Missoula, Montana is nestled in the heart of the Rocky Mountains in the western part of the nation's fourth largest state. Missoula and the area is beautiful and relatively sparsely populated. Among other attractions, Missoula is home to the University of Montana, a liberal arts university that is home of the Grizzlies. 'A Carousel for Missoula' is a popular kids attraction. In the mid-1990's Missoula got together and put up a Carousel made of hand carved horses and many other hand made parts. The project was entirely volunteer and donation. The Carousel sits on the banks of the Clarks Fork River, which flows through the northern part of the town of about 50,000 inhabitants. The Missoula area boasts about 300,000 shoppers -- many people who live in nearby rural areas visit Missoula to shop -- but retains a small town feel. There are many nearby ski areas, including Snowbowl and Marshall Mountain, which are both less than a 15 minute drive from town. Summer boasts many hiking and biking trails and the downtown area is perhaps the best bar-hopping area in a five state region, as most bars are within easy walking distance.
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