Flathead Valley, Montana

>
>

Flathead Valley

The Flathead Valley encompasses a large region of northwest Montana. It spans about 40 miles north of Flathead Lake and is bordered on the east by the majestic peaks of Glacier National Park. On the west, Flathead Valley is bordered by the evergreen-covered Salish Mountains. Between the lofty mountains to the east and west, flows the winding Flathead River. The entire Flathead Valley area is supported by 3 regional centers that are located within 15 miles of each other: Kalispell, Whitefish, and Columbia Falls.

Weather

The valley floor sits at an elevation of 3,000 feet, while the tallest mountain peak soars to about 10,000 feet. Despite its elevation and latitude, the climate is considered mild. The high mountains on all sides protect the valley from harsh and severe weather. The numerous lakes also keep temperatures moderate in the summers and winters. As the summers and falls are modestly dry, the winters and springs are reasonably wet. Summer temperatures reach high 70s in the day, and can plunge to the 40s at night. In the winter, temperatures usually linger around the 20s and 30s. Be aware that the weather of Flathead Valley changes quickly and unexpectedly. Bring different layers of clothes suitable for every condition.

Wilderness Areas

The Flathead Valley is surrounded by more than one million acres of public wilderness. If you were to put all these wilderness areas together, you would end up with a land mass larger than the entire state of Vermont. Most of these areas are open year-round and provide extensive playgrounds for any outdoor enthusiast.

State Parks

There are 10 state parks within the Flathead Valley region: Big Arm Unit, Finley Point Unit, Wayfarers Unit, West Shore Unit, Wild Horse Unit, Yellow Bay Unit, Lake Mary Ronan, Logan, Lone Pine, and Whitefish Lake. All reveal different personalizes and offer a variety of opportunities from exploring pebble beaches to fishing for perch.

Glacier National Park

Perhaps the biggest attraction to the Flathead Valley is Glacier National Park, one of the most pristine wild areas in North America. Because of its isolation from settlement, Glacier has been able to retain is biological diversity. Almost two million visitors make their way to Glacier to enjoy is 700 miles of hiking trails, wildflowers, lakes, rivers, and wildlife. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is a huge attraction and winds through forests and around lakes, bringing you near the tops of mountain peaks.

Outdoor Recreation

The Flathead Valley provides excellent outdoor recreation opportunities on land, water, and snow. Bring the whole family out to explore the hundreds of miles of trials on a hike or horseback riding trip. Plan a college reunion and go fly-fishing with the boys or down the Flathead River in a raft. In the winter, take the out crosscountry skis or snowshoes, and take a tour around Flathead Lake. If downhill skiing or snowboarding is your winter passion, visit Big Mountain Ski and Summer Resort. Long runs, short lift rides, sunny days, and deep snow are sure to create lasting memories.

In the Spotlight