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Wye, Montana

The city of Missoula is in the west-central region of Montana, and its name came from the area’s original Native People inhabitants.

The city was established in the mid-19th century after starting out as a trading post and grew rapidly throughout the latter 1800s and early 1900s.

Some of the region’s growth and success came by way of its university, which continues to be a driving force today in the city’s economy.

Missoula remains a university town, though it is also a very popular place for tourists who come to the city to take advantage of the area’s surrounding natural attractions. 

Located within some of the scenic northwest regions of Missoula County is the small village of Wye, just 8 miles from the central city and 25 miles from the border with Idaho.

The Wye community is situated at the interchange connecting I-90 and Highway 93, and the town actually gets its name from the ‘Y’-shaped Junction where Highway 93 and MT-200 meet the I-90.

The current population of the small Wye community is less than 1000.

The town is within the locality of the Montana Rockies in the northern extremes of the Bitterroot Valley.

From within the valley, the Bitterroot Range rises somewhere between 5,000 feet and 7,000 feet above the valley floor, and the main ridges of the Rockies and the Continental Divide can be seen to the east and northeast.

Needless to say, the area is a great stop-off point from which to access some prime Montana outdoor recreation.

wye, montana
Image: Forest Service Northern Region

Main Attractions In or Near Wye

Missoula and its surrounding vicinity contain a fair few notable attractions, depending on what you are interested in.

For instance, there are several art galleries, educational facilities, and museums in the area related to the heritage, art, and culture of the area, including but not limited to the ones listed below.

The Holt Heritage Museum

The Holt Heritage Museum is all about Cowboys and Indians and includes everything related to ‘Rodeos & Pow Wows’.

The owners were both involved in local rodeos for more than 30 years as well as having their own ranch.

The museum’s collection is largely what the couple have amassed themselves over the years, and covers all aspects of cowboys like their equipment, boots, and different types of saddles.

There are also plenty of Indian artifacts in the facility such as Nez Perce, Salish, Kootenai, and Crow collections. The museum is in fact located on the famous Lolo Trail used by the Nez Perce and later by Lewis and Clark in 1805 and 1806.

The facility can be found at 6800 Lewis and Clark Highway (Highway 12), Lolo, Montana, adjoining Traveler’s Rest on the Lewis and Clark Trail.

The Montana Museum of Art and Culture

The Montana Museum of Art and Culture is the largest public facility in the state that has collected and exhibited art and culture-related items since 1894.

The facility functions as a free research museum and came into existence just a year after the founding of the University of Montana.

Today, the MMAC is an educational museum with a world-class collection of more than 10,000 items, which includes various important historic and contemporary artworks

The Miracle of America Museum

The museum is a year-round facility near Polson that focuses on preserving and exhibiting important American artifacts which are used to inform and educate visitors on America’s historical aspects.

The items and displays within the museum are related to such topics as businesses, firearms, and transportation from the past. The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays between noon and 6pm.

The Montana Natural History Center

The Montana Natural History Center is located along the river trail at 120 Hickory St. in Missoula, and the exhibits in the facility cover aspects of the flora, fauna, and natural history of the western Montana region.

You should allow around 30-45 minutes for exploring the museum’s exhibits, and you’ll find a children’s microscope area and exciting touch tables dotted throughout the museum.

There is a hands-on, Naturalist Lab, and the Kids’ Discovery Room contains plenty for the little ones to discover. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 am–4:00 pm.

Recreation Activities in or near Wye

Missoula and its surrounding regions are well-known for their natural attractions.

Set within the renowned recreational fly-fishing ‘Golden Triangle’, the area is also popular for hunting various game like deer, elk, bear, moose, and a few others.

There are also over one hundred miles of trails of varying difficulty in the Missoula Valley, ideal for hiking or biking. Plenty of organized rafting and kayaking trips regularly run through the area which can include white water.

The Missoula area also includes a few natural hot springs, not to mention ghost towns, but during the spring and summer months the surrounding vicinity will see an increase in the numbers of people camping, horseback riding, paddle-boarding, and tubing.

Once winter sets in, visitors to Missoula will instead be enjoying the many skiing, snowboarding, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and snowshoeing opportunities the area has to offer.

Hiking

hiking

The Lolo National Forest virtually surrounds the boundaries of Missoula, and the national forest contains three National Recreation Areas not too far from the edge of town.

This includes the Rattlesnake National Recreation Area, which is also in the north-western regions of Missoula close to Wye like the national forest.

Extensive trail networks run through this natural outdoor playground which is accessible within a 20-minute drive of downtown Missoula.

Also check out this guide about hiking in and around Missoula.

Fishing

fishing

When you consider that there are no less than three rivers to choose from in this region of Montana, by way of the Blackfoot and Bitterroot Rivers, as well as the Clark Fork of the Columbia.

On top of that Rock Creek is well-known for its blue ribbon fishing running a seemingly endless stretch.

Check out this extensive and detailed list of some of the best available fishing in and around the Missoula region.

Camping

camping

Primrose Meadows Campground is a 10-site facility not too far from the freeway for easy access but you wouldn’t know it from the sites which are set in more than 200 acres of scenic natural farmland.

The sites in this open campground all have beautiful mountain views. Although there are a few trees around, mostly all you can see is miles of rolling hills with a few trails.

The Granite Peak RV Park

Set in the foothills of Lolo National Forest, Granite Peak RV Resort is located within 55 acres of land all ideal for hiking, and mini golf, along with a heated pool are included in the amenities here.

Located just off Highway 93 North and Interstate 90, the facility is just over a 10-minute drive away from downtown Missoula This campground is close to Wye and has the relevant easy access to outdoor exploration any way you look.

You can quite easily find rivers and lakes, wildlife and mountains, and even ghost towns and mines from this spot.

Jim & Mary’s RV Park

Jim & Mary’s RV Park is 10 minutes from downtown Missoula off the I-90. Here you’ll find a spacious, 70-site RV Park and campground surrounded by beautiful gardens.

This is one of the 3 nearest campgrounds to Wye, and provides access to a plethora of things to do in the area.

Accommodation–Hotels and Lodging

The nearest listed hotel to Wye is the Days Inn which is less than half a mile from the center of the town. All the other options are heading more towards the direction of Missoula by somewhere between 1 and 10 miles.

Special Events in or near Wye 

  • April–Kyi-Yo Pow Wowone of the oldest and grandest student-sponsored powwows in the nation at the University of Montana’s Adam Center
  • Check out an extensive list of events in the region throughout the whole year HERE

Activities and other Points of Interest near Wye

Forests/State/National Parks/Wilderness Areas

Museums/Historic Items

Nearby Towns/Cities

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