- The Flathead's spectacular, rugged terrain lies adjacent to Glacier National Park and west of the Continental Divide. Glaciated peaks and alpine lakes beckon summer users to hike, camp or fish.
The Flathead has a vast area of over one million acres of designated wilderness in the Bob Marshall, Great Bear, and Mission Mountains Wildernesses. This wild country provides habitat for endangered gray wolves and threatened grizzly bears. The Flathead Wild and Scenic River, a favorite of white-water rafters, and the Swan River dissect the beauty of the Mission, Swan and Flathead Mountain Ranges.
The 15,000-acre Jewel Basin Hiking Area is managed for foot travel only; horse and motorized travel are not permitted. The North Fork, Middle Fork, and portions of the South Fork of the Flathead River are within the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System and are used for floating excursions.
Big Mountain Ski Area is located just north of Whitefish and offers world class downhill skiing and snowboarding. Ample winter snow draws cross-country skiers and snowmobilers to the Forest's backcountry.
Recreation - Almost half of the Forest's public campgrounds and picnic areas are clustered around the scenic Hungry Horse Reservoir. The remainder are scattered throughout the Forest with most located on rivers or lakes. Additional developed facilities include boat ramps, swimming areas, and trailhead facilities.
Numerous lakes can be reached by vehicle, horseback, or foot. Some have campgrounds and boat launch facilities. Other recreation opportunities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, snowmobiling and cross-country skiing are available throughout the Forest.
Climate - Temperatures and precipitation on the Forest vary with elevation. Summers tend to bring moderate to warm temperatures with clear days. Summer highs are normally in the 70's and 80's with relatively cool to cold nights. Winter brings cold temperatures with ample snow for winter recreation activities. Winter temperatures frequently drop well below zero but clear, crisp days are common. Snowpack normally remains in the high elevations well into June or even July making some areas inaccessible until then.
The Flathead National Forest is located the Rocky Mountains of northwestern Montana. The Forest sits adjacent to portions of Flathead Lake and along the western boundary of Glacier National Park. The Forest headquarters is located in Kalispell, with offices also in Whitefish, Columbia Falls, Hungry Horse and Spotted Bear.