Kalispell, Montana is a charming community located in the northwestern part of Montana and quickly became a booming business center and popular location for tourists.
While the community was originally supported by agriculture, flour mills, and timber mills, the main business today is tourism. Located on the edge of Glacier National Park, Kalispell is a world-renowned destination for outdoor enthusiasts, game hunters, and those in search of blue-ribbon trout fishing.
Today, the town is home to approximately 20,000 residents but plays host to visitors from all over the world, who are looking for adventure and a taste of the old west.
In this article, we will look take a closer look at the best activities and things to do in Kalispell, Montana.
The 10 Best Things to Do in Kalispell
1. Herron Park
If you are an adventurer you will love Herron Park, especially if you are the least bit interested in hiking, biking, skiing, or even horseback riding on trails.
The park comprises 44-acres with 15 miles of trails along some of the most amazing views of surrounding mountain ranges. Located just 10 minutes away from downtown Kalispell, this is the perfect place for a day in the great outdoors.
If you are interested in art or history then a visit to the Hockaday Museum of Art is well worth your time. The museum’s purpose is largely to present the culture of the local area while playing a part in the preservation of the artistic legacy of local artists, as well as others from around the world inspired by Montana.
There is also a gallery that provides learning activities for kids who change often so they can come time and time again without getting bored.
Woodland Water Park is a favorite local spot when it comes to cooling off during the summer. It’s actually the only outdoor water park there is in Kalispell and it only opens during the summer months. The park contains two three-story slides, a lazy river, and a six-lane lap swimming pool.
Sometimes there are evening events such as including family nights and doggie days around the pool. There is a zero-depth activity pool for children, and the park hosts both private and group swim lessons.
Glacier National Park is around 45 minutes from Kalispell, but you’ll find some of the most amazing views there in terms of mountain ranges carved peaks and wildlife terrain. With close to 1,600 square miles of stunning wilderness, you surely won’t be disappointed if you are the outdoor type.
All the best things to do in the park are focused on nature, and there is also a wide range of activities like adventure excursions, wildlife viewing, and hiking to keep you occupied.
More than 2 acres of Flathead National Forest surrounds Kalispell, and it holds plenty of opportunities for a spot of outdoor recreation. Here you’ll find trails, rivers and lakes, and campsite areas. The trails are not all exclusive to anyone use and you’ll find a mix of hikers, riders, and bikers, on many of them.
There are a few hiker-only trails like Jewel Basin, which is a 30-minute drive from downtown Kalispell and is ideal for day hikers. If you like the idea of natural wildlife habitat, trail terrain, and stunning mountain and lake views, prepare yourself for Flathead National Forest and all the delights that it has to offer.
Staying with the Flathead theme for a moment but this time in terms of water, you can find the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in a 15-minute drive south from Kalispell. Flathead Lake is an impressive 30 miles long, with almost 200 miles of shoreline.
You can find all kinds of scenic outdoor things to do if you spend the day around this body of water. You’ll find excellent fishing, mountain biking, swimming, boating, and kayaking opportunities to name but a few.
Yet another amazing outdoor adventure land, Lone Pine State Park comprises horseback riding, hiking, and biking trails as well as being ideal for snowshoeing in the winter. There are some fantastic Montana views to be had here, so it is an ideal spot for a picnic. Lone Pine State Park even offers guided hikes, as well as other activities like child-friendly activities and various workshops.
Again not too far away from Kalispell is a world-famous ski resort that is around a 25-mile drive. If you are into skiing or snowboarding in Montana in wintertime, you should not pass up the chance to seek out Whitefish Mountain Resort.
The place is pretty amazing in the summertime as well though if you’re not that big on cold weather. Available activities at warmer times of the year include zip-lines, alpine slides, mountain biking, and a kids’ strider bike park.
If you are in the mood for either a bit of driving or exploring, then head on down towards Swan Lake, which is a 40-minute drive south of Kalispell. This route is a very picturesque corridor that runs along Highway 83, with lots of forest and lake scenery.
You’ll find plenty of recreation spots for stopping at with impressive views. Flathead Lake and Whitefish Lake are not too far away, but the serene loveliness of Swan Lake is even better for the fact it is not at all crowded. It is definitely worth a day trip if you’re staying anywhere near Kalispell.
In the heart of Kalispell, you’ll find out all you need to know about Charles Conrad, who moved to the Montana Territory in 1868 and built his empire on trading and freighting. He went on to found the city of Kalispell in 1891. In 1895, he built an impressive, elegant-looking mansion that is today known as the Conrad Mansion Museum.
The place is a historic and important building in Kalispell and covers around three acres of finely landscaped land. It still has many original features, and the tour is well an hour of anyone’s time.
Free Things to Do in Kalispell
11. Blacktail Trail Biking
Up near Herron Park you’ll find a great network of free mountain bike trails between Blacktail Mountain and Foy’s Lake. There are terrains suitable for just about anyone along with some that would be more for those with a bit of experience and skill, especially the Blacktail to Lakeside stretch which has a 3000-ft vertical descent and is a challenge for the best riders.
12. Historic Walking Tour
You can do a self-guided, free walking tour that allows you to explore the history of Kalispell. You start from the visitor center where you get a free brochure to guide you.
13. Flathead Lake Hiking
It certainly won’t cost you anything to take a hike along one of the largest stretches of water that there is in the region. There is a 2.5-mile hiking trail up at Big Arm State Park along with many other free walking and biking activities in and around the area
10 Best Tours in Kalispell
Large groups or small either with prior paddling experience or not can try their hand at a spot of kayaking on the lake. Great for singles, couples or families, and custom adventures can be tailored to meet anyone’s needs. Guides are familiar with the area and well-versed in safety procedures, sharing their knowledge on local history, wildlife, fauna, and facts about the lake.
Book a 1-hour flight with experienced pilot Gary to get some of the most unimaginable views that will leave you awestruck. A state-of-the-art helicopter that allows excellent visibility for all passengers, giving more insights into the local scenery than any driving or hiking is likely to. Glacier Park is a magnificent stretch of landscape to witness from above, with the helicopter being the best way by far to see the park and surrounding areas.
16. Balloon Flight
Balloon flying season near Glacier National Park starts sometime in June through to the end of September. Check out either one of the morning flights which start as the sun comes up or the evening flights which commence a couple of hours before sunset. A typical flight is around an hour in the air and will give you the chance to take in some stunning scenery from high up without going too fast.
Guided winter cross-country skiing and snowshoe tours in Glacier National Park. Experience the beauty of the park in the winter months, when many believe the scenery is at its best. The summer crowds are absent and the park is blanketed in pure, white snow ready for your snowshoe and ski tracks.
Flathead Off-Road Adventures in Kalispell is situated just outside miles of trails and offers both guided tours departing twice daily in the morning and afternoon. They also offer rentals, to allow you to explore on your own. The tours are comfortable, with forest scenery that will leave you with some amazing memories.
Spring and summer seasons in and around Kalispell provide fly fishing opportunities with some stunning backdrops. The crystal-clear rivers and streams are brimming with wild trout, and the tours include float trips on local rivers as well as some a few hiking walk-and-wade trips in some fairly remote locations.
20. Snowmobile Tour
Suitable for either a complete beginner or those who have ridden a snowmobile before, the experience can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Flathead Scuba functions as both a tour guide service and a dive shop. They provide exotic diving trips with an instructor who is a teacher and highly–experienced diver. The tours function in and around the Flathead Valley and surrounding areas.
Take a relaxing 2 to 3-hour raft trip down Glacier National Park’s scenic Flathead River. A friendly local river guide will accompany you as you take the opportunity to fully immerse yourself in the stunning scenery of Glacier National Park.
You’ll pick up information about the flora and fauna around the area as well as some of the history of the area. If you like the idea of pristine rivers and abounding wildlife then this tour will suit you down to the ground.
Take a tour with a professional tour guide and photographer from the area who will show you some of the best spots in the Flathead from which to take some amazing photos. Starting at Lone Pine State Park, you’ll get to see some of the best-hidden gems when it comes to snapshots of the area. The guide will even edit your best 20 photos and send them over to you within 48 hours.