Why should I visit Hungry Horse?
One of Montana’s hidden gems, Hungry Horse offers outdoor enthusiasts some great hiking, fishing and boating opportunities, but without the crowds. The Hungry Horse dam is Montana’s largest and with its picturesque drive and reservoir, it makes for a great day trip.
Where is Hungry Horse?
Located 10 miles east of Glacier National Park’s west gate, Hungry Horse sits on a pretty stretch of Highway 2. From Whitefish take 93 to Highway 40 and pickup Highway 2 in Columbia Falls. Once on Highway 2 east you can’t miss it.
What sort of Services and Amenities does Hungry Horse offer?
- Lodging: If you’re looking for no frills lodging amid lots of wooded wilderness, Hungry Horse offers a variety of budget accommodations. Cabins and campgrounds are a plenty, which makes it an affordable alternative to Glacier Park. With almost a dozen campgrounds and lots of log cabins for rent, there is something for the budget traveler or vacationer looking to get off the grid for a while.
- Dining: With just a few Mom-and-Pop food joints in Hungry Horse, you won’t have a lot of food choices, but each spot has its own charm. No matter where you eat, you can be sure that it will feature some type of huckleberry product. The stretch of Highway 2 between Columbia Falls and Glacier National Park should be named “the huckleberry highway” due to the ubiquitous fruit.
- Huckleberry Treats: When in Hungry Horse you must stop at the Huckleberry Patch and try a sweet and creamy huckleberry shake or gooey piece of huckleberry pie.
What can I do or see in Hungry Horse?
- Scenic Drive: The 4-mile drive up to Hungry Horse Dam from Highway 2 is a feast for the eyes. The two lane road winds around steep cliffs and offers wide angle views of the Flathead Mountains and the Flathead River. There are several turnouts which allow for photo ops.
- The Dam: Towering over the south fork of the Flathead River, the 564-foot Hungry Horse dam is worth a trip to Hungry Horse. It has a nice viewing pavilion and a visitor center which offers tours from June to September. Take a sunset stroll over the dam’s 2,115 foot walkway for great views of the reservoir and dam’s spillway.
- Hiking: For hikers, Hungry Horse offers great trails through remote areas of the Flathead National Forest. There are 3 moderate to difficult trails near the dam; Great Northern Mountain, Columbia Mountain Trail #51 and Baptiste Lookout #63. The Great Northern Mountain trailhead starts on east side of Hungry Horse Reservoir Road. Not for the meek, the trek winds through 8 miles of forest with a 4577 foot elevation gain.
- Fishing: With depths of 500 feet, the Hungry Horse Reservoir is a favorite with local fisherman. Expect to hook cutthroat trout, bull trout and whitefish here. There are 10 boat launches along the reservoir with Abbot Bay being the longest.
Local Tidbit: The east side of the Hungry Horse Reservoir Road, between the Hungry Horse Dam and Lid Creek, is undergoing an extensive 11 mile resurfacing project, so expect closures. Contact the Hungry Horse Ranger District at (406)-387-3800 for up to date road conditions.