Bordering a large freshwater lake near tall mountains, this region offers year-round recreational activities. In the town itself, find diverse cultural attractions.
Plan a family vacation in Bigfork, nestled high in the mountains of northwestern Montana. Play for days in the waters of the Swan River and Flathead Lake and enjoy the cultural attractions in the town.
Bigfork is located at 2,900 feet (880 meters) elevation, offering easy access to hiking, camping and rock climbing to the east in Flathead National Forest, including the Swan Lake and Bob Marshall Wilderness areas. North of the forest is Glacier National Park, where you can observe rugged mountains, receding glaciers and wildlife, including grizzly bears, gray wolves, elk, lynx, wolverines, cougars, mountain goats and bighorn sheep. See the pretty reflections of the Rocky Mountains in the calm waters of the park’s Lake McDonald. About an hour’s drive west of Bigfork brings you to Blacktail Mountain Ski Area.
Canoe or float down the Swan River. Just past the Bigfork Dam, the river has challenging Class III to Class IV rapids, perfect for experienced rafters. Sail, kayak, waterski, swim and glide on a stand-up paddleboard on Flathead Lake’s calm waters. The lake has more than 180 miles (290 kilometers) of shoreline, with plenty of bays perfect for fishing in the cool shadows for lake trout, whitefish and yellow perch. In the winter, try ice fishing on the frozen coves.
Wander through Bigfork to visit galleries and boutiques. In early August, visit the annual Bigfork Festival of the Arts, a weekend filled with arts, crafts, food, music and entertainment. Year-round, the 435-seat Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts presents plays, musical theater, live music, concerts, ballet and movies. The Summer Playhouse has been providing live entertainment for more than 50 years.
Fly to Glacier Park International Airport north of Kalispell and drive about 30 minutes to reach Bigfork. Stop at the Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center where friendly volunteers will answer questions and provide information, maps and brochures.