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Weekender: Nonstop to Whitefish, Montana

Six ways to explore Montana's burgeoning, and newly accessible, outdoor playground.  

Make the thirty-minute drive to Glacier National Park and hike Hidden Lake Trail at the top of the Going to the Sun Road. You’re basically guaranteed to see wildlife on this 5- mile trail straddling the Continental Divide—mountain goats, grizzlies, deer, and black bears roam in abundance.

 

 Catch the Friday night rodeo at the Blue Moon. Stay after the show for a wild night of dancing at the bar.

Test your mental and physical agility 70 feet from the forest floor at Whitefish Mountain Resort’s new aerial adventure course. Then take the scenic chairlift to the summit of Big Mountain with 360-degree views of Glacier National Park and Whitefish Lake. Come winter, the mountain turns into 3,000 acres of ski runs. 

Eat dinner at Cafe Kandahar where 2011 Northwest James Beard semifinalist Andy Blanton offers local fare like pork belly confit with a maple glaze and grilled watermelon.  

Sample inventive local micro brews like earl grey pale ale at the Black Star brewery. 

 Try Sweet Peaks’ homemade huckleberry ice cream… or lemon dill… or one of their ten other seasonal favorites.

Stay at the newly expanded Lodge at Whitefish, and bask in the summer sun by their lakeside pool. 

The northern Rocky Mountain town of Whitefish may be home to a four-diamond resort, world-class ski slopes, and subterranean martini bars, but it’s also a region where grizzlies and wolves roam free—and in abundance. When I de-board Allegiant’s new nonstop flight from Oakland (a short 2 hours), the first two pieces of advice I’m given are a. Stock up on bear spray and b. Try the local huckleberry ice cream. This was my first glimpse of the tiny modern food-adorned bubble of Whitefish, set just outside the dramatic, wild mountains of Glacier National Park. The next four days were spent exploring this world of contrasts: hiking the continental divide by day, sipping martinis downtown at the underground Red Room in the evening; practicing acrobats in the tree canopies at Whitefish Mountain Resort, then indulging in high-minded Rocky Mountain fare across the street at Cafe Kandahar. The list goes on, for as long as you want it to.

Now through October is the best time to visit: The weather is pleasant, the locals are out and about, and a long weekend is just around the corner. Here are six must-do activities while you’re there.

Want more ideas? Download the new Whitefish travel app.