the “garden city” because it enjoys a milder year-round climate than the rest of the state, Missoula has something to do in every season. And with a population that boasts one dog for every two people, you can bet that plenty of the activities in the area are pup-friendly.
Hiking the beautiful mountain foothills will probably be first on many people’s list of excursions in Missoula. Luckily, there are plenty of great options that your dog can enjoy just as much as you will. The Blue Mountain Recreation Area, for instance, covers 4,900 acres and dogs can frolic off-leash, though it’s a good idea for them to stick close to their owners, as wildlife is abundant in the area.
The Fort Missoula Canine Campus and Jacob’s Island Bark Park are two more off-leash areas where you can work on obedience and agility, or simply let your dog enjoy a good romp. For busy Missoulians, there are even businesses like Quick Pawsand Alpine Caninethat offer to take their dogs out on hikes. If your dog is feeling a little stiff after all that activity - or if he needs to limber up before an outing - Equus & Pawsoffers dog massage and grooming with a holistic approach.
Given Missoula’s popularity as a tourism destination, it makes sense that there are a good number of hotels that have pet-friendly policies. Hotels, rental apartments and campsites welcome four-legged friends, but be sure to ask for details about their policies. If there’s an activity you want to try, like fly-fishing, horseback riding or skiing, in which dogs aren’t able to come along but can’t stay in your accommodations unattended, Missoula also has a variety of doggie day care and pet nanny services.
Some restaurants with outdoor patios also welcome - and even encourage - pets to join their owners. Big Dipper Ice Cream even has mini dog cones specifically created to please four-legged fans.
Whether you call the area home or simply want to visit and explore the great landscapes of the Mountain West, Missoula will welcome both you and your dog.