If you want to experience the pristine beauty of Flathead Lake, there is no better way than on the water. Rent a boat in Bigfork or take a tour with one of the many companies offering guided trips around the lake, on its sister lake Echo Lake, or to Wild Horse Island.
The lake’s pristine waters are perfect for swimming, boating, fishing, and watersports, but there is much more to see and do on the Flathead. The area is rich in natural and cultural history and boasts numerous museums focusing on Native American culture, including the Confederated Salish, Pend Oreille and Kootenai tribes.
The lakes and surrounding mountains of Montana’s Glacier Country offer excellent hiking opportunities. The Jewel Basin Hiking Area near Bigfork and the Pablo National Wildlife Refuge near Polson are two popular trails that allow visitors to explore the area’s gorgeous scenery. In addition to the hikes, there are also a number of horseback riding opportunities available at local ranches.
There are several public access areas around the Flathead, and these sites include Elmo, Finley Point, Big Arm, Walstad Memorial Park, Yellow Bay, Woods Bay, and more. Those looking to enjoy the water can rent family boats, deck boats, or pontoons from one of the many lake companies. For those who prefer to sit back and relax, there are also many tours to choose from.
Many of the ferries, cruises, and charters that operate in and around Flathead Lake are pet friendly. Most ferries and cruises allow pets in carriers on the interior passenger areas, and leashed pets are permitted on exterior passenger areas as well. If you’re bringing a pet on your cruise, make sure to let the company know before you book your trip.
In addition to the countless cruises, ferries and charters, many of the restaurants on Flathead Lake also accept dogs on their patios and outside seating. While it’s important to make reservations, if you’re lucky enough to find an open table, bring your pooch along and enjoy a meal with the beautiful view of the lake.
During your visit, be sure to stop by the many farmers’ markets and roadside produce stands. These are excellent places to buy fresh, local food and feel like you’re a part of the community. In addition, the fresh food can help you feel energized and healthy while traveling!
The pristine waters of Flathead Lake are home to a variety of fish. Anglers can fish for trout in the deep waters or try their luck in the shallow bays during spawning season. The area is also known for its whitefish, sturgeon, pike, and kokanee salmon. The state parks and recreation areas provide many opportunities for in-the-water activities, as well. You can also visit the many public piers and beaches on the lake to enjoy fishing, camping, and picnicking. boat tours flathead lake