Cyclists can go where cars can’t in the Spring on the Going-to-the Sun Hwy.
When the lifts stop running on the Big Mountain for the ski season and before they roar back to life to take visitors zip-lining through the trees in the Summer it is known as the “off-season” here in Whitefish. Things quiet down, life moves a little slower, traffic is a little lighter and the weather is a tad more unpredictable. That being said, it can be a great time to visit our area – but you have to make your own fun with some of the more off-the-beaten path activities, take things easy and be prepared for just about any kind of weather.
So if you find yourself wanting to get away from the heat of the South, the noise of city life, or the traffic jams on your daily commute, visit us in the Spring and you can see what the life of a Whitefish “local” is really like, when the skiing stops and the hiking trails in Glacier Park are still covered in snow.
Here are some ideas for fun and sometimes overlooked activities that still go on when the tourists go home:
Visit a distillery, winery, or brewery: Great Northern Brewing Co. has a tasting room less than 2 miles from the Hidden Moose and samples of their many offerings are “on the house”. Glacier Distilling Co. in Coram and the Glacier Sun Winery in Kalispell also offer tastings of their unique libations.
Visit a museum: You might think museums are just in big cities, but some of the funkier museums are located in small towns across the country and the Flathead Valley is no exception. Right here in Whitefish is the Stumptown Historical Society Museum located in the Train Depot. Just 15 miles away in Kalispell there’s the Hockaday Museum of Art, Central School Museum and Conrad Mansion (Open May 15-Oct 13) – a hidden jewel of a beautifully preserved pre-1900 mansion of the founder of Kalispell, Charles Conrad, complete with over 90% of the original family furnishings.
Get pampered: Perhaps in your day-to-day life you don’t have time for massages & spa treatments – but now you do – you’re on vacation after all! Take a day out for a mani/pedi, massage or facial at one of the many day spas & salons here in the Valley. We’re happy to recommend our favorites or visit: www.whitefishchamber.org for a list of options.
Go thrifting: Yea, it’s a thing now – shopping at thrift stores and consignment shops – what used to be the necessity of a broke college student is now “cool” and a great way to find one-of-a-kind unique items and fashion finds. Whitefish has 2 thrift stores and several consignment shops including the Chic Boutique and Copperleaf Consignment. More thrift stores and consignment shops are to be had in Kalispell.
Hike local trails: The Whitefish Trail is a great place to get some exercise and the snow will be gone long before the trails of Glacier Park are cleared of the white stuff. Pick up a trail map and get moving.
Bike: There are many local mountain bike trails less than 10 miles from the Moose, including Spencer Mountain. You can rent a bike at Glacier Cyclery and hit the road. Here’s a local’s tip – Bike the Going to the Sun Road before it opens to car traffic. In mid-May to early June (perhaps earlier depending on the weather) the park service has the Going-to-the-Sun Road closed at Avalanche Creek to car traffic but beyond that point bikes are allowed and the road can be cleared to the Loop and beyond before you run into plow crews trying to clear the road. The road offers spectacular views and you won’t have to worry about cars. For road status call: (406) 888-7800 or see it at: http://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm
See how things are made: Montana Coffee Traders gives tours of their roasting facility and as mentioned in a previous blog post Whitefish Pottery gives tours of their facility to curious visitors who want to pull back the curtain to see how artists get their hands dirty to make beautiful pottery.
Those are just a few of the things you can do in the “off-season” here in the Flathead Valley and I didn’t even get to mention: Seeing live music and theatre, antiquing, gambling, fishing or just bellying up to the bar at a local joint to get recommendations on things to do and see from a friendly barkeep who lives here year-round.
Spring is also a great time to get great rates at the Hidden Moose Lodge since it’s our “off season” too. See our Specials & Packages page for more info. Then give us a call at: 1 (888) 733-6667.
Author: Sarah Stewart