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.