Bigfork is often called the Jewel of the Flathead for its natural beauty, friendly small-town atmosphere, and array of things to do. Located on the shores of Flathead Lake, Montana’s largest lake, and nestled at the base of the Swan Mountains, Bigfork is truly a year-round recreation mecca. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an action-packed adventure, you’ll find it all here. In this article, I will highlight the 20 top things to do in Bigfork, Montana.
Things To Do In Bigfork Montana
1. Go For A Hike
There’s no better way to explore Bigfork than by going for a hike. And there are plenty of trails to choose from. The most popular trail in Bigfork is the Wild Mile Trail which is part of Swan River Trail. The trail is a moderate hike that takes you through the woods and along the Swan River. The scenery is beautiful, and you might even see some wildlife along the way.
Another great option is the Jewel Basin Trail. This is a more challenging hike, but the views are worth it. The trail takes you through beautiful forests, stunning mountains, and past several lakes. You can also extend your hike by camping overnight at one of the campgrounds located along the trails.
Through hiking, you really get to experience the natural beauty and discover some of the most beautiful things to see in Bigfork. And there are plenty of trails to choose from depending on your level of fitness and hiking experience.
2. Visit the Bigfork Summer Playhouse
If you are visiting Bigfork in the summer months (June to August), you must include a visit to the Bigfork Summer Playhouse in your itinerary. The playhouse has been entertaining audiences since 1960 and is one of the oldest summer stock theaters in the United States. It is located on the shores of Flathead Lake and stages around six Broadway-style musicals every summer.
The playhouse has an excellent reputation and attracts some big names in the industry. It is a great place to take your family or friends for an evening of fun and entertainment.
During my visit, I saw the play ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ and thoroughly enjoyed it. The set was amazing, and the acting was top-notch. If you are a fan of musicals, then this is one of the best places in Bigfork that you cannot miss.
Address; 526 Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT 59911.
3. Take A Flight Over The Area With Air Therapy Aviation
This is one of the most unique things to do in Bigfork, Montana. Imagine flying over the stunning landscape of Montana in a small plane. With Air Therapy Aviation, you can make this dream a reality.
The company offers scenic flights on their ‘Motorcycle of the Sky’ plane. Actually, this is an open-cockpit biplane that looks similar to a motorcycle. It’s a great way to see the area from a unique perspective. And did I mention you even got a chance to fly the plane? That’s right. You can take the controls and fly the plane under the supervision of a certified flight instructor.
I took a flight with Air Therapy Aviation, and I have to say it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. We flew over the stunning sights of Bigfork, Flathead Lake, and the surrounding mountains. I also got to take the controls of the plane, which was a lot of fun.
Address; 518 Aero Ln, Bigfork, MT 59911.
4. Take A Boat Ride On Swan Lake
Swan Lake is one of the famous Bigfork attractions, and one of the best things to do here is to take a boat ride. The lake is located just outside the town, and there are several boat rental companies that offer a variety of boats for any budget.
We rented a pontoon boat for a half-day, and it was the perfect way to explore the lake. The boat came with all the necessary equipment, and we had a great time cruising around the lake, swimming, and fishing. The views from the boat were simply stunning, and we even got a chance to see some wildlife.
Although the cost of renting a boat can be a bit pricey, it is definitely worth it. We had an incredible time, and it was one of the highlights of our trip.
5. Have a Picnic at Wayfarers State Park
Wondering what to do in Bigfork on a sunny day? Why not have a picnic at Wayfarers State Park? After all, what is a better way to spend time outdoors than packing some sandwiches, chips, and your favorite drinks and heading over to the picnic area with your family or friends?
The picnic area is located in the park and has several tables, grills, and a playground. If you are planning to have a bigger picnic, you can reserve one of the group areas. There are also many things to do in the park, such as swimming, fishing, and hiking. The hiking trails are well-marked, and you can find a trail for any level of difficulty.
The state park is located on the shores of Flathead Lake, which is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. The views from the park are simply stunning, and it’s the perfect place to relax and take in Montana’s natural beauty.
My trip here was in the summer, and the weather was perfect for a picnic. I packed some sandwiches and drinks and headed over to the picnic area with my friends. We spent a few hours relaxing in the park, swimming in the lake, and hiking on the trails. It was the perfect way to spend a summer day.
Address; 8600 Montana Hwy 35, Bigfork, MT 59911.
6. Visit the Bigfork Farmers Market
The Bigfork Farmers Market is the perfect place to enjoy the local flavors of Montana. The market is open from May to October and features a wide variety of local produce, food, and crafts.
You will find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to homemade jams and jellies. There are also a number of food vendors selling things like grilled cheese sandwiches, ice cream, and BBQ. In addition to the food, there are also a number of craft vendors selling things like jewelry, pottery, and soaps.
The Bigfork Farmers Market is the perfect place to pick up some souvenirs for your friends and family back home. It’s also a great place to grab a bite to eat and enjoy the sights and sounds of Bigfork.
I visited the Bigfork Farmers Market on a Saturday morning, and it was bustling with activity. There were so many things to see and do, and the atmosphere was friendly and welcoming. I bought a few souvenirs for my friends and family back home, and I also grabbed a bite to eat from one of the food vendors. It was a great experience, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Bigfork.
Address; Next to The Liquor Barn, 22 Swan Way, Bigfork, MT 59911.
7. Take a Scenic Drive on the Swan River National Scenic Byway
One of the best things to do in Bigfork is to take a scenic drive on the Swan River National Scenic Byway. This byway is one of the most popular in the state, and it’s easy to see why. The byway winds its way through the Swan Valley, offering stunning views of the river, mountains, and forests.
There are several pull-offs along the byway where you can stop to take in the views or go for a short hike. The byway is also a great place to see wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for elk, deer, and bighorn sheep.
I took this drive in the summer, and it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen. The views were absolutely stunning, and I even saw a few elk along the way. So if you’re looking for fun activities to do in Bigfork, Montana, this is definitely one of the best.
8. Stop Off At A Local Distillery Or Brewery
Do you like trying local beer and spirits? If so, you’ll want to stop at a local distillery or brewery while in Bigfork. Bigfork is home to several breweries, distilleries, and wineries, so you’ll have plenty of choices.
The two most popular breweries in town include Flathead Lake Brewing Company and Whistling Andy’s Distillery. Both breweries offer tours, so you can learn about brewing and try some samples.
I stopped off at the Flathead Lake Brewing Company for a tour and tasted some of their locally- brewed beer. The tour was interesting, and the beer was tasty. I also stopped at Whistling Andy’s Distillery for a tour and tasted some of their spirits. The tour was also interesting, and the spirits were good.
9. Go for a Swim in the Flathead Lake
As I mentioned before, Flathead Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. This makes it a popular spot for swimming, boating, and fishing. There are several public beaches around the lake where you can go for a swim.
The water in the lake is crystal clear, and the views are simply stunning. The best time to go for a swim is in the summer when the weather is warm. However, you can also go in the spring and autumn when the weather is a bit cooler.
In addition, there are many things to do in Bigfork Flathead Lake, such as hiking, fishing, and swimming. And if you wish to extend your stay, there are campgrounds around the lake where you can set up your tent and spend a few days exploring the area.
I went for a swim in Flathead Lake on a hot summer day, and it was the perfect way to cool off. The water was crystal clear and refreshing. I also went for a hike on one of the trails around the lake. The views were simply stunning.
10. Go Mountain Biking On The Beardance Trail
One of the most popular activities to do in Bigfork is to go mountain biking on the Beardance Trail. The trail is 14 miles long and is rated as moderate. The trail has some fine obstacles in between. It is a great trail for trail running, hiking, and mountain biking.
Mountain bikes can either bring their own bike or rent one from several renting shops in Bigfork. I opted for the latter and rented a bike from a shop near my hotel. The staff was friendly and helpful, and they gave me tips on where to go and what to see.
The Beardance Trail is one of the most popular trails in Bigfork for mountain biking. The scenery is simply stunning, and the trail is well-maintained. I had a great time mountain biking on the trail and would definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Bigfork.
11. Play a Round of Golf at the Eagle Bend Golf Club
The Eagle Bend Golf Club is a must-visit for any golf lover. Located just 10 minutes from Bigfork, the club offers an 18-hole championship golf course, a 9-hole executive course, and a driving range.
The club also has a pro shop, a clubhouse, and a restaurant. So if you are looking for exciting things to do in Bigfork on a sunny day, a round of golf at the Eagle Bend Golf Club is the perfect activity.
I am not a big fan of golf, but I decided to give it a try when I was visiting Bigfork. I have to say, I had a lot of fun. The course was beautiful, and the staff was very friendly and helpful. The course is challenging yet enjoyable, and the scenery is simply breathtaking.
Address; 279 Eagle Bend Dr, Bigfork, MT 59911.
12. Go Birdwatching Along Flathead Lakes Northshore
Nature lovers will enjoy spending the day birdwatching along the Flathead Lakes Northshore. The Flathead Valley is home to a diverse range of birds, and the best time to see them is in the spring and summer.
There are several spots along the lakeshore where you can go birdwatching. One of the best spots is at Flathead Waterfowl Production Area. This is a great spot for birdwatching, as it is a protected area where waterfowl come to nest and breed. There are also several hiking trails in the area, so you can make a day of it.
What impressed me the most about birdwatching in this area was the variety of birds that you can see. I saw everything from ducks and geese to eagles and waterfowl. It’s one of the famous places in Bigfork for any nature lover.
13. Do Some Whitewater Rafting On The Flathead River
Are you looking for things to do in Bigfork that are a little more adventurous? Then whitewater rafting on the Flathead River is definitely for you. Several companies offer whitewater rafting trips, most of which are located in the town of Bigfork. The trips usually last for a few hours, and you can choose from a half-day trip or a full-day trip.
I went on a half-day trip, and it was one of the most exciting things I have ever done. The rapids were strong, but our guide was very experienced and knew how to navigate them. I would definitely recommend whitewater rafting to anyone looking for an adrenaline-pumping activity.
14. Check out ARTfusion Gallery
Located in the heart of downtown Bigfork, ARTfusion Gallery is the perfect place to go if you are a fan of art. The gallery features contemporary art from local, national, and international artists. They have a wide variety of artwork on display, including paintings, sculptures, jewelry, and more.
ARTfusion Gallery also offers a variety of events and workshops throughout the year. They have everything from painting classes to jewelry-making workshops.
I enjoyed admiring the work of the various artists on display. I was also impressed by the gallery’s commitment to supporting local artists. This is definitely one of the best places to visit in Bigfork if you are interested in art.
Address; 471 Electric Ave, Bigfork, MT 59911.
15. Go Fishing on the Flathead River
Montana is well-known for its fly fishing, and the Flathead River is one of the best places to go fishing. Whether you are an experienced fisherman or a beginner, you will be able to find a spot on the river where you can catch fish. There are also several fishing guides available if you need some help.
I am not an experienced fisherman, but I had a great time trying to catch fish on the Flathead River. Popular fishes in the river include trout, bass, whitefish, pike, Kokanee salmon, and yellow perch. I was able to catch a few fish with the help of my guide. If you love fishing, this is one of the things you need to do in Bigfork.
16. Cross-Country Skiing
In the winter, Bigfork transforms into a winter wonderland, and there are plenty of things to do. So one of the most popular things to do is cross-country skiing. Bigfork has several trails that are perfect for a day of skiing, and you can find a trail for any level of difficulty.
One of the most popular trails is the Bigfork Community Nordic Center. However, you’ll need to get Montana Recreational Use License to use the trails. Another popular trail is the Blacktail Mountain Nordic Trails, located on Flathead Lake’s western shore. This trail is perfect for beginners as it is relatively flat.
Unfortunately, I’m yet to visit Bigfork in winter, but it’s on my list for next year. I’ve heard that the views are simply stunning, and it’s the perfect place to enjoy the winter wonderland. I guess this makes it one of the fun activities to do in Bigfork.
17. Enjoy Bigfork’s Nightlife
Bigfork is a small town, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to do at night. On the contrary, there are several bars and restaurants that stay open late, and the nightlife is quite lively.
If you are looking for a place to have a few drinks, I recommend the Old Bridge Pub. This pub has a cozy atmosphere and serves a variety of local and imported beers and a selection of wines. Another popular spot for a night out is the Buffalo Saloon and Casino. In addition to drinks, they also have a gaming area with slot machines and pool tables.
More spots are open until late if you want to keep the party going. So after a long day of exploring all the top tourist attractions in Bigfork, don’t forget to enjoy the town’s nightlife.
18. Dog Sledding In Bigfork
Dog sledding is one of the most popular activities to do in Bigfork in winter. It is a must-do activity if you are visiting Bigfork in winter. There are several dog sledding companies in Bigfork, and you can choose the one that best suits your needs. However, I recommend Base Camp Bigfork, as they offer a variety of dog sledding experiences, including half-day, full-day, and multi-day trips.
A half-day tour is a great option if you are short on time. A full-day tour is a great option if you want to get the most out of your dog sledding experience.
19. Enjoy the Local Flavors of Bigfork
It’s not only the natural beauty that makes Bigfork one of the best places to visit in Montana but also the local flavors. Therefore, it would be a shame if you didn’t get to try the local food and drinks while you are in town.
There are several restaurants and cafes in Bigfork that serve local Montana cuisine. So taking a food tour of the town should definitely be on your list of exciting things to do in Bigfork. Some of the must-try dishes include huckleberry pie, trout, and bison burgers. You can also find several places that serve huckleberry ice cream, which is a local favorite.
When it comes to drinks, you have to try locally brewed beer and wine. There are several microbreweries and wineries in Bigfork that offer tastings. So make sure to include them in your things-to-do list.
20. Stroll Through The Downtown Area
The downtown area of Bigfork is small but charming. There are several things to do here, such as shopping, dining, and exploring the art galleries. You can find everything from souvenir shops to art galleries to clothing stores. There are also several restaurants, cafes, and ice cream shops.
Take your time strolling through the downtown area and pop into the shops that interest you. I browsed through the shops, stopped for an ice cream, and walked around the town. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.
For a small town, Bigfork sure has a lot to offer. From hiking and picnicking to enjoying the nightlife, you’re never going to be bored here. So, if you’re looking for top Bigfork attractions and things to do, be sure to add these activities to your list.