The Columbia Falls area, including Glacier National Park and its surrounding communities are enveloped by the Flathead National Forest. Pristine forests are dotted with lakes, rivers and streams, crisscrossed by trails and dotted with campgrounds, boat launches and trail heads. In a nutshell, the Flathead forest is a gem of accessible public lands that provides priceless recreation year round.
From the Martin City area, explore Desert Mountain and the views its road to the mountain top offers of Badrock Canyon, Hungry Horse Dam and Reservoir, Lake McDonald and the peaks of Glacier. The mountain sides are covered with huckleberries in the summer time – take a wild plant guide with you and fill some containers with the beautiful sweet tart purple berries. In winter the snowmobiling is a great way to take in all of those sights on groomed trails.
The Flathead National Forest is traversed by tons of trails, both gated and un-gated, making the heart of the wilderness accessible. If you happen to have your family dog on vacation with you and want to get the co-hiking experience, you are going to want to head to Forest Service land, as dogs are not allowed on trails in Glacier Park.
If you prefer to gaze at peaks from afar, boating on one of the sparkling lakes is good for the soul. You will find excellent fly-fishing, wading, paddle boarding, sailing, motor boating and swimming on many lakes, streams and rivers that are less mainstream and less frequently visited than the popular and well known haunts in Glacier Park. The Flathead National Forest is full of special jewels tucked into the Crown of the Continent.
Plan your trip by visiting the Flathead National Forest's website. Here you will find maps, trails, camping, river floats, and all the information you need to experience the 2.4 million acre forest.
Image of Hungry Horse Reservoir, Credit VisitMT