This ride around Flathead Lake was originally posted on our Ride With Us page. We routinely will post a ride that will be open to anyone who wants to ride with us. If this is something you are interested in check out our “Ride With Us” page regularly. Better yet subscribe to the site. We will be sending out an email anytime a new ride is posted.
According to Wikipedia, Flathead lake is the largest natural freshwater lake by volume. Flathead Lake was formed by glaciers and sits along the mainline of Flathead River. It was dammed in 1930 at the outlet by Polson Bay. For its size, it’s one of the cleanest lakes in the world. To read more about Flathead Lake’s history use our link below to Wikipedia.
Time To Roll
We started from the KOA in Missoula since that is where we are staying at the time of this ride. We could have started this ride out by jumping on the interstate for a couple of exits but what fun would that be…lol. We instead chose to take US Highway 10/West Broadway down to US-93. US Highway 10/West Broadway St will take you past the Missoula international airport and the smokejumpers museum before it dumps right into US-93.
Get used to US-93 as you will be on it for about 67 miles. Believe me. That’s not a bad thing. As you head north on US-93 you will enjoy some great mountain scenery and some nice curvy roads. There are about 3 gas stations that are fairly evenly spaced so if you have a smaller tank you might want to top off at one of them.
The Garden Of One Thousand Buddhas
About 27 miles into driving on US-93 you will pass a road called White Coyote Road. If you have some time, make a right and ride down to a place called The Garden Of One Thousand Buddhas. We did not have time on this day but when we get back there we will add some pictures to this article so make sure to check back.
Back On The Road
There are also a few historical markers along the way that you can stop at on the way to Polson. Once you hit Polson you will stay to your left to continue on US-93. There are only 2 gas stations around the circumference of the lake so if you did not get gas earlier now would be the time. It’s approximately 85.5 miles around the lake.
Once you hit Polson you have two choices as far as eating and viewing go. Depending on the time of day you hit Polson if you want to stop and eat there are two very cool parks to do so at. If you are starting this ride in Polson you can circle the lake and stop at these parks afterward to rest, picture take, and eat. If you did not eat there are a few fast food places and restaurants in Polson. There are also a few eateries on the east side of the lake on route MT-35.
We chose to eat at Point Salish Park which overlooks Polson Bay. We almost always bring our own food since we follow a keto lifestyle so it was a no-brainer for us. It had a beautiful view, picnic table, and a restroom. What more do you need?…lol. We were actually looking for somewhere along the lake to stop but while there were great winding roads and beautiful scenery, there were very few places to stop. Although there were some cut-outs to stop at along the way it seemed every cutout had trees blocking the view or sandy uneven road surfaces.
State Parks/Many Entrances
There are a couple of state parks around the lake with entrances to these parks on both the east and west side of the lake. They are fee parks and since we would have only been there a very short time we decided to pass on checking them out on this trip.
I will mention that along the north side of the lake on MT-82 there was construction. The road was narrowed to one way. We had to sit there a few minutes while a pace truck (not sure if that’s what you call it) from the construction company would lead traffic one way while the other side was stopped and then take the other side back as the traffic was stopped coming back. It was an annoyance but we only had to wait about 5 minutes.
What The Heck Are They?
As we traveled south on Montana Highway 35 we passed what we thought were miles and miles of grape vineyards, (we are so north shore Long Island) but we are told they were either cherry or huckleberry fields. Whatever they were there were homemade farm stands out front indicating that during the summer season you can buy fresh whatever they were…lol.
Point Salish Park
We rode around the tip of Polson a bit to get to Point Salish Park for some lunch/food. After enjoying Point Salish Park we headed back to the campground. Like any other mountain road we have to ride two ways on, it never seems to disappoint. The scenery and views take on a different perspective in each direction you ride.
We were staying at the KOA in Missoula which meant to get to the lake we had to ride about 69 miles just to get to the lake. If you are near Polson and starting from that area your ride will be much shorter. The bottom line is we got some awesome wind therapy and would definitely recommend this ride to anyone in the area. Make sure you stop at the historic landmarks/points along the way as they are full of interesting history about the area. The historic points are well marked and there are cut-outs so you can pull over safely.
|Date Of Ride||4/29/21|
|KSU Time||11:00 AM|
|Approx Miles||221 To/From KOA Missoula|
Check Out Our Slideshow Below Featuring 45 Photos Of This Ride