Outside Adventures

A guide to unique destinations outside the borders of Glacier National Park

By Tristan Scott
Shields Ferber rockets down a zip line at Whitefish Mountain Resort. Beacon File Photo

As Northwest Montana’s signature destination, Glacier National Park annually draws millions of visitors who converge inside the sprawling park’s boundaries to explore its wild places.

Still, visiting Glacier requires driving or riding a train to the park along routes that track past other top-notch attractions. To ensure you get the most of your Glacier visit — both in and out of the park — here is a guide to some of the area’s unique attractions outside of the borders.

Whitefish Mountain Resort

Mountaintop views of Glacier National Park began greeting guests once again as Whitefish Mountain Resort opened its slate of summertime activities on May 25 for weekends and holidays, weather permitting, including Zip Line Tours, the Aerial Adventure Park, Summer Tubing, Spider Monkey Mountain, Scenic Lift Rides, and mountain biking in the Bad Rock Zone and cross-country trails.

Additional activities will be offered as the snow melts.

New this year, the resort is adding a second alpine slide and has redesigned its original track. Both begin in the lift plaza and end near the Base Lodge. Guests should ride Chair 6 from the bottom of both slides to the top of the hill to begin their adventure.

The Summit House Restaurant and Bar will be open as well as the Base Lodge Café, Bar and Coffee Bar.

Regular daily operations for activities this summer are June 15 through Sept. 2, at which point the schedule narrows to Friday through Sunday until Sept. 22. The resort’s long list of activities, restaurants and lodging make the perfect basecamp for visitors seeking a memorable and affordable vacation in Northwest Montana.

For more information on Whitefish Mountain Resort’s “Stay & Play” activity and lodging packages, military discounts, hours of operation and other information pertinent for summer fun visit www.skiwhitefish.com.

The Whitefish Trail

The Whitefish Trail is the anchor project of Whitefish Legacy Partners (WLP), the upshot of a community collaborative to preserve clean water, public access, recreation, and working forests.

The Whitefish Trail features 42 miles of trail, providing access at a dozen trailheads in and around town, and last year completed trail development in Haskill Basin, where 5.5 miles of trail connects downtown Whitefish to Whitefish Mountain Resort on Big Mountain.

For more information and maps, visit www.whitefishlegacy.org.

Hidden Key Escape Games

Hidden Key Escape Games challenge your team of two to 10 people to search and find clues, solve puzzles and escape in a mere 60 minutes.

Located on U.S. Highway 93 just south of Whitefish, Hidden Key Escape Games provides a live-action escape room game for your night out with friends, kicking off a party or special event, team building with co-workers, or just looking for something fun to do. You will try to solve the mystery, be immersed in the story and even be privy to hints and clues when needed by your enthusiastic game master. Team work, communication and problem solving help you move forward searching for clues, solving puzzles and finally escaping — if you can.

For booking and other information, visit www.HiddenKeyEscapeGames.com or call (406) 823-0564.


Located up the rutted and scenic North Fork Road, miles away from power lines, pavement or phone service, this small community thrives in what is considered one of the wildest natural corridors left in the Lower 48.

The main attraction here is the Polebridge Mercantile, a historic establishment with a popular bakery pumping out Huckleberry Bear Claws and other delicious treats. The Merc runs mostly on solar power, relying on generators only on days when the sun cannot provide energy.

Polebridge is a good spot to access the northwestern corner of Glacier Park as well, with a park gate and ranger station located across the North Fork Flathead River. The Merc offers rentable cabins, and the North Fork Hostel and Square Peg Ranch have beds for the weary.

For more information, visit www.polebridgemerc.com.

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