Planning your trip to Northwestern, Montana can feel overwhelming if you have never visited before. The region is spread out over the Rocky Mountain Range and is quite vast. This stunning area is home to Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, The Bison Range and so much more. With all the driving to and from our stunning surroundings, it is typical for guests to plan to stay close to home at least for a couple of days during their trip. Guests ask us what we recommend for Things To Do in our charming ski town of Whitefish, Montana. There is so much to choose from during all seasons that I thought I would list them here as a reference point that you can help you plan your next trip:
- Whitefish Mountain Resort – our town is so lucky to have its very own first-rate ski resort. Ski Magazine rates it #9 in this year’s, “The 30 Best Ski Resorts in the West.” In the winter, they offer reasonably priced lift tickets for downhill skiing, snowboarding and side country options. In the Summer, the resort runs their main chairlift/gondola for scenic chair lift rides or to haul full suspension bikes up for awesome downhill runs. They also have tree ropes courses, zipline, alpine slides and tubing. The resort also has an award-winning hiking trail called the Danny On. Most people will hike to the top (3.8 miles one way) and choose to ride the scenic lift down. The views in both Summer and Winter from the top of Big Mountain is absolutely breathtaking.
- Paddleboarding or Kayaking – at either Whitefish River or Whitefish Lake. There are several access points for the river, and you can float upriver to the Lake for a spectacular view of City Beach and Big Mountain. The river is relaxing with a center bridge where you will spot many local kids jumping off when the water levels are high.
- Hiking & Biking – in addition to the downhill bike scene and hiking trails up at the resort, there are also endless hiking and biking trails surrounding our town along with access to several other fire roads and single track deep in our wooded areas up in the mountains. If you are an expert rider and can handle the climbing, we can point you in the right direction along with the help of Trail Forks App, bear awareness and plenty of water. Or if you are more of a novice rider, renting bikes or walking around town on our town’s paved bike/walking path can be a nice way to explore the area.
- Cross Country/Nordic Skiing/Snowshoeing – You can choose to check out the Haskill Basin Trailhead that eventually connects up with the Big Mountain Trailhead or you can take the easier approach with less hills down at the Whitefish Golf Course. They have Nordic skis for rent either classic or skate. It’s a great way to enjoy the snow as a beginner or any level. If you have never tried them before, the golf course has just a few small hills that you need to navigate. Consider taking a lesson and learn to classic ski with some beautiful surrounding landscape.
- Restaurants, Breweries and Bars – our town is probably one of the more buzzing areas for its eateries and nightlife. We have several options to choose from in Whitefish. For a complete list, check out Dining in Whitefish from our website. In the peak summer season and during holidays, reservations are highly recommended, or you can possibly experience long wait times.
- Ax Throwing – Hank’s Hatchets is just one of those unique places that you must do. It’s a great place for date night or for a group. You can even BYOB!
- Horse Back Riding – there are several options for this activity throughout our great state. If you are looking for an option within Whitefish city limits, then we recommend checking out the Bar W Guest Ranch.
- Spas or Salons – Reecia’s Salon and Spa offers Aveda products and services. This happens to be my favorite place in our town. The service is wonderful, and the facials are really heaven! If you are wanting massage, then Natural Elements Massage and Spa has what you need. If you are wanting the ambiance of a typical day spa you are most likely going to want to visit The Spa at Whitefish Lake.
- Golfing at Whitefish Lake Golf Club – reasonably priced and you can choose from two courses. Their restaurant would be a great place to grab a steak for dinner in the evening as well.
- Live Music or Performances – many of our local bars and restaurants offer live music throughout the week. You can visit Explore Whitefish’s calendar of events to see dates. Our town is very lucky to also have a couple performance venues to see live music and plays. Check out Alpine Theatre Project for more information.
- Beach or Boating – City Beach is the perfect place to watch the sunset, to launch a boat rental or to take the kids so they can play in the sand. Les Mason is another public beach setting with a rocky shoreline that offers a little smaller, rustic wooded beach vibe. For boat rentals, check out Whitefish Marine.
- Ice Skating – Stumptown Ice Den is open year-round and offers public skating hours often (see their posted calendar for schedule). They play fun music, disco lights and assisted gliders for total beginners to help slide across the ice without falling. It is a really fun and inexpensive way to spend a couple hours with your family and friends.
- Fishing with a guide on Whitefish Lake – the only way to catch fish (so I am told) on Whitefish Lake is with a boat and with the help of a guide. They know the lucky spots. You can call one of the following guides who can help out with gear, tips and licensing questions.
- Shopping – our downtown has several stores worth checking out. Many products are locally made. It’s a great way to get to see our community at work. A few of our favorites are Axehead – meet the super friendly owners who handmake all their highly crafted leather goods. The Toggery, where you can find really nice mountain clothing and gear. The Montana Scene – for locally made trucker hats and tees. Big Sky Antiques – items come from all over the world but it’s a fun shop to explore, nevertheless. Our town has several incredible art galleries as well.
- Farmer’s Market and Gallery Nights Art Walk – Each week on Tuesday evenings (Summer only), we have a Farmer’s Market in Depot Park with live music, food trucks, artists and farmer’s stands. Gallery Night’s Art Walk is another weekly event that allows visitors to sip wine and stroll through the various art galleries to check out the local talent.
- Festivals – our town hosts several festivals throughout the year. We have a Christmas Stroll in December and the Winter Carnival with ice sculpting contests, skijoring cowboys, penguin plunge and more. In the Summer, we have Under the Big Sky Music Festival, Whitefish Arts Festival, Huckleberry Days, Whitefish Songwriter Festival, and Oktoberfest.
As you can see, there really is so much to explore right here in our quaint town. Keep all of this in mind when planning your next Northwestern Montana trip. With Amtrak station centered in our town, the ski resort as a backdrop and everything right at your fingertips, you might want to add another day or two onto your vacation planning.