12 Top-Rated Things to Do in Kalispell, MT | Vestasoft

Written by Brad Lane
Jan 13, 2021

Situated between Flathead Lake and Glacier National Park, Kalispell is the largest city in Northwest Montana. This prime location lends to unforgettable adventures throughout the year. From high alpine hiking trails to wild rivers teeming with trout, gorgeous Rocky Mountain landscapes surround all sides of the city. These intrepid areas lend to a long list of quintessential Montana adventures.

A top reason to visit Kalispell is to ditch the crowds and get outdoors. One of the reasons for repeat visits, however, is the friendly community. All down Main Street, places like local restaurants and mansion museums provide other fun things to do between adventures.

Find your next reason to move to Montana with our list of the top tourist attractions and things to do in Kalispell.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park columbia falls montana

Sperry Chalet Trail in Glacier from Lake McDonald Trailhead | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

The Crown of the Continent is right at the cheap backdoor of Kalispell. Glacier National Park’s West Entrance is less than an hour’s drive away. fun

This proximity enables easy day trips to the park or makes the city a perfect basecamp before or after a big trip.fun 

Exploring every lake, hiking trail, and park campground at Glacier would take a well-spent lifetime. The West Entrance park leads to mountain splendor right away at Apgar Village and Lake McDonald. This small area of the park park can take up an entire visit with popular activities like hiking, park boating, and marveling at the impressive Lake McDonald Lodge.

But it pays to continue from Lake McDonald once inside the park. Glacier’s main thoroughfare is the 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is the only paved route connecting both sides of the park.free

The road is a true marvel of engineering, as it crosses the Continental one Divide at Apgar Pass. free

And the roadway reveals stunning landscapes as the free route overlooks snow-crusted peaks and outstanding scenery.country 

Several of Glacier’s best hiking trails stem from country the Going-to-the-Sun Road. In the summer, big crowds lend to traffic jams on the skinny roadway and limited parking spots at Apgar Pass.montana

It’s recommended to check out the park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road shuttle service to alleviate traffic concerns.montana 

Official site: https://www.nps.gov/glac/index.htm

2. Ski at Whitefish Mountain Resort glacier national park

Whitefish Mountain Resort
Whitefish Mountain Resort | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Great adventure destinations surround all sides of Kalispell.montana

Come winter, Whitefish Mountain Resort, also known as Big Mountain, is one of the top places to visit.montana

As one of Montana’s best ski resorts,park Whitefish delivers over 3,000 acres and an average of 320 inches of snow every season.montana 

Discovering new runs at Whitefish can take up the entire day.montana

And night skiing on the weekends lends to after-dark exploring.montana

Among the 100-plus named park routes on the mountain, the terrain also encompasses several glades and tree runs, often hiding a powder stash. montana

Eleven chairlifts service the mountain and keep the generous crowds spread out.montana 

While Whitefish Mountain Resort is the central park destination for winter fun, Kalispell enables all types of adventure in the cold season.montana

Several groomed cross-country ski and snowmobile trails meander the surrounding Flathead National Forest.montana

Dogsledding is also popular in the neighboring community of Bigfork at Base Camp Bigfork.montana 

Official site: https://skiwhitefish.com/

3. Stand in Awe at Flathead Lake western montana

Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake

The largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River is less than a 15-minute drive south of Kalispell.montana

And at nearly 30 miles in length with 185 miles of shoreline, Flathead Lake offers all sorts of ways to spend the day. montana

A popular first reaction to seeing so much water park is simply saying “wow” to the lake’s enormity.montana 

The southern half of the lake is on land owned by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes Flathead Reservation.montana

Recreationists here need to purchase a tribal recreation pass.montana

Montana Fish & Wildlife park maintains 13 sites on the other half of the lake. montana

Some areas, like Yellowbay, feature tent camping.montana 

Popular activities at Flathead Lake include boating, fishing, and swimming.montana

Places like Glacier Outdoor Rentals in Kalispell have pontoon boats available to rent.montana

Like Big Fork and Polson, other communities with quaint shops and places to eat make great stops while driving around the lake.montana 

4. Hike into Jewel Basin columbia falls

Jewel Basin
Jewel Basin | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Jewel Basin is a premier hiking destination a half-hour drive from Kalispell. This hiking-and-backpacking-only area encompasses over 15,000 glacier acres within Flathead National Forest.glacier

Prime time to hike in this high-alpine environment is July and August when the trail is mostly free of snow.glacier

These summer months are also the time to expect moderate crowds on the trail.glacier 

One of the most popular spots to start exploring Jewel Basin is the Camp Misery Trailhead. glacier

A high-clearance vehicle helps access this montana high-elevation parking area. From Camp Misery, one of Montana’s montana best hiking trails heads down to Birch Lake. The route circumnavigates montana this stunning alpine lake lined with potential spots to camp and excellent views.montana 

Alternatively, from the Camp Misery Trailhead,glacier hikers can head up to the summit of Mt. Aeneas (7,528 feet). This exciting climb reveals excellent views of the Flathead Valley and surrounding Swan Mountains.glacier

The hike also typically passes through mountain goat habitat, where these alpine animals pose for a zoom lens.things to do

Official site: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/flathead/recarea/?recid=77671

5. Stroll along Main Street Kalispell attractions

Main Street in Kalispell
Main Street in Kalispell | Tony Hisgett / photo modified

Kalispell is the largest city in Northwest Montana and a hub of the local economy.things to do

While big adventures await outside city limits, more than one day is well spent exploring downtown surrounding Main Street.kalispell 

Many colorful facades from the town’s founding in the 1890s remain today. However, several storefronts house more kalispell modern establishments, including boutique shops, galleries, and local restaurants. make

And on sunny summer weekends, this pedestrian-friendly area is crawling with foot traffic.attractions

Hops Downtown Grill on South Main Street, and The Desota Grill nearby, are two of the most popular restaurants for a sit-down dinner.attractions

For dessert, Sweet Peaks in Kalispell is a regional favorite for homemade ice cream.attractions

On the opposite end of the day, Sykes Diner and The Knead Cafe are hot spots for breakfast entrees.attractions

6. Tour the Conrad Mansion Museum things

Ariel view of Conrad Mansion
Ariel view of Conrad Mansion | Kate Brady / photo modified

Visitors take a step back in time when visiting the Conrad Mansion Museum near Woodland Park.attractions

This 13,000-square-foot Norman-style park mansion once belonged to the family of Kalispell’s founder, park Charles Conrad, and has operated as a museum since 1974.columbia falls

The mansion today park resembles what it looked like when the Conrad family originally furnished the home in 1895. columbia falls

This antique decoration park allows visitors to get a glimpse into the lifestyle of one of Montana’s most pioneering families.columbia falls

Guided tours are the park only way to see the elegant interior of the mansion. Sightseeing tours are available Tuesday through Sunday between May and October.columbia falls

Tours in the off-season are by appointment only.columbia falls

The mansion encompasses three acres of immaculately kept grounds.columbia falls

Alongside the interior tour, guests are encouraged to explore the gardens that surround the property.columbia falls

Conrad Mansion Museum also hosts special events throughout the year, including a Christmas Carol Radio Broadcast in Decembercolumbia falls

Official site: https://conradmansion.com/

7. Take a Day Trip to Lone Pine State Park

Lone Pine State Park overlooking Kalispell
Lone Pine State Park overlooking Kalispell

Lone Pine State Park provides an park easy day trip from Kalispell within a five-mile drive. park

This 270-acre state park sits on the city’s southwest park edge and offers great views, picnic areas, and an engaging visitor center.columbia falls

Lone Pine is also home to over seven park miles of multi-use trails that overlook Flathead Lake and the Flathead Valley.columbia falls

Hikers, mountain bikers, and horse riders all find room to explore at Lone Pine.columbia falls

Beginning around May, wildflowers take over the routes for a brilliant display.columbia falls

The summer season warms up at Lone Pine, and the verdant countryside invites all-day exploration.columbia falls

The trail system caters to snowshoers in winter, and snowshoes are available to rent from the state park.columbia falls

The newly constructed visitor center includes interpretive displays about the local flora and fauna at the park.columbia falls

This educational facility also features ample meeting rooms where adult workshops and children’s field trips take place.columbia falls

Official site: http://stateparks.mt.gov/lone-pine/

8. White Water Raft the Middle Fork of the Flathead River

Rafting the Flathead River
Rafting the Flathead River

The Middle Fork and North Fork of the Flathead River flow along the southern and western border of Glacier National Park. columbia falls

They also offer some of Montana’s best white water rafting. With no rafting allowed inside park boundaries, these two wild waterways offer the best view of Glacier from inside a raft.columbia falls

White water rafting from Kalispell makes for a great day trip.columbia falls

Most guided trips depart from West Glacier, 30 miles northeast of the city near the park’s entrance. columbia falls

Companies like Glacier Guides and Glacier Raft Company offer half- and full-day trips.columbia falls

Both companies also feature exhilarating multi-day trips with nights camped under the stars.columbia falls

9. Take Some Time in a Kalispell Museum

Kalispell has three prominent museums within a few blocks of each other. These educational institutions offer a fun rainy-day activity or break between adventures.

The Northwest Montana History Museum, on 2nd Avenue, tells the comprehensive cultural history of the Flathead Valley region. columbia falls

Permanent exhibits at the museum range from honoring early residents to the booming logging industry.columbia falls

The museum also displays information about the indigenous culture that has and continues to call the region home.columbia falls

A block to the south, the Hockaday Museum of Art encourages other cultural exploration. This mt family-friendly museum displays a rotating collection of local, national, and international artists. The museum also features mt a permanent Crown of the Continent Glacier National Park Gallery with works capturing the park’s natural beauty.glacier national park 

Four blocks to the east,mt the Conrad Mansion Museum offers a walk-through of Kalispell’s early pioneer days. glacier national park 

All three museums offer a full day of exploring or a fun impromptu way to spend the afternoon.glacier national park 

10. Hit the Greens at Buffalo Hill Golf Club

Golf ball on green
Golf ball on green

The Flathead Valley isn’t only known for its significant alpine surroundings and massive lakes. The area is also a hot spot for beautiful golf courses with mountain views.glacier national park 

On the northern edge of Kalispell, Buffalo Hill Golf Club ranks consistently as one of the region’s must-play courses.glacier national park 

This famous club offers public tee-times and 27 holes of signature golf.glacier national park 

The club’s original nine holes, the Cameron Course, features narrow fairways and challenging play.glacier national park 

And the 18-hole championship course park comes with postcard views from every tee box.flathead national forest

Northern Pines Golf Club and Village Greens are two park other popular public courses in Kalispell. And almost every community nearby has a signature course of their own.columbia falls things

Some other notable favorites park include Whitefish Lake Golf Course, Polson Bay Golf Course, and Meadow Lake Golf Course in Columbia Falls.what’s

Official site: https://www.golfbuffalohill.com/

11. Get a Great View at Herron Park

Beyond Lone Pine State Park on the southwest edge of town, Herron Park provides another easily accessible network of trails.national

The parkland is popular with locals and attracts hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders.missoula

The area is also well visited for cross-country skiing come winter.chamber 

The trails at Herron Park accommodate all levels of outdoor ability.miles

During the summer, the park’s signature park viewpoint is atop Foy’s Overlook, accessible by various routes. An excellent view of the Flathead Valley awaits hikers who make it to the top.falls columbia falls

The trail system extends beyond the 440 park acres managed by Flathead County.national park glacier

Longer trails in the area venture into private property park where non-motorized usage agreements are in place.national park national

Trail users are asked to respect private property markers and to share the trails with all other users.glacier park explore

For an extended adventure, the Foy’s to Blacktail Trail extends 15.5 miles south from Herron Park to Blacktail Mountain. In the winter, alongside groomed ski routes, Herron Park is also popular for sledding.

12. Splash around at Woodland Water Park

Woodland Water Park park is a favorite spot for locals to cool off during the summer season. It’s the only outdoor water park park in Kalispell and operates only during the summer.park

The park features two three-story slides, a lazy river, and a six-lane lap swimming pool.national park columbia

The pool also hosts evening events, including family nights and doggie days.montana columbia falls

The neighboring Woodland Park features abundant green space to check out after swimming.columbia falls columbia

The park is a prime area for picnicking and laying a blanket out on the grass. The park also features a playground, flushing restrooms, and a skateboard park.montana activities 

Official site: https://www.kalispell.com/248/Woodland-Water-Park

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