On your way to Glacier National Park, Montana’s Flathead Lake provides a gorgeous place to stop for the night or spend a few days exploring. The biggest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, Flathead Lake is 28 miles long and ranges in width from 8 to 15 miles. The lake has nearly 130 miles of shoreline and at its deepest is more than 370 feet. Flathead Lake’s recreational opportunities include fishing and boating.
If you’re traveling to Glacier National Park, consider camping nearby on the shores of Flathead Lake.
Flathead Lake lies in the northwest corner of Montana. The town of Somers, located on the northern end of the lake, is 45 miles southwest of the West Entrance to Glacier National Park. Polson, on the south side of Flathead Lake, is another 40 miles south via U.S. Highway 93, which parallels the lake’s western shoreline. Montana Highway 35 parallels the lake’s eastern shoreline. Kalispell, Montana, lies a few miles north of Flathead Lake.
You’ll find privately run, full-service RV parks located close to Flathead Lake in the towns of Polson, Lakeside, Bigfork and Rollins. In addition, four state parks with RV campsites available lie on the lake’s shores: Big Arm, Finley Point, Wayfarers and West Shore. The state park campgrounds have limited electric hookups available mainly at their handicapped-accessible campsites, with the exception of Finley Point. Finley Point provides RV campsites with both water and electric hookups.
Polson’s private, full-service RV parks include Eagle Nest RV Resort and Polson/Flathead Lake KOA. Both of these RV parks provide full-hookup RV campsites along with wireless Internet access, seasonal swimming pools with hot tubs and additional recreational facilities. Additional RV parks on the lake include Johnson Berger and Sons Inc. in Rollins, Edgewater Motel & RV Park in Lakeside and Woods Bay Marina and RV Park and Outback RV Park and Campground, both in Bigfork.
Flathead Lake’s state park campgrounds provide a total of 115 RV-accessible campsites. Big Arm State Park has 33 RV/tent sites, Finley has 16 sites, Wayfarers has 24 sites and West Shore has 26 sites. The Polson/Flathead Lake KOA has 47 RV campsites, more than half with full hookups. Eagle Nest RV Park has 56 grassy RV campsites with electric hookups. All of these campgrounds except the KOA offer tent camping as well.
The state park campgrounds on Flathead Lake operate on a seasonal basis, with the exception of Big Arm, which stays open all year. Finley Point, Wayfarers and West Shore are open for RV camping from May 1 through Sept. 30. Eagle Nest RV Resort is open from April 15 through Oct. 15, offering a discounted all-season rate for significant savings. As of 2010, the KOA was in the process of becoming the Polson Motorcoach and RV Resort, a year-round luxury RV accommodation.
- Glacier in Glacier Bay National Park image by Don Lewis from Fotolia.com