North Shore Beach

Each year the mighty lake recedes for winter and reveals a vast beach along the north shore

By Dillon Tabish
The north shore of Flathead Lake reveals a vast beach when the lake waters recede each year. Dillon Tabish | Flathead Beacon

It’s with much hesitation that I mention this favorite spot of mine. Promise you won’t tell everyone and their dog?

The north shore of Flathead Lake seems, somehow, to be one of the best-kept secrets in this valley. Come fall and winter, the mighty lake recedes and reveals a vast beach of soft, clean sand stretching for miles. It’s serene, peaceful and largely devoid of crowds. It’s also awe-inspiring and seems out of place in a mountainous stronghold such as ours. Who needs Hawaii?

I remember the first time, years ago, when I discovered the north shore. It seemed surreal — miles and miles of beach as far as the eye could see. To describe it as unique would be like saying Glacier National Park is pretty.

The north shore has been deemed a sensitive location because of its ground and surface water and wildlife habitat, which is why state officials and conservation groups have focused their efforts on protecting the area. Due to sensitive waterfowl production areas, access is limited in and around the beach. It is currently open through March 1. There are several access points to the wildlife production area that lead to the beach along Highway 82. Watch for access signs on the south side of the highway.

Remember to take only photos and leave only footprints.

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