Archive for June, 2013

Share your favorite #montanamoment and win

June 26th, 2013 by kimtaylor

The Montana Office of Tourism is sponsoring a contest where you can win a trip back to Montana, by sharing a picture of your favorite “Montana Moment”.  The contest runs through August 26th, 2013.

Here are the basic entry requirements:

  • The photo must be taken in Montana.
  • If a person is depicted, the person must be the Entrant; no other person(s) may be depicted.
  • The Entry must not have been submitted previously in a contest or promotion.
  • The Entry must not contain content that is false, inaccurate or misleading.
  • If you have more than one picture, each submission must be substantially different.

What's your favorite #montanamoment ?

What’s your favorite #montanamoment ?

There are three ways to enter the contest: via Twitter, Instagram or direct upload via visitmt.com website.

All eligible Contest Entries received during the Promotion Period will be judged on the basis of creativity (50%), and photographic quality (50%)

One Grand Prize Winner will receive the following: Winner’s choice of a five (5) day, four (4) night Montana National Park vacation package; winner can choose either a Winter or Summer Glacier National Park or Yellowstone National Park vacation package. Includes the following for 2 people: hotel accommodations, airfare, rental car, a $500 credit toward two (2) trip experiences (sightseeing, outdoor activity, or cultural/learning) per person totaling four (4) trip experiences and a park pass to the chosen National Park. The Grand Prize Winner will be determined on or about September 15, 2013.

Plus, there are Weekly Prize Winners too, that are selected randomly from all eligible entries for that week, of Montana Coffee Packages from FireTower Coffee in Helena and Huckleberry taffy from Sweet Palace in Philipsburg.

So… if you have a great shot from your last visit to Montana enter this contest. We’d love to see you again!

For full contest details go to: http://visitmt.com/step-out-of-bounds/montana-moments.htm

Author: Sarah Stewart

Walking trails around Whitefish

June 16th, 2013 by kimtaylor

Katie & Newman ready to hit the trail.

Katie & Newman ready to hit the trail.

We are often asked where there are hiking or walking trails for short morning hikes or after-dinner strolls – nothing epic,  just enough to get the blood pumping or to burn off a few calories.  There are several nearby options and the first one is right out the front door of the Hidden Moose.

Whitefish has a walking/bike trail that runs in front of the Moose and can take you all around town.  This paved trail is a great place to head out for an early morning jog before our Montana-sized breakfasts!  You can even take it into town if you’re headed to dinner or plan on imbibing a bit and don’t want to drive.  It’s less than 2 miles from the front door of the Lodge to downtown Whitefish, so you easily walk to or from town from here.  We have maps available of the walking trail or you can pick one up at the Whitefish Visitor’s Center located at 307 Spokane Ave.

If you really want to break a sweat but don’t want to travel far, hike the Danny On trail located at the Whitefish Mountain Resort.  The Danny On trail is 3.8 heart pumping miles to the summit of the Big Mountain. And, you have the option of riding up on the chair lift [$6/one way] and hiking down, hiking up and riding down on the chair lift or hiking both ways.  This trail offers spectacular views of the Flathead Valley and once you reach the summit you’re rewarded with a beautiful & unique view of Glacier National Park.  Also at the summit there is a restaurant, and environmental education center and rest rooms.  Leashed dogs are allowed on the trail, but remember if you bring Fido along you have to hike both up & down as dogs are not permitted to ride the chair lift.

The Whitefish Trail is a relatively new hiking option close to Whitefish and is growing in popularity and size as each year they create more trails to add to the system. There are several trailheads that can get you on your way within a few miles of the Moose and the

Bear grass in abundance on the Whitefish Trail in June.

Bear grass in abundance on the Whitefish Trail in June.

length of hike is up to you as there are many options to choose from.  This trail is well maintained & marked and is dog, horse and bicycle friendly as well as hiker friendly. It’s been a great asset to the community and is a beautiful, meandering trail that lets you get out in nature without the time commitment and drive to a far-away trailhead. It’s a great option if you want to grab a packed lunch at a local deli and head out for a morning hike with a picnic as your reward.   Again, maps of the Whitefish Trail are available at the Whitefish Visitor’s Center.

None of the trails listed above will have you needing any special gear.  Sturdy walking shoes or tennis shoes are all you need for your feet.  Dressing in layers is recommended. Now get out there!

Author: Sarah Stewart

Glacier National Park – plan your visit.

June 10th, 2013 by kimtaylor

This friendly goat was spotted at Logan Pass last year.

This friendly goat was spotted at Logan Pass last year.

So you’re coming to Montana with plans to visit Glacier National Park and you want to get the most out of your trip. This blog post is all about links and tips to help you do just that. [Look for highlighted links to take you to the pages mentioned.]

OK the question on everyone’s mind at this time of year is when will the whole Going to the Sun Road be open for car traffic?  Currently it’s scheduled for June 21, 2013 – with the caveat that the spring plowing is completed.  To see the status of the plowing situation you can visit the Park’s Plowing Status page.  So much of what goes on in the park is weather dependent, so it’s always best to check out their website before heading out.  Which brings me to…

Trail conditions:  Especially in the early and late seasons it’s important to check out trail conditions before heading out on a hike in the Park.  Even in the peak times, trails can suddenly be closed due to bear activity in the area.  One year on a hike to Snyder Lake we were turned around by a Park Ranger about ½ mile from our destination by a bear that was hanging around the Lake.  Go to the Trail Status Report page on the Parks Website for up to date info… then take heed!

Road conditions: As trail conditions can change so can the road conditions, due to weather, construction, etc.  Don’t have your plans scuppered because the road you want to travel on is closed.  Check before hand on the Parks Road Status Page

Weather: This is a biggie.  Things can be calm & beautiful in Whitefish, but turbulent in the Park (or visa versa)… you just never know.  While you should always be prepared for just about any weather situation that Mother Nature can throw at you, check out detailed forecasts on the Park’s weather page.  To see for yourself what the weather is like you can view live web-cams. [There’s even an Osprey Cam.]

What’s Open: The various visitor centers in Glacier National Park have different opening dates and hours of operations, for details go to their Operating Hours and Seasons page.

Shuttle Buses:  One of the great ways of getting around the Park that’s cheap (can’t get cheaper than FREE!) and convenient is the free shuttle busses that operate in the Park, (this year July 1-Sept 2nd, 2013).  These are great for hopping on and off and for shuttling hikers from where they left their car to where they plan to end their hike.  To get all the info and a list of Shuttle stops within the Park visit their Shuttle Info Page.

Red Bus Tours: These classic vehicles are a symbol of Glacier National Park and offer a great way to see the park where you don’t have to worry about traffic, the roll back tops offer you a unique view and the knowledgeable guides can tell you all about the Parks history and sites. The Red Busses (also known as “Jammers”) are run by Glacier Park Inc. and they have various schedules and length of trips to meet your needs.  A trip on a red bus should be on your bucket list!

Since the Hidden Moose Lodge has Wi-Fi you can check out all the info on your smart phone or tablet before heading out.  Then ask Kent or any staff member for their personal recommendations, you’re sure to get a different answer from each!

Author: Sarah Stewart

Big Brews in Big Sky Country

June 3rd, 2013 by kimtaylor

Beer enthusiasts at the annual Great Northern Brewery Beer Barter.  What would you do for a year's supply of beer?

Beer enthusiasts at the annual Great Northern Brewery Beer Barter. What would you do for a year’s supply of beer?

Something’s brewing in the Flathead Valley and beer enthusiasts are rejoicing.  Two new breweries are set to open this Summer in NW Montana joining the ranks of 5 other breweries already producing fine, locally crafted lagers, stouts and ales.  According to the Montana Brewers Association there are 40 craft brewers in the State – maybe the Flathead Valley aims to be the ‘Napa Valley’ of brewing regions in the Treasure State.  You never know….  Craft beer brewing here and across the nation shows no signs of stopping and beer aficionados are jumping for joy.

If you have a beer lover in your family or group who is visiting the area why not take a day and visit a couple of local breweries for tours, tastings and some ‘pub grub’.  Just make sure there’s a tee-totaling designated driver at the wheel.

Right here in Whitefish is the Great Northern Brewery [just look for the tallest building in town!].  Established in 1995 it is the oldest brewery in the area.  They started their claim to fame with Black Star a double hopped golden lager and expanded their offerings to include Wheatfish, Wild Huckleberry, Going to the Sun IPA and Snow Ghost Winter Lager to name a few.  At their Draught House you can sample free tastings of each of their featured brews as well as sandwiches and snacks to go with them.  Summer tours of the brewery take place Monday – Thursday at 1 pm and 3 pm.

After that you can head on over to Desert Mountain Brewing & Draughthaus in Columbia Falls.  Their grand opening took place in March 2013 and featured Two Ocean IPA, Siyeh Stout and Bad Marriage Blonde, an amber hybrid in style, similar to German Alt beer named for Bad Marriage Mountain on the East side of Glacier National Park.  Visit their taproom in downtown Columbia Falls for beer tasting, board games, watching a game on TV or surfing the web.

From there, visit our friends to the South. Around beautiful Flathead Lake there are 3 breweries to choose from… or why choose?  Why not stop at all three!  Flathead Lake Brewing Co. is located in Woods Bay on the East side of the Lake and they have a deck to sit out and enjoy the view.  Farther South in Polson, Glacier Brewing Co. has a variety of beers (and sodas!) on tap for tasting including Golden Grizzly Ale, Wildhorse Island Pale Ale and in tribute to the cherry growers in the area, Flathead Cherry Ale.  For the kids there’s Polson Pepper Soda and Glacier Brewing Root Beer.   Then head back north around the West side of the Lake to the Tamarack Brewing Company’s Alehouse and Grill in Lakeside, MT.  Their wide range of beers, from Blue Jay White IPA to Yard Sale Ale to Switchback Stout will make it a tough choice to pick the perfect beer to go along with their extensive menu choices from fish tacos to salads to burgers and grilled sandwiches.  If trivia is your thing, join them on Tuesdays for trivia night starting at 7 pm.

Opening up this summer is the Kalispell Brewing Company {August 2013} and Homestead Ales in Eureka {June 2013}

For more information on Montana made beers visit www.montanabeerfinder.com and get the scoop on all the Big Sky brewers.

Author: Sarah Stewart