The Best Time of Year to Experience Bigfork, MT


With Montana’s four distinct seasons, there’s a little something special about each one in Bigfork. Whether you love the warm air and sunlight hitting the mountains in summer, alpenglow from a late winter sunrise on the way to the ski hill, the wildest of spring runoff, or the foliage and crisp air of fall, you’ll find something special here. So what’s the best time of year to experience Bigfork? Only you can decide that one. We’d recommend trying them all. But until that day comes, here’s what you have to look forward to in each season.

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The East Coast may have a reputation for fall foliage, but that doesn’t mean that Montana’s anything to scoff at. Up here in Northwest Montana, the famous larch (also known as tamaracks) start to turn color, trading spring green needles for vivid Seussian yellow that casts the hillsides in a golden hue. This deciduous conifer is unique in losing its needles, unlike the other pines and firs around.

Late September and early October can be the perfect time for a drive in Glacier. Though the seasonal closure of the Going-to-the-Sun Road depends on the weather, if snow falls late, it may still be open for a drive when fewer crowds head to the park.

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With winter comes skiing and snowshoeing, observing owls and other winter wildlife in front of a backdrop of snow and ice. The pace of life slows as crowds dwindle, leaving a peaceful landscape to explore. Get inspired for some ice fishing, or just enjoy the view of snowflakes drifting down over the water of Flathead Lake.

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Life on the river is a big deal in Bigfork, with the Flathead and Swan Rivers right in town, full of fish and fun as they wind their way to Flathead Lake. You may have heard of the Wild Mile, but if not, buckle up for some whitewater. This section of the Swan River has the best whitewater around. At the end of May each year (now 45 years strong), comes the Bigfork Whitewater Festival, celebrating the Class IV and V rapids on this stretch of river. You can watch the fun from the banks, seeing kayakers flip and float their way through the fast water.

As the thaw continues, you’ll see the return of migratory birds, the first unfurling of spring flowers, and the slow wake of hibernating animals.

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Summer in the Flathead Valley needs no introduction, and Bigfork does it best. Right on the north end of the lake, kayaking and boating take center stage, with sunset-gazing at Wayfarers State Park, one of the most popular sports out there. Fourth of July celebrations, outdoor festivals, and lazy summer days make this prime time for enjoying the area. Sip a beer on the outdoor deck at Flathead Lake Brewing, or catch a professional theater production at the Bigfork Playhouse.

With easy access from Bigfork to the wilds of Glacier National Park, not to mention the whole array of surrounding mountain ranges, you can’t beat the location for summer activities and trail time. This is the time to try horseback riding, paddling, and hiking hard. But there’s no shortage of opportunity to relax and unwind by the water.

Are you ready to have an adventure in Big Fork, Montana? Stay with us and find all kinds of activities to do in the area!