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16 votes

Flathead Lake

490 North Meridian Road, Polson, Montana 59860 USA

Free to Visit
Open Now
Mon 12a-12a
  • Independent
  • Credit Cards not Accepted
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • No Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating
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“Water so Clear, it Looks Shallow!”

Flathead Lake was first described by explorer David Thompson as “A fine sheet of water”.  It’s that----and much more.  The largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi is 28 miles long and up to 15 miles wide, providing 188 square miles of pure pleasure!  The lake’s pure sparkling waters and miles of tree-lined shore offer unlimited recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat. Overlooking it all are the magnificent Swan and Mission mountain ranges. Flathead Lake….Sparkling Playground For ever-changing views, visitors can use Highways 35 and 93 to drive around the lake. Spring means the fragrant white blooms of the cherry orchards where you can pick your own delicious Flathead Cherries in late July and August. Five units of Flathead Lake State Park provide sites for picnics, boating, sailing, fishing, hiking, camping and swimming. Two golf courses offer spectacular views and challenging play.

All types of watercraft, propelled by motor, sail or paddle, ply the waters of Flathead Lake. There’s plenty of room on the lake for everyone to enjoy their own choice of boat or personal watercraft. Rent a boat and set out on your own or hire a guide for a day of fishing or a quiet paddle.

Flathead Lake is home to trophy-size trout, yellow perch and whitefish. The southern half of the lake is part of the Flathead Indian Reservation, home of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai tribes. On these waters, fishermen will need a tribal fishing permit, available at most area sporting goods stores. Wildlife Habitat The lake and its islands are home to hundreds of species of birds and wildlife. Wild Horse Island, the lake’s largest, is a wildlife refuge for more than 75 species of birds along with deer, bighorn sheep, coyotes and bears. Hiking trails meander around the island, through forests and open prairie meadow, past early 20th century homesteads. Geese, osprey, herons, and eagles frequent the aptly named Bird Islands, a popular spot for peaceful paddling.

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Reviewed by

  • 5 Reviews
  • 7 Helpful
July 15, 2014
Rated 5.0

We have visited Flathead lake every summer for eight years. The water is cool and clear. A unique and beautiful area.

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
June 25, 2014

@Baileeeey - I've been to Flathead Lake numerous times and have enjoyed it every time! I am fortunate to have friends that live just outside of Polson and next to the lake, and it really is a pretty and clear lake. Yes, there are times when it's murky because there are two streams flowing into it that bring all of the run off from the mountains, but every time I've seen it, it has been nothing short of beautiful. Yes, there are a lot of boaters too, but the lake is big enough that you can find camping or nature areas where there aren't a lot of people nearby. I'm partial to Polson myself (small town Americana), but Whitefish is great and of course you can't go wrong with taking a day drive (or two or three) up to Glacier National Park. Stop and get some Huckleberry flavored anything (wine is my favorite!), but it all depends on what you want to do. There's a great overlook of a dam with the Mission Mountains behind it (Kerr Dam) south of Polson if you really want to get off the beaten track! Let me know if anything else, and I can try to recommend a few areas or places to go!

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 2 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
June 25, 2014

@Baileeey - I've been to Flathead Lake numerous times and I can say I enjoyed it every time! I'm lucky enough to have friends with a place next to Flathead Lake just outside of Polson and love seeing the lake. Yes, it gets murky sometimes because there are two streams that flow into it that bring all of the run off from the mountains, but that happens to every lake! And yes, there are a lot of boaters as well, but it is such a big lake that you can find other camping or nature areas away from all the people. I'm partial to the town of Polson myself (small town Americana), but you can go up to Whitefish or even a day trip (or two or three) to Glacier National Park if you want more. Be sure to try anything Huckleberry flavored (wine is my favorite!), but there are lots of different things to do in the area as well. If you're looking for something really off the beaten path, go to Kerr Dam south of Polson (will need a map as they're all smaller roads), and it's a great view of the dammed river and the Mission Mountains behind it. Let me know if there's anything else you'd like recommendations for! :)

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
June 03, 2014

@vegabern Can you recommend any others?? I live in Utah and thought this would be a fun quick trip, but you're right. I'm way more interested in something a little more relaxing than speedboats everywhere.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 32 Reviews
  • 5 Helpful
November 30, 2013

My parents lived in Polson for several years. This lake was one of many beautiful lakes in the region. Beautiful area overall.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
November 29, 2013

please don't it fall victim to human greed. all of the water where i live is being polluted by bromides, and our streams are being sucked dry by corporations in the stupid marcellus shale gas fracturing frenzy.
i would love to see this lake. thank you for the wonderful photo and information ~

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
November 29, 2013

Blue Mountain Lake in the Adirondack Mtns in upstate New York, is also very very clean and clear. It is a natural spring lake. Beautiful.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 3 Reviews
  • 0 Helpful
September 16, 2013

Water really is the clearest water i've ever seen. Very beautiful! A great camping site too.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by

  • 20 Reviews
  • 5 Helpful
August 08, 2016
Rated 4.0

Gorgeous lake! The water is so clear you can see all the way to the bottom, and there's no seaweed, which makes it the absolute perfect swimming lake. It is rocky though so make sure to bring water shoes. The sunsets over the lake are beautiful!

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Reviewed by

  • 1 Review
  • 0 Helpful
October 09, 2014

What about the Flathead Lake Monster?


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Flathead Lake

490 North Meridian Road
Polson, Montana
59860 USA


Open 24 hours today
  • Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 12:00 am

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  • Independent
  • Credit Cards not Accepted
  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • No Public Restrooms
  • Outdoor Seating
  • No Wifi
  • Private Parking

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