7 Things to Do This Fall in Montana

By Discover Kalispell on Oct. 09, 2020

In Montana, we are having a fall unlike any other. Both September and October have been filled with beautiful temperatures, crisp nights, star-filled skies and a mix of fall foliage and vibrant colors that stop you in your tracks. And while we’re soaking up every moment of autumn, we also know it can be fleeting. While we’ve got a few solid weeks left of gorgeous weather with mountainsides and valleys painted in reds, yellows and oranges, we’re making the most of fall in Montana

And since you may be looking for ideas on how to make the most of the season, here are seven things to do this fall in Montana.  

  • Take a walk. In a place like the Flathead Valley, there are lots of directions for you to explore. However, one of our favorite fall activities is to take a late afternoon stroll (or honestly, anytime of day works) through the east side of downtown Kalispell. Park your car and walk past historic stately homes (with some that are almost as old as Kalispell itself) and soak in the beautiful trees that line both sides of the street.

  • Paddle Flathead Lake on a kayak. While many of the larger boats have been pulled out of the water for the season, fall is prime time for kayaking, canoeing and even stand-up paddleboarding. Sea Me Paddle, a local company, offers guided kayaking tours to Wild Horse Island and knows pretty much everything you’d want to know about kayaking on Flathead Lake. Plus, they’ll provide all the gear you need for this five-hour adventure. After paddling to the Wild Horse Island (which is a day-use state park), you’ll have ample time to set out and explore on a self-guided hike to see if you can spot the wild horses or other wildlife that make their home here. 
  • Tour the mountains on an ATV. One of the best ways to see northwest Montana’s fall foliage is to get out into the mountains. Northwest Montana Adventures is located about a 45-minute drive from downtown Kalispell and offers side-by-sides for rent through November. And while they’ll supply you with the ATV and maps, you can also book a guided tour with them and set out with their guides to explore the forested terrain of northwest Montana.  
  • Take a fly-fishing class. When it comes to fly-fishing, the blue-ribbon waters and streams of Montana are unlike anywhere else in the world. Fall is one of the best times of year to spend on the water, casting a fishing line while you float the river and soak up the sounds and smells of autumn in Montana. If you’re a beginner fly-fishermen (*please note that is used plurally for both men and women), it can be a tad bit intimidating. The folks at True Water Fly Shop (located right here in Kalispell) are working to remedy that and introduce more people to the sport of fly-fishing through their Fly Fishing 101 and Fly Fishing 201 courses. A free class, Fly Fishing 101 is a one-hour course that breaks down the basics of fly-fishing, while Fly Fishing 201 is $200 per person and is a two-day course that will take you to the next level of feeling comfortable on the water. True Water Fly Shop also offers guided full-day and half-day trips in and around the Flathead Valley. 
  • Pick a pumpkin. If you’re road tripping to Kalispell this fall (or if you’re a local), be sure to put Sweet Pickin’s Pumpkin Patch on your list of must-do fall activities. A family-run pumpkin patch, they have a slew of rides and games to choose from, as well as plenty of pumpkins to take home. 
  • Ride a horse. Located 6 miles from downtown Kalispell is Artemis Acres (read more about the ranch and our favorite Montana cowboy Cecil Noble here). The ranch offers daily trail rides six days a week and you can choose from one-hour rides, two-hour rides of half-day rides that will take you through some of the most beautiful terrain in and around the Flathead Valley, complete with a bird’s-eye view of Kalispell. 

When recreating outdoors in Montana, be sure to practice Leave No Trace principles, be aware of your surroundings and carry bear spray. And if you’re in need of more fall travel inspiration, check out the six best places to see fall foliage here and learn more about fall in Montana here.

Diane, Dawn, Vonnie and Meche

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