There’s no denying the charm of Western Montana’s Glacier Country. The quintessential mountain resort town of Whitefish and the hip arts and culture hub of Missoula both offer world-class year-round recreation among jaw-dropping landscapes anchored by Glacier National Park. Robust culinary, art and live music scenes combine with cozy lodging and warm western hospitality to round out the allure of these vibrant destinations.
Western Montana’s Glacier Country
In Western Montana’s Glacier Country mesmerizing landscapes offer boundless beauty and recreation among some of world’s most charming small towns. Once-in-a-lifetime adventures are found here under impossibly big blue skies. Glacier National Park anchors the region, with 1 million acres of mesmerizing peaks, expansive valleys, 200+ cascading waterfalls and countless glacial lakes, plus one of the most jaw-dropping scenic drives in the country—the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
Beyond the park, explore two American Indian reservations, attend a pow wow and immerse yourself in Montana’s heritage. Set sail on Flathead Lake—the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi—explore the storybook village of Bigfork and visit a roadside fruit stand for fresh Flathead cherries. Get on or in countless rivers and blue-ribbon trout streams for floating, rafting, stand-up paddleboarding and world-class fly-fishing. This year-round wonderland is epic in winter, too, boasting seven downhill ski areas plus Nordic adventures, sleigh rides, fat biking, dog sledding and skijoring events.
Western Montana’s 75+ communities offer authentic local vibes and warm western hospitality and make up the region’s nine scenic travel corridors, gorgeous byways and backroads of discovery. From Glacier Country’s arts and culture hub of Missoula to the quintessential mountain town of Whitefish and the quaint communities in between, adventure is endless. Explore downtown galleries, museums, live theater and music, and some of the West’s best farmers markets. Discover fine dining, food trucks, culinary festivals and coffee shops, plus more than 30 breweries, nine distilleries, nine wineries and four cideries. Channel your inner cowboy at a working guest ranch, live in the lap of luxury at a mountain resort, sleep in a teepee or go rustic in a cabin or tent. Or, soak in the healing mineral waters at a natural hot spring. There’s more to do in Montana than one lifetime affords, and the authentic experiences here are second to none.
There’s this place where solitude, wilderness and adventure are only minutes from gourmet restaurants, funky local shops and a killer music scene. It’s a place surrounded by mountains where trails start at your front door. This place is Missoula, Montana, and it has the unparalleled natural beauty and cultural vibrancy to make your experience unforgettable.
Nestled in the Northern Rockies of Montana, surrounded by seven wilderness areas and at the confluence of three rivers, Missoula is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream. On any given day you’ll see anglers gracefully casting in the Clark Fork River. Downstream kayakers and river surfers perform athletic feats atop the man-made Brennan’s Wave. Tubing becomes an alternative form of transportation in the summer as people ride the river right through town. Off the water, they use the trail system that crisscrosses the city, or they cycle the country’s friendliest streets.
Missoula is a hive of cultural activities. Its music venues regularly appear on national lists of best places to catch a concert, and you can find a show almost any night of the week. The first Friday of each month is dedicated to celebrating art with downtown galleries and shops welcoming patrons with drinks and appetizers after normal business hours.
People seek solitude outside, but they also forge a tight community, coming together while shopping for local produce at farmers markets and attending brew fests that seem to occur every other weekend. Missoula is also a regional destination for shopping and dining, with an abundance of shops, restaurants, cafes, and breweries to fit all budgets and palates.
Adventure meets variety in Missoula. It is a place of small-town values and urban amenities, where you can paddle or hike all day and take in a play or concert in the evening. It is a place of mountains and rivers, families and students, art and trails. And it’s time to see this place for yourself.
Located in the Northern Rocky Mountains of Montana, Whitefish is a small western town with a modern flair, providing close access to some of the most beautiful mountains in the world—the hanging valleys and jagged peaks of Glacier National Park. Each season offers breathtaking opportunities to experience the millions of acres of mountains, forests, lakes, and rivers that surround town in every direction.
The people of Whitefish are genuinely friendly and down-to-earth. The town’s low-key atmosphere tends to make life in the tight-knit community a happy and warm place to visit. Though you may spot a movie star on occasion, success is measured in terms of how many mountains one has climbed, runs skied or fish caught. The locals are welcoming and willing to share their recreational passions with visitors—freely swapping stories at the local coffeehouses, breweries, and saloons.
With its covered sidewalk main street leading to the cultural arts center, historic depot museum and public library, this quaint, picturesque western town offers visitors a change from the fast-paced, hustle and bustle of urban life. Central Avenue is filled with a variety of chef-owned restaurants, unique shopping and lively night life. The culinary and libation scene may surprise even seasoned foodies, with a plethora of ultra-local dining and imbibing experiences around every corner. Lodging choices range from full-service resorts to charming inns, rustic but elegant lodges and cabins, as well as condominiums and vacation homes. Sustainability and geo-tourism have become a focus of the Whitefish story, as the community seeks to inspire visitors to take care of the mountain town and special ecosystem, while welcoming travelers from around the world.