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.

What do Dude Rancher's do in the winter? Go out and find fresh powder!
What do Dude Rancher's do in the winter? Go out and find fresh powder!
Fall is a pretty special time to be on horseback in the elk preserve

Riding through the ranch Elk Preserve is always special this time of year. With a few cooler days, and fall on the horizon, the bull elk have started to bugle occasionally. If you have never experienced this sound echoing through the woods while on a ride, it is truly something to remember. Here is one of the preserves big ol’ bulls starting to feel pretty confident in himself.

Were happy to say that Bigfork resident, friend and FLL supporter Jack Hannah and his family are safe and sound after a exciting encounter with a Momma Grizzly and her two cubs. Have no fear, our hiking guides are outfitted with pepper spray…and really heavy hiking boots so there is no question of who is the slowest. Now that is customer service!

Check out the video shot here at Flathead Lake Lodge!

4th of July Parade 2010
4th of July Parade 2010

Even thought it wasn’t the 85 degree 4th of July of the last few years, the Lodge fire trucks still made sure the crowd was cooled off.

Have you been contemplating visiting Flathead Lake Lodge this summer? Well don’t worry, there are just a few openings left and still time. Give us a call (406.837.4391) or email, to inquire about these Last Minute Deals.

There is still could be here this summer!
There is still could be here this summer!

Summer is just kicking off and what better way to enjoy a long weekend than with the family in beautiful Montana!

Echo Lake and the Swan Mountains
Echo Lake and the Swan Mountains

This photo of Echo Lake and the Swan Mountains was taken by Laine Averil last week while flying around the valley with Austin Aviation. The Lodge is excited to offer this new Helicopter Tour activity to guests through out the summer. Austin Aviation is sure to offer guests a truly unique view of the Flathead Valley and the ‘Crown of the Continent’ ecosystem that includes Glacier National Park and the Great Bear, Scape Goat, and Bob Marshall Wildernesses.

Look for Austin at Monday morning ‘Sign Ups’ throughout the summer!

austin aviation
Austin Aviation


We know you have all seen the pictures of the monster pike caught by Lodge staff over the last couple of years. A few years back, Sous Chef Zach hauled in a 49 inch 28 lb monster. Then last fall Chase Averill landed a 46″ 31lb hog on an 8 weight fly rod out of Flathead Lake. What we didn’t know until recently is that Chase’s fish would have most likely been the North American record for a Pike caught on a fly rod.

Check out this article in the Daily Interlake about another local angler.

The woulda-shoulda-coulda been North American Record
The woulda-shoulda-coulda been North American Record

Well…Chase’s lack of smarts to have his fish properly weighed and recorded probably cost him the North American record for pike on a fly…but he did get the picture of the Month, so we’ll consider it a second place prize.


Congratulations to Flathead Lake Lodge Barn Manager Mr. Jason and his lady friend & former FLL wrangler Miranda Knowles who took home a couple of custom-made saddles, purse money and the title of Champions at the Lolo Peak Wrangler Team Roping Championships.

Jason and Miranda took 1st place int he Featured Roping with a combined time of 30.26 seconds for 4 runs.

Check out their winning run in the video below…fast forward to the 9:11 mark.


Cleaning the streets before the sun comes up.
Cleaning the streets before the sun comes up.

A little unknown fact about Bigfork is that the village is actually not incorporated. This means the town runs on almost 100% vollunteerism to keep it character and accomplish the towns issues.

Earth Day is no different. Each year hundreds of Bigfork residents spread across Greater Bigfork with gloves and garbage bags in hand, pitching in to Clean the Fork before the busy summer season arrives.

However, on the Sunday following Clean the Fork might be when the true die-hards show up to clean. For over 30 years a group of Bigforker’s and Averill’s have shown up at 6am the following Sunday to ‘Hose the Streets’, often braving near freezing temperatures. Thanks to all those who helped get Bigfork cleaned up for the Summer, and especially gang who always show up to help clean the streets downtown. It is the continued spirit of volunteerism that truly makes Bigfork the unique little town it is.

Happy 100th Birthday Glacier National Park!

This summer marks the 100th birthday of the Crown Jewel of the Continent, Glacier National Park. ‘The Park’ as it is known around here is just a short 40 min. drive away, and we encourage all our guests to either visit the park before or after their week at the Lodge, or definitely for a day during their week at the Lodge.

This year will truly be a unique year to visit as The Park is planning numerous events, celebrations and exhibits making the trip even more worth the 100 year wait. Visit the parks official Centenial website for more information.