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Bigfork, Montana Area Chamber of Commerce

Summer Fun Begins in Bigfork

More of our visitors come to Bigfork in the summer than in any other month. The weather is great and there’s always something to do. While everyone loves being outside and enjoying our long summer days, there are also some inside activities that will add enjoyment to a summer day. We’ve provided a list of some of our indoor and outdoor favorites.

Glacier National Park: Glacier is on everyone’s list. The Going-to-the-Sun Road provides 50-plus miles of spectacular scenery, alpine meadows full of colorful wildflowers, rushing streams, and wildlife large and small. At the Continental Divide, take time for the Visitor Center at Logan Pass. The road is the trailhead for almost 700 miles of groomed hiking trails for all abilities, and two of them are right at Logan.  Take a short walk along the Hidden Lake Nature Trail or access the Highline Trail for some really spectacular views of the park. If you’re not sure about driving this curving mountain road, hop on one of the shuttle buses.  For a more classic approach, take a tour in one of the famous Red Buses www.glacierparkinc.com  or cruise a Glacier lake in one of the classic wooden boats. Glacierparkboats.com. www.nps.gov/glac

Arts & Crafts: There are more than 2000 working artists in Montana’s Flathead Valley and many of them make their home in and around Bigfork where a stroll through the galleries and shops will reveal art for every taste and budget. You’ll find that Bigfork also has several studios of working artists who are happy to talk with visitors about their work. Many art lovers plan their vacations around Bigfork’s Festival of the Arts held the first weekend in August. View the current exhibition at the Bigfork Museum of Art & History and stop by the Bigfork Visitor Center where you can pick up a copy of the Cultural Treasures brochure.

Boating: Whether you prefer power and speed or paddle and sail, you can’t miss the opportunity for a day on Flathead Lake.  Rent a boat, kayak or canoe and spend the day on Flathead Lake or one of our smaller area lakes.  Experienced paddlers will enjoy the Flathead Lake Marine Trail, while families might choose a picnic on a pontoon boat.  Go to www.bigfork.org and click on Things to Do for a full list of outfitters and boat rental agencies.

Cowboy Up: Choose a day out of the old west.  Take a pack trip into the wilderness or stay closer to home base with a horseback ride in Glacier National Park or along some of the trails around Bigfork. Those who are too young to safely ride a horse might enjoy a wagon ride or lunch or dinner served from an old-fashioned chuck wagon.

Driving: Our most famous scenic drive is, of course, the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.  But we’d like to recommend a few other favorites as well. Bigfork is part of the Montana Scenic Loop which circles three wilderness areas. The route takes you through lake country and over to the high plains and the Rocky Mountain Front. For a day trip, we recommend the section of the loop that travels south along Highway 83. With the Swan Mountains to the east and the Mission Mountains to the west, the road winds past pristine lakes, meadows and forests.  Keep your eye out for eagles and osprey, deer, elk and maybe even a bear. www.montanascenicloop.com. Or simply take the day and drive around Flathead Lake with stops along the way. The picturesque communities of Polson, Lakeside and Somers will welcome you.  Check out our feature for additional information about the wines, beers and sprits produced around the lake. For a bit of history with your scenery, we recommend the Lower Valley Driving Tour.  Pick up a guide at our Visitor Center and learn more about the men and women who settled this valley. www.historyisposh.org

Fishing: Fishing is great in our lakes and streams and it’s easy to obtain a fishing license so you can wet a line yourself. Pick up the brochure Fishing Montana’s Flathead Valley at our Visitor Center or contact one of our member guides. Remember, if you want to fish the southern half of Flathead Lake, you’ll also need a tribal fishing license. www.bigfork.org.

Golf: We were selected by Golf Digest as one of the 50 Greatest golf Destinations in the world so start with a round or two at Bigfork’s Eagle Bend Golf Club and play your way around the valley. There are nine great courses, most less than an hour’s drive from Bigfork. Our courses are open from April through October and they all offer not only great play, but spectacular views and reasonable prices. www.golfnorthwestmontana.com

Hiking: Bigfork is the perfect starting point for hikers of all ages and abilities.  Just outside of town, enjoy the Swan River Nature Trail as it travels along the old river Road beside the Swan River.  The trail is open to hiking, biking and horseback riding. Just outside of Bigfork, the Jewel Basin is a true hiker’s paradise.  This designated hiking area offers 35 miles of trail for hikes and walks of just about any length. You can fish one of the area’s 25 lakes or camp overnight. Maps and trail guides are available through the Flathead National Forest. To learn some of our favorite local spots, join the Swan Rangers every Saturday morning for a partial day of hiking. In summer, they meet for breakfast at 7:30 am at the Echo Lake Café. www.swanrange.org

Music and Entertainment: For more than 50 years, the Bigfork Summer Playhouse has offered the finest in summer theater. www.bigforksummerplayhouse.com  Every Sunday, the Riverbend Concert Series brings music to the banks of the Swan River. Bring a lawn chair or spread a blanket on the lawn and enjoy an evening of live music. From swing music played by a jazz band to folk, rock and even karaoke, many of our restaurants and lounges offer music and entertainment.  Visit www.bigfork.org for the latest schedule.

Whitewater: There’s nothing like taking on some whitewater on a hot summer day.  Choose from half- or full-day raft trips on the Flathead or Swan Rivers.  As summer brings calmer waters, enjoy the chance to float along, take photos and simply enjoy the scenery. Kayakers should mark Wednesday on their calendars since that’s the day that water is released on the Swan River to increase the chance for a whitewater kayak adventure.

To learn more about Bigfork, visit www.bigfork.org.  Media queries may be directed to Carol Beck-Edgar at edgecomm@montanasky.us. 406-837-2061.


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