With Glacier National Park, acres of national forest, and plenty of other protected natural spaces around, it’s no wonder that Whitefish would have so many hiking options nearby. Hiking is the ultimate sustainable sport, where you get out in nature under foot power alone. Combining that with a stay in Whitefish lets you make the most of town and country life and lets your gas go further, too. Here are a few of our favorite hiking spots nearby.
With 47 miles of trail and 15 trailheads, the Whitefish Trail system is already an impressive web of single track for hiking and biking. And it’s not done yet. When completed, the plan is for the system to have more than 55 miles, linking trail systems and public land to provide connectivity around Whitefish and Whitefish Lake. Even though it’s still in the works, there are plenty of spots to choose from for an outing on the Whitefish Trail System.
The Lion Mountain Trailhead is near town, with a few short loops to scenic overlooks. In under a mile, you can make it to the Skyles Lake Overlook, and you could also continue farther to other Skyles trails.
From the Swift Creek and Smith Lake trailhead, you can get into some old-growth forest alongside creeks and wetlands. Get a few miles under your belt in this scenic area on the north end of Whitefish Lake.
The Spencer Mountain area has two trailheads, Spencer North and Spencer South. Most of the 2,500-acre site has historic trails for the new trail system. Three different loops give you options from 4.8 up to 7.8 miles.
Big Mountain is best known as the home of Whitefish Mountain Resort, where world-class skiing makes winter a blast. In summer, it’s an adventure spot, with a downhill course for mountain biking, zip lines, aerial courses, scenic lift rides and hiking. Though some trails are open to bikes only, there are still plenty of options for foot traffic. If you time your hike right, you might even score some huckleberries along the way.
The Danny On Trail is one of the most popular on the mountain, taking you 3.8 steep miles from the village to the summit. The views on the way up give you a wide-open portrait of the Flathead Valley, and you can peer into Glacier from the top. Be aware of oncoming mountain bikers since this is a shared-use trail.
This 3.6-mile loop meanders through meadows and forests. It takes off from the summit, making it the perfect pair with a scenic lift ride. Or you can combine it with the Danny On Trail for a 5.6-mile, challenging day hike. This is a shared-use trail, so be alert to passing mountain bikers.
This two-mile trail from the lower mountain is an old road that loops through cedar groves, across creeks, and to some good views.
When your hiking day is done, you can come back to a basecamp of comfort at a Starry Night Lodging property in the gateway to Glacier. A modern, cozy condo near Whitefish Lake gives you easy access to trailheads all around town and on the mountain. Book now, and head out to explore.