The beauty of Western Montana’s Glacier Country extends well beyond the stunning vistas of Glacier National Park. The region is dotted with picturesque small towns that beckon visitors with their cozy restaurants, local breweries and distilleries, unique boutiques, museums and art galleries, all underscored by abundant recreation opportunities. So explore beyond the park—Glacier Country is a treasure in its own right and, when the park is at capacity, it’s the perfect time to discover your next unforgettable adventure.


Spectacular hiking is not limited to the boundaries of Glacier National Park. Jewel Basin is located east of Kalispell and west of the Hungry Horse Reservoir and offers 35 miles of trails through 15,349 acres of wilderness. Jewel Basin Hiking Area has an array of day hikes or backpacking trails. In this spectacular area and throughout Montana, we ask that you recreate responsibly, Leave No Trace, and read the rules and regulations before setting out.

Extraordinary vistas can be found in the Jewel Basin Hiking Area. Photo: AlecOutside


Part of the allure of Western Montana is our small-town downtown scenes. Around the park in Whitefish, Kalispell, Columbia Falls and Bigfork you’ll find downtowns that are chock-full of local boutiques, art galleries and specialty shops. The aspiring chef will love The Artful Kitchen in Bigfork. One of our favorite local boutiques—The Toggery—has downtown locations in both Kalispell and Whitefish. Also in Kalispell, don’t miss the iconic Western Outdoor Store. And for great gifts or souvenirs, stop by Meriwether in Whitefish.

Check out the plethora of boots at the Western Outdoor Store in Kalispell. Photo: HoneyTrek


Hungry Horse Reservoir, a scenic marvel just 15 miles from Glacier National Park’s west entrance, offers a secluded retreat with year-round recreational activities. Whether it’s camping, boating, fishing, water skiing, hiking, huckleberry picking, hunting or snowmobiling, there’s something for everyone. Road trippers will love taking the scenic loop, which winds around the reservoir.

Time on Hungry Horse Reservoir is time well spent.


Whitefish Mountain Resort stands out as a top destination for family-friendly excitement, featuring an Aerial Adventure Park, zipline, alpine slides, tubing slide and much more. With convenient on-site lodging and dining options, families can easily enjoy a full day of fun. For more aerial thrills, check out Glacier Zipline in Columbia Falls and Glacier Highline in Coram, where visitors can tackle 50 unique treetop challenges, including ropes courses, a climbing wall and a giant swing. Nearby, waterparks can be found at Woodland Water Park in Kalispell and Big Sky Water Park in Columbia Falls. Flathead Lake Alpine Coaster offers an alpine coaster adventure in Lakeside, which is also the boarding location for the Far West Boat Tour.

Have some treetop fun at Glacier Highline. Photo: Glacier Highline


The Blackfeet Indian Reservation is home to the Blackfeet Nation, one of the 10 largest tribes in the U.S. Comprising 1.5 million acres, the reservation is located east of Glacier National Park and offers many experiences to learn about American Indian culture. Iron Shield Creative offers Tribal Traditional Stories Workshop Hikes led by tribal members, where groups can hike the land around Glacier National Park while learning Indigenous stories. Mariah Gladstone, owner of Indigikitchen, offers an Airbnb Experience at her home where she serves traditional Blackfeet food while educating on the Blackfeet Tribe. Backpackers Ferry provides customizable guide services, offering visits to ancestral sites, like historical buffalo jumps and pastures, as well as stops at the Museum of the Plains Indians and any other local galleries or shops you want to add in.

Learn about Blackfeet culture on a hike with Iron Shield Creative. Photo: Andy Austin


Flathead Lake—the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi—is one of Glacier Country’s biggest playgrounds and a summer recreation hot spot. Multiple islands dot the lake, the largest of which is Wild Horse Island. Accessible only by boat, this 2,160-acre island serves as a day-use state park. To access the island, you can rent a boat or book a private charter service, or hop aboard a Far West Boat Tour. Surrounding the lake you’ll find numerous camping, recreation and fishing access sites, and the lovely lakeside communities of PolsonBigfork, Big Arm, ElmoRollinsLakeside, Dayton  and Somers all offer something unique.

Adventure awaits on Flathead Lake. Photo: AlecOutside


Huckleberries are a sweet treat we just can’t get enough of. These small, dark purple, sweet berries grow wild in Western Montana. Throughout Glacier Country you’ll find huckleberries infused into everything from ice cream to pie. Near the park you’ll find plenty of sweet huckleberry treats. In Babb, Two Sisters Cafe is famous for their huckleberry pie. Here’s an insider tip, head to breakfast at Loula’s in Whitefish and order a slice of their delicious huckleberry pie—and yes it’s completely acceptable to have a slice of pie with breakfast around here. Newly opened near East Glacier Park at Kiowa Junction is the Kyiyo Bakery & Mercantile, a sister store to the iconic Polebridge Mercantile known for their huckleberry treats, including a bear claw pastry. Stop by Hungry Horse to shop huckleberry treats at The Huckleberry Patch; they have it all—from bath/body balms to sweet treats, souvenirs and more.

Go on a hunt for the best huckleberry pie in Western Montana. Photo: The Huckleberry Patch


While Montana is renowned for its stunning natural landscapes and top-tier outdoor activities, visitors are often delightfully surprised by the vibrant artistic culture that thrives here. Across Western Montana, numerous communities include exceptional galleries showcasing works from both local and national artists. Picking up a piece of local art can be the perfect way to remember your visit, so allow some time to explore and shop. The cultural journey extends beyond art, as Western Montana is steeped in a rich history that includes stories of American Indians, early adventurers, missionaries known as “black robes,” ranchers, homesteaders and soldiers. Dive into the region’s fascinating past by visiting our many museums, each filled with captivating tales and artifacts.

Find traditional American Indian regalia at the Museum of the Plains Indian in Browning. Photo: HoneyTrek


With wide-open vistas and room to roam, it should come as no surprise that Western Montana’s Glacier Country is a golfer’s paradise. Our typical golf season begins in early May and lasts through mid-October. Take advantage of the combination of stunning scenery, renowned courses and affordability at courses and resorts that range from public to semi-private and leisurely to challenging. Flathead Valley—the area including Whitefish and Kalispell—alone boasts 10 championship golf courses, all within a 45-minute drive of each other. This golfer’s haven has been named one of “the world’s top 50 golf course destinations” by Golf Digest. Here’s a list of additional golf courses near Glacier National Park.

Tee up in Western Montana, where spectacular views can be found at every golf course.


A rafting trip really allows you to immerse yourself in the landscape surrounding Glacier National Park. Western Montana’s rivers, with their tranquil flows, deep channels and exhilarating rapids, provide the perfect setting for both serene floats and thrilling whitewater adventures. The Middle Fork of the Flathead River, flowing along the southern boundary of Glacier National Park, offers an exceptional mix of calm waters for floating and fishing, as well as challenging rapids for those seeking excitement. Our suggestion? Go with a guide. We have guided tour companies with professional, experienced and friendly staff who know the rivers like the backs of their hands and will ensure your trip is fun, safe and memorable.

Discover our waters with a rafting trip on the Alberton Gorge. Photo: Andy Austin

Please note: We ask that all our visitors and residents Recreate Responsibly by being mindful of the following: know before you go; plan ahead; play it safe; leave no trace; tread lightly; and help build an inclusive outdoors.

May 13, 2024

Related: American Indian, Arts and Culture, Babb, Big Arm, Bigfork, Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Blackfeet Nation, Boating, Browning, Columbia Falls, Cut Bank, Dayton, East Glacier Corridor, East Glacier Park, Elmo, Flathead Corridor, Flathead Lake, Galleries, Glacier National Park, GNP Surrounding Area, Golfing, Hiking, Hungry Horse, Kalispell, Lakeside, Montana, Museums, Outdoor Fun, Polebridge, Polson, Rollins, Shopping, Somers, Summer Fun, Water Fun, West Glacier, Whitefish


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