5 Ways to Winter
Your Guide to Winter in Kalispell, Montana
Once winter comes to northwest Montana, the whole valley starts sparkling with fresh snow that’s distinct to this corner of Big Sky Country—light, deep and in abundance. There are plenty of things to do during winter, from adventures in snow-capped mountains to strolling through downtown’s Old West storybook streets and signature events that celebrate the spirit of the season.
Kalispell’s Top 5 Winter Activities
1 -LANDSCAPES, NATURE AND WILDLIFE CREATE PERFECT PHOTO BACKDROPS
During winter, there are many ways to catch the contrast between Kalispell’s snow-covered valley, forest-covered mountains and colorful downtown. In winter, it’s all about achieving the correct exposure. Triple D Ranch has a selection of events —some with instructors—that give the chance to capture wildlife portraits of snow leopard, grizzy bear, fox, coyote, pine marten, birds of prey, horses and more.
2 - A CANINE-POWERED DOG SLEDDING ADVENTURE.
While we’ll leave the Iditarod to professional racers, northwest Montana has two dog sled outfitters who help visitors travel at the speed of dog. Both Dog Sled Adventures (located in nearby Olney) and Base Camp Bigfork (just down the road in Bigfork) take guests on dog sledding excursions into Montana’s forested terrain and across frozen lakes. Both operators have well-trained teams of dogs—including Alaskan huskies, Inuit sled dogs and rescue pups—who are built for pulling sleds and jump at the chance to do so.
3 - SNOWSHOE MONTANA.
If you can walk, you can snowshoe. One of winter’s most underrated activities, snowshoeing is one of the best ways to explore snow-covered landscapes and lead you to incredible views. In Kalispell, snowshoe adventures are all around, with terrain and trails found at Lone Pine State Park, Herron Park, the Swan River Trail (Bigfork), Blacktail Mountain Trail and Glacier National Park.
Lone Pine State Park—which offers a bird’s-eye view of the Flathead Valley and Kalispell—has 7.5 miles of trails for snowshoeing and fat biking. During the winter, the visitor center has snowshoe rentals available for $5/person or $10/family. The National Park Service offers free guided snowshoe tours on weekends from early January through mid-March, while Glacier Treks provide cross-country ski and snowshoeing guided day trips and overnight tours in the Crown of the Continent. Glacier Trek's trips are open to experience levels of all ages, from beginner to advanced.
Plus, shops and guides (including Sportsman & Ski Haus, Base Camp Bigfork and Glacier Treks) have snowshoe rentals available. And if you’re heading into Glacier National Park for a ranger-led snowshoe tour, you can rent snowshoes for a small fee at Apgar Visitor Center.
4 - GET WESTERN, COWBOY.
At our roots, Kalispell emulates the spirit of the West, as it’s a town that’s home to a long history of ranching, farming and real life in Montana’s rugged outdoors. No trip is complete without experiencing what makes the West, the West. Anchoring our Western experiences is Kalispell’s Majestic Valley Area. Situated on the north end of town, it hosts rodeos all year, including the Brash Winter Series Rodeo, with events that include bull riding, saddle bronc, bareback steer wrestling, team roping, barrel racing, breakaway roping, and calf roping.
Find the full list of events—including motocross racing—at Majestic Valley Arena here. You can also cowboy up with a visit to one of our anchor Western stores, including Western Outdoor, in the heart of downtown.
5 - APRÉS ISN'T JUST FOR SKIERS.
Chances are that our recreational offerings are what brought you to Kalispell in winter. But you better believe our indoor offerings are the perfect complement to endless adventures found outside. Kalispell’s vibrant downtown is one of the most walkable in Montana and is lined with local boutiques, shops and art galleries, as well as wellness services and classes at a variety of locations, including the Yoga Hive.
For custom essential oil blends, visit Sage & Cedar. Or treat yourself with a relaxing spa treatment at Amore Salon or the massage studio inside the city’s most historic lodging property—the Kalispell Grand Hotel.
End your day at one of Kalispell’s diverse restaurants, with each serving up mouth-watering dishes and Big Sky Country-inspired flavors. Top off the day by cozying up and tasting Montana in the form of craft cider, locally made Kombucha, and craft beer and wine—including a new wine bar located in downtown or one of the city’s four breweries.