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

 

Skip those Crowds In Glacier Park this Summer!

Sunset in Glacier National Park at Lake McDonald

For those who want to explore!

Located in the northwest corner of Montana is what most refer to as the “Crown of the Continent.”  This is a vast playground for any outdoor enthusiast. Glacier Park is home of the continental divide, and 1 million acres filled with vast forests, towering mountains, and during three months of the year a ocean… a ocean of cars, crowds, and crazy drivers.

Every year Glacier National Park breaks it’s annual visitation record. Last year a whopping 3.3 million people hiked the trails, swam in the lakes, and battled for parking at the famed Logan Pass Visitor Center. But this doesn’t have to be you this summer if you follow this tip.

Explore Outside the Boundary of the Glacier

The truth is, there is much more to explore beyond the boundaries of Glacier than most think. If you want to beat the crowds this summer, exploring these spots is the right choice for you.

Jewel Basin Hiking Area

Jewel Basin

Located 40 miles south of Glacier Park nestled up in the Swan Mountain Range is the Jewel Basin Hiking area. This spot provides some of the best day hikes in the area. Home to 25 crystal clear alpine lakes and 35 miles of hiking trails, it is easy to say one could get lost here. Don’t worry though, I promise you will only get lost in the best of ways! 😉

Also…. you can camp, park and hike for free!

Bob Marshall photo of china wall with bear grass

Bob Marshall Wilderness

Ever wonder what Glacier Park looked like before the roads, the buildings, and parking lots? Go see it for yourself in the Bob Marshall Wilderness aka “The Bob” by locals. For the slightly more adventurous types (yes I’m talking to you), spend a day, or a week or two weeks here. There are approximately 1,100 miles of trails, that stretch across it’s 1.5 million acres. Home of the some of the most amazing mountains, rivers, and valleys in Northwest Montana.

Flathead National Forest “Swan Valley”

Ah yes… how could I forget home! Maybe I am biased, but the opportunities of the Swan Valley are endless. Don’t believe me? Hop on Alpine Trail #7 and head north, you’ll be walking for about 50 miles! Want to stand on mountain peaks in the morning? No problem! How about swimming in sparkling alpine lakes? Yeah got that covered. How about ease of access? Park at the trail head. And yes of course it is FREE!

Too often we are blinded at what’s in front of us because what people say we should think, speak, and explore. Don’t fall for it, and explore your surroundings. Maybe the trick isn’t to listen to me. But try to focus on what is right in front of you, because your Glacier Park is probably begging to be explored!