Whitefish, Montana is nestled in the heart of the Glacier National Park region, often referred to as the Crown of the Continent. Fall days in this region are still warm and the western larch turn a brilliant gold providing endless opportunities to explore the millions of acres of protected lands surrounding Whitefish. Whether you want to get off the beaten path by foot, bike or horseback, or choose to simply stroll through the welcoming downtown, there is a perfect autumn day waiting for you.
Scenic Drives in Glacier National Park
Whitefish is only 30 minutes from Glacier National Park, and the famed Going-to-the-Sun Road is open to cars from McDonald Lake to Logan Pass until mid-October, weather dependent, showing off a more quiet side of the park. Hillsides are covered in golden leaves contrasted by the white of the snow-capped peaks. Fall is a great time for wildlife watching, as mountain goats and bighorn sheep frequent the higher elevations and bears and elk roam through the lower valleys.
A drive along the less traveled western border of Glacier National Park is just as rewarding, delivering views of the rugged skyline across the North Fork of the Flathead River. The emerald glacier waters of the river flow between larch and cottonwood trees as they show off golden colors interspersed between the deep green pine trees. The “North Fork” is a local’s favorite and is also a great spot for finding solitude for hiking or paddling in one of the area lakes.
Hiking and Biking on the Whitefish Trail
The Whitefish Trail offers close to 30 miles of forested rolling singletrack, and is a favorite destination for hikers, trail runners, bikers and equestrians. The Lion Mountain Trailhead is only a mile from downtown and offers easy access for hikers and bikers. Other trailheads, including South Beaver Lake and Woods Lake, offer more solitude and overlooks with amazing views.
A Vibrant Town withUnparalleled Hospitality
Sometimes, exploration calls for a more relaxed pace. A stroll down the covered sidewalks of Central Avenue reveals local boutiques, art galleries and cafes. Discover fine artisan jewelry made with Montana-native gems, sip on some locally-roasted coffee and pick up some huckleberry products to take home. All shops are independently-owned, connecting visitors to local artisans and business owners.
Known for award-winning cuisine, world class wine selections and great service, Whitefish exceeds dining expectations. Culinary discoveries abound, offering nearly every variety of style and fare. Many local chefs pride themselves on use of fresh local organic vegetables, fruits and meats. Each dining experience is a new opportunity to savor the tastes of local flavor. Sip a pint of locally-brewed beer or enjoy a sunset cocktail using spirits from a local distillery.
Sleep will come easy after a full day exploring. Grab a blanket and cozy-up to a crackling fireplace or step outside and enjoy the fresh mountain air and gaze into the starry night's sky by the lake. You'll find the perfect lodging option to suit your taste and wallet, ranging from budget- friendly to luxury lodges, inns, hotels and condos. Every host desires to make guests comfortable with a friendly demeanor that is classic Whitefish-style.
Live Music and Events
Get a dose of culture with live music, theatre and signature events. The Whitefish Theatre Company kicks off its fall performance season in September or pull up your lederhosen at the Great Northwest Oktoberfest the last weekend of September and first weekend of October.
From acoustic guitar at a wine bar to a live band to dance the night away, live music can be found most nights of the week to finish off your perfect day in Whitefish.
Actually, It’s Easy To Get Here
Whitefish is one of the closest mountain towns to a major airport. Once arriving at Glacier Park International Airport (FCA), you are only 15 minutes from downtown Whitefish. Amtrak’s Empire Builder arrives twice-daily at the historic Whitefish Depot, from Chicago to the east, and from Seattle and Portland to the west. Arriving by car is also easy, with roads that meander through some of the most beautiful landscapes in North America.