Cycling in Montana’s Flathead Valley for Great Autumn Colors

Saturday, September 24 2011 13:51   Adventure Seekers
Cycling in Montana's Flathead Valley is stunning in the autumn months. Highways are wide open and, with the summer visitor rush over, largely unoccupied by vehicles.

Autumn weekends spent in the Flathead Valley can be one of the most enjoyable times in Montana. The aspens and larch trees across the valley are bright with golden fall hues, and the temperatures are still warm during the sunlight hours and crisp during the evening.

greatnorthern_trail_021Several tours offer more intimate glimpses into the scenic vistas northwestern Montana has to offer, and centrally located Kalispell is the perfect place to refuel at the end of the day.

Here's a quick look at some of the opportunities for great cycling.

Camas Road (Glacier National Park)

Begin your journey in West Glacier and pedal northwest, beginning along the western flank of Lake MacDonald and past Fish Creek, through charred remnants of the 2004 wildfire and ending at the pristine waters of the North Fork of the Flathead River.

From this point either pick up your car shuttle or turn tail and pedal back to West Glacier. Don't forget to stop for a huckleberry shake après-ride!

Rails to Trails (Somers to Kila via Kalispell)

Pick up your Rails to Trails map at the Kalispell Visitor Information Center at 15 Depot Park, Kalispell. Then hop on the trail in the village of Somers, on the northwest end of Flathead Lake.

From Somers the trail follows the former path of the Great Northern Railway north to Kalispell and offers a gentle grade for cyclists of all abilities and ages - not to mention stunning views of the Flathead Valley and surrounding mountain ranges.

The paved trail offers a very safe path around Kalispell's Bypass and then follows U.S. Hwy 2 west out of town. The second half of the trail winds along Ashley Creek and the Batavia Waterfowl Production Area, culminating the 15-mile journey in the small town of Kila.

Farm to Market Road (Kalispell to Whitefish)

From downtown Kalispell, pedal northwest of town on Montana Hwy 424, also known as Farm to Market Road. This roadway takes you through the heart of the Flathead Valley's most beautiful

From sweeping views of the valley floor to unobstructed vistas of Whitefish Mountain Resort, you'll be inspired by Montana's wide-open spaces along this route, delving into the area's rich agricultural backbone.

Back in Kalispell, stop in at Wheaton's, the cornerstone bike shop in downtown Kalispell since 1918. The shop's inventory of more than 400 bikes plus gear, skates and other hobby items, is impressive, and if your two-wheel vehicle is in need of repair or a tune-up, Wheaton's repair shop and full-time bike mechanic will fully revive it.

After the touring, top off your day of adventure with a fine dining experience in historic downtown Kalispell.

Capers Restaurant and Pizzeria offers brick-fired pizzas and Montana-esque cuisine, such as filet mignon from local ranchers. Rest your bones at familiar names, including Hilton, Hampton and Red Lion, or stay at a more unique property, such as the historic Kalispell Grand Hotel or Glacier Ridge Suites.

Kalispell is in the heart of the magnificent Rocky Mountains, poised in the northwest corner of Montana and about an hour south of the Canadian border.

As Montana's seventh largest city and the seat of Flathead County, it's a progressive, thriving community; according to the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, it's the very essence of Big Sky Country - with the best backyard in the country.

For more information on all the recreation, shopping, lodging and beauty Kalispell and the Flathead Valley has to offer, visit


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