With hundreds of inches of snow in the mountains, shorter days and cold temperatures during winter, the arrival of spring in Montana signifies a change not only of the seasons, but a rebirth for the people, animals and wildlife that call the state home. Spring brings longer days, plenty of sunshine and a renewed lease on life and hope for the new season ahead. 

Around here, spring also brings cherry blossoms. And while other places (like Japan and Washington D.C.) are more commonly thought of for their cherry blossoms, Montana’s Flathead Valley is a destination in its own right. 

If you’re curious as to why cherry orchards grow well in northwest Montana, it’s because they are located on the shores of Flathead Lake, which is the largest natural freshwater lake in the West. The lake – and its sheer size – helps to provide moderate temperatures that create a healthy habitat for the orchards. Combined with crystal-clear waters and fertile soils, it’s easy to see why the area’s much-loved sweet cherries have taken root here. 

To see the cherry orchards in bloom, time your trip for early May. Depending on weather, trees will start to bloom in late April, with a typical peak around early to mid-May. The best way to see the cherry blossoms is to take a drive around Flathead Lake. From Kalispell, head south on U.S. Highway 93 and take your time cruising the west side of the lake, before returning on Highway 35 and the lake’s east shore. 

Ready to plan your trip? Check out more spring activities here, learn more about Flathead Lake or book your hotel