Phone: ; Toll-free: ; Fax: Trail Head. Pine Street, Missoula, MT NE corner of Higgins and Pine. Western Waters and Woods. Wilderness Outfitters. Smoke Elser Thelma Elser. Missoula Historic Walking Tours. Phone: , or, Rocky Mountain Discovery Tours. Higgins Avenue, Missoula, MT Toll-free: 1- ; Fax: Ecollama Wilderness Llama Trips. Montana River Guides. Go Northwest! Click here!
This compact guide covers Missoula, Flathead Lake and Bitterroot Valley pointing out what to see and do, where to eat and stay. Maps with sightseeing attractions are included. Order now This guide has complete information about all of Big Sky Country, from Yellowstone National Park to the eastern prairies of the state, to help the traveler plan a memorable vacation.
Northwest Montana Fire Lookouts This guide takes the hiker to 30 lookouts expanding over 6 mountain ranges. Get details on trailhead directions, routes, safety and photographs.
W. C. McRae
This book provides detailed information on the lake and surrounding area, plus directions and fishing tips. All lakes in this book have been personally visited, photographed, and in most cases fished by the author. Completely field-checked and updated edition this guide describes of the best hikes in Montana, from easy day hikes and family outings to backcountry trips.
This book is the essential source for information to this outdoor paradise that offers diverse opportunities for fun and adventure. Written by a local, this guide offers a personal and practical perspective of Glacier and its surrounding environs. We appreciate your orders. They help keep Go Northwest! Savor the sip at the Great Northwest Oktoberfest. Photo: Whitefish Chamber of Commerce. Grab a pumpkin spice or vanilla chai latte then head to one of our favorite fall festivals. Locals craft the cutest, scariest and most creative scarecrows to be viewed and voted upon by you.
Children will enjoy the straw bale maze, giant slide and bouncy house, and can compete in a pumpkin-carving contest. This festival takes place annually in early October. Vote on your favorite piece at the Stevensville Scarecrow Festival. Photo: Visit MT. Fall in Western Montana is a magical season filled with authentic Western Montana events.
Find more here. One of many things that makes Montana special is that we have four seasons, and each season is beautiful and unique in its own right. The Flathead Valley offers ideal growing conditions for cherries, with warm days and cool evenings that extend the growing season, deepening the cherries in color for a sweeter taste. The harvest begins in late July, so plan a trip to a u-pick orchard—a fun activity for the whole family that lets you pick out the ripest and best-looking cherries.
Hockaday Orchards on the west side of the lake is open 8 a. See, eat and splurge on Flathead cherries, cherry-infused treats, local artwork and handcrafted goods. Test your grit in a cherry pit-spitting contest or cherry pie eating contest.
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On Main Street in Polson , July 20 — 21, Huckleberries are a small, dark purple, sweet berry that grow in Western Montana. This beloved berry is a real Montana prize. While sampling the fare is sure to delight, you can also pick wild huckleberries, which grow well on slopes between 3, and 7, feet, with minimal tree coverage. However, a good huckleberry picking spot is like a good fishing hole; some secrets are best discovered on your own. More than arts and crafts vendors will be selling their wares, and events include a parade, huckleberry pancake breakfast, 5k fun run, auction, horseshoe tournament, huckleberry dessert contest and much more.
Food vendors offer a range of huckleberries in a variety of desserts to cap off your day. At the Trout Creek Park, August 9 — 11, When it comes to huckleberries, the flavor combinations are endless and sure to delight. Photo: Donnie Sexton. Imagine strolling through a farmers market on a warm summer morning, coffee carts and baked goods in abundance, fresh produce, locally sourced food, and locally-made arts and crafts like pottery, paintings, jewelry, woodcarvings and more for sale. Head to a farmers market for a quintessentially Western Montana experience, and take the time to talk with locals—these vendors are some of the friendliest folks around.
Farmers markets are a treasure trove full of vegetables, baked and canned goods, flowers and more. Pro-Tip: Look for the Dixon Melon truck. The best melons in Montana are a market favorite from this vendor, serving up honeydews, crenshaws and cantaloupes right from the truck.
Tuesdays: Darby , Missoula , Whitefish. Fridays: Plains , Polson , West Glacier. Sundays: Florence , Seeley Lake. Come spring, we gleefully trade our ski poles for golf clubs. Here, we have the perfect blend of breathtaking landscapes, renowned courses and affordability. Pair that combo with small-town charm, and teeing up in Montana is a real treat. Sunset bathes hole 12 of the Nick Faldo-designed course at the Wilderness Club.
Photo: Wilderness Club. Eureka may be small but it boasts not one, but two golf hot spots. Bask in the beauty of the Tobacco Valley at this unique, master-planned recreational community. The beautiful Bitterroot Valley beckons all year long, but any season you can swing a golf club here is extra special.
Further down U.
Highway 93 in Hamilton , the Hamilton Golf Course offers a fabulous round of golf and some of the best views in the valley. Playing the 14th hole at Meadow Lake Golf Resort. Golf Digest gives this treasured course 4. This historic course on the Blackfeet Reservation is the oldest grass greens golf course in Montana, and all 9 holes are named for former Blackfeet chiefs. At the Cut Bank Golf and Country Club a mile west of Cut Bank , enjoy small-town golf at its finest with an exceptional game and down-to-earth vibes. From there, drive the length of this scenic byway and end up in the quaint town of Thompson Falls for another round at Rivers Bend Golf Course , where every third hole finds you back at the clubhouse.
The Mission Mountain Golf Club offers gorgeous views of its namesake. Photo: Mission Mountain Golf Club. At the southern tip of Flathead Lake—the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi—the Polson Bay Golf Course in Polson offers beautiful mountain views and fairways adjacent to the lake.
South of that, in Pablo , the 9-hole executive Silver Fox Golf Course winds its way through lush trees, serene ponds and a wildlife corridor on the Salish Kootenai College campus. Even farther south, take in exceptional Mission Mountain views and a challenging game of golf at the Mission Mountain Golf Club in Ronan. Regis —known for some of the finest greens. In the storybook village of Bigfork on the north shore of Flathead Lake, the semi-private Eagle Bend Golf Club offers a championship hole course. In Seeley Lake , the pristine ponderosa pine setting of the Double Arrow Golf Course offers resort golfing nestled between the Swan and Mission mountain ranges.
The list goes on—Western Montana is dotted with golf courses , from small-town favorites to large championship and semi-private golf clubs and resorts. Go green under our famous blue sky. One of the things that makes Montana so special is that we share the land with an abundance of beautiful, wild creatures. A drive through the National Bison Range offers a look at these majestic mammals. Photo: Andy Austin. The range consists of a diverse ecosystem of grasslands, fir and pine forests, riparian areas and ponds. Open dawn to dusk daily, the range includes three wildlife drives. The West Loop and Prairie Drive are short year-round drives.
Make sure to bring your camera and binoculars or spotting scope. Plan your visit with seasonal visitor center hours in mind. Open dawn to dusk daily, walk along the 2. Drive or bike Wildfowl Lane , a county road that runs through the refuge and provides a close look at ponds packed with migrating waterfowl in the spring and fall. More than species of birds have been observed in the area, and mammals in the refuge include white-tailed deer, yellow-bellied marmots, porcupines, beavers and gophers, among others.
Dusk is a great time for wildlife watching at Ninepipe. Explore the interpretative site for interesting information about the refuge. Directly across the highway from the refuge, explore the Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana. Established to accommodate nesting birds, access to the refuge changes with the seasons, and there are no amenities or facilities of any kind at the refuge itself, so plan your visit accordingly. Driving on Ninepipe Road is available year-round.
Accessible only by boat, the biggest island 3 miles long on the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi— Flathead Lake —abounds with wild adventures like hiking, swimming, sailing and boating. Other island inhabitants include bighorn sheep, deer, songbirds, waterfowl, bald eagles, falcons and bears. Note: store food in bear-safe containers on your boat. For a fun paddling adventure, kayak to the island from Dayton. Two miles south of Polson —and also within Flathead Indian Reservation boundaries—the Pablo National Wildlife Refuge provides a unique glimpse at pothole wetlands and offers hiking, biking, fishing, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.
This serene setting is the site of the trumpeter swan release during the reintroduction to the Mission Valley, and continues to be an important release site. Vehicles can access the refuge along roads across the dam and along the north side of the refuge. The wetland habitat supports abundant waterfowl species and common wetland-friendly mammals, like muskrats, striped skunks, mink, field mice and meadow voles.
Seeing a moose in the wild is an unforgettable experience. Photo: tonybynum. The refuge provides wetland and grassland habitat for bird species, white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, and moose, plus beavers, muskrats and raccoons. Visitors enjoy hiking and snowshoeing this picturesque refuge from east to west via Bog Road. Photo: Beverly Skinner. Prairie grasslands, riparian and wetland areas and aspen groves serve as important habitat for a variety of wildlife including elk, deer and moose.
Although elusive, wolverines, Canada lynx, fishers and grizzly bears have all been documented here as well. As always, remember that wildlife is just that—wild. Respect their space, keep your distance and stay safe when recreating in wild places. Read more about Western Montana wildlife safety here.
Our skies are graced with soaring raptors, our lakes and rivers are flush with waterfowl and shorebirds, and our grasslands and woodlands are visited by beautiful songbirds. These groups frequently offer free or low-cost outings, but you may need to sign up in advance. The Montana Natural History Center offers birding classes and outings. Photo: Montana Natural History Center. More than species of birds have been recorded there. Hit the riparian habitat along the walking path by the Bitterroot River trail. Downtown Missoula is steps away from the Riverfront Trail , where even without binoculars you can often spot osprey, great blue herons, kingfishers, and more.
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Base your birding adventure out of the Mission Valley. Glacier National Park claims the densest population of harlequin ducks in the state and is, therefore, one of the best places to find them. Harlequins are the only North American duck that breed and forage in clear, fast rivers and streams.
A variety of woodpeckers call Western Montana home for part of the year. Look for dead trees, where the birds nest in cavities. Their greenish-black back and wings, salmon-colored bellies and red faces make them easy to identify. Look for pileated woodpeckers in areas with large dead trees. Photo: Alan D. Over a foot long, with black bodies, white-striped faces and flaming red crests, pileated woodpeckers are always an exciting find. Their loud calls and drumming will help you locate these year-round residents in their forest habitat, like the cottonwood snags in the Owen Sowerwine Natural Area.
The males of these two species of songbirds are easy to tell apart; mountain bluebirds are blue all over, while western bluebirds sport an orange chest. Western bluebirds prefer open woodlands like Blue Mountain in Missoula. Mountain bluebirds are prevalent at the National Bison Range.
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Like western meadowlarks, both species flit between the ground and low perches. A sandhill crane flies with its legs and neck fully stretched out. These elegant gray giants fly with neck and legs extended, looking like prehistoric pterodactyls come to life. From April to October, the long-legged cranes can be seen in open habitats like marshes and grasslands. The best place to spot them is during fall migration at the new viewing platform in West Valley near Kalispell.
Trumpeter swans are making a comeback at the Flathead Indian Reservation. Biologists for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes have been working for 20 years to establish a viable population, which now numbers roughly swans. Great blue herons are a common sight in Western Montana waters.
Birders can get relatively close to the nesting colonies at Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge.
In the spring and summer, the conifers near the pond host several nests each, and visitors are treated to an abundance of heron activity. Snowy owl sightings in Western Montana are a rare treat. Photo: Elaine R. Western Montana is home to 15 owl species, and one of the foremost owl researchers in the world, Denver Holt. His Owl Research Institute , based out of Charlo , often leads workshops and field days, which are open to the public. Glacier Country boasts the only common loon habitat in Montana.
There are three distinctive vocalizations you might hear during the summer months: 1 a long, and some say eerie, cry, 2 a high-pitched fast call, and 3 the territorial yodel of the males. For more information on birding in Western Montana, visit glaciermt. During the everchanging seasons in Western Montana outdoor adventures abound. Weekends are filled with epic lake days, Nordic excursions, biking and more.
After all this recreating, you may need a rest. We get it—some days are meant for cozy clothes and relaxing with friends and family. Photo: The Trough. In the more rural part of town, this spot used to be a working dairy, hence the name of the adjacent market—The Olde Dairy. This newer restaurant has taken Missoula by storm, the food is worth bragging about and the experience is authentically Montana. Not surprisingly, in locals voted it Best Brunch in Missoula. Monday — Friday grab breakfast, lunch or dinner; the everchanging menu makes this eatery one we never tire of. Photo: Tamarack Brewing Company.
The build-your-own Bloody Mary bar has everything you could dream of putting in your drink—bacon, asparagus, pickles and more. Once you have this staple of a good brunch secured, we recommend trying the chicken and waffles or biscuits and gravy.
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Open for brunch on weekends. With Italian fresco paintings donning the ceiling, this vibrant restaurant has carefully crafted a brunch menu that will delight your palate. To bring your brunch game to the next level, try their meticulously created pour-over coffee paired with their seasonally changing scramble of the day. Brunch is on Sundays; breakfast, lunch and dinner are available Monday — Saturday. The Monte Cristo sandwich will leave a smile on your face.
Photo: Starrett Artists. This quaint bistro serves up hearty meals with immense flavors, such as the wild mushroom and bacon scramble or the Monte Cristo sandwich. Open Sundays for brunch. Save room for dessert—pastries are made fresh daily.