THE PICTURESQUE TOWN IS A GATEWAY to an expansive wilderness area that equals the size of Vermont. Resting at the base of Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort and just west of the scenic wonders of Glacier National Park, Whitefish is host to a myriad of winter and summer activities for every age and ability. Whitefish is conveniently located 15 minutes from Glacier International Airport in Kalispell.
Whitefish is a destination of amenities, offering something for everyone. Winter or summer, the town bursts with activities. In summer, the resort is a favorite destination for hikers and those who relish the stunning scenery of the Rocky Mountain landscape. The sparkling and mild waters of Whitefish Lake offer a wealth of recreational activities including water skiing, kayaking, swimming, or enjoying a peaceful sunset cruise. Winding through the forested hillside overlooking Whitefish Lake is Iron Horse Golf Club, a world-class private 18-hole golf course crafted by famed designer Tom Fazio. In winter, the snow covered majestic beauty of the Flathead Valley boasts surprisingly mild temperatures in the 20’s and 30’s. Hundreds of nearby frozen lakes and ponds present perfect conditions for ice fishing and Glacier National Park may be enjoyed on cross country skis or snowshoes. The Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort offers more than 3,000 skiable acres and 85 marked runs. It also affords abundant opportunities to snowboard, snow cat ski, Nordic trail ski, and tube, snowmobile and snowshoe.
Lined by western storefronts, downtown Whitefish is a unique mountain town, which provides an air of country sophistication and charm. Western bars saddle up to contemporary galleries and country cafés mingle with numerous gourmet restaurants. A historic, progressive railroad town, Whitefish has an unpretentious spirit. People are friendly, restaurants and bars are lively, and the charm in this frontier town is as endless as the big sky surrounding it.
History behind Whitefish, Montana
Whitefish, Montana has a proud timber and railroad history. From the earliest indigenous residents of record who fished for whitefish in the lake, the name “Whitefish” eventually evolved. But it was a stumptown first. In 1883, logger John Morton built a residence on the shore of the lake and became the first known permanent settler. He was joined by other loggers in the 1890s. Rich in forests, the timber industry boomed, leaving behind large stumps, some in the middle of the roads! The nickname, Stumptown, was born.
The Great Northern Railway entered the valley in 1892 looking for an easier route to British Columbia, avoiding crossing the Salish Mountains. In June of 1903, the town site of Whitefish was surveyed and dedicated and the first official passenger train steamed through in October of 1904. The following year, the town of Whitefish was incorporated and old timers note that many of the town stumps remained right into the 1930’s. In 1934, a few adventurous folk found a new activity… skiing. The upper reaches of Hellroaring Mountain, just north of town, were ideal for skiing down the open slopes into the Hellroaring Basin. A ski lift was built in 1947 and Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort was born.