Flathead Valley in Montana

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Flathead Valley

Located 2 hours north of Missoula, the Flathead Valley features panoramic views of mountain landscapes, nearby rivers and lakes, historic towns, endless recreational opportunity, and close proximity to Glacier National Park.

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  • Located two hours north of Missoula. 
  • Recreate in Flathead NF and Great Bear-Bob Marshall Wilderness. 
  • Swim, sail, boat and fish Flathead Lake. 
  • Explore the art galleries in several valley towns. 
  • Fish and float Flathead River. 
  • Drive the length of the valley and then enter the western side of Glacier National Park. 

Overview

Flathead Valley is located in northwest Montana, lying just west of the Continental Divide. At its northern end, the valley serves as the western gateway to Glacier National Park and is also adjacent to the Great Bear – Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. To the east lie the Salish Mountains and Flathead National Forest and to the west are the Whitefish, Swan and Mission Mountain Ranges. Flathead River bisects the valley and flows into Flathead Lake, providing plenty of water-based activities. Notable towns and cities in the valley include Big Fork, Kalispell, Whitefish and Polson.

Driving Directions

From Missoula, travel west on I-90 before taking exit 96 for MT-200 W/US-93 N. At Polson, travelers may continue north on US-93, following the western shoreline of Flathead Lake, or north on US-35, following the eastern shoreline. US-93 and US-35 reconvene at Kalispell. Travelers may then continue north on US-93 towards Whitefish or north on US-2 towards Columbia Falls.

Time/Distance

The drive from Missoula through the length of Flathead Valley to Whitefish, MT is 135 miles and takes roughly 2. 5 hours. For those traveling from Glacier National Park, the drive south through Flathead Valley to Missoula is 140 miles and takes approximately 3 hours.

Highlights

  • Take in panoramic views of the Salish, Whitefish, Mission and Swan Mountain Ranges.
  • Swim, sail, boat, and fish on Flathead Lake.
  • Whitewater raft the Middle Fork of the Flathead River or trout fish on the North, Middle and South Forks.
  • Explore Glacier National Park, the Great Bear-Bob Marshall Wilderness, Flathead National Forest, and the National Bison Range.
  • Go for a backpacking adventure in Jewel Basin Hiking Area.
  • Sample the nightlife and view the art galleries and museums in Whitefish, Big Fork, Kalispell and other valley communities.
  • During winter, ski at Whitefish Mountain Resort and Blacktail Ski Area.
  • Try a variety of local wines at Mission Mountain Winery.
  • And don’t forget to sample those famous Flathead cherries!

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