Hike to Hidden Lake – A Pictorial

September 4th, 2013 by kimtaylor

This blog post consists of more pictures than words, and once you see those pictures you’ll understand why.

On Labor Day weekend a few of us took a popular hike in Glacier Park to Hidden Lake.  While the crowds were plenty, they thinned out after the halfway point when most visitors take a few pictures at the Hidden Lake overlook and turn back to their cars.

To get to the trail head, drive up to Logan Pass Visitor’s Center. You may have a challenge finding a parking space during peak times as lot fills up quickly.  [Local’s tip: if you can’t find a parking space, drive out of the parking lot and turn right, less than a 1/4 mile below are some additional parking spaces, parallel to the road.) The trailhead starts behind the Visitor’s Center and the first 1.5 miles to the overlook can be crowded.  But resist the urge to cross this off your hiking list because of this, the views of Hidden Lake from the overlook and up-close are spectacular and the dipping your toes in the crystal clear water will make you forget about crowds.

Hidden Lake Trailhead

Hidden Lake Trailhead













Views on the Way to Hidden Lake

Views on the Way to Hidden Lake










Boardwalk Trail to HIdden Lake Overlook

Boardwalk Trail to HIdden Lake Overlook










Hidden Lake View from Above.

Hidden Lake View from Above.










Crystal Clear Water Greets Intrepid Hikers.

Crystal Clear Water Greets Intrepid Hikers.










Mountain Goats are commonly seen along the Hidden Lake Trail

Mountain Goats are commonly seen along the Hidden Lake Trail









Author: Sarah Stewart

Fantastic Fishing in the Flathead

August 12th, 2013 by kimtaylor

This could be you! [Photo from the Lakestream Fly Shop website]

This could be you! [Photo from the Lakestream Fly Shop website]

If you want to get some fishing in while on vacation in Montana there are a variety of resources to get information on where to go, what bait or flies to use and which fish live where…

First of all you do need a license to fish in Montana (the exception is if you decide to fish in Glacier National Park, no license is needed, but they do have their own set of rules.  Go to: http://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/fishing.htm for details).

Locally to purchase a visitor’s fishing license you can get them at several locations close to Whitefish: Lakestream Fly Shop [334 Central Ave.], Sportsman and Ski Haus [Mountain Mall] and Stumptown Anglers [5790 US Hwy 93 S]. Prices vary depending how long the license is good for & age, (under 11 years of age licenses are FREE!) See http://fwp.mt.gov/fishing/license/availableLicenses.html for prices, and you can even apply online.

Fishing opportunities abound here in the Flathead Valley.  Within 50 miles of Kalispell there are over 236 fishing “holes” for you to explore.

While you’re picking up your license, pick up the current year’s Montana Fishing Regulation booklet, chock full of good info including types of fish at which locale you can expect to find, as well as the fishing rules you need to be aware of.

For the best places to buy poles, flies or bait and to get advice on “what’s biting” stop in at some of our local fishing shops: Lakestream Fly Shop (406-862-1298 – http://www.lakestream.com/ ) and Stumptown Anglers (406 862-4554 – http://www.stumptownangler.com/) Both shops are well versed in the area’s fishing “gold mines” and they can also set you up with a fishing guide, if you’d rather just fish! Many of the local rafting companies also offer half and full day fly fishing trips.

So come to Whitefish and “go fish!”

Author: Sarah Stewart

Motor fans get their fix at Raceway Park

July 17th, 2013 by kimtaylor

Sparks fly at Montana Raceway Park, just south of Whitefish

Sparks fly at Montana Raceway Park, just south of Whitefish

When it comes to motor racing, you probably don’t think of Montana as a hot bed for race fans – think again!  Right here in the Flathead Valley race fans can get their fix each Saturday night during the Summer months at Montana Raceway Park, a motorsports track just south of Whitefish.

The track hosts races in seven standard classes: Super Late Models, Super Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Bombers, CHS Legends, Bandoleros and Hornets. (Don’t ask me what each of them are, but it sounds impressive!)

The quarter mile track is high banked for high speed racing and the bleachers hold up to 4000 race fans.  Montana Raceway Park has been recognized as one of the top 10 short tracks in the nation.  Not bad for little old Montana.

Each Saturday, time trials start at 6 pm with racing starting at 7 pm. And, it’s fun for the whole family.  There are concession stands selling food, beer and souvenirs and it’s a great place to people watch.

So think outside the usual activities when you visit us in Whitefish, sure rafting, hiking, and mountain biking should be on your “to do” list, but a fun evening out can be had at nearby Raceway Park.

Info at: www.montanaracewaypark.com

Author: Sarah Stewart

Active Summer Fun at the Whitefish Mountain Resort

July 8th, 2013 by kimtaylor

Summer activities abound at the Whitefish Mountain Resort

Summer activities abound at the Whitefish Mountain Resort

If you think the Whitefish Mountain Resort is just for skiing, think again.  The Summer season has the mountain humming with activities for kids of all ages. And since it’s just a short 10 min drive from our front door, it’s easy to get there.

Scenic Lift Rides: Get whisked up to the summit of the Big Mountain via an open chair lift or enclosed gondola for a scenic ride that will have you oohing and aahing over views of the entire Flathead Valley and Glacier National Park. Round trip tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for juniors (7 – 12 yrs) or seniors 65+.  Rides are free for kids 6 and under and for 2012/13 winter season pass holders.  You can also buy a one way ticket for just $6, in case you want to hike up/down the mountain.

Hiking: There is a great hiking trail that takes you up to the top of the mountain.  Read more about it in our previous blog post.

Zip Line Tours: Whiz atop the trees 300 feet above ground as you glide along on your mountain adventure. The zip line tours are growing in popularity by leaps and bounds so reservations are recommended to avoid disappointment.  Prices are $75 for a 5 –zip tour and $84 for a 7-zip tour.

Mountain biking: Bike rentals are available on-mountain and with two new trails scheduled to open by August 1, there will be more that 25 miles of lift accessed free-ride and cross country mountain bike trails. The Summit trail offers spectacular views while Runaway Train offers adrenaline pumping free ride biking.  You can have your bike taken to the summit, for a downhill ride all the way. Prices vary.

Alpine Slide:  Great for kids and adults alike, take a sled and race down straight-a-ways and banked curves. Children under 48” have to ride with an adult. $8 per ride, discounts for multiple rides.

Aerial Adventure Park: Strap in and challenge yourself on a variety of treetop courses that range in difficulty – cross suspended bridges and cable walk ways, climb on nets and ladders, swing on trapezes and negotiate other fun elements.  $39/Adults or $29/Kids 12 and under.

Spider Monkey Mountain: Just for kids!  They can play all day for just $10. Children find their way up through a webbed tower and at the top are rewarded with a giant slide ride down.

Summit Nature Center: Located at the Summit House atop Big Mountain, the Nature Center offers a fun place for families to explore with hands-on discovery to learn about the mountain environment.  They also offer a daily wildflower nature discovery walk in July & August.  Free.

Dining: There are plenty of dining options available in the Whitefish Mountain Resort: For Lunch head to Base Lodge Bar & Café for casual lunch dining, The Bierstube offers a patio and serves up great burgers and beer or the Summit House restaurant where you can dine in the highest restaurant in NW Montana with views of Glacier National Park.  For Dinner the Hellroaring Saloon and Eatery has an outside deck and offers casual fare starting at 5 pm.  For a more upscale choice enjoy fine dining at Café Kandahar with Award-Winning chef Andy Blanton.

The Whitefish Mountain Resort… it’s just not for skiing!  For more info visit their website: www.skiwhitefish.com

Author: Sarah Stewart

Art is in the Spotlight – First Thursdays in Whitefish

July 1st, 2013 by kimtaylor

Look for the Art Spot flag outside of participating galleries and shops.

Look for the Art Spot flag outside of participating galleries and shops.

Gallery Nights, (aka. First Thursday Art Walk), in downtown Whitefish is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.  From the start, it was hit with locals and visitors alike, I mean what’s not to like about art, entertainment, beautiful Summer evenings & free refreshments?!  This laid back & low key tradition has been gaining traction since its inception on 2003.  Just remember to time your visit to “the Fish” to coincide with the first Thursday of the month if you’re planning to visit anytime between May and October. [One exception: for July, the Art Walk will be on Friday July 5th due to the Independence Day holiday.]

This year’s Gallery Nights has 14 participating art, specialty shops and galleries – (heck there’s even an artisanal pasta shop participating this year!), who swing their doors wide open and offer special art exhibits, (often with artist right there to talk about their artwork, techniques and to get them out of their studios), and most galleries offer free snacks and libations to their visitors. All of the participants are within a two block radius of Central Ave, the main drag of downtown Whitefish.  It makes a wonderful evening to stroll around to the various galleries and shops, starting at 6 pm and then head to one of the great Whitefish restaurants for dinner (Local’s tip: in the height of Summer make dinner reservations ahead of time, as this popular event has restaurants and bars hopping.)

Gallery Nights takes place from 6-9 pm and participating galleries have an Art Spot flag outside their shops so they are easily identified.  2013 Participating Galleries:

Mi Casa Pottery [550 E First St.]
Stumptown Art Studio [145 Central Ave.]
Going to the Sun Gallery [137 Central Ave.]
Whitefish Pottery & Stillwater Gallery [240 Central Ave.]
Stephen Isley Jewelry [241 Central Ave.]
The Purple Pomegranate [222 Central Ave.]
Great Northern Pasta [235 Baker Ave.]
Jest Gallery [305 E. 2nd St.]
Local Color Studio [116 Central Ave.]
Piney Creek Interiors [100 Central Ave.]
McGough & Co [131 Central Ave.]
Dick Idol Signature Gallery [238 Central Ave.]
Samarah Fine Art [15 Central Ave.]
The Walking Man [305 Baker Ave.]

The Whitefish Gallery Nights website is: http://whitefishgallerynights.org/
or follow them on Facebook.

This is a great opportunity to support local artists and to bring home a one of a kind memento of your trip to Montana.

Author: Sarah Stewart

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

Whitefish Farmers Market adds local flavor to Summer

May 20th, 2013 by kimtaylor

Whitefish Farmers Market is held each Tuesday evening during the Summer from 5-7:30 pm.

Whitefish Farmers Market is held each Tuesday evening during the Summer from 5-7:30 pm.

“You Can Eat the Scenery” is the motto of the Whitefish Farmer’s Market held each Tuesday evening from May to September in downtown Whitefish.

Since 2005, local farmers, artists, food vendors and musicians make this a fun, family activity enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.  Pick up organic produce from local farmers who can tell you about their farm-straight-to-you fresh fruits & vegetables.  Pick up locally crafted jewelry, jams & jellies, artwork & crafts.  Whitefish Farmer’s Market vendors are vetted that their offerings are locally made making it a unique place to pick up one-of-a-kind souvenirs of your trip to Montana for your friends and family members back home.  No run of the mill “I ❤ Montana” made- in-China coffee mugs here.  Instead you’ll find locally crafted pottery, hand thrown by a local potter who lives and works in Whitefish.

In addition to great local produce, plant starts, baked goods & art, you can pick up dinner too.  Local food trucks sell crepes, pad tai, corn on the cob, kettle corn and handcrafted ice cream (Madagascar Vanilla or Whiskey Pecan anyone?), just to name a few of the offerings.  If you want to bring home dessert, the weekly pie auction allows you to buy a pie with proceeds going to a good cause.  Adding to the laid back atmosphere of the market, are local musicians who entertain the crowd – a different group, duo or single act each week.  From jazz & folk to reggae & rock the variety of musicians who play at the Whitefish Farmer’s Market is as varied as the produce offerings:

Music Schedule for 2013
May 28 – Kelly West (Reggae/Blues)
June 4 – Seventh Worthy (Funko-Politico)
June 11 – Porter Creek (Acoustic trio)
June 18 – Lee Zimmerman (Cello innovator)
June 25 – Dan Dubuque (One man freestyle soul)
July 2 – Sun Raven Band – (Acoustic folk)
July 9 – John Floridis (Missoula based guitarist)
July 16 – Rebop (Jazz trio)
July 23 – Greg Grant (Saxophonist)
July 30 – Jade Merchants (Folk/Country duo)
Aug 6 – Barrel Stove Combo (4 piece Jazz band)
Aug 13 – Fresh Off the Vine (Acoustic trio)
Aug 20 – Tra la Gael (Celtic)
Aug 27 – Brent Jamison (Bluesy/Reggae)
Sept 3 – Donnie & Kleist (Jazz duo)
Sept 10 – Tim Torgerson (Acoustic Indie)
Sept 17 – Moonshine Mountain (Acoustic country rock/bluegrass)
Sept 24 – Nick Spear (Songs in a variety of genres)

Going into its 8th year the Whitefish Farmer’s Market has become a Summer must-do for locals and tourists alike.

2013 Whitefish Farmers Market:

– Dates: each Tuesday from May 28 – Sept 24, 2013
– Times: 5 pm to 7:30 pm
– Location: Central Ave. Downtown, Whitefish between Railroad and Depot Streets
– Cost: FREE!
– Website: www.whitefishfarmersmarket.org

Author: Sarah Stewart