Ah, the good ol’ shoulder season – that time of year after Whitefish Mountain Resort closes and before the weather warms up enough to get out on Flathead or Whitefish Lake. Springtime in Northwest Montana is special, with more sun and longer days, allowing you more time to adventure, explore and recreate. How do you enjoy springtime in Northwest Montana? We’re highlighting some of our favorite activities that keep us entertained in the shoulder season (and beyond).
Biking Going to the Sun Road | Glacier National Park
Before the famed road opens to car traffic, recreational bikers and competitive cyclists alike head into Glacier National Park to enjoy the peace, quiet and traffic-less trek up to Logan Pass. Without the threat of cars, you can truly focus on – and enjoy – the views of the mountains and wildlife. A few tips: Be prepared for changing weather, always carry bear spray and monitor plow status via the NPS website here.
For those interested in bike rentals (including e-Bike and bear spray), check out these 3 local outfitters:
Finally, for those entering the Park on/after May 28, you’ll need a ticket to drive on any portion of Going to the Sun Road. While many tickets have sold out, additional tickets will be made available 48 hours in advance. Learn more about ticket purchasing here.
Mountain Biking | Whitefish
Whitefish, Montana is known as a mecca for mountain biking, offering hundreds of miles of singletrack for every type of biker. The Whitefish Trail opened in 2010 and offers 42 miles of trail from 12 trailheads, all readily accessible from downtown Whitefish. Opening May 29 (weekends only until June 12), Whitefish Mountain Resort offers thrill-seekers the opportunity to take two chairlifts up Big Mountain, with a choose-your-own-adventure down, with 25+ miles of trails to choose from. The International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) named WMR’s Kashmir trail a model “Flow Trail” in 2014, showcasing the quality of riding one can experience.
If you are in need of a new bike, accessories or even a rental, Whitefish boasts two local shops known for their knowledge, service and selection:
Golfing | Flathead Valley
Throughout the Flathead Valley, golf enthusiasts and recreationalists alike flock to the area’s beautifully manicured, diverse and challenging golf courses. Many boast notable designs, including Wilderness Club (Nick Faldo), Iron Horse (Tom Fazio) and Eagle Bend (William Hull & Nicklaus Design). Combining their dramatic views and scenery of Whitefish Lake, Flathead Lake, the Stillwater River and the Swan Mountains (to name a few) with the challenge and diversity of play, golfers are in for a treat.
Some of the local options include:
- Whitefish Lake Golf Course – Whitefish, Montana
- Iron Horse – Whitefish, Montana (Private)
- Village Greens – Kalispell, Montana
- Northern Pines – Kalispell, Montana
- Buffalo Hill – Kalispell, Montana
- Meadow Lake – Columbia Falls, Montana (Golf Magazine calls this a “must play”)
- Wilderness Club – Eureka (Named the #1 course in Montana by Golfweek)
- Eagle Bend – Bigfork, Montana (Rated #1 by Golf Digest for 6 consecutive years and in the top 50 in the US)
- Polson Bay – Polson, Montana
- Glacier Hill – Glacier, Montana
Morel Mushroom Picking | Flathead Valley
Springtime in Northwest Montana is prime morel hunting season. Morel mushrooms are considered top-tier, with an earthy, nutty flavor and a meaty texture. These elusive and expensive mushrooms only grow in the wild, making them a fun chase – and hot commodity! – for chefs and mushroom enthusiasts alike.
While we can’t share our foraging locations, we will share a recently published article from Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks on the Beginner’s Guide to Montana Mushrooming. Happy hunting!
Live Music | Flathead Valley
To close off a day of golf, biking, hiking and mushroom-picking, pull up a barstool and enjoy the sounds of live music. With so many performances canceling over the last year, the Flathead Valley’s local bars are thrilled to open their stages once again. Most of our favorite venues have live music almost nightly, including:
- Sacred Waters – Kalispell, MT
- Gunsight Saloon – Columbia Falls, MT
- Remington – Whitefish, MT
- The Great Northern – Whitefish, MT
However you spend your time in the Shoulder Season, make sure it’s filled with endless recreation. After all, that is what life in Montana is all about.
Did we miss any of your favorite activities? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know!
Cover photo by Jordan Haggard, ExploreWhitefish.com.