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Bigfork, Montana

Bigfork & the Wilderness

One hundred miles north of Missoula, Bigfork lies on the eastern side of Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the American West. The lake is as renowned for its fishing as Bigfork is famous for an annual flood of vacationers who come to this small, cozy village for the unbelievable variety of nearby wilderness and for the town's cultural attractions.

What to See & Do

East of Bigfork is the Bob Marshall Wilderness, a huge untamed area of 950,000 acres -- a favorite of backcountry purists. Glacier National Park is an hour's drive to the north. The Jewel Basin Nature Area is closer to town and offers 38 miles of nature trails which anyone can navigate.

Flathead Lake attracts anglers for its kokanee in the spring and summer months and for mackinaw and Dolly Varden trout in the fall. In the nearby streams, rainbow, cutthroat and brook trout, perch, bass and northern pike are caught. The Swan River flows through the middle of Bigfork and there is swimming and boating available right in the village. The river is a frequent scene of float trips and canoeing adventures. Golfing rounds out the recreational scene, with the Eagle Bend course a beautiful addition to the town.

There is a lively arts and crafts ambience to Bigfork. The summer sees a live repertory theater in the Center of Performing Arts with musicals and other productions from June through September. There are art galleries and craft shops displaying the work of local resident crafts people and visiting artists. The Bigfork Festival of the Arts is held on the first weekend of August. The village park hosts live outdoor performances during summer months

Bigfork is also a popular winter recreation center. The national forest offers miles of cross-country ski trails and forest roads for snowmobilers. Big Mountain Resort (with downhill slopes) is less than an hour's drive away, as are the famed cross-country trails at Essex. Because of the lake's effect, the winters here are milder than in most northern Montana towns, making Bigfork an excellent place to stay while exploring the recreational opportunities in the area's larger towns, including Whitefish and Kalispell. While there are a number of motels in the village, there are also a number of fine bed and breakfast homes in and near Bigfork.

To get to Bigfork, take US Highway 93 north from Missoula, through the scenic Flathead Lake area. Bigfork is on Montana Highway 35 which cuts around the eastern shore of Flathead Lake, between Polson and Kalispell.

How to Get There

You can also reach Bigfork by driving north on the very scenic State Route 83, through the Clearwater and Swan valleys. This route leads to the town of Seeley Lake, and north to Swan Lake, before reaching Bigfork. For this route, take State Route 200 east from Missoula, and turn north onto Route 83.

Hotels and Lodges

Marina Cay Resort
180 Vista Lane, Bigfork MT 59911, 406-837-5861
A deluxe facility on Bigfork Bay with some suites and cooking rooms, pool, whirlpool, boat & canoe rentals.

Flathead Lake Lodge
Rte. 35, Box 248, Bigfork MT 59911, 406-837-4391
For all-inclusive, week-long family vacations . Guests come from all over the continent to enjoy the guest ranch's activities including water sports—from wind surfing to lake cruises to a children's rodeo.

Candlewycke Inn
311 Aero Lake, Bigfork MT 59911, 406-837-68516406.
The owners of this spacious log home and B&B go great lengths to make their guests comfortable with beautifully furnished King and Queen rooms, plus two deluxe King rooms with whirlpool tubs. and superbly fed at breakfast. A full hot breakfast is served. Picnic tables and grills are available on the patio.

For details on nearby towns and attractions
Go to Seeley Lake, Missoula, Whitefish,
Glacier National Park


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