In collaboration with a beautiful bunch of bloggers, today I’m writing about where I live and why you might want to visit the area. While this area is very culturally and historically interesting and offers all the comforts of the city we are, by far, known for what mother nature gave us.
My husband and I moved to Montana twenty-one years ago and I immediately knew it was one of the most beautiful places on Earth. I had just returned from Australia and had witnessed the most breathtaking scenery I could have ever imagined and this land of northwestern Montana still impressed me.
We moved here in the rainy season. It was spring time and the green was like nothing I had ever seen. We came from northern Nevada, a literal desert. All I had seen everyday for my entire life was brown and gray. The water is so abundant here and it was so beautiful! The deep shades of green in dense forests, bright green of the vast meadows and the blue of the sky hurt my eyes, they were so beautiful. It was like seeing color for the first time. There were lakes everywhere and it rained for days at a time. I remember going for a drive and finding Swan Lake. We sat on the wooded banks of the lake in a drizzle looking over to the other side at the misty mountains just like a scene from Lord of the Rings. We are so nerdy.
This area of Montana is called the Flathead Valley. It is in Flathead County and extends from the northern tip of Flathead Lake, over near the gate to Glacier National Park in the northeast and to Whitefish Mountain in the northwest. We live in the valley but it is outside of the valley where the real fun happens.
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Did you know there is a glacier in Montana? I didn’t! Kalispell, Montana is just 45miles south of Glacier National Park. Our number one tourist attraction, the park is full of gorgeous hiking, rafting, lodging and driving opportunities. Going to the Sun Road is a one lane highway that climbs the mountain over the other side, showcasing the majestic mountain peaks and glaciers that still reside here. Rivers and waterfalls dot the way up the mountain with plenty of pull off areas to hike further into the gorgeous country. Wildlife is plentiful in the park and you are bound to see deer, moose, mountain goat, bear and a lot of birds and ground squirrels. There are several lakes, lodges, camping areas and a visitors center located within the park. Several outfitters in the area offer guided rafting, horseback riding and bus tours.
The largest lake west of the Mississippi, Flathead Lake is another popular destination in the summer months. Comparable to Lake Tahoe, Flathead Lake offers over 200 square miles of open water for recreating. Charming towns pepper the coastline and are loaded with local food and fun. Polson, Lakeside, Somers and Bigfork are the main ports on Flathead Lake. They all incorporate amazing facilities and dock areas for boating, kayaking, paddle boarding or swimming off-shore. Bigfork has a gorgeous summer playhouse for your musical viewing pleasure and lovely dining options within walking distance.
SKIING AND SNOWBOARDING
This corner of northwest Montana is home to two popular ski resorts. Blacktail Mountain in Lakeside and Whitefish Mountain Resort in Whitefish. I have never snowboarded or skiied before and I’ve only gone up to the ski resort in the summer, when they have gondola rides and amazing ziplines. But if you’re into that, you will have an absolute blast. The view from the top is unbelievably beautiful in any season. Winter activities include skiing, sledding, ice skating, snowmobiling, hockey and much more.
Having lived here for two decades I can say it has changed a lot. The population has tripled and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. On top of our regular population, thousands of tourists visit the Flathead Valley every summer but the winter is also a treat with plenty of snow. I urge you to visit this gorgeous forest and lake habitat but I would advise you to plan well in advance and expect it to be crowded in July and August. This is just the tip of the iceberg! This area is home to miles and miles of lakes and forests to explore respectfully and nature’s beauty is literally around every corner.
Be sure to check out other posts about Places Around the World from:
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Life Begins At Twenty
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