GLACIER NATIONAL PARK:
o $35 admission fee annually. Entitles owner (and spouse) whose name is on pass and all passengers in his/her car to enter (i.e. can’t lend pass to others).
o Dogs on leash only; dogs not allowed on trails
o Bring warm clothes and rain jackets regardless of how hot it is in the valley
o Learn about how to act in grizzly bear country from friends or read brochure at entry way, education available in Apgar Village
o Bike Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier National Park before it opens to cars, May and June (not too steep –perfect for family)
o Lake McDonald, lots of pullouts to park, walk down to lake, throw rocks, picnic, play in cold water, can get here before most of Going-To-The-Sun Road is open
o Trail of the Cedars boardwalk, short, can get here before most of Going-To-The-Sun Road is open
o Logan Pass – boardwalk to Hidden Lake, see hoary marmots, mountain goats, big horn sheep
o Highline Trail, level, can go for miles or just a little ways, great views, exposure. A great 10 mile loop is to hike from Logan Pass to Granite Park Chalet (7 mi) then down to the Loop (3 mi) and catch a shuttle back to the pass.
o Hikes for Adults starting at Logan Pass: Mt. Oberlin (easier–adventurous kids could do it), Mt. Reynolds (exposure, but not technical), Heavy Runner Peak (some exposure), Mt. Clements (exposure), and many others.
o Sun Rift Gorge/Baring Creek Trail – few people travel more than 50 yards up the trail, beautiful argillite stream, waterfalls
o Two Medicine (July – September) – great place to camp and hike out of, get there early enough to get a spot, off Hwy 2 past East Glacier, tons of hiking to do, hike along Two Medicine Lake and take boat back (2 -3 miles), Scenic Point, Rockwell Falls (4 -5 miles each way), Cobalt Lake (maybe 10 miles each way), Aster Overlook (short and good kid hike), Dawson-Pitamakin (arguably the best hike in the park, 18 miles total with lots of elevation gain – not for kids)
o Many Glacier (long drive to get there, but one of the prettiest places on earth), high concentration of grizzly bears, great old lodge, would be great to sea kayak or canoe, picnic, hike into Iceberg Lake, Cracker Lake, Ptarmigan Tunnel, Grinnell Glacier.
o East Glacier – eat at Seranos for dinner, get there early, always a waiting list, good Mexican food after a hike in Two Med.
o Bike Rails to Trails from Meridian to The Cottage Inn for Dinner. Trail is good for roller blading, too, for the first 6 miles. The rest is supposed to be paved this year.
o Bike Rails to Trails starting in Somers (short) and along the highway (long)
o Owen Sourwine Nature Preserve – Just down the road, off Willow Glen, near the Kalispell Montessori Elementary School. Turn east on Treasure Lane. Park at the end of the road, dogs on leash.
o Lone Pine State Park, right by Kalispell, drive south on Meridian, good visitors center for the kids, steep, short hike, good evening exercise for Mom or Dad, dogs on leash, overlook of whole valley, park at lower parking lot and hike up or park at top by Visitors Center. If not icy, can hike all year.
o Stanton Lake, along Hwy 2, between West Glacier and Essex, in Flathead National Forest, ~1.5 mi, gorgeous, great for kids and dogs, good fishing
o Strawberry Lake, in the Swan Range, ~2.5 mi, great for kids and dogs
o Jewel Basin in Swan Range, roller coaster washboard road to trailhead, popular, good for kids, dogs on leash only, consider Birch Lake, Picnic Lake, Twin lakes, Wild Cat, Crater
o Napa Point, in Swan Range, Hwy 83, Goat Creek Rd, drive up to ridge at 6400 ft., enjoy the view, huckleberries in mid to late August, hike a little or a long ways
o Cold Lakes, Glacier Lake – Mission Mountains, short enough for kids. Many other lakes in this area of varying distances and difficulty.
o Big Mountain – good evening work out, lots of huckleberries in August, can ride gondola up (for a cost) and/or down
o Great Northern – access by Hungry Horse Reservoir road, difficult (4000 vert. ft.) hike for adults only, beautiful, lots of exposure but non-technical
o Foys Lake – closest to Kalispell, crowded, good people watching
o Flathead Lake
o Wayfarer State Park –
east side of Flathead Lake, Hwy 35, just past Bigfork, big rocks to frolic on, great picnic spot
o Bear Dance –east side of Flathead Lake, Hwy 35, past Bigfork, walk down to lake from parking lot, peaceful, pebble beach, clear water
o Yellow Bay State Park –east side of Flathead Lake, Hwy 35, past Bigfork
o Blue Bay State Park –east side of Flathead Lake, Hwy 35, past Bigfork
o West Shore State Park –on the west shore of Flathead Lake south of Lakeside near the Presbyterian Camp.
o Whitefish Lake
o Whitefish City Beach, sandy, crowded, good people watching
o Les Mason Park, past Big Mountain turn off, have to look hard for little sign, pebble beach, often less crowded
o Tally Lake –NW of Whitefish, established campground and day use area, long drive down dirt road
o Swan Lake –along Hwy 83, admission fee, by the town of Swan. The Laughing Horse is a good restaurant in Swan
o Hungry Horse Reservoir, best if you have a boat, many campgrounds on either side of lake, islands to camp on, good huckleberry picking starting in mid-late July
o Other lakes in area: Ashley Lake, Bitterroot lake, Smith Lake, Lake Mary Ronan, Finger Lakes, Upper and Lower Stillwater Lake.
o The Cottage Inn Restaurant in Kila, between the towns Kalispell and Marion; Live music on certain evenings
o The Broiler Room (www.boilerroombrew.com/?page_id=320); Live music usually on Fridays and Saturdays
o “Music in the Park” (late June, July, August) at Depot Park (downtown), sponsored by Parks and Recreation (Tuesday evenings at 7:00 and Wednesday over lunch)
CROSS COUNTRY SKIING:
o Get inexpensive used gear at Salvation Army or The Ski Swap in the fall, one in Kalispell, another in Whitefish
o Get highest quality gear and best service at Rocky Mountain Outfitter
o Rocky Mountain Outfitter is also the best place to get hiking guide book, advise, maps, hiking gear, etc.
o Flathead Valley Community College (FVCC) trails –if enough snow; run by donations
o Whitefish Lake Golf Course –$8 trail pass, can get annual family pass for ~$75
o Stillwater – $10 trail pass, off Hwy 93 past Whitefish, can get family pass
o Round Meadows –free but inconsistent grooming; off Farm To Market Rd in the west valley
o Blacktail –No fee, but run by donations, fairly groomed trails; half way up the mountain to the downhill area
o Izaak Walton Inn – $10 fee to ski groomed trails, 888-5700, southern tip of Glacier National Park, off Hwy 2, between East and West Glacier, in the “town”of Essex, no gas station or store there. Ski Fest in January provides free trail pass, free lessons, free rentals/demos from local area shops. On both Saturday and Sunday (but can do just one day)
o Going-To-The-Sun Road –level skiing, but not groomed so conditions vary widely
o Autumn Creek Trail –off Hwy 2 between Essex and East Glacier, skiing the whole trail requires good skiing ability, navigation skills and a shuttle, skiing part of trail can be done by anyone, bring goggles, it can have extreme weather, wind
o Blacktail, Lakeside, smaller, more affordable, good for beginners
o Big Mountain, Whitefish, expensive, lots of terrain for beginners through advanced
o Summit Classic – 5 or 10k, third Sunday in April (19th in ‘09)
o Rails-to-Trails 5k –no listing yet on web site; rumor has it in late May this year
o Bigfork Whitewater Festival Triathlon – May 24th in ’09, 4 mile paddle, 14 mile road bike ride, 4 mile run; can do it as individual or team of 2 or 3 (or 4, if 2 people paddle)
o Summit Solstice Triathlon (or Duathlon consisting of run-bike-run) – June 21 in ’09 at Foys Lake/Herron Park area. A good “beginners’triathlon; fills up early)
o Whitefish Lake Run – June 27, ’09; 5 or 10k. The 10k event is the USATF Montana State Road Racing Championship.
o Glacier Challenge – July 11, ’09. The premier multisport race in the area; 7 legs of run-paddle-road bike-mtn bike-road bike-paddle-run. Can do as team or solo.
o Missoula Marathon and ½ Marathon – July 12, ’09. Easiest marathon in this immediate area.
o Informal triathlon with paddling instead of swimming –Aug. 2nd? A training partner, Steve Muller, organizes this fun, low key race on Foys Lake; about the same distances as the Bigfork Tri.
o Swan Crest 57k (36 mi) race – last year’s organizer, Brad Lamson, starting Montana’s first 100 mile race around the same time, so doesn’t know when it will be (if at all). In the past, it is in early September. My best friend, Ron, wants to do it with me, so we may just have to organize it ourselves.
o Two Bear Marathon – The valley’s only marathon; more like a trail run, with 2400 vert. ft. gain and loss; Sept. 13th, ‘09
o Le Grizz 50 mile Ultramarathon – The “easiest” ultra because it follows a dirt road (except the last 10 mi) from one end of Hungry Horse Reservoir to just beyond the dam. Oct. 10, ’09. USATF 50 mile State Championship