Five Outside Activities

Celebrating the underrated pre-summer season by enjoying these outdoor pursuits

By Dillon Tabish
A biker ascends Going-to-the-Sun Road. Beacon File Photo

1. Cycle Going-to-the-Sun Road

One of the most memorable experiences in this valley is biking Glacier National Park’s iconic Sun Road. It’s not an easy task; the slight uphill grade builds up fast and burns the legs quickly. But it is truly a rewarding and amazing experience. The best time of year to traverse the road is the spring and late fall when vehicle traffic is halted at Avalanche Creek. Currently, the Sun Road is closed after Lake McDonald Lodge due to weather and road conditions, but typically cyclists are allowed farther up the road in early April.

A full-moon ride up the road is a spectacular activity that offers an unforgettable glowing presentation of Glacier’s high country.

Most often, riders park at The Loop and travel 8 miles to Logan Pass.

This year’s spring, summer and fall full moons are April 11, May 10, June 9, July 8, Aug. 7, Sept. 6 and Oct. 5.

Riders should be extremely cautious and wear proper gear, including headlamps.

For more information about the Sun Road, visit http://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/roadstatus/roadstatus.cfm

The north shore of Flathead Lake. Beacon File Photo

2. Explore the North Shore

In spring and late fall, Flathead Lake’s mighty presence fades with diminished water, revealing a vast beach of soft, clean sand along the north shore. This expansive lakeshore stretches from Bigfork to Somers and features a wide-open landscape that makes for a fun afternoon adventure. The beach lies in a sensitive waterfowl production area. The only year-round access is from Holt Drive near Bigfork, where a trail follows a county right-of-way to the beach.

The Lawrence Park Disc Golf Course in Kalispell. Beacon File Photo

3. Disc Golf at Lawrence Park

Grab your discs and head to Lawrence Park near downtown Kalispell, where the city has established an 18-hole public course that is free to use. There are official holes and tee pads, and a course map is available online at kalispell.com. The Flathead Valley Disc Golf group has a Facebook page and website with more information about the sport and local events.

Polson Bay Golf Course opened for the season last week. Beacon File Photo

4. Golf at Polson Bay

Dust off the clubs. Even though there’s still plenty of snow in the mountains, the fairways are bright green on the south end of Flathead Lake. One of the oldest and most beloved golf courses in Montana is ushering in the season and already taking tee times. Opening day was March 17 for the 18-hole course. Carts are allowed. The driving range and Olde 9 will open soon. Other local courses should be opening soon.

Samples of geocaches. Beacon File Photo

5. Geocaching

All you need is a smartphone with a GPS application and you can embark on a high-tech treasure hunt. This new-age outdoors adventure, known as geocaching, has become a popular family-friendly activity in the Flathead Valley, which has more than 7,000 “caches,” or hidden objects. To begin your adventure, go to the official website, geocaching.com, and follow hints and simple latitude and longitude coordinates.