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Whitefish Glacier, Montanna

Situated among the stunning northern Rocky Mountains in Montana, Whitefish is accentuated by hundreds of pristine glacial lakes, scenic rivers and rigorous trails. Big Mountain is the centerpiece of town and is home to epic Whitefish Mountain Resort. This western town caters to everyone, whether you like surf or turf. For the former, the expansive western landscapes of neighboring Glacier National Park abound with limitless recreation options. For the latter, the waters of Whitefish and Flathead Lakes are a Mecca for anglers and boaters alike.

With its cool summer temperatures and high peaks along the Continental Divide, Whitefish is a prime destination for hiking. Hundreds of miles of trails are scattered throughout Glacier National Park and nearby Flathead National Forest. There’s no better way to get up close and personal with Glacier than on foot. The Grinnell Glacier Trail delivers a high return on your investment. Hike the 6-mile trail to one of the most stunning glaciers in the entire park. With a vertical elevation gain of 1,600 feet, the trail is a solid day hike that will keep your legs working. If you are on the east side of the park, take out your hiking poles and check out the extreme Highline Trail, a 13-mile excursion through some of the toughest terrain in the park. Watch out for mountain goats, which are often spotted on this trail, as well as for grizzlies, who will knock you back a notch or two on the food chain.

If you prefer to pedal, there’s no shortage of action for mountain bikers in Whitefish. Head for the hills on Big Mountain’s Summit Trail, an 8-mile long single-track teaser. Experienced bikers tackle Dave’s Dive, an expert route that plunges through a narrow maze of trees with steep drops, or the short but tough Wolverine that brings you through a muddy mayhem of steep hills and log crossings. In Glacier, bring your bike onto the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50-mile pathway through the park’s feral core. The road is an architectural marvel; see the best parts of the park while getting an amazing workout.

Northwest of town, the glacially carved Whitefish Lake offers seven square miles of water sports, from swimming to boating to waterskiing. Launch from Whitefish Lake State Park and explore the undeveloped, unruly western edge of the lake. Whitefish Lake plunges down to around 50 feet at Les Mason Park on its northeast side, where you can swim and explore the wild woods along a small marked trail.

In winter Big Mountain becomes a skier’s paradise and its name doesn’t do it justice. With 4,464-foot of elevation and more than 3,000 acres of skiable terrain, Epic Mountain is more like it. Play in the powder for hours on cross-country trails that lace three sides of the mountain. If it’s taking you a little longer to acclimate to the high elevation, let someone else do the hard work and mush your way across this tundra-like landscape. Dog Sled Adventures will definitely feed your need for speed. Sled dogs give you the same rush of flying across the snow-covered wilderness as snowmobiling, without any of the annoying fumes.

Whether you are doing it for the first time or a seasoned climbing veteran, Rock Climb Montana can help you make the most of your adventure. Learn the ropes and get equipped for your first attempt with this outfitter. Experienced climbers will benefit from their team’s deep knowledge of the area and help them summit its most challenging routes.

When you’ve wrapped up for the day, hit the hay in a rustic log cabin at the North Forty Resort, conveniently located by Glacier National Park’s entrance. Cook up your daily catch in your barbecue pit and crack open a beer on the covered porch. If you want to be closer to civilization, Grouse Mountain Lodge is an eco-friendly lodge a few blocks from downtown Whitefish and centrally located to all of the area’s recreational options.

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