Bigfork, MT

Bigfork is a charming community known as the art center of the Flathead Valley. Perched on the northeast corner of Flathead Lake, Bigfork has more than 50 eclectic shops, 25 restaurants and 13 art galleries.

This picturesque village is also home to the Bigfork Summer Playhouse - one of the Northwest's finest repertory theaters – as well as the Bigfork Art and Cultural Center, concerts in Everit Sliter Memorial Park on summer Sunday evenings, and the Bigfork Festival of the Arts in August. Each holiday season, community “elves” deck out the village in colored lights, fresh-cut greenery and hundreds of bright red bows, creating a festive holiday setting.

The "Village by the Bay" is sheltered in a sparkling blue bay where the swift waters of the Swan River flow into Flathead Lake, bringing kayakers from around the world to compete in the annual Whitewater Festival each spring. Bigfork offers spectacular views of the Swan Mountains that drop dramatically into the lake’s shores. The scenic Swan River Nature Trail provides easy hiking and biking just a few blocks from downtown, and the town’s close proximity to Jewel Basin Hiking Area and the Bob Marshall Wilderness make it a perfect starting point for outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

Bigfork’s Eagle Bend Golf Course is a 27-hole championship course located on the north shore of Flathead Lake, offering challenging golf and gorgeous views of the lake, the Swan Mountains and Glacier National Park. Eagle Bend is the only golf course to be rated #1 in Montana by Golf Digest for six consecutive years. Golf Digest also rates Eagle Bend in the top 50 in the United States.

This quaint Western village was chosen as "One of the 50 Great Towns of the West," designated as "One of the 100 Best Small Art Towns of the Nation," and was listed in National Geographic’s Guide to Small Town Escapes, which is no surprise given its gourmet restaurants, fun shops, local character, beautiful natural surroundings, and a host of outdoor activities.

Bigfork was founded in 1901, about the time the hydroelectric plant at the mouth of the Swan River was built to supply electricity for Kalispell. The town was platted by Everit Sliter, who was instrumental in the development of the community, serving as postmaster, running the town's first hotel and general store, and planting one of the first orchards. Bigfork Bay was a harbor for passenger and freight-hauling steamers that once navigated Flathead Lake.

Bigfork’s population is now about 1,400 and has become home for returning Montanans who left the state to build careers, as well as those seeking recreational second homes or permanent refuge from crowded and harried urban areas.

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