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Bigfork: 92 miles N of Missoula; 15 miles SE of Kalispell

This is one of the most beautiful areas in Montana. Glacier National Park's towering peaks rise from the valley floor on the east, and the mountains of the Flathead National Forest define the edge of the valley to the west. This is a land of forests, cattle, and alfalfa -- with a velvet-green valley floor, green and granite mountains, and, on a sunny day, a dramatic deep-blue ceiling.

This part of Montana seems to offer something for everyone, whether your interests lie indoors or out. There are watersports on the lake and hikes that lead to sparkling mountain streams with views. But if you want to shop or see a play, you can easily spend your day inside the boutiques, galleries, and theater of Bigfork.

With much of this area lying within the tribal lands of the Salish & Kootenai, there is also a long-standing American-Indian heritage.