Welcome to The Flathead Valley: The Crown Jewel of the NW!

So, you’re spending the weekend in The Flathead Valley, and you’re looking to craft the perfect itinerary. Well, don’t take it from Trip Advisor, take it from a local.

Kalispell is the central hub of the Flathead Valley, from here you are a hop, skip, and a jump away from some of Montana’s best landmarks – The Rocky Mountains, Flathead Lake, and Glacier Park. Not to mention the touristic towns of Whitefish and Bigfork – home to some of the best dive bars.

If you’ve read this far, Hello, and welcome to my first blog post. My name is Savannah, and I was born and raised in Kalispell, Montana, also known as “The Last Best Place.”

Now, you’re only in The Flathead Valley for a weekend, so let’s start crafting that itinerary!


Day 1: Go fish!

With the abundance of fresh water lakes in this region, you don’t have to be an expert outdoorswoman (or man) to cast a line and catch a vibe!

This weekend we hit up one of my favorite spots for Pike fishing, Stillwater Lake.

The supplies you will need for this activity – A couple of fishing poles and a twelve pack of seltzers of your choice.
Pick your best hook then tie on a steel leader so that massive fish your about to catch doesn’t chomp through your line.
Drink a Blue Moon at the Stillwater Bar.  If you’re like us, and you get skunked, there’s are great little bar on the lake where you can drink a beer and lick your wounds.

Day 2: Pick a mountain, any mountain!

Now it’s time to put some work in. The Flathead Valley is enclosed with mountains, so take your pick, and cut a path to the top for some of the best panoramic views in the world.

This last weekend, my boyfriend and I hiked Mount Aeneas located in the Jewel Basin, approximately a 45 minute drive from Kalispell. This 6 mile, round trip hike is very doable and will have you working up a sweat.

On the way up! Flathead Lake and Echo Lake can be seen here.

 

My boyfriend and I, at the top of Mount Aeneas.

Mount Aeneas sits at 7,500 feet above sea level. You can view the Flathead Valley and The Bob Marshal Wilderness from the top.

Good practice: A cheers at the peak!

Dinner: Tamarack Brewing Co.

After you’ve summited that whopper, you’ll surely be hungry. A favorite among tourists and locals alike is Tamarack Brewing Co.

The Tamarack’s home base location is Lakeside, MT. From Mount Aeneas you’ll have to travel to the West side of Flathead Lake to grab this delicious bite.

Take a tip from me and call in an order. This popular spot is guaranteed to have a wait.

Take your tamarack dinner to-go.  We love the huckleberry salmon and the Big Sky burger, but don’t forget to save room for a fresh baked pizza cookie!

Now, if you’ve made it this far, then I hope I’ve sold you on a weekend in “The Last Best Place.”

With that being said, we Montanan’s hear California is great, and that there’s a plethora of activities to do there.  So, if you don’t make it to the Flathead Valley, we understand, and we’re not mad about it 😉


Author: Savannah Anderson 

Instagram: @savvvanderson

 

The Outdoor Life of a University of Montana Student

Attending school at the University of Montana has given me great opportunities to further academic accomplishments. But I must admit, those academic goals were not even close to the main reason I chose to go to the University of Montana in the first place. I chose the school because of all the outdoor opportunities living in the great state of Montana offers. Looking back on the past four years, it’s been pretty amazing to be able to call this state my home and to have so many amazing outdoor resources available at my fingertips. This blog post will take you through an average year of what it’s like to be an outdoor fanatic attending school at the University of Montana.

  1. Winter (Late January-Early March)

Winter as a student living in Missoula is pretty sweet. Unlike many northern states, the days in the valley are often mild enough to fly fish, hike, bike, or do many other outdoor activities. And for those of you who love the snow and cold, there are four great ski resorts within an hour and a half drive from Missoula. Lost Trail Powder Mountain is my favorite – they boast upwards of 300″ of snow every year. One of the great things about Montana is that it provides a great home base for road trips around the Northwest. This past February, trips to the Olympic Pennisula, WA and Fernie, British Columbia were taken.

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2. Spring (Mid March-Late May)

Spring is a great time to spend time outdoors in Montana. You will find seemingly everyone in Missoula coming out of their winter hibernation to enjoy the beauty of Montana in the spring time. Personally, this is my favorite time of year to fly fish. Most rivers in western and southwestern Montana boast great fly fishing for wild trout this time of year.

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DSC_2533_2-Winter can always rear its ugly head during the Spring!

DSC_1798-And the next day it’s sunny and 70 degrees.

IMG_0209-Turkey hunting is also on the menu in the spring!

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3. Summer (Early June-Late August)

Summer in Montana is in my opinion like nowhere else. Because of the lack of humidity, I don’t know where you can find more comfortable summertime weather than in Montana. For me, this season is dominated by guiding fly fisherman, hiking the mountains scouting for elk, and just enjoying the great weather.

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The West beckons, whether for riding, fishing or sightseeing.

 

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4. Fall (Early September-late December)

All I can say is Fall is by far my favorite season in Montana. It is the time to stock the freezers with wild game for the winter ahead, and to enjoy the vibrant changes of the seasons. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll let these photos do the talking.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed these photos illustrating what it’s like to live in Montana throughout the year. I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to go to school here at the University of Montana and have all of this out my back door.

-Trevor Anderson