BEST WESTERN PLUS Flathead Lake Inn and Suites – Kalispell, MT


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When you stay at our Kalispell hotel, not only do you stay at a clean, well-maintained rooms, with great amenities and a good central location, but you also stay with people who care!

Our Standard Two Queen Room

Our Standard Two Queen Room

Location, Location, Location

Skiing at Blacktail Mountain, spending a day indulging in outdoor recreation at Glacier National Park , or exploring your favorite shopping areas are all short drives from our Kalispell hotel.  We are centrally located in the Flathead Valley on the South end of Kalispell, between Bigfork, Kalispell and Lakeside.

Flathead Lake is just a short drive away and a prime spot for water recreation. The mountains are a beautiful backdrop for a fun day filled with boating, skiing, fishing or hiking. From the incredible annual Dragon Boat Festival to the incredible golfing in the region, nearly every outdoor sport you can imagine is close to our Kalispell hotel.  Our hotel is the perfect place to rest and relax after a long day of adventure or work.

Top Amenities

Our 24-hour indoor pool provides guests with a perfect place to relax. Our friendly staff is committed to making sure every guest’s stay is comfortable, and every morning is kicked off right with a free hot breakfast. The buffet selection includes biscuits and gravy, sweet rolls, waffles, eggs, sausage, and Montana hot apple oatmeal. Complete your meal with chilled juices or 100% Arabica coffee.  We also include FREE high-speed wifi throughout the building!

Business Travelers and Groups

This Kalispell hotel offers a meeting space, and we’re a top choice for wedding groups and business travelers. Some of our regular guests are employees of AT&T, Plum Creek, Applied Materials and the Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Whether you’re here on business or in town for a special event, it’s important that you have the space necessary to take care of everything.

Reserve a well-appointed room at BEST WESTERN PLUS Flathead Lake Inn and Suites, where guests are close to all the top destinations!

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10 Fast Facts About the Flathead: Lake, River, Valley, County Etc.

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Here are some fun, fast facts about the Flathead Valley.  For clarification, when people say “the Flathead” they could mean one of several things: the Flathead Valley, the Flathead River (or one of its 3 forks), The Flathead Lake or Flathead County.  Flathead County encompasses most of the Flathead Valley and some of the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex to the East but does not include the land bordering the lower half of Flathead Lake.



  1.  Flathead Lake, to the South of Kalispell is the largest freshwater lake West of the Mississippi (in the continental US).
  2. Flathead County has an estimated population of 94,900.  3rd most populated county in Montana.
  3. Only about 30,000 residents live in the incorporated towns of Kalispell, Columbia Falls and Whitefish.  The rest live in the country and in smaller communities.
  4. 94% of the 5,000 + square miles of land in Flathead County is National Forest, State Forest, Corporate Timber, Wilderness or Agricultural.  Only 6% is developed.
  5.  The total population of the Flathead increases by 40% from June through August.
  6.  Dorothy M. Johnson, a Western Novelist, who had 3 of her books made into movies was a long-time Flathead Valley resident.
  7.  The town of Kalispell (the largest town in the valley) was incorporated when the Great Northern Railway was built through the valley in 1891.  Prior to 1884 there wasn’t even a post office in the Flathead Valley.
  8. The Flathead River and its 3 forks (North Fork, South Fork and Middle Fork) have 219 miles of designated scenic river.
  9. Between 3 and 5 million pounds of cherries are harvested in the Flathead Valley every year.
  10.  The Flathead Valley is named after the Native American tribe known by that name that now resides on a reservation bordering the south end of Flathead Lake.
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Flathead Cherries- Festival, Seasons and Orchards -Flathead Lake’s Fruit of Choice

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You’ll see the signs and roadside stands all over as you drive in the Flathead Valley and near Glacier National Park:  “Huckleberries and Flathead Cherries Sold Here!”  Huckleberries get a little more publicity, but their domesticated rival, the Flathead Cherry, deserves some credit in the delicious category too.  Flathead Cherries are technically the Lambert variety of sweet cherries, but have their own unique flavor because of where they are grown.  Often colored in both yellow and light red, they have the perfect amount of sweetness combined with a savory flavor.

Flathead Cherry Stand

Flathead Cherry Stand

Cherries? Montana in Montana?!  Isn’t it too cold?

The Flathead Lake region is actually ideal for cherry production given its altitude, water access, soil and moderate climate.  “Cool evenings are our saving grace,” said one Flathead cherry grower.  Apparently 40-50 degree evenings combined with warm days are ideal for extending the cherry growing season.  The early cherry growers must have realized this when they started growing cherries in the Flathead over 80 years ago in 1932!  The Flathead Cherry Growers Association has been around since 1935.

The Flathead typically produces between 3 and 5 million pounds of cherries every year with a high of 7 million.  There are 120 cherry growers in the Flathead.  This isn’t close to the volume that Washington state produces, but Montana is among the top cherry producers in the nation.

Where? When?  How?

The timing and volume of cherry crops are extremely weather dependent (this year the harvest was earlier because of the hot weather in June), but in general the cherry harvest occurs in mid July and lasts for 2-3 weeks.  Polson’s Cherry Festival celebrating the beloved fruit is typically slated for mid to late July.  This event is a must attend if you are in the area!  Vendors line the streets and there are all manner of cherry related contests including: pie eating, stem tying and pit spitting.

As stated in the beginning of this article, during the harvest you can buy them at almost any roadside stand anywhere near Flathead Lake and Glacier.  You can often get them in grocery stores and they are even sold at super markets in some northwest, midwest and southwest states.

But if you want the most authentically Montana experience in obtaining your cherries, you can pick them right from the tree!  Hockaday Orchards, just south of Lakeside on the West shore of Flathead Lake will let you pick your own cherries at $1 a pound!  Or you can adopt your own tree at Point Caroline Orchards!



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As Sweet as Authentic Montana Honey!

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“Honey is a 12 million dollar industry in Montana,” my Montana legislator friend remarked in the midst of a discussion on cottage industries.   Montana isn’t known for honey, but perhaps it should be.  The industry isn’t huge, but as far as honey goes, Montana was second in dollars of honey sold only to North Dakota (South Dakota was a close 3rd).   Not only are sales high, it tastes pretty amazing too!

If you like sweets, it is difficult not to like honey!  I recently toured Glacier County Honey Company during “Fill Your Own Bucket Day”.  The process is pretty amazing and so is the honey.  The honey is transferred from the boxes you’ll see in fields by simply pulling out the trays that are already in the boxes.  The trays are sealed with wax and put in a hot room.  They are then transferred to a couple pretty impressive machines that first pull all the honey and wax out of the trays and then separate the wax from the honey.

They make Christmas ornaments out of the wax and all the honey goes through a set of pipes and comes out of spicket-like piece of hardware on the wall, almost as if it is on-tap.  I was amazed that when I handed them my mason jar, they didn’t get any honey on the lid.  In addition to the honey and wax products they sold their own blend of Montana Coffee Traders Coffee and they even had a delicious honey bar recipe!

From what I understand, honey varies greatly by the environment in which it is made so even within the Flathead or Glacier Country the taste of honey can vary significantly.  So this summer, try something Montana may not be well known for, but certainly should be: honey!

Glacier County Honey Company is located near Babb, MT and the Many Glacier entrance to Glacier National Park.

Great Northern Honey Company is located in Columbia Falls, MT near the West Glacier entrance to Glacier National Park.


Both companies have a list of local retailers that sell their honey. Glacier County Honey Company sells directly to customers and can give you a tour if you stop by as well!

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Restaurants near Glacier National Park

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Its late and you are just getting out of Glacier National Park.  By the time you get back to Kalispell it will be eight o’clock and you are hungry now!  Is there anywhere you can eat that is closer to Glacier, actually has decent food and isn’t trying to rip you off ?!  Oh, you don’t want to eat in a seedy bar either?! Why yes, there are several places!  We have divided our suggestions by where you might be coming from in Glacier.

Polebridge/Bowman Lake:  If you are adventurous enough to drive up the West Side of Glacier along the North Fork of the Flathead you will come to a town….of sorts, Polebridge!  It happens to have 2 restaurants and a bakery and they’re all good!  The Polebridge Home Ranch Bottoms serves standard burgers and fries, and also features Taco Tuesdays!  Northern Lights Saloon and Cafe serves classic burgers and fries and also features pizza on Fridays (sometimes featuring live music)!  The Polebridge Mercantile has one of the best bakeries around….their huckleberry bear claws are to die for!

Hungry Horse/ West Glacier: Most of the restaurants in West Glacier are overpriced and crowded.  Hungry Horse, just down the road, might be busy, but it has some unique options that are worth stopping for.  If you are looking for a huckleberry shake to hold you over, the Huckleberry Patch and Willow’s Huckleberry Haven are good places to start.  The Huckleberry Patch even ships their pies nation-wide!  Hungry Horse is kind of the Huckleberry Mecca of Montana, but unfortunately I haven’t found the classic Glacier trifecta (burger, fries and shake) all at the same place in the town of Hungry Horse.  For that you have to go to The Glacier Grill.  The Glacier Grill is a great place for standard burgers, fries and shakes (shakes are spendy though).  They also make tasty pizza!

Two Medicine/East Glacier: If you have been exploring the East side of Glacier and are on your way back to Kalispell don’t overlook East Glacier’s dining options.  It has two superb bakeries: Rock ‘n Roll Bakery and Brownies.  It also has one of the best Mexican Restaurant in Glacier Country, Serranos!  Serranos doesn’t open until 5pm and many entrees cost around $12-15 but it is worth waiting for.  Great Chimichangas!  Two Medicine Grill offers the standard burgers and fries but their unique feature is that they bake the best (arguably) huckleberry pies in Glacier Country!  If you are looking for a tasty, slightly more healthy option, check out Luna’s for some mouth-watering wraps!

Babb/ Many Glacier:  If you’re coming out of Many Glacier around dinner time, you might not have too many options, but Two Sisters Grill is always worth a stop!  Classic burgers, fries and shakes with a few unique features and a funky atmosphere that completes the unique experience!

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Wildlife Viewing Opportunities in Glacier National Park- Many Glacier and Logan Pass

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Glacier National Park is known for its scenic views and Yellowstone National Park for its wildlife, but Glacier probably should be known for both.

Black Bear near Lake McDonald

This last week, four of us traveled to the Many Glacier entrance on the northeast side of Glacier.  Over the course of two days of hiking and one night of camping we saw five moose, ten bighorn sheep, two mountain goats and one elk!  Some were spotted through binoculars, but three of the moose were visible across the river from our campsite in the Swift Current campground!  All that to say, Glacier has plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities!

Best Viewing Areas

Many Glacier is the best entrance for general wildlife viewing.  Every animal you can see in Glacier can be seen here and sometimes from the Many Glacier Lodge itself.

Goat Lick is typically a great place to see Mountain Goats.  However, 2015 has not been a good year for viewing goats here, but it is always worth a try.  It is a marked pull-off along Highway 2 on the south end of Glacier.  The minerals on the hillside are just what the goats are craving and they almost never leave during the summer.

Bighorn Sheep in Logan Pass parking lot

Logan Pass is a great place for viewing Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goats.  You can often see both without getting out of your car!

Tips for Viewing

Grizzly Bears are often higher up during June and then slowly make their way down in elevation as the berries ripen in July.  Scan high meadows and snow fields in June and lower ones in July, August and September.  Be very careful in thick brush, especially in August and September!

Moose on Cut Bank Creek

Moose are all about the low meadows and ponds.  If you can get up high, scan areas that have lots of water and brush around them.  Be careful though, moose are statistically more dangerous than bears.

Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goats both love to hang out up high.  You can scan for them from below and they are often easiest to pick out when they are running across snow fields.

General Tips– if you can, get a pair of binoculars before you go into Glacier, its well be worth it.  Whether you’re driving or hiking, get to an area where you can see lots of open hillsides, meadows and snowfields with brush in between each section.  If you can get there in early morning or late evening.  You will see more wildlife at those times.  Scan the meadows, hillsides and snowfields with your naked eye, or with binoculars until you see movement.  The more area you have to scan the better your odds.  Once you see something you can zero in with your binoculars.  Patience is key.  Something is almost certainly out there, you just have to be willing to wait until it comes to a place you can see it.


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Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid of Grizzly Bear Attacks in Glacier National Park

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We watched with a mixture of concern and amusement as the situation unfolded before our eyes.  We were near the top of Siyeh Pass, looking at the glacial lake below us.  Nearly half a mile away, a hiker was walking around to the far side of the lake, possibly with the intention of sliding down the snow field into the freezing water.  Walking from the other direction, across the scree field nearest the snow, was what appeared to be a large grizzly (through binoculars).  Neither the bear, nor the hiker could see that they were about to have a close encounter.

They both saw each other at the same time and they had to have been within 100 feet when it happened.  Fortunately for the hiker, the grizzly reacted by turning around and heading up the rock slide away from the hiker.  Even though the hiker was a small dot from our vantage point, he seemed to move with incredible speed as he ran back around the lake.  I’ve never seen someone so far away move so fast.

Millions of people visit Glacier National Park every year and only a small handful will have the kind of encounter that this visitor did.  But grizzly bears and black bears are present in Glacier so here are a few facts and tips to put you at ease and help keep you safe in the event of a bear encounter.

  • Fact: The last fatal bear attack in Glacier National Park was in 1998 even though the number of bears has increased since then.
  • Tip:Never run from a bear
  • Fact: Bear spray is much more effective than a gun.
  • Tip: Check the expiration date, practice taking the safety off, keep it easily accessible and visualize spraying a Z-pattern at a bear if he/she charges!
  • Fact: Most fatal bear attacks happen to lone hikers or groups of two and there are no recorded bear attacks against groups of 6 or more.
  • Tip: If you make noise while on the trail, you probably won’t surprise a bear
  • Fact: Bears stand on their hind legs to get a better view of what has caught their attention
  • Tip: If they are defensive (stomping and huffing), back away slowly.
  • Fact: Bears have good eyesight and can see in color.
  • Tip: If they are aggressive (approaching you silently and swiftly), get loud and big!
  • Fact: People who use guns against bears are more than twice as likely to incur serious injury than people who use bear spray in the event of an attack.
  • Tip: Never get between a mother and her cub(s)!
  • Fact: Grizzly bears can outrun horses over short distances!
  • Tip:Know the difference between grizzlies and black bears
  • Fact: 3 people die from bears every year….90 people die by being struck by lightening
  • Tip: In the unlikelihood you are attacked play dead if you’re attacked by a grizzly and fight back if you’re attacked by a black bear

Be bear aware but don’t let it keep you from hiking.  Chances are you won’t have a bear encounter and if you follow the tips above, the chances of the encounter turning into a bear attack are about as small as…..all the glaciers being around in GNP 100 years from now!

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