Snowmobiling the Flathead

Montanans love snowy winters for one reason: more opportunities for outdoor recreation. Kalispell is the valley hub for all kinds of activities in the snow and no matter which direction you head, you’ll find world-class snowmobiling. The Flathead Valley has more than 200 miles of groomed trails and nearly 2,000 miles of National Forest Service roads to take you along majestic alpine ridges and through untracked basins of deepest powder.

Whether you’re a seasoned snowmobiler looking for backcountry adventure or a first-time sledder more comfortable with a guided trek on groomed trails, our local snowmobile outfitters Swan Mountain Snowmobiling or Winter Wonderland Sports will make your experience safe and enjoyable.

Take your own sled, rent a machine or relax and enjoy a guided tour of the Canyon Creek Trail, which offers breathtaking views and abundant play area. Canyon Creek Trail is located on the North Fork of the Flathead River drainage and accesses more than 80 miles of groomed trail and mountain riding. The trailhead is 5 miles north of Columbia Falls on Forest Service Road 316.

Before you hit the trail, stave off the cold with Montana Coffee Trader’s Big Sky Breakfast: grilled potatoes piled with black beans, fresh avocado, two scrambled eggs, bacon and Monterey Jack cheese. (You can enjoy breakfast at the Montana Coffee Traders spot in Kalispell, but you’ll also pass right by its Columbia Falls location on your way to Canyon Creek.)

Starting from the trailhead, this trail winds through forests, along ridges and into deep powder bowls. It leads to the summit of Whitefish Mountain Resort where you can warm up with hot coffee and lunch in the Summit House while taking in views of Flathead Valley, Glacier Park and the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Trek on past the resort and connect with the Olney Creek and Taylor Creek trails, which will take you to Upper Whitefish Lake or into Kimmerly Basin for more hill climbing and snow play. Totaling 110 miles in length,  Canyon Creek Trail offers more than a full day’s fun in a wide range of terrain.

Add a culinary element to your winter adventure with Swan River Outfitter’s “Cook While You Ride” option that provides a hot meal actually cooked by your snowmobile as you make your way along the trail.

After a great day in the snow, think about a soak in the hot tub back at the hotel. When you’re ready for dinner, go for some hearty fare at Famous Dave’s BBQ, Five Guys Burgers & Fries or Hu Hot Mongolian Grill.



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