Missoula is the seat of Missoula County in Western Montana near the Idaho state line. It lies on I-90, 120 miles northwest of Butte.
On the banks of the Bitterroot River, it is home to the University of Montana at the head of five scenic valleys and the confluence of three rivers.
The population estimate for July 1, 1998 was 52,239, an increase of 9,321 since 1990. This makes it one of Montana's five major cities.