Wild about Whitefish
Whitefish, Montana is an authentic mountain town located in the northern Rockies, home to some of the world’s most beautiful mountains and spectacular, unspoiled nature. Just 25-miles from Glacier National Park, Whitefish offers close access to the hanging valleys and emerald peaks of this World Heritage Site.
As the summer days stretch out, time is suspended in the blue light floating over Whitefish Lake late into the evening. This corner of Montana holds secrets of the natural world that make you feel more alive.
An international airport is just 11-miles away-so once you land, it's time to start exploring. After breathtaking natural experiences by day, discover award-winning cuisine and nightlife, plus enjoy an arts scene as abundant as the wildflowers.
Nestled at the edge of Whitefish, the lake is all that remains of an ice age glacier that flowed across the area. Today the lake is great for water sports, launching adventures from the three primary public access points. City Beach is sandy, with a large roped swimming area. Les Mason State Park is on the quieter, wilder northeast side of Whitefish Lake. And Whitefish Lake State Park provides a picnic area, camping sites, swimming area and a boat launch on the undeveloped western shore.
The Whitefish Trail opened in 2010 for hikers, bikers, runners, skiers, and equestrians. With 22 miles close to town, ongoing additions to this conservation and recreation project will develop a trail system consisting of 55 miles over the next five years. There are also many other mountain biking destinations like the freeride features at Spencer Mountain, the single-track out at the “Pig Farm,” or you can even hit more than 40-miles of trails up at Whitefish Mountain Resort.
Glacier National Park
No visit to Whitefish is complete without a visit to Glacier National Park. Whitefish is only 25 miles from Glacier, a World Heritage Site, Biosphere Reserve, and the world’s first International Peace Park. Naturalist’s programs include fireside talks, hikes and boat cruises where you can learn the history of the glaciated landscapes, mountain peaks, climate zones, native wildlife, flora and fauna. More than 700-miles of hiking trails provide opportunities to explore mountain lakes, glaciers, diverse plant and wildlife including bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, moose, and deer.
Glacier’s Going-to-the-Sun Road has been called "the most beautiful piece of mountain road in the world" for good reason. It’s an engineering marvel that spans 50-miles through the park’s wild interior. It can be traveled by personal car, free park shuttle, a narrated “Jammer” red bus, or Native American tour.
A Classic Downtown
Many people could spend a whole day exploring the charming town of Whitefish. The covered sidewalks of Central Avenue are part of the character. A stroll reveals a vibrant mix of traditional businesses like the family shoe store, barbershop, hardware store, and sport shops — interspersed with restaurants, a variety of bars, coffee shops, a brewery, Broadway-caliber theater, art galleries, and gift shops.
When a PBS film crew recently spent a week in Whitefish, they focused their lenses on the dramatic scenery and vast landscapes of the Whitefish area. But the star of the show was not the scenery—they were here to tell the story of the extraordinary dining and food experience made possible by local farmers and chefs working together.
Every Tuesday during the summer from, the Downtown Farmers market is thriving with over 150 vendors of local products, live music, and thousands of strolling participants. The north end of Central Avenue adjacent to Depot Park is blocked off for the weekly festive event. The vegetable and fruit options are vast, plus there are beautiful flowers and artisan bakers, and every kind of treat imaginable.
For more information, check out: www.explorewhitefish.com
Photo Credits: Glacier Park Photo Workshop, Whitefish Lake and Downtown Whitefish © ChuckHaney.com / Whitefish CVB; Heaven's Peak © Jennifer Frandsen