Itineraries in Western Montana

Trip Ideas Around Glacier Park

Trip Ideas Around Glacier Park

Trip Ideas Around Glacier Park

It’s no secret that Glacier National Park is a popular vacation destination, and therefore can become very busy during peak tourism months. If you’re planning to visit, it’s wise to have a backup plan for adventuring outside the park, just in case. The greatness of Glacier doesn’t end at park borders—epic landscapes, charming small towns and unforgettable adventures can be found throughout Western Montana, so even if the park is at visitor capacity there’s still plenty of Glacier Country fun to be had. Here are some suggested outside-the-park itineraries.

Coram, Hungry Horse, Columbia Falls: 10 miles

(Note that there will be road construction along this stretch during the 2021 season.)

  • Begin the day by renting bikes at Sky Eco Rentals in Coram and set out to bicycle the 7-mile Gateway to Glacier Trail, which runs from Hungry Horse to West Glacier. 
  • For lunch, head to the Huckleberry Patch in Hungry Horse, where you’ll find plenty of options for the whole family at the Patch’s Alpine Grill. Choose from burgers (including elk and bison), sandwiches, wraps, salads and finger foods, plus a kids’ menu. Top off lunch with Huckleberry pie or a huckleberry shake.
  • Spend a thrilling afternoon in an outdoor funpark like Glacier Ziplines in Columbia Falls, the Amazing Fun Center in Coram, or Glacier Highline, also in Coram. You’ll find high-flying adventures, waterparks, pools, go-karts, and more.
  • After a day of outdoor play, make your way to Backslope Brewing in Columbia Falls for some finely crafted Montana beer and excellent eats—don’t miss the House Pretzels. The kids will love drinking a “fizzy,” created with house-made flavored syrups.

Whitefish

  • Spend the day at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Whitefish Mountain is so much more than a winter ski destination. In the summer, take your pick of zipline tours, an aerial adventure park, summer tubing and the alpine slide.
  • Don’t miss a ride on the scenic lift for views of Whitefish Lake, the Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park.
  • Before you head back down the mountain, settle in at the Summit House—Montana's only mountaintop restaurant. Take in incredible views and delicious food.
  • Take a post-lunch hike back down the mountain on the 3.8-mile Danny On Memorial Hiking Trail, working your appetite back up for dinner back in town at Casey's. Everyone will love the extensive food menu, and the adults will enjoy the well-crafted cocktails.

Bigfork

  • In the storybook village of Bigfork, explore the adorable downtown area. Grab breakfast at Pocketstone Café—the cinnamon rolls are HUGE. Then stop by Mady and Max children’s boutique before strolling across the one-lane bridge overlooking the Swan River to Sliter’s Park and playground. 
  • Have lunch on The Raven’s lakeside deck and enjoy Flathead Lake views as well as a burger or salad, or even the irresistible Montana Yak Meatloaf, which is wrapped in bacon and topped with cherry BBQ sauce.
  • Post lunch, visit Wayfarers State Park nearby—one of many park units in the Flathead Lake State Park system. The rocky cliffs along the shoreline provide excellent views of Flathead Lake. If you’re up for it, jump in for a family swim.  Or, gear up for an afternoon paddle on Flathead Lake. Rent kayaks or stand-up paddleboards from Base Camp Bigfork.
  • For excellent food and award-winning Montana brews, head to Flathead Lake Brewing Company for dinner at their Pubhouse.

Kalispell

  • Begin the day with a refreshing hike on the trails at Lone Pine State Park, where you’ll find fabulous views of the Flathead Valley. On a clear day, you can see Flathead Lake, Big Mountain, the Jewel Basin and Glacier National Park.
  • Now that you’ve worked up an appetite, grab some lunch at Norm’s Soda Fountain—the only old-fashioned soda fountain in the Flathead Valley—and shop the selection of more than 800 kinds of candy. Take note—their motto is “Eat Dessert First.”
  • Spend the afternoon at Woodland Park, Kalispell’s oldest city park, and let the kids work off that sugar high at Woodland Water Park.
  • Make it a pizza night at Moose’s Saloon (yes, kids can visit a Saloon in Montana). Moose’s has been serving up their world-famous pizza for decades. People come from far and wide to enjoy this legendary pie.
News from Glacier National Park Currently, 29 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open for travel.