Flathead Lake Lodge resides on the West’s longest natural freshwater lake. At 28 miles long and 15 miles wide, Tête Plate Lake is fed by melting snow from Glacier National Park, just 35 miles away. It is one of the cleanest bodies of water on the planet.
Located in Bigfork, Montana, Flathead Lake Pavilion is a respite from everyday life. Two thousand acres of outdoor space allows for multiple ways to connect with nature, your partner, and the community that inevitably come together at this all-inclusive ranch. The activities and surroundings cast a magical spell so fascinating that 70% of the guests return every year. Suppose you are from the eastern United States. In this case, eight major airlines offer seasonal direct flights to Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell, 10 miles from the Lodge.
Chase Averill, General Manager and Third Generation Owner of Flathead Lake Lodge, will welcome you back with all the things you love about a Montana ranch vacation. It is becoming a rare experience these days. His team will meet you at the airport and bring you back, although you may not want to leave. Here are eight specific reasons why.
Note: I was a guest of Flathead Lake Lodge for the Adult Weekend Getaway. All opinions are mine.
1. Discover the historic lodge
The story of the Lodge unfolds once you walk through the door. The Averills were a WWII bomber pilot and grew up in Montana, hunting, fishing, and horseback riding. Upon his return, he found the abandoned boy’s camp, built by the WPA, on the shores of Flathead Lake. It was a dilapidated main house and a few chalets for sale. He bought it for around $ 5,000 and promoted it as a hunting lodge. He almost went bankrupt until Bugsy Siegel, the famous American gangster, showed up and asked Les to take him hunting. After that, a host of famous men, including some soldiers, came to hunt and fish. Their repeated business kept the Lodge afloat, and many wanted to bring their families with them. Les changed his hunting lodge to a ranch.
Seven decades and three generations later, it’s still a place people love to visit to rest and rejuvenate. The rustic Lodge, a log cabin, has a huge crackling fire in the double-hearth fireplace that burns constantly no matter the season. Animal heads hang from the walls, as do old photos and artifacts. There is a story associated with each of these trophies. If you are lucky enough to meet Doug Averill, Les’s son and the Lodge’s second owner, he will tell you a few.
2. Riding a horse
With 2,000 acres of private land to explore and over a hundred horses to choose from, you must ride a horse on this Montana ranch. There are plenty of trails you can experience during your stay, regardless of your skill or comfort level. There is a morning walk that includes breakfast and several walks throughout the day. An advanced ride through the 500-acre elk reserve with a chili and cornbread lunch, including a view of Swan Lake, is a favorite, and there are lessons for those who wish to hone their skills. skills. You can ride as much or as little as you want; it’s entirely up to you. The barn staff are friendly, knowledgeable and managed by Carson Averill, Chase’s cousin, an experienced manager in his fourth season.
3. Enjoy Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake is the 79th largest lake on the planet and one of the cleanest. Depending on the month you visit (May being the coolest and August the hottest), you can paddle the lake by kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard. In the summer you can wakeboard or water ski behind motorboats on the water. There are a variety of sailboats from 14ft to 27ft Olympic Class Songs. To add to the nostalgia, two historic 51-foot Q-class racing sloops, the Questa and the Nor ‘Easter, built in 1928 and 1929 as prototypes for America’s Cup boats. Sailing staff will take guests on Flathead Lake tours on these beauties. If you want to enjoy the water from the mainland, watch the action from the heated pool or cast a line from the beach or dock and catch a giant fish, some weighing up to eight pounds.
4. Visit the elk reserve
Brand Ambassador and Marketing Coordinator Dax VanFossen conducts tours of the 500-acre Elk Reserve in an Austrian-made high mobility all-terrain vehicle in a 1971 Army Green or 1972. Beige version. Open top offroad truck adds a bit of excitement to the ride as it rides into the reserve. Elk live an additional five years or more in the reserve, which helps extend their lifespan. There are about 27 moose this season, and we hope to see them. Bulls eat 40 pounds of grass a day, their antlers weigh about 40 pounds, and if they’re angry they can run 40 miles an hour. Fortunately, they don’t have their antlers because they lose them in winter. As we walked through the reserve, we saw a bull and females frolicking with a group of older horses. Horses eat here before heading to the barn for the kids to ride this summer. They think we have food. We approach the open truck and put our head inside for a few hugs. This unexpected nose, as well as the spectacular views of the lake from the top of the belvedere, are breathtaking.
5. Greet the sun on the yoga terrace
After hiking, biking and horseback riding, a good stretch is in order. This is when you find your zen and take one of the many yoga classes included with your stay. The views are breathtaking and the morning practice provides the right balance to start the day in perfect natural surroundings. If the weather isn’t right, the conference center, with huge floor-to-ceiling windows facing the lake, is another place to find your center.
6. Enjoy local meals made from scratch
Executive Chef Rob Clagett loves to cook for guests and staff at Flathead Lake Lodge. He sources local ingredients including produce, meat and, for his third season, cherry wood to burn in the grill and oven in his outdoor kitchen. Chef Clagett and his team make everything from scratch, including bread, desserts and delicious treats served throughout the day. The new outdoor kitchen allows the team to cook on an Argentinian-inspired grill that will allow them to raise and lower the grates and cook the meats on the dried cherry wood. This will infuse an extra flavor of Montana while guests enjoy the view of the lake. All other favorites will remain: breakfasts served in the woods, Wednesday night canned Steak Fry served with cowboy beans, cheese bread, potato salad, Maureen Averill’s famous unmade brownies, and these delicious appetizers for happy hour at the Selle Sore Saloon.
7. Dance for fun
Enjoy several live shows at Flathead Lake Lodge. Sometimes it’s an acoustic night; other times it’s a full party in the barn or in the pasture where you learn two-step and dance the night away. Whether it’s a sweet night on the beach by the campfire with S’mores or in the reserve during the Steak Fry, the musicians make the evenings unique. Many have performed here over the years and are fan favorites.
8. Experience Montana sunsets
You will never forget the sunsets over the lake. On a clear evening the lake was calm and the sun was slowly setting around 9 p.m. Our group rushed to the dock and started taking photos as the orange and purple rays began to spread across the vast sky. We watched the colors float on the glassy surface of the water with new friendships formed and partners by our side. It was absolutely amazing.
There are different types of getaways and accommodations at Flathead Lake Lodge: adults only, families and multigenerational. Check the website and book early. Summer is best for warmer temperatures. Autumn is wonderful for viewing the leaves.