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Flathead Lake Lodge is a third generation family operated Guest Ranch located in Northwest Montana on the beautiful shores of Flathead Lake. The Lodge offers unlimited horse & water activities and sits only 35 miles south of Glacier National Park.

Your family will enjoy a rustic ranch atmosphere, endless recreational activities, and unmatched hospitality by the Averill family and staff. Recreation includes a complete horse program, sailing, fly fishing, water sports, hiking, cookouts, and a family barn dance to name a few.

For 68 years, Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge has offered the widest selection of recreational activities, for one inclusive rate, of any ranch in America.

Good to know

  • Works with travel agents?

    yes
  • Good time to go

    The Lodge is open from May to October; family season runs from June to September.

Lowdown

  • Owner(s)

    Doug and Maureen Averill and their children Chase, Laine and Quindee.
  • Manager(s)

    Kevin Barrows
  • Address

    150 Flathead Lodge Road , Bigfork, Montana, USA, 59911
  • Tel

    406-837-4391
  • Capacity

    120
  • Open

    May-Oct - view details
  • Nightly rate

    $350-500 - view details
  • Ranch Type

    Guest Ranch
  • Great for

    Action & adventure, People of all ages

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Highs

  • A very special ranch - the hospitality is truly unbelievable; the water and equestrian program of highest quality; you WILL create memories here; just the most smooth, hospitable ranch
  • You're set with the most gorgeous view of Flathead Lake and at the same time riding right behind in beautiful wilderness; they offer lessons thruout the week as you wish
  • Take a river cruise on one of their historical sail boats to an art gallery or into Big Fork for some antiquing and shopping or to experience local nightlife
  • A fabulous relaxing ranch mixed with an abundance of activities for everyone; Voted in the Top 50 Family Vacations by Home & Garden Magazine. - Excellent Children’s Program including their Junior Wranlger Program and weekly Kids Rodeo
  • Enjoy an outdoor BBQ cookout at Averill’s Elk Preserve surrounded by large bull elk and other wildlife

Lows

  • Averill’s is targeted toward families; however, this is perfect for couples or singles as well. They also offer 2 Cowgirl Weekends and a Cowboy Fall Weekend designed for singles and couples focused around riding and great food
  • Runs on a tight schedule; however, everything runs very smoothly and you always feel relaxed not overwhelmed
 

Summer Season Rates & Booking

  • Open

    May-Oct
  • Nightly rate

    $350-500   view details on lodging rates
  • Nightly rate (children)

    $200-350
  • Minimum stay

    1 week
  • Preferred arrival day

    Sun
  • Preferred depart day

    Sun
  • Booking Policy

  • Deposit: A 30% is required for confirmation for single family reservations prior to February 1st. A 50% deposit is required after February 1st. Multiple family groups consisting of three or more families require a 50% deposit to confirm the reservation. Cancellation Policy: Reservations cancelled more than 150 days prior to arrival date will be refunded the deposit less a $500 cancellation fee. Multiple family cancellations fall under the same guidelines, although there is a $500 cancellation fee per family unit. If the reservation is cancelled less than 150 days prior the deposit will only be refunded if Flathead Lake Lodge is able to rebook the reservation with the same number of people. The $500 cancellation fee will still apply. We recommend trip insurance to cover any losses or interruption of travel plans due to unforeseen circumstances.
  • Included in your stay

  • meals, activities, lodging, Riding, Water activities
  • Extras

  • Other

    Any off site activity including massages are not included in your ranch package. We offer many outfitted activities such as fly fishing excursions, whitewater rafting, biking tours, clay shooting, etc. that are operated through private outfitters. All on-site activities are included in your ranch package.

Environmental & Social Practices

  • Environment

  • Socially sustainable practices run deep at Flathead Lake Lodge. Our operations focus on recycling, composting, the use of chemical free cleaners, locally sourced ingredients, reclaimed materials and energy efficient fixtures to name a few. In addition to operations, the Averill family has headed up many non-profit organizations geared toward the improvement and sustainability of the surrounding land as well as its people.


    The University of Montana has honored Flathead Lake Lodge with an ‘Institute Status’ for their efforts in educating students on environmental, socially sustainable, and conservation efforts. The University continues to use Flathead Lake Lodge as an off-site institute for its Crown of the Continent courses where graduate students are exposed to real life issues, people and solutions focus towards environmental and social conservation in Northwest Montana.

Weather

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Avg Temp (°F):

252535506075808075604025

Avg Rainfall (in):

3.42.321.52.62.91.522.12.23.43.5

Lowdown

  • Elevation

    3100 ft.
 

Nearest Airports

  • Glacier Park International Airport, Kalispell(FCA)

  • Nearest town / city

    Kalispell(FCA)
  • Distance to ranch

    30 miles
  • Time to ranch

    30 mins
  • Airlines

    Delta, United, Allegiant, Horizon, Alaska
  • Ranch shuttle

    $140/round trip
  • Missoula International Airport, Missoula(MSO)

  • Nearest town / city

    Missoula(MSO)
  • Distance to ranch

    120 miles
  • Time to ranch

    2 hours
  • Airlines

    Delta, United, Allegiant, Horizon, Alaska, United Express
  • Rental car

    Required

Private Air travel

  • Nearest town / city

    Glacier Jet Center, Kalispell
  • Travel by

    Airplane
  • Distance to ranch

    30 miles

Nearest Town / City

  • Bigfork

  • Population

    1,658
  • Distance

    1 miles
  • Facilities

    grocery store, pharmacy, church, school, post office, medical clinic, bank, atm, gas station
  • Shopping

    small hometown necessity shops, boutique shops, western wear
 

Our riding stands out

  • Flexible & Accommodating - Our riding program offers riding options all day, for various ability levels, various ride lengths and you can choose what's right for you
  • Diversity & Options - from tailored to those who have never ridden to trail blazing for the more experienced
  • Experience & Saftey - over the past 65 years our program was created from the ground up; therefore, we have built a solid riding and horse program

Our horses

  • guest horses

    100
  • horse types

    Quarterhorse, Appaloosas, Draft Cross, Paints, Geldings, we have purchased the majority of our horses locally from families whose child was in rodeo or 4-H whereby the horse had good breeding and are well-seasoned

Our Riding

  • Scheduled rides

    The Lodge offers multiple rides daily with options to satisfy every level, age, and interest with the first ride beginning at 7am, and the second heading out at 9:30. We post a schedule each morning of the day's ride options.
  • Guided rides

    Our wranglers have a gentle manner to ensure a successful, educational learning environment to encourage riders of all levels to comfortably expand beyond their existing capabilities. Take a basic, scenic ride or ride with the cowboys and bushwhack your way across the property.
  • Program rides

    To name a few...A 3-4 hour ‘Early Bird Ride’; a 4-5 hour ‘Hot Lunch Ride’ allowing guests to ride deep into the wilderness to a remote cabin; the Breakfast Ride where guests leave at 7am and ride to our breakfast camp; a Dinner Ride through our private 500 acre Rocky Mountain Elk Preserve where you can ride through herds of large bull elk. Ask about our Cowgirl Ride.

Lowdown

  • Type of riding

    Western Riding
  • Riding opportunities for

    Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced
  • Most riders are

    Intermediate
  • Rides are grouped by

    Age, Ability, Pace of Ride, Rides tailored to guest requests
  • Rides are split by ability level and children’s ages so riders feel comfortable and able to ride to the top of their ability level. Adults are free to join their children on the kid’s rides at any point. For the experienced equestrians, our wranglers can take out smaller groups, ride faster, and cover some serious distance.
  • Max riders per ride

    8
  • Wranglers per ride

    1
  • Pace of ride

    Walk, Trot, Lope
  • We do not conduct an actual riding test to decipher an individual's ability to trot or lope, we instead gauge by body language. On our first ride, we take a nice, casual ride whereby we can informally ride and visit with each guest to decipher their riding abilities.

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You'll enjoy

  • hours in the Saddle

    Morning - 2 hours, Afternoon - 2 hours, Evening - 1 hour
  • The majority of rides last approximately 2 hours; however, we also offer 1/2 day and all day rides. Please visit with Jason, our barn manager, and he'll help you find the rides perfect for you.
  • Riding

    On specified trails
 

Riding Lessons

  • Details

    lessons come with package, basic riding lessons
  • Lessons given by

    wrangler
  • Lessons located

    on the trail, in the arena
  • Whether you are a first time rider in need of the most basic of instruction or a well seasoned horseman, Flathead Lake Lodge and the Averill’s have the experience to offer lessons to all ability levels. If a novice guest would like to start out with private lessons in our arena, our wranglers are happy to accommodate. If an experienced rider is looking to dive into the more advanced, technical or rodeo side, we have a wrangler with the appropriate skill level. Make sure to visit with Jason, Averill’s barn manager, a national rodeo competitor with a kind approach.

Arena Work

  • Type

    outdoor arena, professional rodeo arena
  • Activities

    penning, roping from horseback, barrels, pole bending, rodeo
  • Horse competitions, team roping, team penning and a family style rodeo are just some of the fun events offered in the rodeo arena. One night a week, we offer steer penning in which guests are welcome to get involved. And, on another day throughout the week, we put on a kids' rodeo where everyone can get involved. Our rodeo offers lots of games where children(and adults if you'd like) can practice those rodeo skills and "strut their stuff". Also throughout the week, Averill’s wranglers may start a colt, tune-up a guest horse or perform a short horsemanship clinic in the arena for guests to watch. By watching their natural mannerisms in training and working with each horse, you are encouraged to apply these skills throughout the week.

Sample Riding Itinerary

  • Each day of riding at the Lodge starts with one important schedule, yours. Each gust has the ability to mold their day based on how they feel and what they’re up for. The morning riding options consist of an early morning Breakfast ride that leaves the barn at 7:00am. The next ride out is the Early Bird that heads out after breakfast(around 9:30) and returns in time for lunch.

    The Lunch Rides are longer and 5 hours on horseback allows riders to venture far into the mountains and see some spectacular wilderness. Lunch is served at a historic trappers cabin on the remote edge of the Ranch property and your wrangler will cook up a hearty hot lunch while the group relaxes. In addition to these longer rides, there are also shorter morning trail rides daily for kids, teens, and adults.

    The nice thing about our program is that we offer so many rides going out throughout the day that if you miss one ride, you'll have plenty others from which to choose.

    While most afternoons are spent on the lake, guests have the option of venturing out on a late afternoon ride before dinner.

    Evenings are often the best time for a trail ride. The cool evenings offer the perfect time to venture out on horseback to a spectacular lookout and take in lake views and the falling sunset. Many evenings are also filled with fun and memorable horse games in the arena. Whether it is team roping, barrel racing or the guest favorite team penning competition, there is always activity at the barn and many fun options both day and night.

    Response Time - Flathead Lake Lodge is a leader in response time thanks to a personal radio system developed specifically for the ranch. Whether you are riding in the arena or miles into the wilderness your safety and a quick response is ensured.

Setting

  • Private Land - 1000-5000 (acres)

  • With approximately 100 miles of trails located on the Lodge's 2,000 acre private ranch, our rides will cover many different areas of the ranch’s rolling foothills. From timbered mountainsides and rolling meadows, to vast sweeping panoramas of Flathead Lake and Valley to the distant mountain ranges. Flathead Lake Lodge borders the national forest, which makes for very scenic rides. Within minutes of a ride, you can easily run into a variety of wildlife and bear. Flathead Lake is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi, and one of the 300 largest natural lakes in the World assuring you plenty of quality water sports to enjoy.

Elegant yet casual Western dining.

Flathead Lake Lodge is proud to serve family-style Montana meals, accompanied by our homemade breads and desserts, made fresh daily for our guests.

A daily happy hour gathering for adults offers a variety of hearty hors d' oeuvres in our private Saddle Sore Saloon. Tales of the day – whether it be a sailing escapade or a horseback riding venture - are swapped freely among guests and cowboys.

Lunch is served outside on the deck of the Main Lodge, overlooking Flathead Lake and our executive chef will happily accommodate special dietary needs.

Good to know

Alcohol

BYOB, available for purchase

Lowdown

  • Enjoy

    Ranch-style
  • Meals served

    family style, buffet style, meals roll with days activities, everyone eats together, children dine separately, scheduled meals
  • Enjoy dining in

    nature settings, patio, dining room (casual attire), lounge
  • You'll definitely love

    fresh daily bread, fresh daily desserts
  • Dietary restrictions catered for include

    lactose intolerant, vegans, vegetarians, other

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Guest Favorites

  • Steak Fry - Steaks are cooked on a large outdoor mesquite charcoal grill and served with famous cowboy beans, cheesy bread, potato salad, fruit salad, and gooey brownies.
  • Breakfast Camp - bacon, eggs, and country style hot cakes.
  • Farewell Dinner - beef tenderloin, lobster, roasted potatoes, and fresh vegetables.

Wine List Sample

  • Extensive Wine List
  • Visit The Saddle Sore Saloon: Nightly happy hour as well as a selection of ranch spirits.
 

Your Chef

  • Your dedicated chef is Brian Lesyinski

  • Brian Lesyinski is the Executive Chef at Flathead Lake Lodge. He graduated from Hennipen Culinary Institute in his home state of Minnesota, and joined the Lodge full time in 1995. Brian has the culinary creativity and experience to perfectly blend Western style fine dining with the comfort of a family style atmosphere. Guests have praised Brian through the years for his ability to create a winning new menu year after year that is sure to please any palette.

Sample Menu

    Breakfast

    Eggs Benedict, hash browns, assorted breakfast meats, full cereal, toast and fruit bar including yogurt and berries, cowboy coffee cake, assortment of coffee, teas, and juices and fresh baked pastries.

    Lunch

    Fresh salad bar, hand made grilled pizza’s, fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh baked desserts and cookies, juice and coffee.

    Dinner

    Mixed green salad with huckleberry vinaigrette, homemade herb bread, whole Roasted Pig, roasted Baron of Buffalo, twice baked potatoes, green bean almandine, and chocolate mousse with white chocolate curls.

Children at the Ranch

Great for children aged 0 and over



Flathead Lake Lodge is a family guest ranch. Children are a focus of activities and recreation here at the Lodge.

Flathead Lake Lodge has a unique children’s program where family interaction is key and children have the freedom to roam the property and participate in the various activities as they’d like. Children-focused activities include daily kids rides, daily Arts & Crafts, water activities, kids tepee overnight, kids rodeo, organized games and a junior wrangler program to name a few. Your child will fall in love with Flathead Lake Lodge and make friendships that can last a lifetime.

Averill's Junior Wrangler Program - Children bring a lot of positive energy to the barn and are encouraged to spend as much time with the horses as they’d like. Children can participate in the Junior Wrangler Program where they work alongside the wranglers learning the basics of horse care and handling. On daily trail rides children will learn the essentials to horsemanship and basic rodeo techniques with their wranglers. At the end of the week, the Kids Rodeo is their chance to participate a fun family rodeo with their friends, family, and favorite horses from the week. The Kids Rodeo is a Lodge favorite and a great family activity.

Detailed Activities

  • Games

    scavenger/treasure hunts, board games, horseshoes, volleyball, ping pong, pool table
  • Riding based activities

    animal care, horse care, pony rides, arena riding, trail riding, rodeo

Babysitting

  • Available for children age

    0 to 12
  • Provided by

    Our trained group of local babysitters. All babysitters are required to take our annual on-site babysitter training and are ready to be a responsible and fun sitter for your younger children! Rates vary and advance notice is required.

Flathead Lake Lodge was built in 1932 as a boy's camp and acquired by Les Averill when he returned to Montana from the war in 1945. His boyhood dream was to build a dude ranch and hunting lodge for folks to experience a part of the West. That dream came true with the purchase of the Flathead Recreation Ranch for Boys, now Flathead Lake Lodge.

The ranch slowly began attracting people from around the world. Dignitaries, celebrities and families discovered the Montana hideaway near the village of Bigfork and word of the beautiful lodge began to spread.

Doug Averill, one of eight sons, took over as the second generation of the guest ranch operation in 1971. Doug, his wife Maureen, and their three children live at the ranch and host the guests, many of whom have become longtime family friends.

The Averill’s created a concept and philosophy at Flathead Lake Lodge that successfully survived more than half a century of dramatic changes in travel and vacation trends. Transportation, technology and family values have changed since 1945, yet the Averill's idea of memorable family vacations has remained the same.

Lowdown

  • Ranch established

    1932
  • Guest ranch since

    1945
  • Ranchers for

    3 generations

Our Staff

  • A friendly and genuine personality
  • Engaging and thoroughly enjoy spending time with each guest
  • Experience and enjoyment working with children
  • We have 10 wranglers on our staff

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Owner Info

  • Owner - Doug and Maureen Averill and their children Chase, Laine and Quindee.

  • Languages spoken

    english
  • Doug, one of Les Averill’s eight sons, grew up at the Lodge and took over as the second generation of the guest ranch operation in 1971. Doug, his wife Maureen, and their three children: Chase, Laine, and Quindee live at the ranch and host the guests, many of whom have become longtime family friends. The Averill’s continue to be completely involved in the ranch’s operation and maintain the personal, inviting and homegrown hospitality Flathead Lake Lodge has become famous for. Whether putting on a steer roping demonstration or captaining one of the historic sailboats, the Averill family makes sure you always feel like you are part of the extended ranch family.

Our Managers

  • Manager - Kevin Barrows

  • Hometown

    Cumberland, Wisconsin
  • With ranch since

    1981
  • Languages spoken

    english
  • Kevin, born and raised in Cumberland, Wisconsin, first arrived at Flathead Lake Lodge in 1981 at the age of 21. Over the past 26 years Kevin has had his hand in almost every aspect of the Lodge operations and truly understands Western hospitality and genuine customer service. Guests look forward to his familiar face every year on their return to the Lodge. Kevin now lives in Bigfork with his wife Jenna and their two sons Reid and Blane.

    Doug’s two sons Chase (26) and Laine (24) are graduated from college and back working the family ranch. Both were born and raised at the Lodge and many guests have watched them grow up through the years. Now, they are instrumental in the Lodge operations and look forward to following in their fathers footsteps of keeping the Lodge a family run business in this 3rd generation.

Our Wranglers

  • Wrangler - Quindee

  • Age

    20
  • Hometown

    Bigfork
  • Languages spoken

    english
  • Quindee Averill (20), the youngest of Doug and Maureen’s three children, is a familiar face at the barn throughout the summer. Quindee has been a wrangler at the Lodge since she was able to ride a horse and spends her summer at the barn leading guests through her 2,000 acre backyard. Quindee spends most of the year in college at Montana State University where she competes for her school’s university rodeo team.

Rooms & Rates

  • Room type | nameSummer ratesWinter rates

  • Cabin | Historic Log Cabins & Private Lodge Units$343-$464n/a

    • Description

      Tucked along the banks of Flathead Lake amongst large fir and pine trees, each cottage at our guest ranch has its own unique touches overlooking Flathead Lake. From restored historic cabins, to log lodges, each accommodation will be the perfect base camp for your adventure and memory filled week. Room Amenities Include: Coffee maker, coffee, tea, condiments, Complimentary basket - sunscreen, shampoo/ conditioner, travel kit; Newspapers available daily; Irons, ironing boards and hair dryers available.
    • Rooms

      45
    • Max occupancy

      120
    • Prices listed are

      per person
    • Minimum stay

      per room / accommodation
    • Bathrooms

      Private bathroom
    • Amenities

      crib, hair dryer, seating area, wood fireplace, washer / dryer

Services

Communications

  • wireless internet
  • telephone
  • Business Services

    • Conference center
    • computer and fax hookups
    • printers

Additional Services

  • Spa

    relaxation massage, deep tissue massage, rock treatments, couples massage, manicures, pedicures.
  • Corporate Retreats

    For groups of 75-100. Experience extensive corporate retreats - May, June and September. Large conference center, 3 meeting rooms
  • Weddings

    We can cater for groups of 100 & over. The Lodge can host a dream destination weddings and provide packages including lodging, meals, and activities.

Onsite

Shopping

  • The Stage Stop Gift Shop is located on Lodge property and offers a variety of Western wear, cowboy boots, athletic wear, and gifts for purchase.

Outdoor Activities

  • tennis
  • Hiking, volleyball and horseback riding

Water based Activities

  • outdoor pool
  • lake water sports
  • sailing, water skiing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and canoeing.

Good to know

  • You can borrow

    Riding helmets, Saddle bags
 

Fishing & Wildlife

  • Fishing

  • Types of fishing

    spin, fly, river, stocked pond, lake, stream, equipment available, guided non-inclusive, unguided, instruction available
  • Montana is famous for its fly fishing and some of the top rivers are located nearby on the Swan and Flathead River. Enjoy casting to eager trout while surrounded by towering mountains and wilderness. If you’re interested in lake fishing, Flathead Lake offers guests an array of fishing opportunities and trolling for massive lake trout on Flathead Lake is a great way to spend a hot afternoon. Our outfitters will be sure to provide a memorable and personalized fishing experience for you and your family.

    Flathead Lake is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi, and one of the 300 largest natural lakes in the World.

  • Wildlife and birding

  • Private Elk Preserve (location of many trail rides), wild elk, deer, black bears, mountain lions, lynx, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, waterfowl, Bald Eagles, Osprey

Offsite Activities

  • Fly Fishing Exursions, Whitewater Rafting, Glacier National Park, Clay Shooting, Mountain Biking, Bike Tours, Massage, Mountain Laser Tag.

Local Attractions

  • We've only highlighted attractions that may add to your stay!
  • Bigfork

  • Enjoy Shopping, Antiquing, a wide variety of sight seeing. While your children are enjoying themselves and engaged in our activities we offer an adult only, evening cruise, into Bigfork to enjoy the local bars and it's quaint small town atmosphere.
  • Distance

    1 miles
  • Time from ranch

    15 mins
  • Ranch shuttle

    Free!
  • Glacier National Park

  • Flathead Lake Lodge is surrounded by some of the nations most beautiful and untouched wilderness areas. Glacier National Park is located only 35 miles North of the Lodge and is a great option for a family day trip. Glacier National Park is considered the “Crown of the Continent” and is the most intact ecosystem in the lower 48 states. In addition to its spectacular views, Glacier is home to an abundance of wildlife most notably big horn sheep, mountain goats, bears, and moose.
  • Distance

    30 miles
  • Time from ranch

    45 mins
  • World Class Montana Fly Fishing

  • Montana is famous for its fly fishing and some of the top rivers are located nearby on the Swan and Flathead River. Enjoy casting to eager trout while surrounded by towering mountains and wilderness. If you’re interested in lake fishing, Flathead Lake offers guest an array of fishing opportunities and trolling for massive lake trout on Flathead Lake is a great way to spend a hot afternoon. Our outfitters will be sure to provide a memorable and personalized fishing experience for you and your family.
  • Distance

    15 miles
  • Time from ranch

    30 mins
  • Whitewater Rafting

  • Enjoy the adventure of a whitewater raft trip and take in some of the nation's most spectacular scenery from the river. Whitewater rafting trips are offered for Lodge guests with transportation and lunch provided.
  • Distance

    20 miles
  • Time from ranch

    30 mins
  • Whitefish Mountain Resort

  • Enjoy a day trip to Whitefish, Montana and visit Whitefish Mountain Resort for summer activities on on of the nation's largest ski hills. The ski resort offers a 6 section dual zip line, Walk in the Treetops, Alpine Slide, hiking, and scenic lift rides to the summit of Big Mountain.
  • Distance

    40 miles
  • Time from ranch

    1 hour

 

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