At 28 miles (45 kilometers) in length, 15 miles (24 kilometers) in diameter, 370 ft (113 meters) in its deepest and 124 miles (200 kilometers) of shoreline the response is Flathead Lake, in northwestern Montana. In all, it is almost 200 square miles (518 square kilometers) provide tons of space for the boater, sailor, swimmer, camper and angler to partake of their preferred water-borne recreation. And for other recreationists, like hikers and mountain bikers, campgrounds, picnic areas and trails scattered along the shore provide views of the lake and the surrounding mountain peaks.
Flathead Lake, in slightly less than 3,000-feet (914 meters) altitude, occupies a basin that has been scoured out by a massive glacier about 12,000 years back. The Flathead and Swan Rivers in the northern end are the significant streams that replenish the lake, whereas the Flathead River drains from the lake’s southwestern ending at the town of Polson.
To reach Polson in the south, you’ll drive through the Flathead Indian Reservation inhabited by the Salish (Flathead) and Kootenai tribes. The lake is known for the Flathead Indians, who got their name from the flattened foreheads they’d get out of their baby-carrying cradles. To fish in the southern region of the lake, you will need a reservation fishing license, which is available in the reservation or from sporting goods stores around the lake.
Polson sits on the coast of Polson Bay and contains several boat launch facilities, including the people Sacajawea and Riverside parks. Riverside has the added bonus of overnight camping with electric RV hookups.
For people who like a narrated tour of the lake, the 41-foot (12.5 meters) Port Polson Princess takes passengers on horseback cruises daily from about June 1 through September 30 beginning from KwaTaqNuK Resort in Polson, at 49708 US Hwy 93 E, Polson, MT 59860. The on-board guides are ready to point out notable landmarks along the lakeshore and to share their understanding of the natural history of this lake. Four tours are scheduled every day, such as a three-hour cruise round Wild Horse and Bird islands and three 1-1/2 hour cruises. It is best to make reservations beforehand by calling 800-882-6363.
Their telephone number is -LRB-406-RRB-883-3049. Here, you’re brought in contact with the pioneering age through screens like a homesteader kitchen, the ranch wreck (or throw) wagon, military artifacts and steamboat memorabilia.
Ahead of the Great Northern Railroad reached the valley in 1892, steamboats did a flourishing business ferrying passengers and freight to points all along the lakeshore. And do not forget to ogle the “Flathead Monster”, a 181-pound 7-1/2-foot-long (82 kilograms, 2.3 meters) white sturgeon captured in 1965. The museum, does not charge admission, but they appreciate donations.
South of Polson is the town of Pablo, Montana, where it is possible to use the services of Native Ed-Ventures, which provides visitors a private tour guide to the community indigenous cultures and cultural events, like pow-wows in the lake. Their address is Box 278, Pablo, MT 59855, telephone number is -LRB-800-RRB-883-5344.
This is the biggest island in Flathead Lake in 2,134 acres (864 hectares) and, in actuality, is among the biggest islands in the inland United States. Privately owned before the country purchased it in 1978-79, several private lots and houses stay on the island. Otherwise the country has left the rest of the island as wilderness.
It was named for the horses that the Flathead and Pend Oreille Indians maintained there as security from Blackfeet raids. To provide the practice a present connection, Montana maintains a population of wild horses on the island.
Aside from the wild horses, the island is famous for its bighorn sheep, which number around 200. One of those predatory in nature, bald eagles nest and live on the island and coyotes and mink hunt the forests, plains and rocky shores for their own meals.
Wild Horse island is available for day-use only by leasing or private boat. Wild Horse and its neighbor to the south, Melita Island, form a channel that local anglers call “Mackinaw Alley” due to the lake trout which linger here in the 100-foot (30 meters) and deeper depths.
The town of Somers, in the northern end of the lake, was a significant port for steamboat traffic. 1 reason for this was the enormous lumber mill that functioned in the early 20th century. Somers is still an integral spot for watercraft because it’s home to the greatest sailing fleet in this end of the lake, also it is the home of the Far West tour ship; -LRB-406-RRB-857-3203.
They are located at 7220 U.S. 93 S, Lakeside, MT 59922, telephone number is -LRB-406-RRB-844-2628.
For a side trip from Flathead Lake, head north from Somers for seven miles on Highway 93 and you will get to the complete service town of Kalispell.
When you have done that, you can pay homage to the creator of the bustling town by visiting the Conrad Mansion six blocks east of Main at 4th Street. Fully furnished with original family possessions, it’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the most authentic turn-of-the-century house in the Pacific Northwest.
While you’re in Kalispell, you might also pick up recreational information to the 2.3-million acre (930,777 hectares) Flathead National Forest in the primary office, 650 Wolfpack Way, Kalispell, MT 59901. You’ll find the workplace for the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and its own information on state parks in 490 North Meridian Road, Kalispell, MT 59901, -LRB-406-RRB-752-5501.
On your way back to Flathead Lake, grab Highway 82 north of Somers and head east toward Bigfork. Watch for the nest platforms of osprey that match officials have established atop telephone poles right alongside the street. Osprey eggs hatch around mid-June, and the fledglings are ready to check their wings by late July.
That also happens to be the opportunity to enjoy the Flathead area’s most prized delicacy – the huckleberry. The National Forest lands around Flathead’s shores offer the best spots for berry picking, but State lands have tomatoes for picking. Request at the National Forest, Mims Rat Removal and State Park offices in Kalispell for the best areas. In abundant years, you could have the ability to buy huckleberries at farmer’s markets, some grocery stores in the region and a few roadside stands.
The fantastic place to have a taste of huckleberries, in preserved form, is in Bigfork.
Eva Gates began her huckleberry company in 1949 with her grandmother’s recipe, and they put up the preserves by precisely the identical recipe in the identical smallish batches. They also make huckleberry butter and jelly. Apart from huckleberry’s, Eva Gates also makes preserves from cherries, spiced apple, strawberry, raspberries, black caps (which is a type of raspberry) and several sorts of syrups.
Just south of Bigfork on the lakeshore, you will find Montana’s most popular state park, Wayfarer. With 30 campsites, boat ramp and a shore, the country park is a take-off stage for waterborne recreation. In the far end of the picnic area, a stone outcropping dotted with junipers provides a vista point of the lake.
South of Wayfarer on Highway 35, you will drive past roadside stands that might sell huckleberries in season. However, about the same time that the wild huckleberries are coming in, would be the bing cherries. The east shore of Flathead Lake has all the valley’s cherry orchards and the majority of the fruit stands. Some orchardists also raise raspberries, strawberries, apricots, grapes and pears.
In the center of the orchard country, you will discover the earliest biological station in the nation. In Yellow Bay, University of Montana researchers study the lake’s freshwater fish and habitat, including lake (around 30 pounds), cutthroat, Dolly Varden and rainbow trout in addition to Kokanee salmon, perch, whitefish and bass. The channel is open to people. Coincidentally, Flathead Lake’s deepest purpose, at 370 feet, is at Yellow Bay, which is also the site of the country park with a boat ramp and a shore.