Riders cruise down one of Whitefish Mountain Resort’s alpine slides. Hunter D’Antuono | Flathead Beacon
Summer Preview

Regional Attractions

A guide to activities on the outskirts of Glacier National Park and beyond

By Maggie Dresser

In a summer tourist season unlike any other with a ticketed-entry system in Glacier National Park, it’s time to explore outside the boundaries and see the region’s surrounding attractions.

From hikes in the Great Bear Wilderness to lift-accessed mountain biking at Whitefish Mountain Resort to mini-golf in Bad Rock Canyon, beauty and adventure exists widespread throughout Northwest Montana. 

To make the most of your trip, here is a guide to the area’s activities outside of the park. 

Whitefish Mountain Resort

A variety of activities for all abilities exist on Big Mountain at Whitefish Mountain Resort, open on weekends and holidays through June 6 and daily from June 12 through Sept. 6. 

Summer activities include scenic chairlift rides, hiking, zip line tours, the aerial adventure park and lift-accessed mountain biking at the Whitefish Bike Park, all with views of Glacier National Park at the summit. 

The Summit House Bar, Base Lodge Café and Bar, and Base Lodge Coffee Bar will be open daily and guests can make reservations at Whitefish Mountain Resort mountain side lodging. 

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

The Whitefish Trail

The Whitefish Trail, in partnership with nonprofit Whitefish Legacy Partners, features a 43-mile trail system providing access with 14 trailheads in the greater Whitefish area for biking and hiking. 

Enjoy access in Beaver Lakes, Swift Creek and Lupfer, Lion Mountain and Skyles, Spencer Mountain and Haskill Basin. 

For more information, visit www.whitefishlegacy.com.

Polebridge

Drive up the scenic North Fork Road to a remote and wild area in Northwest Montana and unplug right along the North Fork of the Flathead River. 

Stop into the Polebridge Mercantile, the area’s main attraction, for a Huckleberry Bear Claw and other baked goods. 

The Merc offers rentable cabins and other accommodations in the area include the North Fork Hostel and Square Peg Ranch.

For more information, visit www.polebridgemerc.com.

To get there, drive north on the North Fork Road, which eventually becomes unpaved, from Columbia Falls for 35 miles. 

Serrano’s 

Refuel after a long hike in the park and stop for some Mexican and southwestern food at Serrano’s in East Glacier Park. 

The original building was constructed by Tom Dawson, a mountaineer and early explorer, in 1909. 

Travelers can also stay at the Backpacker’s Inn directly behind the restaurant for $20 per night. 

Serrano’s is located off of U.S. Highway 2 in East Glacier at 29 Dawson Ave. For more information, visit www.serranosmexican.com or call (406) 226-9392.

Hank’s Hatchets 

Head into Hank’s Hatchets in Whitefish to take a break from the summer heat and throw some axes at the Flathead Valley’s only axe throwing facility. 

Axe throwing, historically an event at lumberjack competitions, entails chucking an axe at a target for points and can be played with multiple people.

Players can bring their own food and alcohol into the facility.

Hank’s Hatchets is located at 6078 U.S. Highway 93 south of downtown Whitefish. Players can walk in or book a lane. 

For more information, visit www.hankshatchets.com.

Izaak Walton Inn 

Enjoy a few nights at the historic Izaak Walton Inn in Essex off of U.S. Highway 2 and embrace some railroad history. Located equidistant between the east and west entrances of Glacier National Park, guests also have direct access to the Great Bear Wilderness. 

In addition to cabins, schoolhouse rooms and lodge rooms, you can also book a night in the luxury rooms remodeled from cabooses and railcars. 

Head out for a hike up to Marion Lake right out the Inn’s back door or take a quick drive to countless other hikes in the area. 

The Izaak Walton Inn is located in Essex at 290 Izaak Walton Inn Road. For more information, visit www.izaakwaltoninn.com or call (406) 888-5700.

West Glacier Restaurant

After a day of sightseeing in the park, check out West Glacier Restaurant, also known to locals as Frida’s, to grab some grub and shoot some pool.

The restaurant was constructed in 1938 at the junction of the Going-to-the-Sun Road and U.S. Highway 2.

To get there, drive to West Glacier and the restaurant is right in town. 

Amazing Fun Center

Check out the first two-level, human-sized wooden maze ever built in North America, play a round of mining-themed miniature golf or drive some bumper cars at the Amazing Fun Center in Coram. 

The center is located off the west side of U.S. Highway 2 in Coram.

For more information, visit www.amazingfuncenter.com or call (406) 387-5902.

Crown of the Continent Discovery Center

If you need some direction planning trip activities, want to book a horseback riding trail ride, need some souvenirs and ice cream or need some general information about Glacier National Park, head to the Discovery Center.

For more information, visit www.crowndiscoverycenter.com or call (406) 387-4405.

The Center is located at 12000 U.S. Highway 2 about a mile and a half from Glacier’s west entrance. 

Zipline Tours

Get your adrenaline rush fix by taking a cruise down a fast yet scenic zipline at Glacier Ziplines or Glacier Highline, both located west of Glacier National Park. 

Glacier Ziplines, located on U.S. Highway 2 east of Columbia Falls and west of Hungry Horse, offers an eight-zipline canopy tour and a lower zipline, each requiring no hiking. 

For more information, visit www.glacier-ziplines.com or call (406) 892-8020.

Glacier Highline is located in Coram offering 47 ropes courses with 17 lower and 30 higher courses, including a giant swing with a water drop. 

For more information, visit www.glacierhighline.com or call (406) 387-5007. 

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