Flathead Valley Scenic Drive - Kalispell
This valley has it all. The western gateway to Glacier National Park, it also has mountains, the largest natural freshwater lake in the West (Flathead Lake), and lots of outdoor fun. In summer, that includes hiking, biking, fishing, camping, and golfing - the valley is a golf mecca with ten courses. Call the Flathead Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800/543-3105.) In winter, the Whitefish Mountain Resort (800/858-4137)is the star with 94 runs and over 3,000 acres of skiing.
Start on Highway 35 in Bigfork, a lakeside resort town with galleries, resorts, cherry orchards and some of the state's best restaurants in a three-block area. Then, it's on to Kalispell for a stop at the Conrad Mansion (755-2166), built in 1895 by the city founder C.E. Conrad. Kalispell is also the retail center of the valley with shopping, dining and other entertainment. Find Highway 93 North and head for Whitefish, the recreational hub of the Flathead. Here you'll enjoy the Whitefish Mountain Resort, with gondola rides during the Summer, and Whitefish Lake. On Highway 2 as you head to Glacier National Park, stop in Columbia Falls for snowmobiling in the winter or the state's largest waterslide in summer.
The Flathead Valley is Montana's premier golf destination with ten courses - some ranked among the nation's top fifty. Flathead Lake, at the south end of the valley, is a summer fishing, boating and swimming paradise. It also has Wildhorse Island, Montana's largest state park, with beautiful views and a large bighorn sheep population.