Here at Flathead Lake Lodge, we specialize in all-inclusive stays and family traditions. Founded in 1945, we’ve been delivering high-quality vacations for nearly 80 years. And while we’ve been offering all-inclusive stays for decades, we realize that there are some elements to this type of vacation that folks aren’t familiar with.
With that in mind, here are 9 things to know about an all-inclusive vacation at our ranch resort in Montana.
1. You can do nothing or everything.
A vacation at Flathead Lake Lodge is just that – a vacation. How you choose to spend your time at our home in Bigfork, Montana, is entirely up to you. You can be busy from sunrise to sunset with abundant activities. Or you can unwind, relax and lounge to your heart’s content by our lakeside pool. This is your vacation and we want you to treat it as such.
2. Once you arrive, you don’t open your wallet until you check out.
After you check into your accommodations at our Montana guest ranch, you won’t need to pull your wallet or credit card out to pay for drinks, dinner, transportation or activities. You won’t need your wallet until you’re ready to hit the road for home. (If you opt to do off-site guided activities, there are additional fees to those outfitters.)
3. High-caliber food and drinks are included.
While we might be biased, we know a good thing when we see one. And Chef Rob is a good thing. He’s been with the ranch for over five years and brings his culinary talent to every meal you have while you’re here at the ranch. Plus, he works with as many local purveyors and farmers as possible to ensure that your dining experience includes as many Montana-grown or Montana-made items as possible. Rounding out our culinary offerings are Pastry Chef Bri and our talented team of mixologists. Needles to say, you won’t go away hungry or thirsty. And if you have dietary restrictions or allergies? Our culinary team can accommodate you.
4. Everything you need is here. But if it’s not, we can get it for ya. (Or take you to get it.)
We have amazing employees and if you ask any one of them for something, chances are you’ll get it and you’ll get it quickly. But, if on the off-chance that we don’t have what you need, we can run to town and grab it for you or we can take you into Bigfork to snag it.
5. We’ve got mountains. And we’ve got water.
One of the elements that helps set Flathead Lake Lodge apart from other guest ranches is the wide array of what we have to see, do and experience. While we’ve got horseback trail rides through our nearly 2,000 acres of terrain, we also sit on the shore of Flathead Lake, which means there are a plethora of water-based activities to enjoy during summer in Montana.
6. Vast array of activities and things to do.
Whether you prefer land-based adventures (like horseback trail rides, guided hikes, mountain biking or touring our on-site elk preserve) or water activities (like sailing, wakeboarding, stand-up paddleboarding and swimming), you’ll find robust activity offerings when you stay at Flathead Lake Lodge. We also have a well-rounded kids program that’s broken down by ages, with experienced staff to supervise.
7. Two types of stays – family and adults-only.
Summer at the ranch is all about weeklong family stays and with our abundant offerings and private accommodations, Flathead Lake Lodge is ideal for family vacations and multigenerational family bonding. And while summer is focused on the kids, each spring and fall we turn the ranch into a get away that’s just for the grown-ups with our adults-only adventure retreats. It’s basically summer camp, but for adults, in the best way possible.
PS: we also offer corporate retreats, special events and destination weddings. More here.
8. Everything is included, making it a value vacation.
There’s a huge value that comes with an all-inclusive stay. Our 2023 adult rates start at $5,439 for cabins and suites, and $4,417 for lodge rooms. And while we realize that could come with some sticker shock, that includes EVERYTHING. Your meals, your drinks (including alcoholic beverages), accommodations and all activities, from horseback trail rides to a mountain meadow steak fry and Pinzgauer tours to sailing in our 1920’s historic sailing sloops.
9. Room to breathe.
Our lakeside guest ranch has nearly 2,000 acres of pure Montana that runs from the shore of Flathead Lake up into the Swan Mountains behind the ranch. What this means is that you get breathe in as much of Montana as possible. The lodge grounds are beautiful and are home to a variety of landscapes, making it easy to find your own quiet corner of Big Sky Country right here at Flathead Lake Lodge.
If you’ve been thinking about an all-inclusive vacation, we’d love to visit with you more about Montana’s Flathead Lake Lodge. You can email us or call our office at 406-837-4391.
We’re kicking off our 2023 season with something new – Locals Nights at Flathead Lake Lodge.
Before we fully open the doors to the ranch for our weeklong stays, we’re opening the Main Lodge for four nights: May 5, 6, 12 and 13. Each evening, Chef Rob will be whipping up a four-course prix fixe menu with wine pairings.
Here’s an overview of what to expect…
May 5 + 6
The four-course menu includes endive salad, prawn and grits, chicken and dumplings and apple strudel, with wine pairings served with each course.
May 12 + 13
This weekend’s menu features potato leek salad, crab cake, pork osso bucco and tiramisu, also served with wine pairings.
What Else You Need to Know
Tickets: $90 per person, which includes gratuity.
Happy hour starts at 5:30 p.m. (cash bar), followed by dinner service at 6:30 p.m.
From our family to you and yours, we’d love to welcome you to our historic Main Lodge to enjoy an evening of mouth-watering culinary dishes and perfectly paired wine. Tickets are available now and can be purchased here.
See you soon,
A family-owned and -operated business since 1945, Flathead Lake Lodge has been part of the Bigfork, Montana, community for more than 75 years. As one of the town’s largest employers and oldest businesses, we take our responsibility to community service and stewardship seriously. We love this place and understand how important it is to keep Bigfork as charming, welcoming and wonderful as it’s been for decades.
That’s where the Flathead Lake Lodge Community Fund comes in. After every season, we contribute 1% of all accommodations revenue to the Flathead Lake Lodge Community Fund. This fund supports a slew of great causes, community projects and individual initiatives every year. It’s important to us that we support those organizations and people who work hard to make a positive impact in the Bigfork community.
During the past four years, we have awarded over $20,000 and are excited to be continuing this tradition. We value our little town and look forward to working with you to make Bigfork even better.
Applications are currently open – to apply, simply download the application below and return it to us by November 15, 2022.
Thanks for all you do to help make Bigfork a wonderful place to call home.
Our 2022 summer season is firmly underway and we’ve been welcoming guests to the ranch’s 2,000 acres from near and far. While every week is special at Flathead Lake Lodge, there’s always a little something extra about our Fourth of July week. Our fireworks show combined with the Fourth of July Parade in Bigfork – not to mention the rodeo – always brings the heat. Plus, many of the guests have been coming to the ranch during this week for around 30 years, which means it’s jam-packed with longtime friends, memories, multiple generations and all sorts of fun.
Here’s a look at this year’s Fourth of July festivities…
May freedom always ring. With gratitude,
There are certain times in life that change you. Moments in a crazy year that mold, inspire and leave you feeling more grateful that you could have ever imagined. And for us, this year that moment was a Week of Hope.
For the second year in a row – in partnership with HopeKids – we welcomed critically ill children and their families to Flathead Lake Lodge. And as fate would have it, this was done (for the second time in a row) in the middle of a pandemic. And for those few days, it was like nothing else existed. All that mattered was welcoming those families to this place that seemingly has some sort of magic to it.
While I was born and raised on the ranch (and am now raising my own family here), I never tire of seeing guests soak up our Montana way of life, and that’s never truer than when we’re joined by families during a Week of Hope. While Grandpa Les isn’t with us at the ranch anymore, his spirit is still here and the legacy he built – one made up of hard work, ingenuity and his commitment to treating people with kindness – lives on and shines a little brighter during this week.
As always, we could not (and do not) bring this event to life on our own. There are so many people who work behind the scenes to make a Week of Hope happen.
To our families – your determination, dedication and love of life is something that we felt honored to see and be a part of. Thank you for trusting us and allowing us to be part of your memories. To our staff, you’re one of the best parts of this place. As you do week in and week out, I had the pleasure of seeing your commitment not only to your jobs, but to the families you welcomed with open arms as you worked hard to ensure they left feeling better than they came. To each and every volunteer who played a part, you do not go unnoticed and the gratitude we have for you in matchless. And to our donors – a big thank you for the generosity you have in making this event come to fruition.
From the Averill family, we’re humbled, grateful and privileged to be a part of this with all of you and are looking forward to a Week of Hope 2022.
If you’ve been to Flathead Lake Lodge, you know that we sit on the shore of Flathead Lake — the largest natural freshwater lake in the West. And while we often make mention of how lucky we are to have our guest ranch on Flathead Lake, we may not tell you enough about this place.
At 28 miles long and about 15 miles wide, Flathead Lake covers nearly 200 square miles and has 185 miles of shoreline.
Here are 12 things you probably didn’t know about Flathead Lake...
1. Flathead Lake is the 79th largest natural lake on the planet.
2. The water quality of Flathead Lake is one of the cleanest in the world. This can be credited to the lake being fed by waterways that are full of snowmelt from Glacier National Park and the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex.
3. Much like its friend to the north Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake was carved out by massive glaciers that moved through the area during the Ice Age.
4. Due to its sheer size, Flathead Lake often creates its own weather patterns and during storms, you’ll see whitecaps form on the lake as winds rage across it.
5. Flathead Lake is home to HUGE fish. For example, the lake trout caught on Flathead Lake average about 8 pounds, but many of them tip the scales at larger weights.
6. You can drive all the way around the lake. It will take a few hours, but is hands-down one of the most beautiful drives around. You’ll largely take U.S. Highway 93 and Montana Highway 35.
7. There are public access sites all around the lake, including state parks, fishing access sites and parks.
8. Abundant recreation takes place on the lake. A few of note: sailing, kayaking, jet skis, boat cruises and fishing.
9. Here at the ranch, we take about 550 sails a year on the waters of Flathead Lake, most often on our two historic 51-foot Q-class racing sloops — the Questa and the Nor’Easter. They were both built in the late 1920s and are an important part of the Flathead Lake Lodge family and history.
10. Due largely to its sheer volume, Flathead Lake rarely freezes over during the winter, although you will find ice along the shorelines and in various bays around the lake. The last time the entire lake froze all the way was more than 30 years ago.
11. Flathead Lake creates an ideal environment (that is a bit milder that other places in Montana) for growing fruit. As you drive around the lake, you’ll see all kinds of orchards along the shoreline that grow cherries and in the summer, you can pick local cherries up at a roadside stand.
12. Flathead Lake is home to numerous islands, including Wild Horse Island. The largest island on the lake around 2,160 acres, Wild Horse is a day-use state park that’s home to all sorts of wildlife, including wild horses.
Learn more about our guest ranch on the shores of Flathead Lake at FlatheadLakeLodge.com.
Until next time, happy trails and adventuring.
A lot changed in 2020. Family vacations were cancelled, birthdays were celebrated at home, many folks spent time on the computer virtually attending dance recitals, connecting with family over Zoom and revising their plans. And most of all, we missed each other.
Here at Flathead Lake Lodge, we’re looking forward to 2021 and beyond, and we’re certain that good things are on the way…things like hugging friends, attending school music programs and vacationing with the ones you love the most.
When it comes to planning a multigenerational family trip, we know you have lots of options to choose from. And as you think about what kind of vacation you want to experience, here are five reasons why Flathead Lake Lodge is an ideal multigenerational family vacation.
1. All-inclusive stay.
At Flathead Lake Lodge, every stay is all-inclusive, meaning that the cost of your stay includes activities and experiences (like guided horseback trail rides, sailing on Flathead Lake, swimming in our heated swimming pool, daily arts and crafts), as well as all meals, snacks and non-alcoholic drinks.
2. Activities the whole family can enjoy.
During your time at the ranch, you’ll be able to experience as many (or as few) of our activities as possible. And with more than 30 activities to choose from, every person in your multigenerational group will find something that fits their needs and interests. Plus, our staff at the lodge works hard to create an environment and setting where your family will naturally be able to spend time together and reconnect, like an afternoon sailing adventure, a fly-fishing lesson, an evening beach fire, team penning competition and more.
3. Robust youth programs.
A big part of a family stay at the lodge is kids being able to explore the ranch safely, while making friends, experiencing life at our Montana guest ranch and making memories. During the summer season, our family program is something we focus on, with well-rounded offerings for children of various ages. Activities are offered for kids 0 – 6 years old, 6 – 12 years old and teens. Explore offerings for all ages here.
4. Private lodging options.
On our 2,000 acres, we have a few lodging options to choose from, including historic lodges with private rooms (with a shared great room) and cabins that have one to three bedrooms. When it comes to setting up where your family of all ages will be sleeping, you can have more alone time by choosing one of our private cabins or selecting a room configuration that places you all in one of our three lodge buildings.
One of the elements that makes Flathead Lake Lodge ideal for a family trip of all ages is how accessible it is, in terms of getting around, selecting activities for various experience/comfort levels and more. If you have some folks in your family who want more adrenaline-pumping action, they can set out on our 10+ miles of mountain biking trails (with a guide) or try their hand at wakeboarding. If there are others that prefer a more low-key adventure, they can take a guided hike, a boat cruise or a guided tour of our onsite elk preserve. After your family gets their kicks in with our activities, you can all come together for a sailing excursion, a team penning competition or mouse races.
To learn more, visit us at FlatheadLakeLodge.com or call us at 406-837-4391.
There’s no shortage of things to do in Montana, whether it’s your first time visiting or your 50th time. While we get to experience Montana all summer long at Flathead Lake Lodge, we know squeezing everything into a one-week stay can be challenging. Between Montana’s lakes and rivers, charming small towns and thousands of acres of wilderness, there’s plenty of options to choose from when visiting Montana. We’ve gathered up some of our favorite summer activities to help you make the most of your trip to Montana and Flathead Lake Lodge.
1. Sail on Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake is 197 square miles of water, meaning there is plenty of room for everyone to play on, in or around it. The lake is a great place to take a leisurely boat cruise on Flathead Lake Lodge’s very own Mustang, bounce behind a ski boat on an innertube or set sail. Kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and canoes are a great way to experience the quiet bays along the shore, while seven Montana state parks (which are all open to visitors) are scattered in or around the lake.
Sailing with Flathead Lake Lodge is open to anyone wanting to spend a day on the lake. Whether you’re a guest at the lodge or just passing through, you’re more than welcome to set sail with us. Learn more about our restored Q-Class Sloops, the Questa and the Nor’ Easter V, and book your voyage here.
2. Hike the Swan Mountains
We’re lucky at Flathead Lake Lodge to be surrounded by nearby mountains that offer us beautiful views every day. When you’re a guest here at the lodge or just visiting the area, northwest Montana has some of the best hikes around. Our 2,000 acres have hiking trails for guests, while the nearby Swan Mountains have easy hikes for beginners and longer treks for more advanced hikers, with every trail offering something different. A local favorite: the Jewel Basin. While you’ll find plenty of people on our trails, it’s always a good idea to carry bear spray.
3. Explore Glacier National Park
A beautiful 45-minute drive is all that stands between our guest ranch in Bigfork and the Crown of the Continent, Glacier National Park. Established in 1910, Glacier is a great location for a day visit or even adding on a couple day’s stay after leaving Flathead Lake Lodge. Anchoring the park, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is its most popular attraction and takes visitors across the Continental Divide along one of the most beautiful drives in the country. You can drive yourself, take a red bus tour, set out with Sun Tours or use the park’s free shuttle service.
4. Visit Wild Horse Island
Wild Horse Island, which is the largest island on Flathead Lake and a day-use state park, is one of the coolest places in the area and is home to a herd of wild horses that roam the island freely. The Salish-Kootenai Tribe used to use the island to pasture their horses and protect them from being stolen by other tribes. The only way to reach the island is by boat; you can take your own or you can hop on a charter and see many parts of the lake that are often overlooked on the way.
5. Go Whitewater Rafting
If you’re looking for adventure, rafting Montana’s rivers is the way to go. The run-off season creates a range of rapids that offer different experiences for all ages and comfort levels. During your stay at the lodge, we can help you book a trip with our friends at Glacier Raft Company. They offer full-day and half-day trips on the river as well as a Ride and Raft option, which combines a scenic horseback ride near Glacier National Park in the morning and a raft down the rapids in the afternoon.
6. Cast a Line and Fly-fish
Montana is home to some of the best fly-fishing trout streams in the West. Whether you’ve been throwing flies your whole life or are just learning, Montana’s rivers and streams are a great place to spend a morning, evening or whole day trying to land that perfect trout. We offer fly-fishing lessons at the lodge (included with your stay) and can connect you with our onsite fishing guide from Andy Guy Outfitting, who will take you on an off-site excursion to catch your very own Montana trout.
7. Road Trips and Flathead Cherries
No matter where your adventures take you, a road trip in Montana is always a good idea. Here in the Flathead Valley, we’re known for Flathead cherries, which are a sweet, dark cherry that grows in orchards along the shores of Flathead Lake. Before you head out, we recommend stopping by one of the many cherry orchards or roadside stands along Highway 35 to pick up your own bag of Flathead cherries. The sweet fruits are one of the most popular treats of summer and you’ll find them in pies, drinks and candy all around the lake. A favorite local drive is Highway 35 from Bigfork to Polson and then back north along U.S. Highway 93, which gives you an entire loop around Flathead Lake. Additional nearby favorites include the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas, the St. Ignatius Mission and the National Bison Range.
8. Shop Made-in-Montana Items
One of the best things about traveling to any destination is picking up locally made gifts, treats and apparel and it’s just the same here in Montana. The list of made-in-Montana items is long, from soaps and skincare to T-shirts and jewelry and huckleberry candy. Bigfork, which is located just up the road from Flathead Lake Lodge, has one of the cutest downtowns around and its local shops have a wide variety of made-in-Montana items.
9. Taste Montana
Wherever you are in Montana, you’re never far away from good food. At Flathead Lake Lodge, we’re lucky to have some of the finest chefs in our kitchen creating amazing meals each week for our guests.
If, however, you find yourself out and about around Bigfork, be sure to stop at Flathead Lake Brewery for a locally crafted beer and Brookside Yard, a lodge-owned cafe overlooking the Swan River’s “Wild Mile” in downtown Bigfork. The Yard serves up fresh cinnamon rolls and flatbreads and has live music every Friday and Saturday night, which pairs perfectly with Montana cocktails and local beer.
10. Catch a Show at the Bigfork Summer Playhouse
Our small town of Bigfork is home to a playhouse that has showcased some big-name actors and productions and today, the Bigfork Summer Playhouse puts on some of Broadway’s most beloved plays and musicals featuring college-aged actors and performers from all over the country to provide daily performances. If you’re into musicals and plays, it’s a must stop when you’re visiting northwest Montana.
There’s plenty to keep you busy both at the lodge and around it. Between our horseback riding, mountain biking, sailing and other activities offered each day of your stay, we promise you’ll have a week unlike any other. Learn more about the all-inclusive activities for guests here. To book your stay and begin planning your Montana adventure, call us at 406-837-4391.
While we’re deep in the midst of various projects, updates and planning for summer and fall (in case you missed it, we’re offering new packages this fall), we wanted to provide a behind-the-scenes look at what winter is like at Montana’s Flathead Lake Lodge.
Even though we only welcome guests during what we like to call Montana’s warm season, you’ll find staff, horses, elk and more throughout our property during the winter months. And since this is a time of year at the lodge that not many get to see, we wanted to provide you with a glimpse into what winter is like in and around Bigfork, Montana.
Take a look…
We also often get asked if we’ve ever thought about opening during the winter season. Just for fun, we did a poll on our Instagram stories and the vast majority of you say YES, we should open for the winter.
See you when the snow melts,
Summer is almost here, and with the long sunny days bringing everyone out of their winter slumber, the picturesque village of Bigfork is coming to life for another great summer.
Although it is hard to leave the ranch during your vacation, (Often we have to remind guests to save some time for some R & R) the quick walk to downtown Bigfork is a great way to spend some time away from the ranch.
Aside from the great galleries, shops and restaurants, there are many exciting events happening throughout this summer that just might coincide with your stay!
Here is the schedule of some the big events! For more events visit www.bigfork.org
36th Annual Bigfork Whitewater Festival
May 26th & 27th
Watch local and regional professional and armature kayakers take on the ‘Wild Mile’ as it flows through Downtown Bigfork.
National Wildlife Federation Fundraiser w/ special guest Jack Hanna
Join special guest Jack Hannah for a entertaining and fundraising night to bring a wild her of Bison back to Montana
July 4th Celebration
Famous and recognized nationally for it’s small town spectacle. The Bigfork celebration and parade is something to see.
Saddle Up and Paint
Join local and regional artists as the create lasting works of art for charity.
34th Annual Festival of the Arts
Aug 4th – 5th
Downtown Bigfork hosts Artisans & Musicians Sat. & Sun. Over 160 arts and craft booths, food, entertainment and children’s activities.
Swan Lake Huckleberry Festival
Aug 10th – 12th
The Swan Lake Huckleberry Festival is an annual celebration of the elusive wild huckleberry. Visitors can enjoy music, kids’ games, raffles and a silent auction, and sample the fruits of the baking contest, locally made huckleberry pies and ice cream.
Chris Hillman, founding member of the Byrds and Herb Pedersen from The Desert Rose Band will be joining us as Artists in Residence for the 2012 workshop and festival and round out this years great line up!
Following the hugely successful sold out 2011 guitar workshop and festival, we want to let you know that Lee Ritenour, Julian Lage, Sonny Landreth, Chris Hillman, Herb Pedersen, Dennis Koster and Patty Larkin will be joining us as Artists in Residence for this year’s event. www.cocguitarfoundation.org
This week long event includes 6 days of workshops, master classes, playing with professional rhythm sections, jamming, and nightly concerts. Being held at the Flathead Lake Lodge workshop participants and their family members have access to all the lodges’ amenities, plus more. Also available for family members during the week is a watercolor workshop taught by renowned western artist Nancy Cawdrey.
There will be eleven workshops offered in seven guitar genres with leading faculty from the National Guitar Workshop: Jazz featuring Lee Ritenour and Julian Lage, Classic Rock featuring Chris Hillman and Herb Pedersen, Blues featuring Sonny Landreth, Classical featuring Dennis Koster, Singer-Songwriter featuring Patty Larkin, Acoustic featuring Doug Smith, and Beginners with Susan Mazer. A new course has been added this year for Bass players featuring Melvin Lee Davis and Jorge Roeder.
Jazz pianist and composer, Dave Grusin (recipient of one Academy Award and twelve Grammy Awards) and drummers Sonny Emory and Tupac Mantilla will be special featured artists.
In addition, Lee Ritenour’s 3rd Annual Yamaha Six String Theory International Guitar Competition will be held during the workshop week on August 29th. The six finalists will be awarded a full scholarship to attend the workshop.
This is a unique opportunity to study with the masters and share a passion for guitar with fellow participants in an intimate and personalized setting. All surrounded by our famous western hospitality.
The 2011 workshop was a sell out and the 2012 workshop has limited availability, so early registration is advised! REGISTRATION DISCOUNT! Register by April 30, 2012 and get a $250 discount on the Workshop fee. For more information and to register go to www.cocguitarfoundation.org or call (406) 837-2574.