Brad Pitt singlehandedly made sexy when his character the Blackfoot in the 1992 movie A River Runs Through It.
Kettle House Brewing Co. on the Bitterroot River Bakery 10 The Bitterroot River 11 Fresh rolls at Bakery 12 Doubletree Hotel Missoula/Edgewater
PHOTOS UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED: DONNIE SEXTON; 1:MARK LEWIS; 2: CHRIS NOBLE; 5: AURORA OPEN/JORDAN SIEMENS; MAP: RANDALL NELSON.
sheep on your way in, and near the end of the 50-mile, mostly gravel Rock Creek Road, tiny Philipsburg has a sodashoppe main street that changed much in 50 years. Rock Creek feeds the 320-mile Clark Fork River, which runs through downtown Missoula. East of the city, the upper river has been ecologically damaged from mining waste, but west of town will turn up fat rainbows and knockout views of the Bitterroot Mountain foothills. Just take out before the Alberton Gorge, where Missoula rafting guides run trips through frothy class III and IV whitewater. The Blackfoot River is a classic cold
and fed by mountain joins the Clark Fork just east of town. Its 60 miles are wooded and tranquil, so a favorite spot of anglers seeking seclusion and gorgeous native cutthroats. Take a side trip the adjacent State Highway 200 to see clapboard shanties at Garnet Ghost Town, one of the best-preserved turnof-the-century mining outposts. In its namesake valley south of Missoula, the slower Bitterroot River is alive with insect hatches all summer, great for with dry Floaters gawk at the 9,000-foot peaks of the Bitterroot Mountains, a jagged skyline paralleling the entire course. Towns in the Bitterroot Valley many tourist attractions, but bird nerds to marshy Lee Metcalf
National Wildlife Refuge to spot bald eagles, osprey and hordes of migrating waterfowl. For crowds of Carhartt hipsters, angling is a sacrament that is rivaled only by beer-drinking, and lovers of suds will excellent microbreweries serving the region. To better accommodate river trips, the Kettle House Brewing Co. cans beers such as its Double Haul IPA (named for a technique), and in the Bitterroot, Blacksmith Brewing Company stays packed with adventure types coming the river or the mountain. Grab a stool, order a pint and start lamenting the one that got away.
Clark Fork River
Where to Stay: Doubletree Hotel Missoula/Edgewater has a riverside location where anglers wade directly into the Clark Fork from the snazzy cocktail deck. Outside of town, The Ranch at Rock Creek is newest rusticluxe sporting lodge. Where to Eat: Bakery is a local institution known for breakfast pastries, and the Saturday Farmers Market can you with everything from fresh produce to game meat. Along the Blackfoot corridor, Pomp at The Resort at Paws Up is one of only dining rooms.
On the Clark Fork in downtown Missoula, ballsy paddlers line up to shoot the man-made curl called Wave, the site of this U.S. Freestyle Kayak Team Trials.
deltaskymag.com June 2010