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Bigfork quite aptly calls itself the Village by the Bay, as it is sheltered in a bay on Flathead Lake, right where the Swan River joins the Lake. It has great Flathead Valley views of mountain ranges that drop off dramatically into the Lake's edges.
Bigfork is known as a leading arts community in Montana, and it's population is growing quickly with urban refugees. In summer the number swells still more with visitors who have come to enjoy its art galleries, live theatre, sidewalk cafes, and restaurants.
Despite the beginnings of urban sprawl, Bigfork retains a genteel, village atmosphere closer to the Lake. Here, there are no shopping malls or franchise businesses, rather unique food establishments and galleries. You will find much art with a Western theme, including excellent sculpture work, which is supported by two bronze foundries in the region. Contemporary art is also starting to make a breakthrough. Local artwork can be found in nontraditional venues such as the Bigfork Inn, and the main art event is the Bigfork Festival of the Arts the first weekend in August.
The performing arts scene is alive with year-round activity. Residents and visitor alike enjoy indoor and outdoor performances at the 400-seat Bigfork Center for the Performing Arts, and Sliter Memorial Park.
Each Christmas season, hundreds of elves decorate the Bigfork village in an event that has attracted national media attention. You might like to coincide your visit with the May's White Water Race on the Wild Mile of the Swan river, or the Tamarack Times Festival in October.
Getting to Bigfork
Main routes in are US 2, US 93, MT 35, MT 82, MT 83. Closest Interstate is I-90 to the south.
Glacier Park International Airport is north near Kalispell. Services include Big Sky Airlines, Delta Airlines, Horizon Airlines, Northwest Airlines and Holman Aviation (private charters).
The daily Amtrak passenger service the Empire Builder runs between Seattle/Portland and Chicago. Nearby depots are in: Whitefish (35 miles north, toll free phone: 800-862-7245) and West Glacier.
*See also the Go Northwest! guide to the Flathead Valley
Best selection of books on the Northwest.
Benchmark Montana Road & Recreation Atlas by Benchmark Maps. Large-scale Landscape MapsTM and a complete 30-page Recreation Guide make it the ideal planning tool for any outdoor adventure. Benchmark field-checkers drove thousands of miles to make sure the Montana Road & Recreation Atlas is the most accurate and reliable map product. Order now...
Montana Adventure Guide by Genevieve Rowles. Offering coverage of the history, culture, geography and climate, this book also looks at wilderness trips in Montana, USA. Areas featured include Flathead and Clearwater Mountains, and fly-fishing, Nordic skiing, rock-hounding and overnight hiking excursions are all covered. Order now...
Moon Montana, 8th Edition (Moon Handbooks) by Judy Jewell and Bill McRae. This book journeys from Yellowstone to the eastern prairies, highlighting the best of the Big Sky Country. Whether it's cross-country skiing at Glacier National Park or observing elk at Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge this book has all the information needed. Order now...
Montana Off the Beaten Path, 8th: A Guide to Unique Places by Michael McCoy. This guidebook features the things people want to see and experience, if they knew about them. From the best in dining to quirky cultural tidbits to hidden attractions, unique finds, and unusual locales. Order now...
Great Places: Montana: A Recreational Guide to Montana's Public Lands and Historical Places for Birding, Hiking, Photography, Fishing, Hunting by Chuck Robbins. Recreational guide to Montana's public lands and historical places. There are maps and over 100 photos. There is a contact list with web sites, addresses and phone numbers of all of the public areas and a complete bird list for all of Montana. Order now...
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