Flathead Lake is the largest natural lake in the Western United States, clocking in with around 185 miles of shoreline and over 200 square miles of water. The Flathead and swan rivers supply this massive lake with fresh water, which creates a natural fishing, boating, and outdoor recreational paradise. If you’re planning to visit Montana in the warm, summer months, Flathead Lake is a must-see destination.
Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Flathead Reservation
The southern portion of Flathead Lake is situated within the boundary of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Flathead Reservation. To access the area, visitors must purchase a tribal recreation permit, which serves as their pass to enter and enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Funds generated from the purchase of these permits are returned directly to the area, helping to maintain the lake, its shores, and the reservation itself. The lake features several state recreation areas, which boast boat launches, camping facilities, swimming opportunities, and picnic benches. Restrooms are available for those who need them. There are dozens of world-class fishing sites that dot the 185 miles of shoreline.
Those who travel to the west shore of the lake can visit Wildhorse Island, a 2,165-acre state park that serves as a day picnic venue. The island is only accessible by boat, but there are several kayak and canoe rental opportunities at various docks around the lake. May visitors can enjoy the Bigfork Whitewater Festival, which is held every year around Memorial Day. If you’re interested in visiting Montana but want a relaxed, calm vacation away, Flathead Lake is the destination for you. This is also a great option for those wanting a comfortable and accessible outdoor adventure. Between the inexpensive recreation pass and unlimited aquatic activity possibilities, this is an excellent option for families, couples, and individuals who want to soak up some Montana sun.