Gateway to Glacier National Park
Offering a range of facilities to compliment your trip to the area, Glacier National Park communities line US Highway 2. Lodging choices vary from camping and RV parks to motels, fully-equipped cabins, luxurious bed and breakfast establishments and vacation homes to rent. There are also numerous restaurants, bars, gift shops, equipment hire and tourist attractions, all steeped in the history of the area and framed by the outstanding views provided by the Rocky Mountains.
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The city of Columbia Falls sits at the entrance to Bad Rock Canyon. The first township to be platted in the Flathead Valley, Columbia Falls has a history connected to the lumber industry in the Valley and remains as a family-oriented mountain community. Here you will find bars, restaurants and shopping facilities. There is also a water park and an outdoor community pool. Browse the Farmer's Market whilst listening to local musicians, zip down the slides at the water park, and enjoy a round of golf or a romantic meal for two. The tourist information center will ensure you are up-to-date on local events and amenities.
The community of Hungry Horse formed with the influx of workers arriving to work on the Hungry Horse Dam Project. Everywhere in this little community you will see evidence of the history of the dam, from the equipment on display along the roadside, to the names of businesses. Comprehensive information of the history, construction and workings of the dam is available at the Visitor Center located on the Dam itself.
The resulting reservoir is 34 miles long and it is possible to drive around its entire periphery. With various locations to camp, hunt, fish, or just stop and relax, it’s a great place to absorb the beauty of your surroundings. Nesting Bald Eagles can be spotted from the roadside and do not be surprised to see elk or bear. There are many opportunities to hike, and a number of campsites around the shores of the reservoir, some of which have boat launches for enjoying the water in the summer months.
Hungry Horse itself has a number of bars, restaurants, gift shops and antique stores to explore. You can also get groceries and gas at this location. Be sure to learn the history behind the name and learn about the legend of Bad Rock canyon!
Martin City was the original boomtown. Today it provides access to the reservoir, the Flathead National Forest and Desert Mountain trailhead (a favorite for snowmobiling in the Winter months).
Coram grew up around the railroad. Today, it has much more of a family atmosphere with activities such as a maze, mini-golf and gem panning with opportunities for dining, gift shopping, fun local bars and a whisky distillery.
Originally known as Belton, James.J Hill's Great Northern Railway brought visitors to alight the train here, ready to view the peaks of Glacier National Park. Today there are year-round opportunities for lodging, entertainment and recreation including river rafting, trail rides, restaurants and bars.
U.S. Highway 2 to East Glacier
Beyond the West Entrance, US Highway 2 winds through the mountains to the East side of the Park. The communities at Essex and Nyack Flats offer opportunities to stop and stay on your way through whether you are looking for somewhere new to fish or hunt, putting in to raft the river or checking out the wildlife at Goat Lick natural minerals.
Visit Polebridge, located north of Columbia Falls in the North Fork valley, and experience life as it was 100 years ago for the local remote communities. Without electricity, here you will find a single bar and a year-round mercantile containing an outstanding bakery and a welcome fire. From Polebridge you can access the Park from the west, visit Bowman and Kintla Lakes and experience unobstructed views of the peaks of Glacier National Park.
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