Western Carolina University: Catamounts in Montana!


September 17 – 22, 2024


Join a select group of Catamount faithful for a trek into “Montana Grizzly Country!” 

The WCU Division of Advancement will lead the way, hosting a fun-filled six days, stretching from Whitefish, Montana / Glacier National Park, to Missoula, Montana – home of the University of Montana.  Our trip will culminate with a Super Saturday of tailgating (at our Missoula hotel – just a short walk from Grizzly Stadium) and the football game between the Catamounts and the Montana Grizzlies. 

Enjoy a relaxing adventure, guided by small group travel company Explore Up Close, that offers Montana’s unique blend of fascinating stories and stunning landscapes.  We’ll strike the perfect blend of a daily guided program, with down time to enjoy the Big Sky as you wish.  Our lovely downtown hotels will be the perfect bases for group social gatherings and exploring quaint town streets.  Our excursion into Glacier National Park will feature a guided, iconic “Red Bus Tour” along one of the world’s most jaw-dropping drives.  The trip will hold options for a guided fly-fishing experience and exploration of the Clark’s Fork Valley.  It’s a one-of-a-kind adventure, and a special opportunity to build “Catamount community” in one of the world’s most inspiring settings. Join us! 

Click below to read the full itinerary & details, and reserve your spot today!

Trip Pricing

$4,528 / person (based on double room occupancy; single room supplement, $1,083)

What’s included in the price?

  • 5  nights lodging in Montana
  • All touring / admissions per the itinerary
  • Tailgate event
  • Daily breakfast in the hotel + 3 group meals
  • Ground transportation in Montana, including driver gratuity
  • Concierge / guide service provided by Explore Up Close throughout the trip

Not included:  Airfare, alcohol and other meals, optional activities in Montana, including guided fishing experiences; discretionary tipping, trip insurance.


The Firebrand Hotel

September 17 – 19  (two nights) 

Located in the heart of Whitefish, MT, the Firebrand Hotel offers urban sophistication and top-notch service combined with the atmosphere of Northwest Montana’s rugged landscapes. Enjoy the rooftop patio, on-site bar, restaurant, and easy access to downtown. 

Hotel website: https://firebrandhotel.com 


The Doubletree by Hilton Missoula / Edgewater

September 19 – 22  (three nights)

Located on the banks of the Clark Fork River, this modern hotel is perfectly located for our stay in Missoula. Enjoy the on-site restaurant and easy access to  the University of Montana campus (.6 mile walk to the Washington-Grizzly football stadium) on game day! 

Hotel website: https://www.hilton.com/en/hotels/rlmv-dt-doubletree-missoula-edgewater/ 


How do I sign up?

Sign up for this trip directly through Explore Up Close. It’s simple and easy to register online!

To sign up, click the registration button below to complete your trip registration form. 

After submitting your registration request, you will receive a booking confirmation from Explore Up Close within one business day. You may then submit your trip payment (you may submit payment in full at the time of registration, or you can choose to pay a $1,000 / person deposit) to finalize your reservation.

Final payment is due by July 23, 2024.  Your trip payment is refundable until July 23, 2024, minus a $100 service fee. We recommend purchasing trip insurance to protect your payment in case you must cancel your trip unexpectedly after this date. Find more details about trip insurance below!

Click the button below to complete the online registration form.

Registration will remain open while there is space available.  Book your spot today!

Travel Documents, Flights, & Trip InsurancE


Travelers will fly into the Glacier Park International Airport (airport code: FCA) in Kalispell, Montana on September 17, and depart from the Missoula Montana Airport (airport code: MSO) in Missoula, Montana on September 22. 

Airfare is not included in the price of the trip, so that all travelers may book the flight that best suits their preferences.  

If you need assistance booking your flight, please contact Explore Up Close and we will gladly put you in contact with our travel agent.

On the day of arrival in Montana (September 17), hotel check-in is available beginning at 4 PM local time.  If you plan to arrive earlier, our hotels will be happy to hold your luggage and will do their best to accommodate early check-in if your room is available. No official group events are planned for the day of arrival (September 17), but we will welcome members of our group to drop in at the hotel bar area for an informal meet and greet with your fellow travelers. 

Trip Insurance
We highly recommend purchasing travel insurance, which protects you and your trip investment in the event that you must cancel or leave a trip unexpectedly. Our travel agent can assist you in booking trip insurance, or you may prefer to contact a travel insurance provider directly to request a quote.

A few trip insurance companies you may wish to consider:
Travel Guard: www.travelguard.com
Allianz: www.allianztravelinsurance.com
Generali: www.generalitravelinsurance.com/

The website www.insuremytrip.com is also a helpful resource for comparing pricing & features.

Questions about this trip?

Please contact Caroline Cope Khoury at (864) 384-6947 or caroline@exploreupclose.com