While we’ve always taken great care in our flower beds at Flathead Lake Lodge, this year we’re offering something brand new – a cutting class.

Each week, Cec (who has been at the helm of our flowers for the last several years) teaches a cutting class where she walks participants through the various elements of floral arrangements, including the types of flowers (like the thriller, spiller and filler), textures and more. Cec also walks guests through the different elements, from textures to colors and monochromatic design options to varying heights. From there, guests can cut flowers to their heart’s content and create their own individual flower arrangement.

The lodge’s 30 raised beds have 50+ types of flowers, including sunflowers, specialty snapdragons, zinnias, bells of Ireland, bunny tails, asters, lisianthus, dahlias and more. The flowers in the gardens were selected for a couple of reasons, such as vase life and the fact that they can be cut and easily grow again.

A new offering for this year, the class is offered every Thursday at 9 a.m., with guests being able to take their arrangement back to their cabin to enjoy for the remainder of the week.

So far this summer, we’ve seen some beautiful floral arrangements and we’re looking forward to seeing what our guests create this season and in years to come.

Until next time – happy trails,


While not many things change around here – our hospitality dates back to 1945 when Grandpa Les bought the ranch – every once in a while we like to mix things up around here and add new elements to help enrich the guest experience. Brand new for our 2021 season is an outdoor kitchen.

Now guests can enjoy meals with sweeping views of Flathead Lake in a space that naturally brings the outside in through large screened-in windows. From a food and beverage perspective, the addition of the kitchen adds an element of engagement to the ranch. With a large focus on cooking over live fire, Chef Rob has been using the outdoor kitchen to feed Flathead Lake Lodge’s guests throughout the summer season.

In the words of Chef Rob, “My primary aim with the outdoor kitchen is to develop a richer connection to what we do as chefs and the experience we offer at the lodge. While it’s aesthetically beautiful, it’s also about having a natural connection to the wood, the smoke, the flame and the way it all interacts with the food. Guests get to experience what we do through eating the food, but now they’re experiencing it on a more personal level as they see it, smell it and interact with it.”

These days, the outdoor kitchen is the place where at least half of the ranch’s lunches are cooked and serve, while at least one element of dinner is prepared there as well.

Other elements of this addition included a remodel of the main kitchen, adding an upstairs walk-in, bringing the bakery out into the open and giving the space an overall refresh.

From our family to yours, we look forward to breaking bread with you in this new space.

Until next time,



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.



While many visitors to Montana come during the summer months, here at Flathead Lake Lodge we’re also big fans of spring. The lake is beautiful, the ranch is starting to welcome various shades of green to our meadows and lawn, birds are migrating, the days are getting longer and the surrounding landscapes are accented by snow-covered mountains.

And while summer gets most of the glory in our corner of Big Sky Country, we wanted to share six of our favorite things to do in Montana during the spring from a local’s point of view.

1. Bike the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park.

Truth: our backyard national park is beautiful year-round. But in the spring, while road crews are working on removing snow from the Going-to-the-Sun Road, it’s also closed to vehicular traffic and instead is accessible by foot or bike. Make plans to pedal up the road – you can bring your own or rent bikes at a number of places in the Flathead Valley – and see the park from a different perspective. Good to know: carry bear spray, water and food, as services are limited during spring. Get the latest info on the park here.

2. Raft the Flathead River.

Raft trips start on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River in the spring (they run from May – September) with half-day and full-day options. If you’re a guest at the ranch during one of our adults-only packages or the summer, you have the option to add rafting onto your stay as an offsite experience.

3. Visit Flathead Lake.

While the water in the lake is freezing this time of year – it’s fed by glacial runoff and snowmelt – it’s also beautiful. Plus, the sunrises aren’t quite so early this time of year which means you have a solid chance of catching the early-morning colors that cover the lake.

4. Explore Bigfork.

We know we’re partial since Bigfork is where we hang our hats, but a stroll through downtown is nothing but pleasant during the spring. Shop owners have their doors open and it’s a cheery atmosphere no matter where you go, from local restaurants to watering holes or the Swan River Nature Trail.

5. Visit the National Bison Range.

Sitting a one-hour drive south of our Montana guest ranch is the National Bison Range in Charlo. During spring, you’ll be able to see plenty of birds and wildflowers, as well as bison calves that are typically born between mid-April and mid-May. If you want to drive through the entire range, you’ll take Red Sleep Mountain Drive, a 19-mile-long one-way road, but keep in mind that it doesn’t open until mid-May. You can access West Loop and Prairie Drive anytime of the year. Insider tip: never approach wildlife.

6. Take a road trip.

From Bigfork, you can do a complete loop tour around Flathead Lake on U.S. Highway 93, Montana Highway 82 and Montana Highway 35. At times you’ll hug the shore of the lake, while at others you’ll be given a higher bird’s-eye view of the lake.

If you’re looking to see more of Montana, one of our favorite loop tours takes us over to the Rocky Mountain Front and back up to Bigfork. We suggest traveling north to Glacier and taking U.S. Highway 2 along the southern border of the park, connecting with U.S. Highway 89 (time it right and you can see thousands of birds at Freezeout Lake) before cutting closer to the mountains on Highway 287. From there, loop back up to Bigfork on Highway 200 and cruise up Montana Highway 83 through the Seeley-Swan Valley and back to Bigfork.

During spring at our guest ranch, we offer specials and deals – including our adults-only packages that can be easily combined with any of above-mentioned activities and an Early Summer Package that runs from June 2 – 6 – to help our guests make the most of Montana’s secret season.

If you’d like to learn more, call us at 406-837-4391 or visit our website.

Until next time, happy trails.


When it comes to spreading cheer around the holidays, we spent some time thinking about what we could give you. With 2020 being a bit of a wild ride for all of us, we wanted to give you something good. And while it would be nearly impossible to send you all something from Flathead Lake Lodge, we wanted to give you the next best thing: the recipe for Maureen’s Undone Brownies.

If you’ve been a guest of the lodge, you’ve likely dug into one of these chocolate delights during your stay, as they are staple during our Wednesday night steak fry. From us to you, we hope you enjoy this “sweet” gift.



-4 cups butter, melted

-1 pound of unsweetened chocolate

-8 cups of sugar

-16 eggs

-5 1/3 cups of all-purpose flour

-8 teaspoons of vanilla


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease desired baking dish (we suggest a large sheet pan or two).

Melt chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and add the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Gradually whisk in the flour. Pour into greased baking dish and bake for approximately 20 minutes (or until the sides begin to pull away from the edges of the pan).

Allow the brownies to rest for 15 minutes. Cut, serve and enjoy!

From our family to yours, we wish you the sweetest holiday season and a very Merry Christmas. May it be full of making new traditions, honoring old ones and a season of beautiful memories.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, from our family to yours.


If you would have told us 10 years ago – or even this time last year – that we’d be entering our 75th anniversary year with a viral pandemic that’s sweeping the world, chances are we would not have believed it. And yet, here we are. We’re marking a major milestone in guest ranch history, family history and even Montana history, all while the world comes together to face an invisible foe with the type of courage, grit and determination that means working together, staying home and taking care of each other.

While the world moves on around us, we know that we’re in a time unlike any other. As we celebrate our 75th anniversary, it seems fitting to look back at historical glimpses of the lodge and the legacy that was built by our grandfather Les Averill (who was a pilot in World War II), carried on by Doug and is now being firmly carried forward by the third generation.

As we think about 75 years of the lodge, we also wanted to share some of our favorite photos with you. Whether you want to walk down memory lane with us or if you’re just in need of a good distraction, we hope you like them as much as we do.

Doug at the buffalo ranch on the east side of the mountains.
Family in the heart of the ranch, the Main Lodge.
Maureen, Doug, Ginny and Les on Flathead Lake.

From our family and our extended lodge family to yours, we wish you health, safety and the ability to find joy in every day, even in the middle of a storm.

Until next time,


From all of us at Flathead Lake Lodge, thank you for your kind comments, DMs and messages about our upcoming 75th anniversary and A Week of Hope. We’ve been overwhelmed with the feedback and response around this event and we wanted to take some time to share more about “A Week of Hope” and how it all came about.

As we were getting ready for the arrival of this monumental anniversary year, it was important to us to be able to celebrate the legacy that was started by Grandpa Les Averill in 1945 and we knew we didn’t want it to be about us. We wanted it to be bigger to commemorate 75 years in a way that best shared our family traditions and way of life, while also giving something back. To sum it up, that’s how we dreamt up “A Week of Hope.”

We also feel fortunate to partner with two organizations to help us bring 20 critically ill children and their families to the ranch from June 7 – 14, 2020: HopeKids and Montana Children’s.

We’re working with both of those organizations to bring a handful of Montana children and families, as well as kids throughout the rest of the country, to the ranch to experience it like any other guest, complete with horseback trail rides, water activities, family-style dining and playing in the place we’re lucky enough to call home.

And while we have amazing partners who are committed to help us bring “A Week of Hope” to life, we still need more to bring this event to life. So, we’re inviting you to join us. The largest costs for this event include travel to bring the children and their families to Flathead Lake Lodge and we’re looking for donors and sponsors to help us in spurring hope in the lives of critically ill children as we help them create memories to last a lifetime and beyond.

We have various donor and corporate sponsorship levels available and are also looking for Delta SkyMiles to bring them here.

Please consider joining us to bring “A Week of Hope” to life as we welcome these very special guests to Flathead Lake Lodge.

Happy Trails,



As summer continues here in Montana, we are excitedly awaiting the arrival of our latest additions to Flathead Lake Lodge, our three brand-new, all-inclusive, adults-only fall packages. Autumn in Montana is one of the most  breathtaking times of year and we’re looking forward to sharing it with our guests through these three packages: the Montana Adventure in the Crown of the Continent (September 1 – 5, 2019), Relax and Restore in Montana’s Wide-open Spaces (September 12 – 15, 2019) and Unplug and Reconnect: Retreat to Montana (September 25 – 29, 2019).  

Fall along the Middle Fork of the Flathead.
Fun fact: Western larch (also known as tamarack) turn yellow in autumn.
Photo: NPS / Jacob Frank

In case you’re looking for that perfect adults-only retreat, here are five reasons to visit Flathead Lake Lodge.

1. Fall is for the Grown-ups

If you’ve been to Flathead Lake Lodge during the summer, you know by know that our summer season is geared toward families. But heck, we also think adults deserve the chance to enjoy the beauty of Flathead Lake Lodge sans kids. Which is why our three fall packages are geared specifically toward adults, with each offering a distinct experiences based on adventure, relaxing and reconnecting.

Grown-ups deserve a getaway, too.

2. Fall Foliage: We’ve Got It

Chances are, Montana is not at the top of your fall-foliage viewing destination list but we’re here to tell you that it should be. Honestly, there’s nothing quite like Big Sky Country in the fall. Here in northwest Montana, you’ll see our mountains and valleys welcome vibrant shades of yellows, golds, oranges and reds. Combine fall colors with crisp mornings, sunshine-filled days and fewer people visiting and you’ve got yourself a beautiful getaway. Plus, each of our three packages includes elements of exploring the outdoors, whether it be on a guided horseback trail ride, quiet morning walks, yoga overlooking the lake or a tour along Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road. 

A bird’s-eye view of Flathead Lake Lodge in autumn.

3. Bison   

American bison (also commonly nicknamed buffalo) are a rich part of America’s landscape and have an incredible history in this part of the West. One of our packages—the Montana Adventure in the Crown of the Continent—is just that, an adventure. This five-day, four-night package takes place over Labor Day weekend and includes Glacier National Park and a visit to the ranch’s herd of bison on the Blackfeet Nation.

An American bison.
NPS / Neal Herbert

4. Peace and Quiet

Truth be told, summer is busy. We’re lucky that our guest ranch sits on 2,000 acres along Flathead Lake and offers a private reprieve, even in the height of July. But during fall, the peace and quiet found in this place and in northwest Montana can be felt and we’re convinced that Big Sky Country is the best place to get away from it all. Throughout your time at Flathead Lake Lodge, you’ll hear some of the most perfect sounds in the world: birds chirping in trees, horses whinnying in the distance, a soft breeze moving through the trees and water from Flathead Lake lapping up onto the shore. 

The perfect place to take it all in.

5. Finding Your Own Montana Moment

Around here, we’re big on inviting people to discover their own #MontanaMoment. Whether that’s seeing gorgeous fall colors during a hike or taking in the smell of the mountain air from the back of a horse, we want each of our guests to leave Flathead Lake Lodge feeling relaxed and recharged, and with your own #MontanaMoment firmly in hand. No matter when you visit or what fall package you book, we’ll work hard to ensure you leave with plenty of memories and unforgettable moments.   

Cowgirls at Flathead Lake Lodge.

If you haven’t yet, call us at 406-837-4391 or drop us an email and we’ll walk you through each of the packages to help you pick the best one for you. Here’s to a beautiful fall at Flathead Lake Lodge. 

Happy Trails, 




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

Catch the wind on the Questa

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

Jewel Basin hiking area
Photo: Montana Office of Tourism

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  

Going to the Sun Road
Photo: Lauren Picard

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

See the island’s wild horse herd
Photo: flatheadlake.us

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

Raft Trip with Glacier Raft Company
Photo: Cole Cronkright

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 

Enjoy some of the best trout fishing in the country
Photo: Flathead Lake Lodge

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

Flathead Cherries, a local delicacy
Photo: Dax VanFossen

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.

No shortage of amazing food in Bigfork, MT
Photo: Flathead Lake Lodge

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

Catch a show on at the playhouse on Bigfork’s famous ‘Electric Avenue’
Photo: Glacier Country Tourism

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.

Happy summer,


It looks like Kid’s Rodeo is no longer going to be the biggest competitive event held at Flathead Lake Lodge! Next September the Kalispell Chamber will be hosting the 1st Annual Montana Dragon Boat Races at Flathead Lake Lodge. This is going to be an awesome event for the entire Flathead Valley, and is expected to draw around 3,000 people and 600 competitors! Teams of 20 paddlers will race traditional 46′ Hong Kong dragon boats along the shore of Flathead Lake, just in front of Flathead Lake Lodge. Want to race? Learn more? Or are thinking about attending? Find all the information at: http://montana.racedragonboats.com

We hope to see you all here next September! It is going to be a blast!