Kalispell, Montana is a charming community located in the northwestern part of Montana. Surrounded by mountains, glacial lakes, and stunning views, this community is an amazing combination of the old west and bustling tourist center.
Kalispell as it’s known today became a city in 1891. The site of the town was chosen by the Great Northern Railroad, and with the first train, Kalispell 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.
Main Attractions in Kalispell
While there are plenty of things to keep visitors to Kalispell busy, there are a few “can’t miss” attractions in the Kalispell area. Kalispell is surrounded by amazing outdoor spaces, so many of the main attractions in this area are focused on enjoying the outdoors.
Downtown Kalispell is a slice of the old west combined with art, history, and amazing restaurants and craft breweries. The historic downtown is home to plenty of historical buildings, dating from the 1890s, along with museums, art galleries, and restaurants.
Spots you shouldn’t miss in downtown Kalispell include the Hockaday Museum of Art, the Conrad Mansion Museum, and the Kalispell Grand Hotel. These amazing places not only tell the stories of Kalispell and northwest Montana, but they give visitors a peek into a time gone by.
Located south of Kalispell along highway 93, Flathead Lake is a crystal clear, glacial lake that is home to some of the area’s best summer recreation along with world-class fly-fishing. Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States.
The lake has 185 miles of shoreline and is 200 square miles in size. Visitors to Flathead Lake will enjoy not just the beautiful lake, but the views of the surrounding mountains will take your breath away. Flathead Lake is a short 10-mile drive from downtown Kalispell.
Glacier National Park
Northeast of downtown Kalispell is Glacier National Park. One of the first established national parks in the United States, this park amazes visitors with towering mountain peaks, expansive meadows, unique wildlife, and of course the namesake glaciers.
Take a drive down the Going-to-the-Sun Road which gives you a perfect view of many of the park’s glaciers along with some of the most spectacular mountain views in the country. Keep your eyes open for the park’s famous wildlife including grizzly bears, moose, wolves, and deer.
Recreation Activities in Kalispell, MT
Outdoor recreational opportunities abound in the Kalispell area. While many people find their way to Kalispell as a stopping point before going to Glacier National Park, many people come just to enjoy the wide variety of recreational activities that the area has to offer.
Kalispell is a mecca for hikers. The area boasts hundreds of miles of designated hiking trails. Visitors can hike within Glacier National Park or pick a quieter route in Flathead National Forest.
Locals like the Jewel Basin area in Flathead National Forest. This area has 35-miles of well-marked trails that lead to amazing views, wildlife viewing, and stunning lakes. Jewel Basin is just a 30-minute drive from downtown Kalispell.
For those that would rather hit the trails at a faster pace, Kalispell has tons of opportunities for road and mountain biking. You’ll find plenty of places to rent equipment if you haven’t brought your own, and bike shop employees that will gladly give you the scoop on the area’s best single-track trails and safe yet challenging road rides.
Locals love Foy’s to Blacktail trails, a network of meticulously maintained and signed single-track trails. Another favorite single-track trail is the Beardance Trail. This is one of the highest-ranked single-track routes in the area that is challenging but also has some of the best views of Flathead Lake.
Road bikers will enjoy the Rails to Trails system that uses old railroad paths of the Great Northern Railway. These trails are relatively flat, making them perfect for families and folks that just want to have a nice leisurely ride with plenty of great views.
Kalispell and the surrounding area are known for their amazing fly-fishing streams and lakes. Local fly-shops can give you the scoop on the best spots to cast your line.
Make sure that you get your Montana fishing license before you head out. Information on fishing regulations and purchasing a license can be found on the Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks
Skiing and Snowboarding
Kalispell is perfectly situated equal distance between two amazing ski areas. Depending on your preference you can spend the day on the slopes at Whitefish Mountain Resort (formerly Big Mountain Resort), a full-service ski resort with all of the slope-side amenities including lodging and restaurants.
Or, if you long for a quieter spot to hit the slopes, try Blacktail Mountain Ski Area. This spot has world-class skiing and boarding that is perfect for intermediate skiers and riders, without all the fancy extras.
Since Kalispell is a slightly larger community in Montana, it has a wide variety of lodging options. Some of the best lodging options in the area offer something for every traveler, whether you want a luxury experience or a place to stay that is perfect for kids and parents.
- SpringHill Suites by Marriott
- Country Inn and Suites by Radisson – Glacier Lodge
- The Garrison Inn
- Kalispell Grand Hotel
- Homewood Suites by Hilton
Kalispell is home to some great annual events. The community’s signature events have a little something for everyone.
- January – Frosty the Brewfest – Craft beer festival
- February – Flathead Classic Musher – Sled dog race
- February through April – Brash Rodeo Winter Series – Classic rodeo
- May – Montana Spartan Trifecta Weekend and Trail Run – Running race series
- June – The Big Shindig – Car Show and BBQ
Activities Near Kalispell
- Buffalo Hill Golf Club
- Village Greens Golf Course
- Woodland Water Park
- Leisure Island Park
- Kalispell Parks and Recreation
National Parks and Forests
- Lone Pine State Park
- Foy’s Lake Park
- Whitefish Lake State Park
- Les Mason State Park
- Wayfarers-Flathead Lake State Park
- Lucky Lil’s Casino
- Silver Canyon Casino
- Magic Diamond Casino
- Lucky Logger Casino
- Montana Lil’s Casino
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Montana is home to majestic mountains, picturesque valleys, crystal clear lakes, and endless blue sky. It…
Are you thinking about planning a relaxing retreat? Try out a luxury Montana spa! Montana’s lush…
Are you in the Kalispell area and wondering where to get the best burger? Or the…
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