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From Colorado to Montana
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Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
From Colorado to Montana on 06/17/2012 02:49:07 MDT Print View

So I currently live in the front range of Colorado (Fort Collins), but have been offered a pretty awesome job in Missoula, MT. I'll be visiting Missoula in a couple of weeks to get a feel for the town, but have heard mostly good things, especially about the proximity to hiking, biking, and climbing.

I was wondering if anyone out there has made a similar move and would be willing to share their thoughts and experience? Or any Montana residents who may be able to offer some advice? I absolutely love Colorado and don't want to mess with a good thing, but the allure of a fantastic job in a town like Missoula is tempting to say the least...

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
Colorado to Montana on 06/17/2012 20:50:42 MDT Print View

My fiancee' and I are seeing the writing on the wall with is indeed a great place. But getting way too crowded for our tastes (at least in the Front Range). Crowded trail heads, more conflicts between user groups (dog owners vs non-dog owners comes to mind), harder to to truly escape crowded areas even when off trail and so on.

After being stuck on I70 traffic again this past weekend, I was again reminded that Colorado is being loved to death. I love it here...and so do 4 million+ others. Ft. Collins to Colorado Springs (maybe even Pueblo?) is becoming a Western version of the BosWash corridor! ;)

I grew up in the very congested state of RI,Her family is in a town not far from the even more congested area around Cologne and Dusseldorf. There's a reason why we want to leave a congested area. We've spent our formative years in such areas. :D

Montana is actually one place we discussed within the next five years. Bozeman, Helena and Missoula are places where we want to take a 'working vacation' and check out in more detail (I've been to all three..but she has not).

So your not the only Coloradoan thinking of moving! :)

Edited by PaulMags on 06/17/2012 20:57:02 MDT.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: From Colorado to Montana on 06/17/2012 21:12:06 MDT Print View

Dave Chenault once described Missoula as the northernmost city in Colorado.

I've only visited Missoula a bit (we live about two hours north, in the Flathead Valley), but it seems like one of the more vibrant cities in the state--at least from what I was used to until moving up here. Definitely check out the housing situation, as I believe I remember hearing on Montana Public Radio (based at Missoula) about that high pressure for rentals, etc.

The city is within a few hours of both Yellowstone and Glacier, several major wilderness areas, and hosts a number of outdoor events and the like. You won't have a hard time finding places to get out. Also, make sure you get a sense of the weather year round. The Flathead is about to turn into paradise for two to three months, then the clouds come back and things get grey for the next several. I think Missoula will be similar.

Actually, Montana Public Radio is a really good source for what's going on in the area. You can go to their website at and stream live. At 5:30, they do a half hour local show that will give you a really good sense of the issues and concerns of people in Western Montana.

Let me if you have more questions. I'll help where I can. Hopefully Dave will see this, as he ought to be able to answer in much more detail about Missoula. If you do move up here, we should go hiking.

Edited by GlacierRambler on 06/17/2012 21:21:26 MDT.

Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
Re: on 06/17/2012 22:29:45 MDT Print View

Paul: I think the overcrowding, especially in the front range, is one of the main reasons I'm strongly considering the move. The only times I head to Denver are to catch a flight, and getting through anywhere on i-25 or i-70 nowadays is just a headache. While I'm not under the impression that Montana is a perfect place (it has its own set of problems), I've had quite a few people tell me that Missoula reminds them of Fort Collins about 20 or 30 years ago - less people, less traffic, and easier and more remote access to the wilderness. Obviously this will change with people wanting to move in...

Clayton: Thanks for the heads up about the local NPR station. I think the weather is a valid concern - I'm used to the sunshine-filled winters here in Colorado, so grey winters, especially because of the inversion effect in Missoula, might take some getting used to. From what I can gather, the rental situation is similar to Fort Collins - price gouging and high demand. My girlfriend and I will be visiting in a couple of weeks, so we plan on making the rounds. And if I do make the move, we should definitely get together for some hiking!

Edited by aaronufl on 06/17/2012 22:30:15 MDT.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Re: on 06/17/2012 22:43:55 MDT Print View

"Obviously this will change with people wanting to move in..."

I'm of a mind to stick around here for quite a while (if not just plain stick around), and I'm already identifying with the local impulse to have people just stay out (but please send your tourist dollars, of course). That said, you seem like a pretty nice guy...

Tim Drescher
(timdcy) - M

Locale: Gore Range
Re: Re: Re: on 06/18/2012 07:04:16 MDT Print View

I left for 15 months, and eventually made my way back. Granted, I didn't spend those 15 in a place such as Montana. If I were in your shoes, and had to live in a city, or some other populated area in one of the Rocky Mountain states I'd say Montana would be a good bet.

On the other hand, I do not live on the Front Range (have lived months in the Springs and Denver) and can still find very deep solitude in Colorado without even staying away from designated trails. I can think of a few places within a 20 miles radius of my house where you will still see cairns with no visible trail in a NF or Wilderness area.

I'd certainly get sick of living on the Front Range if I had to live there for years instead of months. I love the city, but I love the mountains a lot more and have no intention of leaving them anytime soon.

To PMags, I feel your pain on the I-70 congestion and don’t understand how “you/those” people do it during ski and summertime weekends. I’m usually fortunate enough to be heading the opposite direction of the congestion during those periods :D

Paul Magnanti
(PaulMags) - MLife

Locale: People's Republic of Boulder
I70 Congestion on 06/18/2012 07:41:19 MDT Print View

To PMags, I feel your pain on the I-70 congestion and don’t understand how “you/those” people do it during ski and summertime weekends. I’m usually fortunate enough to be heading the opposite direction of the congestion during those periods :D

Well, I rarely do the I70 corridor for that reason. My buddy and I took his son out for his first backpacking trip and he wanted to do something different than the usual haunts around here (Boulder). Something different that felt a little more of an adventure.

Avery, the not-quite-six-year old, also agrees with my assessment of I70 traffic; IT STINKS! :D

Luckily, though I am an avid skier, it is backcountry almost 100%. No need to go to Copper, A-Basin and what-have-you.

Yeah, most of the population is on the Front Range..but all that population pops over the tunnel on weekends and holidays.

So it goes.

And in a few years, so does my fiancee' and I. ;)

Edited by PaulMags on 06/18/2012 07:41:52 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Missoula on 06/18/2012 07:55:46 MDT Print View

I guess it's all relative :) Missoula is a nice town, but it's crowded by my standards, probably not by others. The traffic sucks as the town has grown a lot in the last 20 years (about when I moved away from Missoula) and they haven't done a lot to remedy it.

They have added a lot of bike lanes though and if you're a biker you can cruise around town at a pretty good clip.

The weather in Missoula can be less than ideal (I guess that's true of anywhere :))- it can get pretty hot during the summer (hotter than most places in Wester Montana) and the winters can be a little (actually a lot) dreary- they get a fair number of inversions in the valley and the smoke/smog puts a cap over the city- amazingly you can leave town, gain some elevation and be in full sunshine :)

It's a fairly hip town (by Montana standards anyways), due mostly to a rather large university (again by MT standards)- my alma mater- Go Griz!

Right now is a pretty good time to be moving as the housing market has slumped some, housing prices were pretty ridiculous just two years ago- more reasonable now.

If your a downhill skier, MIssoula leaves something to be desired, but you're not awful too far from Whitefish (or Bozeman for that matter). Fly fishing there is abundant opportunities, ditto for hiking, mountain biking

If you have any specific questions, I can probably answer them as I still frequent Missoula regularly as I have a number of relatives there.


Aaron Croft
(aaronufl) - M

Locale: Oregon
Well... on 06/23/2012 19:19:36 MDT Print View

We did get to visit Missoula, and while it seems like a really fun town, I think I've decided to stay put in Colorado. There is something about this place that just makes me very content every time I come home.

But I'll be back to visit Glacier in the future, of course! ;)