Category Archives: Autumn

Oh Snap! A Montana Spring in Pictures

As you know, a picture is worth a thousand words, and when we get our fans and friends out there capturing Montana moments in Glacier Country, we’re left speechless. These snapshots of our corner of paradise speak for themselves. Do we actually get to live, work and play in this place? Yep, we sure do, and you’d be ahead to come experience the magic and wonder for yourself. There’s a reason why we call it heaven on earth. So, although we love telling you all about our stunning landscapes and unrivaled recreation opportunities, this time we’re going to just show you. (We’re still bragging, but with less words and more pictures.)

Warning: daydreaming for an unspecified amount of time is sure to ensue after you make your way through this post.

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

Photo: Quinton Tolman (instagram.com/quintontolman)

Wildflowers in Glacier National Park.

Photo: Matthew Mason (instagram.com/mason.art.globe)

Waterworks Hill in Missoula, Montana.

Photo: Sara Schroeder (instagram.com/saraoutside)

Blodgett Canyon near Hamilton, Montana.

Photo: Hunter Day Photo (hunterday.photo/montana)

Horses at Bar W Guest Ranch.

Along the Bull River.

Photo: Glacier Country Tourism

Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park.

The forest near Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park.

Photo: Glacier Country Tourism

A mountain goat at Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park.

Photo: Kent Johns (instagram.com/kent_johns)

A wedding in Glacier National Park

Photo: Emil Rajkowski (instagram.com/raj_photo)

Aurora Borealis over the North Fork of the Flathead River.

David Marx Photo (instagram.com/davidmarxphoto)

A peaceful view of Flathead Lake.

Photo: Glacier Country Tourism

A kayaker rides Brennans Wave on the Clark Fork River in Missoula.

Photo: Glacier Country Tourism

How’s that for inspiring? There’s more where these came from. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for your daily dose of Western Montana beauty.

Want to share your incredible travels in Western Montana? Use #GlacierMT on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for a chance to be featured.

Best Day Hikes in Western Montana: Part I

Western Montana’s Glacier Country covers the northwest corner of Montana, stretching from the Canadian border all the way down through the Bitterroot Valley. It’s a big region, with a lot to explore. We started this blog post hoping to share our top 10 favorite hikes, and we quickly realized it was just too much for one post…so, we’re splitting it up. Part One covers the more southern portion of Glacier Country including the Seeley-Swan Valley and the Bitterroot Valley. Next week we’re sharing the northern-most parts of Western Montana including the Flathead National Forest, Glacier National Park, Tobacco Valley and more.

One of the easiest ways to explore our little slice of heaven is to set out by foot. Here are a handful of trail tips for the aspiring Western Montana hiker:

Tips for the Trail:

  1. It’s always a good idea to wear layers and comfortable hiking shoes or boots. It gets a little cold around here (in case the name “Glacier Country” didn’t tip you off), though temperatures still reach into the 80s and 90s during summer. Wear broken-in hiking footwear so uncomfortable feet don’t distract you from our breathtaking views.
  2. Be bear aware! Make noise and carry bear spray. You’re in bear country, and no matter how wild you think you might be, we can assure you the wildlife have you beat. (It’s also never a good idea to try to feed the wildlife).
  3. Make room in your pack for water, snacks and a camera. It’s good to stay hydrated, and good to have a camera ready to capture your Montana moments.
  4. Always stay on the trail. Wandering Montana’s splendor is easy to do, but it’s important not to lose your way. We promise you won’t miss out on anything.
  5. Ask the locals. Montana is full of secrets and who better to ask than a Montanan?

Now that you’re all set for a hike, let us help you find one. Below is a list of our top 10 spots and how to find them.

Morrell Falls

The hike on Morrell Falls National Recreation Trail leads to Morrell Lake and the stunning Morrell Falls at the base of the Swan Mountain Range.

DIRECTIONS: From the town of Seeley Lake, travel half a mile north on Highway 83. Turn right on Morrell Creek Road, which becomes Forest Service Road #477/Cottonwood Lakes Road and travel just over 1 mile. Turn left on West Morrell Road #4353 and travel about 6 miles. Turn right on Pyramid Pass Road #4381 and travel a quarter-mile. Then turn left on Morrell Falls Road #4364. Continue for 1 mile to the Morrell Falls Trailhead and parking area.

ROUND-TRIP: 2.7 miles
BONUS: Dog-friendly

Turquoise Lake

DIRECTIONS: Flathead National Forest is home to so many natural wonders it can be a little overwhelming when you’re trying to plan a hike. Allow us to help, beginning with Turquoise Lake. In the Swan Valley, head south on Highway 83. Just past mile marker 38 south of Condon, turn right onto Kraft Creek Road. Drive 11.5 miles in to Glacier Creek trail #690. Follow #690 3 miles to Turquoise Lake trail #708. From there, you’re only 3 more miles to the beautiful turquoise waters of this pristine glacial lake.

ROUND-TRIP: 12.2 miles
PERMIT: Turquoise Lake is on tribal lands. Be sure to stop by any local grocer or outfitter to pick up your Tribal Conservation Permit.
HIGHLIGHTS: If you have extra time, hike down to Lace Lake for cliff jumping.

Three Lakes Peak

DIRECTIONS: Take Exit 82 on Interstate 90 east of Missoula and make your way west on Highway 10 until you reach Remount Road. Turn north onto Remount Road and drive 2.5 miles before turning west onto Ninemile Road. Continue for about 12 miles, then turn right onto Foothills Road #5498. Drive 5 miles to reach Burnt Fork Trail #418. This trail is easily navigated with posted signs.

ROUND-TRIP: 3.2 miles
PERMIT: Three Lakes Peak is on tribal lands. Be sure to stop in Missoula at Bob Ward and Sons, Cabela’s , MT Fish, Wildlife & Parks – Region 2 or Wholesale Sports to pick up your Tribal Conservation Permit.

Blodgett Canyon

Blodgett Canyon is known for its incredible overlook and relatively easy hike to the summit. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous you can venture into the valley for breathtaking views like this one.
Photo courtesy of Hunter Day Photography (hunterday.photo/montana)

DIRECTIONS: From Hamilton, take Main Street west into the foothills of the Bitterroot Mountains, following signs on Forest Service road 735 to the Blodgett Trailhead and overlook. The trailhead is to the right of the parking area.

ROUND-TRIP: 3 miles
HIGHLIGHTS: Several benches are placed along the hike up. Stop and take in the incredible views, but keep going—you’re in for a treat at the top!

Lake Como

Lake Como is easily accessible in any season. Photo: instagram.com/scottwilsonphotography

DIRECTIONS: Access Lake Como Road from Hamilton, Montana. Take the road around the south side of Lake Como to find Little Rock Creek Trailhead.

ROUND-TRIP: 9 miles
HIGHLIGHTS: This is a lovely overnight camping spot.

Mount Sentinel

Mount Sentinel’s colors change with the seasons, making it a fresh new hike every few weeks. Visit in April and May to catch the mountain covered in green and peek at the wildflowers sprinkled throughout the hike.

DIRECTIONS: Hike “the M” for a breathtaking view of the Missoula Valley. The trail starts at the eastern edge of The University of Montana campus. This steep, zigzag path includes 11 switchbacks and gains 620 feet of elevation in under a mile.

ROUND-TRIP: 1.75 miles
HIGHLIGHTS: The trail is named for the large whitewashed rock “M” placed on the mountainside in 1908.

Kootenai Creek

DIRECTIONS: From the Stevensville junction on Highway 93, travel north 1 mile. Turn west on Kootenai Creek Road and continue two miles to the trailhead.

ROUND-TRIP: Up to 18 miles…choose your adventure.
HIGHLIGHTS: Find great rock climbing about half a mile in. If you want to venture farther in, the Kootenai lakes can be found at mile 9.

Must-Stop Family Road-Trip Attractions

There’s nothing quite like loading up the family and embarking on an epic road trip to make some everlasting memories and there’s no place to make those memories better than Montana. From the Bitterroot Valley to Glacier National Park, Western Montana has enough scenic byways for a lifetime of cruising. We love road trips and camping so we partnered with Bretz RV & Marine to bring you a spring camping gear giveaway. Enter to win, load up your RV, chart a route through our charming small towns and make it a point to pull over and check out these fun and unique roadside attractions.

A Hefty Hereford

Stoney’s Bull sits at Clearwater Junction and greets travelers along Highways 200 and 93.

Along Highway 200 at Clearwater Junction, you’ll find a 15-foot-high, 18-foot-long Hereford steer.

50,000 Silver $ Bar

50,000 Silver $ Bar

Stop in St. Regis to visit the infamous 50,000 Silver $ Bar, stay for the burgers, shakes and souvenirs.

Stay: Salmon Lake State Park, Clearwater Junction, Big Larch Campground

Flathead Cherries

Flathead Cherries

At 3,000 feet above sea level, Flathead Lake has the perfect growing climate for cherries. Make your way around the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi to see the orchards, and be sure to stop at a roadside stand for a taste of this prized fruit.

Stay: Campground St. Regis, Nugget RV Park

Amazing Fun Center

The Amazing Fun Center in Coram, MT

When you’re done exploring Glacier National Park take the kids to the Amazing Fun Center in West Glacier. With a 1.5-mile maze, go karts, bumper boats and mini golf, you won’t leave without being at least a little a-MAZE-d.

Stay: Flathead Lake KOA in Polson, Polson Motorcoach & RV Resort, Edgewater R.V. Resort & Motel in LakesideDiamond S RV Park in Ronan

Seeley Lake

A family docks their boat as the sun sets over Seeley Lake

With easy water access, a walk-up burger joint (Bay Burgers, right on the lake!) and ice cream shops (try a blue-goo swirl cone at The Ice Cream Place), your family will fall in love with this little lake town.

Stay: Seeley Lake Campground

Darby

What road trip is complete without a stop at an old-fashioned candy store? Darby, Montana’s Old West Candy Store is the perfect spot to satisfy your sweet tooth. Don’t miss out on the huckleberry options!

Stay: Travellers Rest Cabins and RV Park

Float the Clark Fork River and Ride the Carousel

A Carousel for Missoula

Stop in Missoula to ride one of the fastest carousels in the West. If you’re there on the weekend, be sure to check out one of several farmers markets on Higgins Avenue. Cool off with a scenic float down the Clark Fork River afterwards.

Stay: Jellystone RV Park, Cabins, Campground, Boat & RV Storage, Jim & Mary’s RV Park, Missoula KOA

A couple enjoys their RV stay in Glacier Country

We’ve partnered with Bretz RV & Marine of Missoula to help you on your journey to find these Western Montana roadside gems. Store gear, grill and lounge with this custom camping set perfect for your next adventure.

This contest has closed. Visit glaciermt.com for more giveaway opportunities.

Soaking up Fall in Montana

This fall has been one for the record books. The past few weeks have brought crisp days, a bright blue sky, moody and mysterious storm clouds and the stunning colors of autumn. But instead of me telling you all about it, I’d rather you see it for yourself.

Here’s a look at fall in Western Montana’s Glacier Country

Highway 2 heading toward Glacier National Park.

Highway 2 heading toward Glacier National Park.

Oh, Missoula.

Oh, Missoula.

Taking in the colors near East Glacier Park.

Taking in the colors near East Glacier Park.

An evening stroll along Elk Creek.

An evening stroll along Elk Creek.

Country roads, take me home.

Country roads, take me home.

The changing colors of the western larch or tamarack.

The changing colors of the western larch (tamarack).

Looking out over Missoula from Mount Sentinel.

Looking out over Missoula from Mount Sentinel.

Cruising Montana Highway 200.

Cruising Montana Highway 200.

Exploring a Montana backroad.

Exploring a Montana backroad.

Happy, happy fall.
TT

Montana: We’re Open

Due to the Federal Government shutdown, Glacier National Park is closed. And to put it simply, it’s a bummer.

But you know what’s not a bummer? There are so many things to see and do in Western Montana outside of the park. After all, our region is home to charming small towns, plentiful hiking and biking trails, local Montana breweries and scenic backroads that lead to adventure and an opportunity to find your own Montana moment.

Sampling locally made beer at Kettlehouse in Missoula.

Sampling locally made beer at Kettlehouse in Missoula.

Because I’m a bit bossy (it’s okay, I’ve come to embrace it), I’ve rounded up some activities and things to do if you plan on playing in Western Montana this fall. After all, while our national parks may be closed for the time being, Montana is indeed open.

Take a (Scenic) Drive
It seems like no matter which way you go in Montana, chances are you’ll find one of our scenic drives. Some of my personal favorites include cruising up to the Northfork to Polebridge, venturing off on a backcountry road near Eureka and taking in the sights and colors along the West Fork Road south of Darby.

Cruising the Seeley-Swan Valley.

Cruising the Seeley-Swan Valley.

Go Fish
As a Montana girl, it probably comes as no surprise that fly-fishing is one of my loves. (You may recall my love of fly-fishing from this post). While I don’t claim to be an avid or expert fisherman, I can tell you with conviction that nothing soothes my soul quite like fly-fishing. If you’re looking to cast a line in Western Montana, I’d suggest taking to the waters of the Bitterroot River and the Blackfoot River.

Putting in on the Bitterroot River just south of Darby.

Putting in on the Bitterroot River just south of Darby.

View Fall Foliage
While Montana may not be the first place you think of for viewing fall foliage, the state certainly delivers, especially if you’re smitten with yellows and golds. Top fall foliage viewing routes include the Seeley-Swan Valley on Highway 83, the Missoula Valley (best viewed by walking the trail along the Clark Fork River or hiking the M for a complete view of the valley) and the Bitterroot Valley on Highway 93. If you’re looking to get off-the-beaten path in the Bitterroot, venture off on the East Side Highway.

A look at fall in the Mission Valley, courtesy of Donnie Sexton.

A look at fall in the Mission Valley, courtesy of Donnie Sexton.

 Fall Events
This autumn is packed with fun upcoming events throughout Western Montana. Of note: Great Northwest Oktoberfest in Whitefish October 3 – 5; Scarecrow Festival in Stevensville October 5; Tamarack Time and Brewfest in Seeley Lake October 11 – 13; and Tamarack Time! in Bigfork October 19. An added bonus: Great Northwest Oktoberfest was just named one of the top Oktoberfest events in that nation by SheKnows.com

And if you have questions? Call us at 800.338.5072. Our travel counselors can help you make plans to experience the best of fall in our neck of the woods.

xo,
TT

September in Montana: Cool Autumn Events

Well, it’s here. Filled with gorgeous colors and delicious smells, the beautiful, glorious first month of fall is upon us. Along with its pleasant arrival, September in Montana also brings noteworthy area events.

Check ’em out…

Montana Dragon Boat Festival in Bigfork
Happening THIS WEEKEND (Saturday and Sunday) at Flathead Lake Lodge, Montana Dragon Boat Festival brings teams of ferocious (or in the case of the Glacier Country team–fun and silly) paddlers to navigate the waters of Flathead Lake as they race against other dragon boat teams. The event is open to spectators and features live music, food and drinks. Spectators are welcome to come watch and cheer on the teams of paddlers as they compete on the largest natural freshwater lake in the West.

A team makes their way onto the course on Flathead Lake.

A team paddles onto the course on Flathead Lake.

Germanfest in Missoula
Taking place Sunday, September 8 at Caras Park in downtown Missoula, Germanfest includes singing and dancing, German food and beer and plenty of kid’s activities.

Nordicfest in Libby
Coming up September 13 – 15, Nordicfest celebrates the area’s Scandinavian heritage of Montana’s northwest corner with style and flair. A cool event, it includes a Fjord horse show, live music, a Viking encampment, parade, children’s events and a craft show.

Founders Day Celebration in Stevensville
Marking 172 years of the St. Mary Mission, this year’s Founders Day Celebration will be held September 22. The celebration includes ringing of the St. Mary Mission bell, a Salish presentation and tours of the historic mission and its grounds.

The historic St. Mary's Mission.

The historic St. Mary’s Mission.

Great Northwest Oktoberfest in Whitefish
Held over TWO weekends (September 26 – 28 and October 3 – 5), Whitefish’s Great Northwest Oktoberfest is a kick-up-your-heels event that includes authentic Bavarian food, log-sawing competitions, stein-holding contests, traditional music and keg-hurling championships.

Free Entry to Glacier National Park
While it’s not really an event, the National Park Service is offering fee free entry to Glacier National Park on September 28 in honor of National Public Lands Day. Entry for the entire day is free and autumn is one of the best times to see the park.

The west entrance to Glacier National Park.

The west entrance to Glacier National Park.

Montana Brewer’s Fall Festival in Missoula
If there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that Montana has good beer. Putting their goods on display on September 28 at Missoula’s Caras Park, breweries from across Montana will showcase their locally made brews. Round out the day of tasting Montana with live music and local food.

This year's festival features beer from more than 20 Montana breweries.

This year’s festival features beer from more than 20 Montana breweries.

September, this girl salutes you.
TT

Fall in Glacier National Park: Enter to Win a Two-Night Stay

This girl has big news for you: We’re throwing a going away party for summer and a welcome party for fall! After all, summer is awesome and fall is jaw-droppingly beautiful and when two seasons as lovely as these have such a cordial hand-off, it only seems appropriate to give them proper accolades.

A picture perfect meeting of summer and fall. A picture perfect meeting of summer and fall.

What exactly is happening at this party? Truth be told, it’s only made up of one thing…A GIVEAWAY!

What can you win?
A) A chance to experience fall foliage in Montana.
B) A two-night stay in West Glacier, Montana.

During your two nights of soaking up fall in Western Montana, you’ll bunk at Great Northern Resort on the edge of Glacier National Park.

The cozy chalets at Great Northern Resort. The cozy chalets at Great Northern Resort.

This could be your cozy abode. This is your room.

The view from the deck at one of Great Northern Resort's chalets. The view from the deck at one of Great Northern Resort’s chalets.

Enter to win by leaving a comment on this post, telling me what you love most about fall in Montana. And if you haven’t been here yet? No worries. Tell me what you think you’ll love the most.

Comments will close on Monday, September 9 at 10 p.m., MST and the winner will be announced on Tuesday, September 10.

So go on…Tell me what YOU love most about autumn in Montana.

xo,
TT

UPDATE: Kim Smith was the winner of a two-night stay in Glacier National Park. Congrats, Kim! Enjoy Glacier National Park!

Fall in Montana

This morning, I headed out the door bound for work. And while Montana is still in the trenches of summer, I felt something completely different. A new feeling that could only mean one thing—fall.

And while I’m not trying to rush summer out the door (I literally want her to stay as long as possible), I couldn’t help but let my mind water to fall in Western Montana.

My mind wandered to this scene of the Flathead River, taken last fall.

An early morning on the Flathead River, taken last fall.

It’s just that fall is so lovely. It’s filled with mild temperatures, changing colors, perfect fly-fishing conditions and a delicious breeze that manages to combine fresh, crisp mountain air with the warm smell of sun-drenched grass, pumpkins and cider.

The other thing I’ve been thinking about is how I can share the awesomeness of fall in Montana with you. Because let’s get serious…you and I both know that my beloved Montana is not one of the first places you think of when you think of awesome fall destinations.

But, it should be. Here’s why…

Fall Colors
I’m calling it: Montana is an up-and-coming fall foliage viewing destination. While we may not have the gorgeous colors of Michigan or the spectacular array of reds found on the east coast, Montana gets its shine on in the form of brilliant shades of yellows and golds, with splashes of reds and oranges in the underbrush.

Autumn colors in Glacier National Park.

Autumn colors in Glacier National Park. Photo: Donnie Sexton.

Glacier National Park
While the height of visitation to my most favorite place happens during July and August, as far as I’m concerned September and October are totally the belle of the ball in terms of times to visit Glacier National Park. Why? a) The crowds are gone. b) The hiking trails are open and you and your hiking buddy may be the only one on them. c) The fall colors combined with the peaks are a site to see. d) Time restrictions on cyclists biking the Going-to-the-Sun Road are lifted after Labor Day.

A shoulder season trip with Glacier Park Boat Company in Two Medicine.

A shoulder season trip with Glacier Park Boat Company in Two Medicine.

Fishing
To be honest, there’s no time of year I’d rather fly-fish in Western Montana than autumn. I think it’s the quietness of the river, the crisp edge in the air and the relaxation that comes along with it.

Fishing on the Bitterroot River. Photo courtesy of Mike Brodwater

Fishing on the Bitterroot River. Photo: Mike Brodwater

Golf
Even though I may not be known for my stellar golf game, I can still appreciate a beautiful course that plays nicely. You know what else I appreciate? A golf season that reaches into the shoulder season so people like me can hit the links and not be afraid of hitting other golfers.

Epic Events
Montana has some sweet fall events. Topping my personal list are Montana Dragon Boat Festival on Flathead Lake, Montana Brewers Festival in Missoula, Great Northwest Oktoberfest in Whitefish and Scarecrow Festival in Stevensville.

Paddles up!

Paddles up!

Wishing you a fun-filled and delicious smelling fall,
TT

An Autumn Wedding in Montana

There are a lot of things that happen because two people fall in love. One of the main results? A wedding. And this, my friends is what this story is about.

A few weeks ago, many family and friends from near and far traveled to Bigfork, Montana to help celebrate the marriage of a Montana girl and a North Dakota boy. (Quite the combo, eh? ;))

Held at BruMar Estate just outside of Bigfork, the wedding combined some of the best things in the world: family, friends, babies, grandmas, love, dancing, delicious cake, laughter, autumn and Montana. And it was lovely.

Here are a few of my favorite moments from that day.

The sweet flower girl passing the time as the big girls got ready.

Loveliness. Photo by B2 Photography in Whitefish, Montana.

The photographer (B2 Photography in Whitefish, Montana) captured the moment perfectly.

One bride and her five maids.

Here’s to love.

xo,
TT

Soaking Up Montana Moments

Ready for some sappiness from your (hopefully) favorite messy-haired blond friend? If not, you better buckle up because it’s coming straight at you.

Here’s the thing. There are moments in life that stop me in my tracks. Little experiences, sites and interactions that snap me back to attention. And while words don’t seem to be coming easily to me today, I will say this: Montana is magic. It feeds my soul.

Lake McDonald on a crisp fall day.

The Rocky Mountain Front. I'm sure there is no fresher air in the world than the wind that sweeps off these mountains.

On a recent trip north, I was stopped for construction. Looking up, this was my view. (I see you Flathead Lake).

Glacier National Park during a late fall storm.

Driving down a country road and not knowing what's around the bend.

Perfection. Mainly because it reminds me of my grandpa.

A perfect morning.

My street.

Love.

Here’s to many more perfect moments.

xo,
TT