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,


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.

Happy trails,





Last month, Flathead Lake Lodge was nominated to be included in the “10 best dude ranches across the country for 2023” in USA Today’s 10Best Readers’ Choice awards. First things first, we were grateful to be among the ranks of other incredible guest ranches across the country. We know firsthand how many amazing dude ranches there are, especially in the West. From Arizona in the south to Montana in the north, our landscapes are dotted with ranches, all offering their own distinct experience.

Horses heading out to pasture at our Montana dude ranch.

After being nominated by a panel, the 10Best Awards take it to a vote. Over several days, folks cast their vote for their favorite guest ranch and at the end of the contest, Flathead Lake Lodge snagged the number six spot…here’s what USA Today had to say.

“The terms “luxury” and “rustic” may not often be paired, but they’re fitting descriptions of Flathead Lake Lodge. This lovely ranch situated in the foothills provides an all-inclusive vacation that’s family-friendly to its core. It spans 2,000 acres, giving guests the advantages of its lakefront location with activities like sailing, canoeing, wakesurfing, stand-up paddleboarding and lakeside campfires. On land, there’s horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking on offer.”

To the folks who nominated us and those of you who voted for us in this contest, thank you! We’re delighted that you love this place as much as we do and are so glad that you are part of the Flathead Lake Lodge family. It’s our privilege to share the legacy, lifestyle and magic of this place, year after year.

Until next time,


PS: if you’re interested in visiting the ranch in Bigfork, Montana, this summer, we have a handful of weeklong stays available, as well as our spring and fall adults-only adventure retreats. Give us a call at 406-837-4391.

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.

2022 Flathead Lake Lodge Community Fund

Thanks for all you do to help make Bigfork a wonderful place to call home.


Here at Flathead Lake Lodge, we want our guests to feel like family. After all, among our 2,000 acres of Montana you’ll find plenty of room to adventure, breathe, relax, unwind and make memories. While we do our best to share what to expect, what to pack and everything you can do as a guest of Flathead Lake Lodge, sometimes we need to turn over the reins and have other folks do it for us.

Most of the content of this blog post was written for first-time guests by other first-times guests (or as the ladies who wrote this say – written by newbies for newbies), after their inaugural first week at Flathead Lake Lodge, July 10 – 17, 2022.

Without further ado, here are the “Top 12 Things Flathead Lake Lodge Newbies Need to Know.”

1. If you planned out your entire week ahead of time, know that it won’t turn out exactly as you planned. This is okay. You’ll still have fun and get to do everything you want. We promise!  

2. On sign-up day (which is Monday), arrive early and have your top priority activities picked out. Give each person in your group an assigned activity to get in line for and sign up, that way you can cover more ground quicker.

3. If you don’t get to sign up for something you wanted, put your name on the waitlist and still show up for that activity. Chances are, at least one of the folks who did sign up won’t show up and you’ll get to do it.  

4.  At times, sailing lessons can be hit-or-miss activities because there may or may not be wind. Be sure to plan an activity to substitute in case it doesn’t work out. (But if you can take a lesson, do!)

5. Be sure to sign up for horse-related activities, including horseback trail rides. And if you need a lesson, be sure to mark that on the sign-up sheet. (You can also talk to the gals in the office and they can be sure you get squared away for a lesson.) Same goes for the watersports lessons in the morning – be sure you sign up! In the afternoon, all you need to do is write your name down on the whiteboard and you will get to go.

6. The families who have been coming for years are very nice, we promise! Don’t be intimidated. You’ll quickly meet them during the on-ranch activities and before you know it, you’ll have some lovely new friends.  

7. For meals, find other newbies to sit with or other families that don’t have a large extended family group staying at the lodge. If you met someone at an activity, ask if you can join them for dinner!  

8. When it comes to mouse races, be sure to bring some cold hard cash. Plus, you can combine your funds with other families.

9. Jump on YouTube and look up “How to pen” before team penning. Trust us.  

10. Check in with the office for the daily schedule and any changes. 

11. Come a day or two early and visit Glacier National Park! It’s 40 minutes from the ranch and is well worth a visit.

12. Take advantage of the laundry service – you can pack less!

*Ladies, it was a joy to have you and your families here at the ranch! Thanks for sharing what you learned and passing along your experiences for future fist-time guests. 

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,


For the second year in a row, we’re welcoming the Ladies AllRide Mountain Bike Retreat to Flathead Lake Lodge. Slated for October 3 – 7, 2022, this women’s-only retreat combines the best of both riding worlds – horseback trail rides and mountain biking – on our 2,000 acres. A five-day, four-night retreat, it’s designed to give attendees professional mountain bike skills instruction and plenty of time to hit the ranch’s miles of expertly-designed trails.

Wondering what to expect? Here’s a peek at the retreat.

Mountain bike at Flathead Lake Lodge

Off the bikes, guests can participate in other activities offered at the ranch, including morning yoga, guided hikes, beach campfires, kayaking on Flathead Lake and tours of our on-ranch elk preserve. Chef Rob also makes sure to serve up plenty of made-from-scratch meals to keep attendees fueled and satisfied, while also give them opportunities to taste the many flavors of local Montana purveyors.

All guests stay on the ranch in Flathead Lake Lodge’s accommodations, including lodge rooms and cabins.

Cabin 3 at Flathead Lake Lodge in Bigfork, Montana.

If you’re ready to treat yourself to fall in Montana, all while strengthening your mountain bike skills, learn more here. You can also call us at 406-837-4391.

See you on the trails,


While there is plenty of work to be done at Flathead Lake Lodge during the winter months, our staff still manages to fit in some of Montana’s favorite pastimes, which for Liz and Carson means skijoring.

In case you haven’t heard of it, skijoring is an event that marries horseback riding with skiing, with a rider on horseback pulling a skier behind them to navigate jumps and turns on a timed course.

If you’ve been a guest at the ranch in the last several years, chances are you’ve met Liz and Carson, but just in case you haven’t, Liz is our Livestock Manager and Carson is our Barn Manager. As luck would have it, these two are a match made in skijoring heaven and over the weekend of February 19 – 20, they took third place at the World Invitational Skijoring event in Whitefish, Montana.

Here’s a look at the action…

Wondering what’s next for Liz, her paint horse Splash and Carson? They’re heading to the National Finals Skijoring Races in Red Lodge, Montana, March 12 – 13.

And if you want to watch them in action? The Wrangler Network is live streaming both days of the races. Watch it here.

Until next time,



We’ve always been big believers that people need to get away, have time to decompress and soak up moments with the ones they love most. And while family vacations with kids are fantastic, we also know that sometimes grown-ups need getaways that don’t involve the kids.

Meet our 2022 adults-only Montana Adventure package.

This package is available twice this fall: from September 2 – 7, 2022, and September 12 – 15, 2022. 

The first package – which takes place over Labor Day – is longer than our previous adults-only getaways, which gives guests even more time to experience all we have to offer at Flathead Lake Lodge. A five-night package, it’s all-inclusive and includes on-property activities like horseback riding, touring the elk preserve, mountain biking on our trails, taking a morning dip in our lakeside pool and heading out to play on the waters of Flathead Lake.

The second package is a tad shorter at three nights and four days, while still giving guests the chance to soak up fall in Montana.

If you’ve stayed with us before, you’ve also tasted the culinary offerings of Chef Rob. And while he whips up great meals all summer long, for our adults-only packages he creates mouth-watering multi-course tasting menus with wine pairings. 

If you’re interested in reserving space in our 2022 adults-only getaways, get in touch with us here or call us at 406-837-4391.

Until next time,

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.


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.