Gateway to Glacier National Park
Kalispell Montana Summer Adventure Plan
It’s known as the Soul of Montana: Kalispell is one of the West’s ultimate mountain towns—only a 30-minute scenic drive to the west side of Glacier National Park. But Glacier’s not the only amazing outdoors here. Make the friendly mountain town of Kalispell your home base to these top adventures.
Montanans revere their wild and scenic places, and they don’t come more wild and scenic than Glacier National Park: the Crown of the Continent. The park is one million acres of terrain carved by glaciers, flowing with waterfalls, covered in turquoise lakes, and wild with wildlife—from grizzly bears to sure-footed mountain goats. Getting to the west side of Glacier National Park from Kalispell is an easy, scenic 30-minute drive. This side of the park is mostly open, including the trails around Lake McDonald and the Going to the Sun Road all the way up to Logan Pass and Rising Sun. For epic views of Many Glacier Valley, head out on Piegan Pass Trail, just east of Logan Pass. Or tackle the 12-mile Huckleberry Lookout hike for serious bragging rights.
Flathead Lake & State Parks
The largest natural freshwater lake in the West, Flathead Lake is a glacially sculpted oasis. Located at the base of the Swan and Mission mountain ranges, this blue beauty has 185 miles of shoreline featuring six state parks, all with beaches, camping, swimming, and hiking trails. Take a boat to Wild Horse Island, a 160-acre state park where you’ll find … wild horses! Make a big loop around the lake, exploring towns, cafes, breweries, a distillery, and a winery. Summer brings roadside fruit stands well worth a stop (the cherries are delicious!). Out on the water you can do everything from sunset kayaking to exploring Somers Bay or enjoying small group boat tours.
TIP: For an entirely unique vantage of the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park, head to Lone Pine State Park, just outside of downtown Kalispell.
The Glacier region is called the Crown of the Continent. And a hidden hiking jewel in the crown? Well, that’s Jewel Basin Wilderness, 15,349 acres of pure nature with 35 miles of trails solely for hiking (no bikes, no horses, no motorized traffic). You know it’s good when locals say it’s the best place to go for a day hike. You’ll feel like you have a lot of wilderness to yourself! The upper trail system is above treeline, so you get dramatic, wide-open views. You may even see some mountain goats … they like trekking in high places, too.
Mountain Town Time Out
Take a deep breath … you’re on mountain time now. Relax and stroll Kalispell’s blend of timeless small-town architecture and modern comforts. Locally owned shops and dining spots including sidewalk cafes and craft breweries make a downtown that’s refreshingly down to earth! Don’t miss Kalispell’s famous staple adventure store, Western Outdoors.
TIP: Pick up a self-guided walking tour map and explore Kalispell.
Know Before You Go
Find out and follow the local health guidelines at your destination.
Plan ahead and be patient as amenities and activities may be limited or could change.
Have a mask, wear a mask and maintain social distance as a courtesy to others and to protect yourself and your loved ones.
Enjoy your trip: a little planning, a little patience, and you’re gonna have a lot of fun!
Here’s more information on traveling responsibly in Montana.
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