Discover the hidden place in Flathead Lake

Discover the Hidden Place in Flathead Lake

(Last Updated On: November 10, 2022)

Flathead Lake, in Northwest Montana, has the most significant total area for any freshwater lake in the American West outside of Alaska. The vast lake covers an area of 190 square miles and over 160 miles of coastline. While the lake is well known in the area, it is an undiscovered gem for those who visit Montana.

The shoreline and boating adventures are the most frequent things to do at Flathead Lake. The lakeshore hubs such as Polson, Bigfork, and Somers have a wide range of adventure opportunities, such as boat rentals and charter fishing trips.

Take a Boat Ride on Flathead Lake

Discover the hidden place in Flathead Lake

The boating experience in Flathead Lake is the reason for numerous visits. It is one of the most expansive saltwater lakes west of the Mississippi. It has sufficient space for watercraft such as self-propelled kayaks, sailing boats, and motorboats. There are several open access locations and rentals near its shoreline. It’s a simple task to get on the water.

If you are transporting an inflatable boat towards Flathead Lake, expect to meet a required state boat inspection facility on the way. The simple inspections are designed to stop the spread of invasive species in the lake. After you have reached Lake Michigan, it is the government’s responsibility to have various boating areas.

Camp by the Shores

Discover the hidden place in Flathead Lake

Flathead State Park operates five shoreline units, each with campsites for people who want to go camping close to the lake. The campsites to put up tents are located on both the west and east part of the lake. RV campsites are also available.

It is worth noting that the Big Arm and West Shore units each have campgrounds for camping and RVs along the western bank of the lake. There are more than 70 campsites accessible between the two units, with only a limited handful of sites having electricity hookups. Most sites are available for reservations six months ahead, which is recommended for summer.

Hike into Jewel Basin

Discover the hidden place in Flathead Lake

The vast Flathead National Forest encompasses a significant portion of the area of Flathead Lake. The mountain-filled environment provides a variety of opportunities for outdoor recreation and includes the most beautiful hiking trails in Montana. Also, Jewel Basin is one of the most well-known hiking spots nearby, providing high-elevation lake views and a great chance to see wildlife.

Jewel Basin is accessible from the north end of the lake. It is about 15 miles of journey from Bigfork. This area is only for hiking and backpacking and comprises 15,000 acres of the Hungry Horse Reservoir District.

Visit Wild Horse Island by yacht.

Discover the hidden place in Flathead Lake

Wild Horse Island is arguably the unique part of Flathead Lake State Park. It is one of Montana’s most beautiful state parks. It covers more than 2,100 acres of the most oversized island of the lake, which is home to wild horses and other wild creatures. The only method to access Wild Horse Island State Park is via private boat charter, boat, or ferry.

Several private companies on the lake’s west shore provide access to Wild Horse Island. Companies such as  Boat Rentals and Rides in Big Arm or See Me Paddle in Lakeside provide guided tours and rentals. Paddling a kayak rented and then paddling towards Wild Horse Island is an alternative. The most efficient method, however, is chartering the ferry ride.

Plan a Day Trip to Kalispell

Discover the hidden place in Flathead Lake

Kalispell is located 10 miles north of the shoreline, runs along the northern side, and is the biggest town in the area. It is an excellent base for a trip near Flathead Lake. The original west façade of Main Street invites food and shopping all afternoon and into the night near some of the most impressive Montana landscapes, making it a great place to explore beyond the city’s main streets.

There are two restaurants in Kalispell. Desoto Grill and the Hops Downtown Grill are two of the most well-known spots to grab a bite in Kalispell, and Sweet Peaks Ice Cream is the most sought-after spot for dessert. There are many activities to enjoy in Kalispell Downtown, and the area has a variety of museums to visit on a rainy day or a lazy afternoon indoors.

Experience Glacier National Park

Discover the hidden place in Flathead Lake

The Crown of the Continent, Glacier National Park, is just a half-hour drive to the north of Flathead Lake. The road to this world well-known park winds into the resort town of Whitefish. The two parks, Whitefish and Glacier, provide a variety of days of adventure and exploration.

The West Entrance is the closest region to Glacier, located close to Flathead Lake. It is situated near the starting point of the famous Going-to-the-Sun Highway. The sparkling lakes in Lake McDonald stand out stunningly.

Visit Polson

Discover the hidden place in Flathead Lake

Polson is a tiny town located on the southern end of Flathead Lake and a base station for numerous trips. The charming town has many enjoyable activities and easy access to the lake. Alongside the shops and restaurants along Main Street, other roadside tourist attractions include unique museums and outdoor parks.

Various dining options will draw you to Polson for the three meals during the day. Betty’s Diner is an iconic Americana café that serves breakfast all day. Like Cherry’s barbecue Pit, The Cove Pizza, and Deli Other Polson, establishments cater to dinner and lunch appetites. For a more refined dining experience, go towards Finley Point Grill steaks, chops, and seafood.

Get a Fresh Taste at the Flathead Cherry Festival

Discover the hidden place in Flathead Lake


The size and dimensions that are Flathead Lake have a significant influence on the climate of the area. The lake’s waters help regulate the air temperature throughout the year, bringing the best conditions for growth in summer. As plums, peaches, and other stone fruits can penetrate the soil near the shoreline. However, the Flathead cherries get the most lavish praise.

Cherries begin their blooming in May. However, the best time for fresh fruits is from mid-to-late July until the beginning of August. Each season’s peak is different. However, this timeframe always provides a refreshing taste.

Read More: The Best Thing to Do in Whitefish Mountain Resort


Discover the hidden place in Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake is 197 square miles of water. This means there’s plenty of space for everyone to play in, within, or around the lake. Flathead Lake is an ideal spot to enjoy a relaxing boat ride with Flathead Lake Lodge’s personal Mustang, ride a ski boat with one of the tubes, or take a sail. Stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and canoes are an excellent option to explore the tranquil waters along the shore, as well as seven Montana state parks (which are accessible to the public) scattered within the vicinity of Lake Flathead.


Discover the hidden place in Flathead Lake

If you’re looking for an adventure, rafting Montana’s rivers are ideal. The run-off season produces various rapids with different experiences for all ages and levels. When you stay in the Lodge, they have half-day or full-day excursions on the river. The Riding and Raft option includes an enjoyable horseback ride in the vicinity of Glacier National Park in the morning and a rafting trip through the swifts at the end of the afternoon.

Read More: Top 18 Best Montana Vacation Spots for All to See


Discover the hidden place in Flathead Lake

You’ll never be far from delicious food in Montana. At Flathead Lake Lodge, we’re blessed to have the top chefs working in our kitchen, creating delicious meals weekly for guests. If you are in the vicinity of Bigfork, make sure you stop at Flathead Lake Brewery to enjoy a locally-crafted beer as well as Brookside Yard, a lodge-owned café that overlooks the Swan River’s “Wild Mile” in downtown Bigfork.

The Yard serves fresh bread and cinnamon rolls and is home to live music on Friday and Saturday evenings, perfect for pairing with Montana drinks and local beers.