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 a variety of reasons, vacation plans have changed for many this summer. And as trips have been rescheduled and priorities for family vacations have changed, we’re happy to share that we have openings for this summer and that Flathead Lake Lodge has taken many steps to ensure the safety of our guests, employees and community.

The boats are ready to take guests out on Flathead Lake.

As of June 1, 2020, Montana entered the second phase of our reopening plan and the 14-day quarantine on out-of-state travelers was lifted.

For this summer, Flathead Lake Lodge is opening for the season on Sunday, June 21 and guests, as always, will enjoy weeklong stays at our guest ranch on the shores of Flathead Lake. While things will look slightly different this year, we’ve been working behind the scenes to make sure that we can provide peace of mind with an authentic, unforgettable family vacation on our 2,000 acres of terrain, which breaks down to one person per every 10.5 acres (including our full-time staff, seasonal staff and weekly guests).

The patio at the Main Lodge.

A few things you can expect on a summer vacation to our Montana guest ranch:

-Activities, programs and ranch spaces have all been evaluated and occupancy for all spaces has been adjusted to make sure that adequate space is available for all of our guests.

-For breakfast, lunch and dinner, we’ve added additional seating areas and have spaced the tables to provide for social distancing. For all dining experiences, we have implemented a “we serve you” policy. Plus, all self-service areas will served by a Flathead Lake Lodge staff member.

-To ensure that public traffic to the ranch will be limited, we are not taking individual public sailing reservations this season. The only folks who will be on our horseback trail rides, sailing vessels and more will be guests of the ranch.

-We’ve always been big of washing our hands around here, but this year we’re taking it a step further and adding both handwashing and hand sanitizing stations throughout the ranch.

-You’ll see friendly faces making their way through all public spaces during your stay, as we have a dedicated employee who will be continually cleaning and sanitizing all high-traffic areas of the ranch. We’re also ramping up sanitation practices throughout the ranch, including horseback rides, shuttle vehicles, mountain biking and more.

-All of our employees and staff have gone through training practices that will help ensure that we meet all standards in sanitation, hygiene, social distancing and more (you can read the full plan here). We’re also recording and logging the health and temperature of all employees at a health station each day. In addition, upon arrival, all guests will be temperature screened.

A family horseback ride on the lodge’s 2,000 acres.

As we’ve taken several steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our greater Flathead Lake Lodge family, we also want you to have the opportunity to vacation as a family, soak up plenty of Montana moments and have a wonderful experience. (See a sample itinerary here.)

For more information about available dates for this summer, call Jodi at 406-837-4391 or email us at info@flatheadlakelodge.com.

Until next time,



*This is a guest post by Lauren Picard. Lauren has been part of our summer staff for the last three seasons.

Hey there! If you’ve stayed with us or worked at Flathead Lake Lodge within the past few summers, there’s a likely chance that you and I have crossed paths. My name is Lauren and I have been a seasonal employee at the lodge since 2017; one summer as a waitstaff member and the last two as a wrangler. And honestly, working at Flathead Lake Lodge has been the highlight of my past few years. With its picture-perfect setting on the shores of Flathead Lake, the charming town of Bigfork just up the road and the incredible people the Averills gather in this place, I’ve created memories and met people that will stick with me for a lifetime. 

Like any family, the Averills and the team they assemble each season collectively adhere to core values and expectations that highlight the work done at Montana’s Flathead Lake Lodge. From a large pool of applicants that submit their resumes every winter, those who come to the ranch in the spring are the ones who have shown that they align with the Flathead  Lake Lodge’s core values (more on those in each of the paragraphs below). If you’re interested in applying to spend a summer at the lodge, I’m here to show you what they’re looking for and how to make yourself stand out.

Be Genuine and Selfless

At Flathead Lake Lodge, we’re all about building meaningful relationships. This includes relationships with our guests, as well as our coworkers. Over the course of our guests’ seven-day stays, we interact with them all day, whether it’s serving meals, taking them on trail rides or boat cruises or simply passing them on the walking paths. Offering them a friendly smile and kind hello sets the tone of their week as it’s our responsibility to welcome them into our home and make them feel comfortable as best we can. We don’t have customer-service voices or practiced smiles; we only have our genuine and authentic selves to display the best of the Flathead Lake Lodge family. 

Strong Family Values

As a third generation family-owned and -operated establishment, family values play a big role in the day-to-day happenings of Flathead Lake Lodge. Displaying a sense of strong family values can set you apart from the pack when it comes to applying for a job at the lodge, as it aligns you with the set of values that created this place and have kept it in operation for almost 75 years. To sum it up: the staff at the lodge is there for each other as a family, just like our guests become part of our lodge family. 

Be Willing and Durable to Meet Expectations

There is one skill and attribute that is absolutely, no-question-about-it, definitely sought after in any and every department at Flathead Lake Lodge: be willing and teachable

Making friends at our weekly barn dance.

This applies to everything. Anywhere you work at Flathead Lake Lodge, between waterfront, the barn, to maintenance and housekeeping, there will be people there—whether returning employees or the department managers or Mr. Doug Averill himself—to help you learn the ins and outs of your position that will allow you to be successful. Every skill required of a job at the lodge is able to be taught and explained. What cannot be taught, however, is the willingness to learn and the ability to accept help gracefully. To stand out among other applicants, highlight your teachability and willingness to learn

Strive for Excellence with Effective Results

Imagine you’re having people over to your house for the first time. Your kitchen is spotless, you’ve whipped up the best batch of cookies you’ve ever made and all the pillows and cushions in the living room fluffed and ready for company. You’ve striven for excellence in your home for the best first impression.

When guests arrive at Flathead Lake Lodge for the week, they’re arriving to your home and you want to create a great first impression. In everything we do as part of the Flathead Lake Lodge family, we strive for the absolute best to give the guests the absolute best experience and meet their expectations. This need for excellence lasts the whole week—week after week—through the whole summer, rain or shine, hot or cold, early in the morning until late in the evening, you show up to introduce guests to the very best of this place we call home.

Have Fun

When you work at Flathead Lake Lodge, you are working on a 2,000-acre lakeside playground, complete with mountain biking, hiking, boating, horseback riding and so much more—enjoy it! Summit nearby Mount Aeneas and hang out with the mountain goats. Hop onto as many sails as you can on the lodge’s two Classic Q-class sloops, the Questa and the Nor’Easter. Go to the barn dance and roast marshmallows on the island. Explore Glacier National Park and set out on horseback rides with guests or friends. This is your playground too; take the time to play and soak up summer in Montana. 

Lauren in her favorite place, the barn.

Applying for a job at Flathead Lake Lodge isn’t merely applying for a summer job in Montana; it’s applying for the best summer (or summers) of your life and will be full of adventures, new people, new places, really good food (ever hear of the Freshman-15? Beware of the Flathead-15!) and memories that will last a lifetime. I will forever cherish my summers as a member of the Flathead Lake Lodge family and can’t wait to go back someday. Who knows…maybe I’ll even see you there!

If you’re interested in a job at this lakeside playground, visit their job page here for more information. 

Happy trails from Wrangler Lauren! 


Here in Montana, as we welcome the first snowfall of the season, we can’t help but look back on this last summer and the memories we made with all of our guests. It was a summer full of new friends, lots of laughs, some crazy weather and memories that can only be created right here at Flathead Lake Lodge. As we prepare for cooler weather and the quick arrival of winter, here’s a look at our favorite moments from summer 2019.

Around the Campfire 

If you ask us, there’s nothing better than a cozy campfire in the wilds of Montana. This summer, we enjoyed them morning and evening, complete with coffee or hot chocolate, pancakes, marshmallows and chocolate and good conversation with friends and family. Whether you found yourself bundled up around an early morning fire at breakfast camp or enjoying the Singin’ Sons of Beaches musical group on Monday nights, we want to thank our guests for joining us around the campfire this summer.

Roasting marshmallows around the fire.

Playing on Flathead Lake 

We’re unbelievably lucky that Flathead Lake Lodge is located on the shores of a lake, and a beautiful one at that. Our guests enjoyed Flathead Lake all summer long, either by sailing on our two classic Q-class sloops, the Questa and the Nor’Easter, or by joining our waterfront team in the jet boats and making turns on the clear waters of Flathead Lake. One of our other summer highlights: hitting the Swan River on stand-up paddleboards. 

Boating on Flathead Lake.
Stand-up paddleboarding on the Swan River in northwest Montana.

Wildlife on the Ranch 

We love our friendly, four-legged friends including Crosby, Rosie and our herd of horses. But here at the ranch, we enjoy seeing our other neighbors just as much as our guests do. This year, we had a few black bears who couldn’t resist the smell of bacon sizzling at breakfast camp and one curious bear even had to come investigate for himself. A little further into the mountains, friendly mountain goats showed off their skills for hikers who were summiting Mount Aeneas in the Swan Mountain Range.

Our curious black bear that came into our breakfast camp.
A mountain goat showing off in the Swan Mountain Range.

Trail Rides All Day Long 

One of our favorite ways to get around the ranch is on the back of our horses. We had plenty of memorable horseback trail rides this summer, from breakfast rides and lunch rides to scenic outings through our elk preserve and leisurely rides along our mountainous property overlooking Flathead Lake. Our wranglers take great pride in the experience guests have on our  trail rides and we’re sure that they have as much fun on our rides as our guests.

Our favorite way to travel: on horseback.

Hanging with Doug

For years, Doug Averill has been posted at the Main Lodge fireplace just about every morning, ready to greet everyone as they collect their cup of coffee and breakfast. This summer, that was no different. Everyone’s favorite cowboy kept himself busy around the ranch, catching up with old friends and meeting the newcomers with the same smile that plenty of guests have come to recognize and admire. Doug has been a pinnacle of Flathead Lake Lodge for most of his life, shaping it into the place that’s loved by many, from our family to our staff and guests. And as with many summers before, we saw those beloved rides he and Oz give the kids at team roping every Tuesday. 

Doug Averill in the barn.
A summer tradition: Doug giving kids rides in the arena.

It seems like this summer passed in the blink of an eye—hopefully this winter does the same. 2020 is Flathead Lake Lodge’s 75th anniversary and we have exciting things in store to celebrate as we prepare to make more memories to share for years to come. If you’re interested in joining us next summer, visit us here or call us at 406-837-4391. For those of you we haven’t met yet, we look forward to welcoming you to the lodge. And for those of you who are returning guests, we look forward to seeing you again soon.

Happy Fall, 





Just like that, our favorite summer holiday—the Fourth of July—has passed. Independence Day at Flathead Lake Lodge and in Bigfork, Montana, is one of the biggest parties you’ll ever find in Big Sky Country and we’re  so grateful that all of our guests— some new, others long-time returners—were here to celebrate with us. Between rolling our firetrucks through the famous Bigfork Fourth of July Parade and ending the day with our weekly steak fry, it was a fun day for all and we already can’t wait for next year. 

Happy birthday, America.

Here’s a little taste of the Fourth of July at Flathead Lake Lodge.

The Parade

One of our favorite Fourth of July traditions is decorating our vintage firetrucks to drive in the parade. The best part about the decorating is that our guests get in on the fun and help us deck them out with American flags and red, white and blue streamers. Once our floats are good and decorated, we load up into three firetrucks, an army truck, a tractor trailer and our Checker Aerobus and head for the parade in Bigfork.

Getting the firetruck ready to go.
The parade in downtown Bigfork.

And while we’ve always had a soft spot for this parade (our family and the lodge have been participating for years), locals and out-of-town visitors love it as well.  Armed with buckets (and buckets and buckets) of candy to toss to bystanders along the route, we closed out the parade with our decorated vehicles, patriotic attire and “U-S-A” chants. And, as per tradition, Doug got in on the fun by spraying the crowd with water from his firetruck. 

Steak Fry

After the parade, one of our other Fourth of July traditions is our steak fry.  Guests head up to the steak fry meadow on board our firetrucks or on horseback, where we greeted them with sirloin steaks cooked over the fire, homemade potato salad, my mom’s famous baked beans (you probably know here as Maureen) and cowboy music from our friend, Gene.

Our favorite cowboy singer, Gene.
Our group of riders headed off to the steak fry.
The gang’s all here.
Cooking up the steaks with my best helpers.

The Grand Finale: Fireworks

Every year, we end Independence Day with our own fireworks show at Flathead Lake Lodge. Guests lay out blankets and cozy up next to campfires as we celebrate America with a fireworks show over Flathead Lake. While we’ve been doing it for years, it’s one of those traditions that means the most to our staff, our guests and our family. 

Fireworks over Flathead Lake.
One of our favorite nights of the year.

The Fourth of July week is one of our favorite weeks at the lodge and we love celebrating it with our guests. If you’re interested in joining us for future celebrations, visit us here or call us at 406-837-4391.

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,