Bigfork, Montana, offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor fun while social distancing. The best part of Big Sky Country is that there's plenty of space to go around. Give some of these activities a try, and enjoy mountain living on the shores of Flathead Lake.
Whether you're a novice or a seasoned fly fisherman, Bigfork is the place to take a deep dive into the sport. You can shop locally to gear up, with fly shops there to give recommendations and stocked on pre-tied flies, extra fishing line, or even a whole new setup.
To get to know the rivers around here, you can sign on with a guided fishing trip. Or just check out fishing reports like this one from Snappy's. There's a whole lot to explore out there, so grab your license and get casting.
Miles upon miles of National Forest land borders Bigfork. From Flathead National Forest, and the lake's state park, leading all the way up into Glacier National Park and the Canadian border. Bigfork is a natural jumping-off point for accessing the Mission Mountains, with Seeley Lake and the Swan Valley not far either. The Jewel Basin is an area with plenty of scenery to explore, and its name indicates some of the gems you can find in its hiking trails.
You will also be near the #1 online rated trail in Montana, Strawberry Lake Trail No. 5. It's a 6 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Kalispell, Montana. It has lake views and is rated as a moderate climb. The trail offers several activity options and is best used from May until October. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
You'll love to see the acres of wildflowers, mountain peaks, and abundant wildlife while you tramp far from anyone else. Pick the trail less traveled, and you may even have the whole place to yourself. But if you see a full parking lot at the trailhead, you can always find another spot to get your boots dusty.
If you're not into the wading side of river time with fly fishing, hop into a boat. You can float a raft down the Flathead River or the Swan River, or paddle around on Flathead Lake in a kayak. You can even switch up your craft and kayak the rivers too!
The good news is, you don't have to have all of your own gear to get going. Kayak rentals from Sea Me Paddle make a great starting point, and many raft companies are emphasizing their rental options or private trips to help keep your family having fun and staying safe.
An even more intimate way to experience Flathead Lake's waters is to take a stand-up paddleboard out for a whirl. Find your balance—or go ahead and kneel instead—and you can cruise the lakeshore with nearly nothing between you and the water.
If you've never tried out a SUP, don't worry. There are outfitters like Sea Me Paddle and Basecamp Bigfork that can get you set up with SUP rentals or even guided trips to get you comfortable out on the water.
The best part about hopping into the car around Bigfork is seeing the epic views the whole way, just on the other side of the glass. If you need to clock some miles, you can head all the way up to Canada, with beautiful mountains along the way. Or drive up into Glacier to explore whatever portions of the park are accessible. Head over to Kalispell or Whitefish for some city comforts, or take Highway 35 and US-93 on a spin around Flathead Lake
For more rugged-capable rigs, the Hungry Horse Reservoir and the North Fork of the Flathead River are scenic spots to check out. You can go all out and get some mud on the windshield at Blacktail Wild Bill ORV Trails #917, 918, 919. But, no matter where your tires take you, enjoy the journey as you go.