Missoula, Montana is home to the renowned Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) and it makes for a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours while in the Garden City. No visit to Missoula is complete without a trip to the Foundation’s Elk Country Visitor Center.
The Foundation was started in 1984 by four hunters from Troy, Montana who were determined to ensure a future for elk, arguably known as the grandest game animal in North America. Among the goals of the RMEF are to ensure the habitat of elk and other wildlife through conservation and enhancement, and to preserve our hunting heritage. The RMEF has grown to have more than 500 chapters around the country that actively work to raise funds for conservation projects across elk country.
Open year-round with free admission, the RMEF Visitor Center is a fun and interactive museum that reveals the beauty and importance of elk in North America. It features a number of exhibits that allow you to learn more about elk, elk country, and both the foundation’s and our individual roles in conservation. Explore the diverse wildlife that make elk country their home, and explore the rich heritage of the outdoors.
Highlights of the Visitor Center include identifying animal tracks, hearing an elk bugle, wildlife conservation films, testing your wildlife knowledge, and feeling the weight of elk antlers. There is also a fantastic display of trophy elk mounts, and a gift shop featuring RMEF clothing, calendars, wildlife art, and more.
If you would like a chance to stretch your legs and enjoy the beauty of Montana outdoors, there is a scenic, wooded nature trail that winds through and around the 22-acre RMEF property. In addition to the scenery, local wildlife such as bald eagles, white-tailed deer, owls, and turkeys are known to frequent the trail area making for a true Montana wildlife observation experience.
Admission is free and hours are as follows:
January 1 – April 30: 8am – 5pm (M-F), 10am – 5pm (Saturday), Closed (Sunday)
May 1 – December 31: 8am – 6pm (M-F), 9am – 6pm (Saturday), 9am – 6pm (Sunday)
For more information, hours, and directions, visit the RMEF website.