Top 5 Places in Missoula to Eat Your Lunch Outside
It's lunchtime and you've got your sandwich crafted from last night's leftovers. Your coworkers have already taken over the break room. It's way too nice to devour that grub inside. Leave your stuffy office and head to one of Missoula's parks for your lunch!
There's no place in Missoula quite like Caras Park. It's close to the downtown restaurants, it has views of the Clark Fork, and it has a nice grassy knoll you can sit on and watch the kayakers battle Brendan's wave. Grab a burrito from Taco Del Sol or a sandwich from Doc's and enjoy that summer sunshine. Also, the trail provides great people watching. (map)
More tranquil than Caras Park and far off the beaten path, Council Grove State Park offers waterfront views of the Clark Fork. It's off of Mullan Road, so it's a little far away, but it's perfect if you just need to get away for a while. (map)
Nestled between the Kim Williams Trail and the Clark Fork river, the Clark Fork Natural Area is a hidden gem seated on the banks of the river. There is a large grassy lawn, as well as a sandy beach. The view looks over downtown. Behind you, rollers skaters and bikers cruise along the trail. (map)
I know what you're thinking: "that's a heck of a hike just to eat lunch," but the view from Mount Sentinel is stupendous. Turn right and you can see up the Rattlesnake. Turn left and you can see the South Hills and beyond. If you don't want to hike all the way to the top, you can stop at one of the many park benches situated along the switchbacks. Feel free to stop whenever the hunger becomes too much. (map)
Just a short trip up Greenough Drive, the North Hills offer stunning views of downtown Missoula. The park is composed of two trails: the Cherry Gulch Trail branches off to the right, and the Ridge Trail veers off to the left. There is a park bench above the peace sign on the Ridge Trail. (map)