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5 Unexpected Discoveries in Whitefish, Montana

Endless opportunities for exploration await
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Whitefish, Montana

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Nestled in the heart of the Glacier National Park region, Whitefish provides endless opportunities to explore the fall colors in the millions of acres of protected lands. Whether you want to get off the beaten path by foot, bike or horseback, or choose to simply stroll through downtown, there is a perfect day of discoveries waiting for you.

Hike Glacier National Park

Photo: Noah Couser

Whitefish is only 30 minutes from Glacier National Park. Though portions of the road are open year-round, the famed Going-to-the-Sun Road is fully open to cars from July until mid-October, weather dependent. Hillsides are covered in the golden changing needles of the Western Larch tree contrasted by the white of the first snowfall on the mountain peaks. Fall is a great time for wildlife watching, as mountain goats and bighorn sheep frequent the higher elevations and bears and elk roam through the lower valleys.

Don’t Miss: Hike along the impressive Highline Trail from Logan Pass to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook for a spectacular panoramic view.

Thirty-six miles of Fun, Flowy Singletrack

Photo: Brian Schott

Pure bliss for mountain bikers, the Whitefish Trail starts only two miles from downtown Whitefish and offers 36 miles of flowy intermediate singletrack perfect for all ages and skill abilities. The changing larch trees provide the backdrop and strategically placed benches give well-deserved rest stops with unbeatable views.

Don’t Miss:
Ride Dollar Lake Loop, the new section of the trail with a fun downhill and amazing views of Whitefish Lake.

Drink the Scenery

Photo: Brian Schott

Often referred to as “Montana Gold,” huckleberries are a prized local wild berry, and can be found in everything from ice cream and pie, to elaborate sauces, gourmet meals, and even beer and cocktails. Whitefish is home to two micro-breweries and two micro-distilleries that all use locally-sourced ingredients, especially the huckleberry.

Don’t Miss
: Unwind at Great Northern Brewing Company, which features the signature favorite brew Huckleberry Wheat, and Whitefish Handcrafted Spirits offers a huckleberry liqueur. Spotted Bear Spirits makes use of seasonal organic produce to complement its house-made syrups and vodka, and Bonsai Brewing Project uses Montana-grown barley and even gathers spruce tips for the Spruce Tip Porter.

Sunset Paddle on Whitefish Lake


Photo: ChuckHaney.com

Launch a paddleboard at City Beach (local rentals available from Sportsman & Ski Haus) and paddle into the sunset along the calm shoreline of the clear blue Whitefish Lake, surrounded by ribbons of gold, blue, and purple mountains.

Don’t Miss:
Paddle along the eastern shore with a stop at the Lodge at Whitefish Lake. Enjoy cocktails on the deck of the Boat Club, a well-deserved dinner, or a rest by the large open fireplace.

Take in the Culture and Nightlife


Photo: Whitefish CVB

Get a dose of culture with live music, theatre, and signature events. The Whitefish Theatre Company kicks off its top-notch season in September, and the Glacier Symphony and Chorale has regular performances year-round. From acoustic guitar at a wine bar to a national touring DJ to dance the night away, live music can be found most nights of the week to finish off your perfect day in Whitefish.

Don’t Miss: Pull up your lederhosen at the Great Northwest Oktoberfest the last weekend of September and first weekend of October.

Road Trip: Concrete and East Skagit County

Road Trip: Concrete and East Skagit County

Enjoy a scenic drive and stay out in eagle country
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View the eagles during the Skagit Eagle Festival; snap a pic and enter it by January 15 in the Skagit River Bald Eagle Center’s 20th anniversary photo contest. Go win it!

WHERE: Concrete and east Skagit County.

WHY: Eagles are flocking to their spectacular winter getaway—why not join them? The Skagit Eagle Festival (1/1–1/31; concrete-wa.com) happens every January weekend, and your car makes a perfect blind for snapping pictures without scaring off these magnificent birds. Celebrate along the Skagit River with arts and crafts, wine tasting, photography tours and river rafting for eagle spotters.

NIGHT OWLS: Check out the Concrete Theatre, built in 1923 (45920 Main St.; 360.941.0403; concrete-theatre.com), updated for films, live music and events during the festival. early birds: Stop by 5b’s Bakery (45597 Main St.; 360.853.8700; 5bsbakery.com) for quality gluten-free baked goods and more for breakfast or lunch. For dinner, there’s Annie’s Pizza Station (44568 State Route 20; 360.853.7227; anniespizzastation.net), whose handcrafted cuisine would be a hit even in a town bigger than Concrete, population 753.

RULE THE ROOST: Spend the night in one of Ovenell’s Heritage Inn log cabins, located on a historic ranch across the river (46276 Concrete Sauk Valley Road; 360.853.8494; ovenells-inn.com). Pick up a steak or two—the cows are raised right there on the ranch—and throw them on the provided barbecue. Had enough of eagles? Elk, deer and coyotes are known to roam the ranch on a daily basis.