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Lowdown

  • Established

    1932. Guest ranch since 1945
  • Owner

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

    Chase Averill
  • Tel

    406-837-4391
  • Nightly Rates (per adult)

    $350 - $600
  • Nightly Rates (per child)

    $200 - $425
  • Minimum Stay

    1 week
  • Maximum Guests

    125
  • Works with travel agents?

    Yes
  • Great For

    Action & adventure

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

Good time to go

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

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.

Activities

hiking, biking, picnics, outdoor play area, cookouts, campouts, petting zoo, whitewater rafting, floating, supervised swimming

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

Baby Sitting

From age 0 to 12.

Baby Sitting 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.

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.

Ranch History

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

  • Enjoy

    Ranch-style
  • Meals served

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

    BYOB, available for purchase
  • 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

    lactose intolerant, vegans, vegetarians, Gluten free, other

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.

Guest Favourites

  • 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.

Lowdown

  • Address

    150 Flathead Lodge Road
    Bigfork
    Montana
    59911
    USA
  • Remote Location

    No
  • Elevation

    3100 ft
  • Private Land

    1000-5000 acres

Nearest Town - Bigfork

Bigfork has a population of 1,658 (approx), and is situated 1 miles / 15 mins from the Ranch.

Facilities in Bigfork include: grocery store, pharmacy, church, school, post office, medical clinic, bank, atm, gas station.

For shopping Bigfork offers: small hometown necessity shops, boutique shops, western wear.

Nearest Airports

Glacier Park International Airport, Kalispell(FCA)

Distance

30 miles / 30 mins

Airlines

Delta, United, Allegiant, Horizon, Alaska

Ranch shuttle

$140/round trip


Missoula International Airport, Missoula(MSO)

Distance

120 miles / 2 hours

Airlines

Delta, United, Allegiant, Horizon, Alaska, United Express

Rental car

Required


Private Air Travel

Nearest location(s)

Glacier Jet Center, Kalispell

Travel by

Airplane

Distance

30 miles

Ranch shuttle

Free!

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
  • Max riders per ride

    8
  • Wranglers per ride

    1
  • Pace of ride

    Walk, Trot, Lope
  • Guest Horses

    100
  • Horse Types

    Quarterhorse, Appaloosas, Draft Cross, Paints, Geldings, Mares, 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
  • Hours in the saddle

    Morning - 2 hours
    Afternoon - 2 hours
    Evening - 1 hour

The 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.


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.

Good to know

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.

Riding considerations

no riding experience needed

Hours in the saddle

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.


Why 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

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.

Riding Lessons

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.

Details

lessons come with package, basic riding lessons

Given by

wrangler

Location

on the trail, in the arena

Arena Work

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.

Type

outdoor arena, professional rodeo arena

Activities

penning, roping from horseback, barrels, pole bending, rodeo

Lowdown

  • Nightly Rates (per adult)

    $350 - $600
  • Nightly Rates (per child)

    $200 - $425
  • Minimum Stay

    1 week
  • Preferred Arrival Day

    Sun
  • Preferred Departure Day

    Sun
  • Packages available

    1 week

Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge can cater for up to 125 guests. See below for details and indicative rates.

Cabin | Historic Log Cabins & Private Lodge Units

Rates (Per Person)

$343 - $464

Minimum Stay

6 nights

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

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Amenities

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


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.

Lowdown

  • You can borrow

    Riding helmets, Saddle bags
  • Communications

    Wireless Internet/Wifi, telephone.
  • Cell Networks

    alltel, AT&T, verizon.
  • Business Services

    Conference center, computer and fax hookups, printers.

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

mountain biking, tennis, Yoga, sporting clays, wagon rides, Shooting - trap / clays, Hiking, volleyball and horseback riding

Water based Activities

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

Spa

relaxation massage, deep tissue massage, rock treatments, couples massage, manicures, pedicures


Fishing & Wildlife

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.

Fishing on offer

spin, fly, river, stocked pond, lake, stream, equipment available, guided non-inclusive, unguided, instruction available

Wildlife

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


Additional Services

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.


Local Attractions

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 / 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 / 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 / 30 mins

Top50 says

Highs

  • A very special ranch - the hospitality is truly unbelievable. The water and equestrian program of highest quality – you WILL create memories here! A very hospitable ranch
  • You're set with the most gorgeous view of Flathead Lake and the riding's set in beautiful wilderness. They offer lessons throughout 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 as one of the Top 50 Family Vacations by Home & Garden Magazine. Excellent Children’s Program, including their Junior Wranlger Program and weekly Kids' Rodeo

Lows

  • Averill’s is targeted mainly toward families; however, couples or singles are of course welcome as well
  • Runs on a tight schedule; however, everything runs very smoothly and you always feel relaxed, not overwhelmed

Visitor Reviews

Dont just take our word for it, see what visitors like you say...

Relax, ride, sail, eat...you'll love it

We were fortunate to spend 4 days at Flathead Lake Lodge and could not have asked for a more perfect place to be. We sailed, rode horses, hiked, toured their elk reserve, rode their very real fire trucks to a steak fry, and just sat out in the many chairs around the property and enjoyed the views. They plan a lot of activities, and you can do them or not. Our living room overlooked the lake, and inspite of looking rustic, it had all the amenities including wi-fi. The meals are great and change every day. There are always delicious homemade sweet bakery snacks in the lodge, and each happy hour has amazing free treats (smoked fish, mussels, cheese, etc). Buy an inexpensive bottle of wine at the bar and have that with happy hour, dinner or whenever. The staff and owners are friendly, helpful, and knowledgable. Ask and ye shall receive. We can't wait to go back.

5 stars

You can find more reviews for Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge on TripAdvisor