Category Archives: Lincoln County

Discover Winter’s Wonder with a Snowshoe in Western Montana

Winter in Montana isn’t only for adventurous powder plungers and downhill dreamers. It’s also for paradise seekers looking for a peaceful escape in an enchanting frosty forest of white. We hike all year here, and taking a walk in the snow is high on our list of things we love—it just requires a little extra gear. Snowshoes make it possible to head onto the trails and into backcountry quiet places that might otherwise not be accessible this time of year. This easy—and family-friendly—snowsport is a must-do winter activity, bound to leave you with some pretty incredible Montana memories.

See Glacier Country on snowshoees for an outdoor experience you won’t forget.

Many facilities around the region rent gear and offer friendly tips and trail advice to eager adventure seekers. Not all snowshoes are the same, and not all trails are either. Our gear shops can help with size and fit and steer you in the right direction. Local outfitters are also available to show you the way if you’re looking for a guided tour.

Here are some tips for the trek.

TRAILS + TERRAIN
Groomed and ungroomed winter trails are a dime a dozen around here, and we tend to brag about our backcountry terrain because it’s just so brag-worthy. That said, here are some of our favorite spots to explore.

Snowshoe the park.
Winter is the most magical time of year in Glacier National Park. The crowds are gone and the landscape is heavenly. The stillness and quiet offer an ideal time to strap on a pair of snowshoes and discover this powder paradise. Take a self-guided tour along the shores of Lake McDonald or up the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Let our resident experts show you the way around the park by snowshoe. Glacier Adventure Guides offers alpine adventures through old-growth forest, past frozen waterfalls and lakes and across meadows blanketed with snow.

Lake McDonald views with Glacier Adventure Guides. Photo: Devin Schmit

You can also take an interpretive ranger-led snowshoe tour of the park’s Apgar area, learning about the park’s topography and wildlife along the way.

Autumn Creek Trail in East Glacier is one of the most popular routes in the area. This 6-mile trail begins at the summit of Marias Pass before entering the park.

Beyond the park.
Whitefish is pretty much winter defined. Whitefish Mountain Resort offers two uphill routes—the Toni Matt and the East Route—and, west of town, you can shoe the dog-friendly Round Meadow trail system. Whitefish’s Sportsman & Ski Haus will set you up with the right gear for your adventure.  

One of the best things about snowshoeing is it’s easy to master. Lone Pine State Park in Kalispell is a great place to try out this beginner-friendly sport for the first time, and Spoke & Paddle can help you with equipment rentals. Nearby Herron Park/Foy’s to Blacktail Trails is another great place to start out.

For fun near Flathead Lake, trek Lakeside’s Blacktail Mountain or Bigfork’s Crane Mountain Snowmobile Trail (Road #498). Contact the friendly folks at Base Camp for gear rentals and trail suggestions.

Head up near “The Yaak” to Troy’s Cougar Ridge for a trek on snow-covered roads that wind in and out of the wintry woods of the Kootenai National Forest.

The Thompson Falls Fitness Trail is a wonderful hike for families, as it’s relatively flat, deer sightings can be frequent and following wildlife tracks in the snow is fun for the kids.

Check trail resources ahead of time to see if dogs are allowed to come along. Photo: Thompson Falls Main Street

Explore Missoula’s Pattee Canyon or Blue Mountain recreation areas for endless trails. You’ll also find snowshoe adventures in the Rattlesnake Wilderness and Missoula’s South Hills. Just east of Missoula, Greenough’s Lubrecht Forest offers a quiet getaway to test your snowshoe know-how. Lookout Pass Ski and Recreation Area on the Montana/Idaho border offers over 15 miles of groomed trails for snowshoers. You’ll find gear and good advice from the fine folks at Missoula’s Trailhead.

From Lookout Pass, you can snowshoe, ski or snowmobile to Taft, about 10 miles. This route is for well-experienced snowshoers only, due to the nature of the trail.

The Bitterroot Valley boasts stunning winter landscapes, charming small towns with warm western hospitality, and trails abound. Lolo Pass lets you choose your own adventure with multiple snow-covered roads. Four miles from the pass, walk upstream to Snowshoe Falls for the perfectly picturesque winter waterfall scene. Hike the Continental Divide at the Chief Joseph Trail System’s large network of groomed trails, complete with a cozy log cabin at the trailhead for warming up after your trek. Skalkaho Snowpark provides access to Skalkaho Pass in the scenic Sapphire Mountains.

Wandering snowy trails under Western Montana’s winter sun, does it get much better?

Make it an overnight adventure.
Many of Western Montana’s ranches and resorts offer year-round activities, and snowshoeing is no exception. You can also find off-the-beaten-path overnight adventures at lodges, vacation homes and U.S. Forest Service cabins.

Revel in rustic splendor at Sula’s Twogood Cabin, a 6-mile hike from the Warm Springs Creek Trailhead. (Open until October 15th and the month of December.)   

Explore the breathtaking Seeley-Swan Valley from your cabin door at Seeley Lake’s Double Arrow Lodge, where you can borrow a pair of snowshoes or rent a pair at nearby Rocky Mountain Adventure Gear.

The 37,000-acre Resort at Paws Up offers guests two-hour snowshoe tours of the resort grounds, plus luxury Montana lodging in beautiful Greenough.

It’s safe to say, wherever you stay, there’s probably a trail close by and a pair of snowshoes calling your name.

Shoe safely.
Though snowshoeing is a tranquil and fairly simple winter activity, it’s still important to know your snow safety. Be avalanche aware and read snow reports before you head out. Dress appropriately for the weather conditions, pack water and snacks, take a trail map and follow trail signs, and be wildlife savvy.

Wildlife.

Our trails may come with lots of surprises, be prepared for wildlife and changing conditions. Photo: Devin Schmit

See you on the trail, friends.

Meet Glacier Country’s Best-Kept Secret: Winter in Libby

Winter is typically known as the season of hibernation and all things cozy, though cabin fever often finds a way of sneaking in. Here in Glacier Country, we’ve got just the cure for that: the little town of Libby, Montana boasts big adventures.

Libby sits humbly in the scenic northwest corner of Big Sky Country, surrounded by national forestland “where the Cabinet Mountains meet the Kootenai River.” This unassumingly awesome small town does winter the way winter should be done. The terrain is vast, the powder is the epitome of perfection and the hospitality is authentic.

Small but mighty, Turner Mountain Ski Resorts offers great snow and big views. Photo: Bruce Zwang

Slay the snow downhill at Turner Mountain, with some of the best lift-assisted skiing in the U.S., according to SKI magazine. This tucked-away treasure delivers sought-after skiing and snowboarding on 25 named runs with a vertical drop of 2,110 feet, affordable lift tickets, no crowds and priceless adventure. Added bonus: The views are real jaw droppers. Turner is open Friday through Sunday. Don’t miss Turner Mountain Fun Day annually in February.

Nordic skiers find their paradise in Libby, too. Make a day of it on a groomed trail with lunch at a picnic shelter, and warm up later by a trailside fire ring, or soak up the solitude and serenity of open-ridge backcountry trails against the beauty of the Yaak and Kootenai.

Where the terrain and powder are seemingly endless, this is one epic place. Photo: Lincoln County SnoKat Club

For power-hungry powder seekers, hundreds of miles of groomed snowmobile trails crisscross the region, where stunning views are a dime a dozen. Warming huts and Forest Service lookouts dot the terrain. Around these parts, snowmobilers will find plenty to do and see while winter is in Montana. 

When it’s time to get back to the warm and cozy, Libby provides. This little community bustles year-round with hometown charm, lodging, dining and amenities.

INSIDER TIPS

Play + Stay: Venture Inn and Restaurant
“Libby’s finest,” the Venture Inn offers the relaxing stay you need after a day in the snow. Cozy accommodations are their specialty, and the inn’s restaurant serves up delicious home-style comfort food all year long for hungry travelers. Bringing your powderhound along for the adventure? The Venture Inn has pet-friendly rooms, too.

Fill up and warm up at AuntT’s with meals like this Loaded Baked Potato soup. Photo: AuntT’s Coffee Corner

Caffeine for the Soul: AuntT’s Coffee Corner
Look. We know. The day begins after coffee. AuntT knows it too. That’s why she created Libby’s destination espresso bar with all of us in mind. And, since breakfast is the most important meal of the day, she makes that, too. See you at AuntT’s for a hot cup of joe and a delicious breakfast sammy.

Montana does craft beer very well and Cabinet Mountain Brewing Company is no exception.

Pull up a Barstool…er, a Couch: Cabinet Mountain Brewing Company
Dubbed “Libby’s Living Room,” Cabinet Mountain Brewing has become the city’s community gathering place. Montana’s only women-owned brewery, CMBC handcrafts mighty excellent ales and sodas, serves up delicious food made to pair well with their brews, and offers live music every week. If you find yourself in Libby on a Tuesday evening, it’s Taproom Trivia night at CMBC, so grab an award-winning Yaak Attack IPA and put on your game face.

LEAVE IT TO LIBBY:
Friends…Libby has a Polar Bear Club, and it’s a sight to behold. Every Sunday from the last one in October through the first one in April, this local club of Libby’s courageous—along with its unofficial leader, Polar Bear Rick—meets at 2 p.m. at the Farm-to-Market bridge over Libby Creek. Feeling bold? Take the plunge and you’ll be honored with a certificate for your bravery.

Libby just can’t help itself: it’s a true winter wonderland. Grab a pair of snowshoes and trek to Kootenai Falls for epic views of Mother Nature’s ice sculptures, or head to Ross Creek and experience a real-life snow-globe of giant western red cedars.  

Destination: Eureka, Montana

With all of the beautiful weather Montana has had lately, the hankering to explore has been calling to me more than ever. And we all know that I’m not one to ignore a hankering…so it was time to make a move.

On a sunshine-filled day, I loaded the car and headed north. My destination?

The quaint community of Eureka, located in northwest Montana’s Tobacco Valley. Literally a six-minute drive south of the Canadian border, Eureka is the first community that greets visitors entering Big Sky Country after crossing the border at Roosville.

And I tell you what, Eureka is CUTE.

It’s home to a 100-year-old theater, antique shops, boutiques, art galleries, lodging options, golf courses and cute diners.

Main Street.

Perhaps the cutest antique store in all of Montana.

Just meeting some friends at my favorite table at Cafe Jax.

Hand-painted shot glasses at Elk Camp Art Gallery and Showroom.

It also offers easy access to Lake Koocanusa (a massive lake that stretches from Montana to Canada) and Ten Lakes Scenic Area.

Watching the sun sink over Lake Koocanusa.

As part of the adventure, I also made the seven-mile drive west of Eureka to Rexford. Rexford is tiny, but definitely a must-see if for no other reason than to fill your tummy at the Koocanusa Cafe (yummy breakfast) or to quench your afternoon thirst with a cold beverage at The Frontier Bar.

I don’t know about you, but this girl is looking forward to many more sunshine-filled adventure days.

Cheers to summer,
TT

Snow Day!

Happy Friday from Montana! As you may have heard, Western Montana has been being hit with EPIC snowfall. And I don’t use the word epic lightly.

I’m talking about the kind of snowfall that had Lost Trail Powder Mountain receiving 50″ in the last 48 hours, Montana Snowbowl welcoming 26″ in the last 48 hours, Lookout Pass Ski Area garnering 22″ in the last 48 hours, Blacktail Mountain Ski Area welcoming 13″ in the last 48 hours, Whitefish Mountain Resort recording 7″ in the last 48 hours and Turner Mountain Ski Area accumulating 20″ this week.

But instead of telling you, I’d rather show you.

Morning in Missoula.

Fresh powder at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Photo by Brian Schott.

The morning commute in Missoula. Photo by Taylar Robbins.

The Apgar Lookout webcam in Glacier National Park.

Mike Hardisty riding at Lookout Pass. Photo courtesy Lookout Pass.

Happy winter!
TT

PS: If you’re ready to come play in the snow on your winter toy of choice, check out these travel deals from local Montana businesses.

Montana Summer: A Photo Recap

I’m not sure how many of you feel this way, but this girl is having a hard time saying goodbye to summer. It’s like I blinked and all of the sudden it’s gone.

This summer was definitely one for the books, with thousands of miles logged, countless scoops of ice cream consumed and beautiful snapshots of images that will be carried with me always. And while I’m looking forward to autumn, colorful fall foliage, beautiful drives and spiced cider, my heart is still mourning the loss of summer.

But instead of saying goodbye, I’m going to bid summer a hearty farewell, so long and a hope to see you soon. And summer, until we meet again, I’m going to remember the good times and adventures we shared under Montana’s big blue sky.

Lake McDonald from Apgar, Glacier National Park

A quiet creek near Stevensville, Bitterroot Valley

Outdoor summer concert - Missoula

Kerr Dam - Flathead Valley

Late summer afternoon - Tobacco Valley

Early morning sunrise - St. Ignatius

A summer tradition - Serrano's in East Glacier

Fly-fishing with friends in the rain - Glacier National Park

Hello beautiful - Glacier National Park

Hiking with baby brother - Holland Falls

Blackfeet Nation

Missoula from Mt. Sentinel

Summer = Strawberry Lemonade

Seeley-Swan Valley

Montana hugs and kisses,
TT

Montana Summer: Let’s Plan For Fun

Happy June!

Can you believe I just wrote that? Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like the last few months have absolutely flown by…but I’m not even mad about it. Because that means summer is HERE! Well, almost. (It’s coming, I promise.)

For many of you, you may be planning your vacation to Montana this year, still deciding where you’re heading or heck, maybe you’re on your way to us now. To help you in your decision, we’ve pulled together some events and happenings that are sure to make your vacation a little bit sweeter.

JUNE
Western Heritage Days
The quaint community of Stevensville hosts Western Heritage Days, June 17 – 18. The celebration marks 170 years of Stevensville as a community and includes a parade, St. Mary’s Mission tours, dancing and a chuckwagon cook-off.

St. Mary's Mission, Stevensville

Libby Logger Days
Held June 23 – 26 in the northwest corner of Montana, Libby Logger Days is an educational event that shares the forestry culture with attendees. The festivities include a carnival, boxing smoker, kids logging competition, parade, live music, lawn mower races and an adult logging competition.

JULY
David Thompson Days
For folks looking to stroll 200 years back in time, head to Thompson Falls to participate in David Thompson Days, held July 2, where re-enactors replicate the lifestyle of early North American exploration, survival and trade. As part of the festivities, you’ll see historic displays and demonstrations, primitive arts and crafts, live music and games. David Thompson Days take a special look at explorer David Thompson (1770 – 1857), who traveled more than 50,000 miles by foot, horse and canoe as he mapped many of the uncharted territories in upper North America.

North American Indian Days
This year, North American Indian Days marks its 60th annual celebration July 7 – 10 on the Blackfeet Nation in Browning. One of the largest gatherings of North American tribes, the event provides insight into Blackfeet traditions, with dancing, traditional games and a rodeo.

North American Indian Days, Browning.

Flathead Cherry Festival
Held July 16 – 17 in Polson, the Flathead Cherry Festival celebrates the sweet, dark cherry that grows in orchards along the shores of Flathead Lake. The festival includes a cherry pie eating contest, quilting contest and is a great family event. Plus, a stellar crop is expected for this year’s harvest.

AUGUST
Huckleberry Festival
Located in Trout Creek, this festival celebrates the beloved purple berry and is held August 12 – 14. The festival includes a parade, street dance, auction, children’s activities and numerous craft and food vendors. Small town fun at its best!

Mmm, huckleberries. Photo courtesy Donnie Sexton/Montana Office of Tourism

River City Roots Festival
Held August 27 – 28, the River City Roots Fest is Missoula at its finest. The festival includes all-day music stages, a juried art show, family activities and a 4K walk/run.

For more events happening throughout the summer, visit www.glaciermt.io.

TT

Northwest Montana’s Tobacco Valley

Earlier this week, I grabbed my trusty boots, pinned up my crazy blond hair and headed to one of Northwest Montana’s loveliest locations: The Tobacco Valley.

Located about 45 minutes from Whitefish and approximately five minutes from the Canadian border is the community of Eureka, Montana. Eureka is the hub of the Tobacco Valley and home to about 1,500 residents. It’s also a popular stopping point for travelers going to and from Canada.

But don’t let that fool you. Even though Eureka is home to the Port of Roosville (open 24 hours/day), the area is much more than just a place to cross the border.

During my time in the Tobacco Valley, I strolled through downtown, ate at an organic diner (so good!) and met plenty of friendly warm-your-heart folks.

Mmmm...more, please

And I realized something that I probably already knew: Eureka is a treasure. It’s one of those communities that makes you want to stop and stay a while, golf a round (or two) with a local boy, hit the waters to boat and fish or explore the incredible hiking terrain found all around the valley.

But enough of me telling you about it. Here’s a little peak…

Lake Koocanusa Bridge - the longest and highest bridge in Montana

Stone Hill, located near Lake Koocanusa, is a popular rock climbing destination

Ah, sunset...

For more information on Eureka, click here or visit the Eureka Area Chamber of Commerce website here.

Meet you in the Tobacco Valley…next weekend work for you?

TT