Whitefish Christmas Stroll 2023: A Festive Tradition in Montana

Whitefish Christmas Stroll 2023: A Festive Tradition in Montana

Whitefish, Montana – On December 8th, 2023, the charming town of Whitefish will once again light up with the joy and warmth of the Christmas season. The Whitefish Christmas Stroll, a beloved tradition for over three decades, is set to bring the community and visitors together for a night of festive cheer, unique performances, and holiday spirit.

The Festivities Begin

The evening kicks off at 5 PM with the enchanting sounds of the Alpine Bell Ringers Handbell Choir at the First Presbyterian Church, setting the perfect tone for the festivities. Following this, the sounds of harp music and the North Valley Music School Christmas Recital will fill the air, adding to the holiday atmosphere.

A Musical Extravaganza

At 6 PM, the Flathead Valley Community College Vocal Jazz and Chorale Ensemble will perform outside the O’Shaughnessy Center, offering a selection of beloved Christmas carols. The ensemble’s voices will undoubtedly captivate all who gather in Depot Park, creating a memorable musical experience.

The Lighting of the Tree and Menorah

A highlight of the evening is the Tree Lighting Ceremony and Menorah Lighting at 6:15 PM, hosted by the Whitefish Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Stockman Bank. This moment, symbolizing unity and the start of the holiday season, is a must-see event for every attendee.

Santa’s Grand Entrance

At 6:30 PM, the excitement builds as Santa Claus arrives in style via a Bar W Guest Ranch Wagon. Accompanied by the Alpine Theatre Project Elves, Santa will lead the way down Central Avenue to Huck’s Place, where he’ll be available for selfies and greetings with the children.

Diverse Performances

Throughout the evening, attendees can enjoy various performances, including a dance showcase by Whitefish & Bigfork Dance at 7:10 PM and the Vocal FVCC Ensemble at multiple times. Additionally, Merie Productions presents a selection from their “Winter Wonderland” show, ensuring there’s never a dull moment.

Activities and Entertainment

The Christmas Stroll is not just about performances. Visitors can enjoy:

  • Wagon rides by Bar W Guest Ranch
  • Fire pits for warming up along Central Ave
  • Ornament making at Stumptown Art Studio
  • The Great Whitefish Gingerbread Contest
  • Tap dance performances by Feat by Feet
  • Vendors offering crafts and delicious food
  • Turkey Bowling with exciting prizes
  • Stores decked out in holiday décor, many offering refreshments
  • The Whitefish Winter Carnival Float and Royalty
  • Encounters with gentle giants from Clydesdale Outpost

A Night to Remember

The Whitefish Christmas Stroll is more than just an event; it’s a testament to the community’s spirit and a celebration of the holiday season’s joy. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, this event promises to fill your evening with wonder, joy, and the true spirit of Christmas.

Join us in Whitefish, Montana, on December 8th, 2023, from 5-9 PM along Central Avenue, and immerse yourself in a festive experience that you’ll cherish for years to come. The Whitefish Christmas Stroll is not just an event; it’s a memory in the making.

Late Summer Hiking on the Grinnell Lake Trail in Glacier National Park

Late Summer Hiking on the Grinnell Lake Trail in Glacier National Park

Exploring Lake Josephine, Swiftcurrent Lake, and Many Glacier Hotel

With the golden hues of late summer descending upon us, the Grinnell Lake Trail in Glacier National Park offers an enchanting opportunity to be surrounded by nature’s majesty. This easy hike reveals the pristine beauty of Montana’s iconic landscapes, all while being serenaded by the distant calls of the park’s fascinating wildlife.

Trail Overview

Starting Point: Many Glacier Hotel
End Point: Grinnell Lake
Difficulty: Easy
Duration: Approximately 3-4 hours round-trip

Trail Distances

  • Many Glacier Hotel to Swiftcurrent Lake: 0.2 miles
  • Swiftcurrent Lake to Lake Josephine: 0.8 miles
  • Lake Josephine to Grinnell Lake: 1.1 miles
  • Total Distance: Approximately 2.1 miles one-way, 4.2 miles round-trip

Wildlife Encounters

When hiking Grinnell Lake Trail, always stay vigilant and be prepared to encounter the park’s inhabitants:

  1. Bears: Glacier National Park is home to both black and grizzly bears. When hiking, it’s essential to make noise and carry bear spray. It’s also advisable to hike in groups and avoid leaving food unattended.
  2. Moose: These majestic creatures are frequently spotted near water sources and can often be seen grazing. Though they seem gentle, they can be territorial, especially during mating season or when guarding their young. Always keep a respectful distance.

Breathtaking Views

Throughout your hike, you’ll be treated to views of spectacular mountains and glaciers:

  1. Mount Grinnell: Named after George Bird Grinnell, an early American conservationist, this imposing peak rises 8,851 feet into the Montana sky.
  2. The Salamander Glacier: Perched high above Grinnell Lake, this glacier adds a cool, icy touch to the warm colors of the late summer landscape.
  3. Gem Glacier: This is one of the smallest named glaciers in the park, but its beauty is truly unmatched.


The Grinnell Lake Trail is an absolute must for anyone visiting Glacier National Park in late summer. Its easy accessibility from the Many Glacier Hotel makes it a convenient choice for families or those looking for a more relaxed hike. The reward? Breathtaking vistas, majestic wildlife encounters, and memories to last a lifetime. So lace up those hiking boots, grab your camera, and embark on a late summer adventure you’ll never forget.

Springtime in the Flathead Valley

Spring in the Flathead Valley

The Flathead Valley of Montana is a beautiful region that offers a wide range of activities for visitors to enjoy throughout the year. Spring is a particularly lovely time to visit, with moderate temperatures, stunning landscapes, and plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities.

Here are some of the top things to do in the Flathead Valley during the spring:

  1. Hiking: Spring is a great time to hit the trails in the Flathead Valley. Many hiking trails that are closed during the winter months reopen in the spring, providing opportunities to explore the natural beauty of the region. Popular hikes include the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park, the Jewel Basin Hiking Area, and the Whitefish Trail.

  2. Fishing: The Flathead Valley is home to numerous streams, rivers, and lakes that offer excellent fishing opportunities. Spring is a great time to fish, as many fish species become more active and move into shallower waters. The Flathead River, Swan River, and Whitefish Lake are all popular spots for fishing.

  3. Biking: The Flathead Valley has a number of scenic bike paths and mountain biking trails that offer a great way to explore the area. The Whitefish Bike Retreat, located just outside of Whitefish, offers guided tours and bike rentals.

  4. Golfing: Spring is the start of golf season in the Flathead Valley, and the region has several excellent golf courses to choose from. Courses include the Whitefish Lake Golf Course, Eagle Bend Golf Club in Bigfork, and Meadow Lake Golf Course in Columbia Falls.

  5. Wildlife Viewing: Spring is a great time to see wildlife in the Flathead Valley. As the snow melts, animals become more active and visible. Visitors may have the opportunity to see grizzly bears, black bears, moose, elk, and other wildlife in their natural habitats.

  6. Arts and Culture: The Flathead Valley has a thriving arts and culture scene, with galleries, museums, and performing arts venues throughout the region. The Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, the Alpine Theatre Project in Whitefish, and the Bigfork Summer Playhouse are just a few of the many cultural attractions in the area.

  7. Wine Tasting: The Flathead Valley is home to several wineries that offer wine tastings and tours. Tucked away in the hills outside of Kalispell, the Mission Mountain Winery offers stunning views and excellent wines.

  8. Spring Festivals and Events: The Flathead Valley hosts a number of festivals and events in the spring, including the Montana Dragon Boat Festival, and the Bigfork Whitewater Festival.

  9. Boating: Spring is a great time to get out on the water in the Flathead Valley. The region has several lakes and rivers that offer boating and water sports opportunities. Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, is a popular spot for boating, fishing, and swimming.

Overall, the Flathead Valley of Montana offers plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities, cultural attractions, and events to enjoy during the spring season. Whether you’re looking to hike, fish, golf, or simply relax and enjoy the beauty of the region, the Flathead Valley has something for everyone.

Columbia Falls Community Market

The Columbia Falls Community Market will begin the 2023 Season on May 18 and will last until September 28, 2023. The market takes place weekly on Thursday from 5pm until Twilight at 830 1st Avenue West in Columbia Falls. The locals’ market offers friends, families, neighbors and visitors the chance to more conveniently live a farm-to-table lifestyle while enjoying each other’s company, live music, fresh food, desserts, artisan gifts and locally-brewed beer. Learn more about the Columbia Falls Community Market – HERE.

Columbia Falls Community Market Live Music Schedule

June 15: Badger Hound
June 29: The Stafford Family Band
July 6: Winnie Brave
July 13: Nol & Justin Harris Duo
July 20: David Walburn Band
July 27: kNiption FiT
August 3: Brent Jameson
August 17: Jamie Wyman Band
August 24: Marc Holyoak
August 31: Billy Billie
Sept 14: Achertown
Sept 21: @TheTeccas Duo
Sept 28: 20 Grand

Are you a Farmer, artist or food vendor?

Are you a farmer, artist or food vendor? Then you may want to consider becoming a vendor at the Columbia Falls Community Market. “We have limited spaces available, and are looking for local farmers handmade arts/crafts AND food vendors. Market season begins in May and goes until the last Thursday in September. Market time is from 5pm until twilight.” Learn more – HERE.

406.Buzz Montana Living Magazine

Are you in the Buzz?

406.Buzz is your best resource for the latest events happening around the Montana Flathead Valley area. From Kalispell and Whitefish to Eureka and Columbia Falls, we’ve got the hottest events, best outdoor activities, restaurant lists, and so much more.  From farmers’ markets and breweries to festivals, music events and family fun entertainment, we know all the buzz happening around town.

Whether you are a local or a visitor, we have all the insider information on the best places to check out every day of the week. Check out our Events Calendar – HERE –  and get in the buzz!

Kintla Lake

Kintla Lake, Glacier National Park

Kintla Lake is a pristine alpine lake located in the northwest corner of Glacier National Park in Montana, near the Canadian border. Here are some reasons why you might want to consider visiting Kintla Lake:

  1. Scenic Beauty: Kintla Lake is surrounded by towering mountains and dense forests, making it one of the most picturesque spots in Glacier National Park. The crystal-clear waters of the lake reflect the surrounding landscape, creating stunning views that are sure to take your breath away.

  2. Hiking: Kintla Lake is a popular starting point for several hiking trails, including the Kintla Lake Trail and the Boulder Pass Trail. These trails offer spectacular views of the surrounding wilderness and are great for both casual and experienced hikers.

  3. Fishing: Kintla Lake is a popular spot for fishing, with abundant populations of trout and other fish species. Visitors can try their luck fishing from the shore or by renting a boat.

  4. Camping: Kintla Lake has several primitive campsites that offer a secluded and peaceful camping experience. Visitors can camp right on the shores of the lake and enjoy the tranquility of the wilderness.

  5. Wildlife Viewing: Kintla Lake is home to a variety of wildlife, including grizzly bears, black bears, moose, and deer. Visitors should be cautious and keep a safe distance from these animals, but they offer a unique and exciting wildlife viewing experience.

Overall, Kintla Lake is a remote and beautiful destination that is well worth the trip for anyone who loves nature and outdoor recreation. Its pristine beauty, abundant wildlife, and outdoor recreation opportunities make it a must-visit spot for anyone traveling to Glacier National Park.

Polbridge Mercantile

Polbridge Mercantile, Polbridge Montana

What is the Polbridge Mercantile, and is it worth the trip?

The Polebridge Mercantile is a historic general store located in Polebridge, Montana, near the northwest entrance of Glacier National Park. The store has been in operation since 1914 and is known for its homemade baked goods, including huckleberry bear claws, bread, and pastries. It also offers a selection of groceries, camping supplies, and souvenirs.

Many visitors consider a trip to Polebridge Mercantile to be worth the effort, as it offers a unique and authentic Montana experience. The store is located in a remote and beautiful area, surrounded by forests, mountains, and wildlife. It’s a popular destination for hikers, campers, and outdoor enthusiasts who want to stock up on supplies or enjoy a delicious pastry before hitting the trails. Visitors can also enjoy a picnic outside the store or visit the nearby Polebridge Ranger Station and Kintla Lake.

That being said, Polebridge Mercantile is located about an hour’s drive from the town of Whitefish, and the road leading to Polebridge can be rough, especially in winter. Visitors should also be prepared for limited cell phone service and no access to electricity. However, many people find the trip to Polebridge to be a rewarding and memorable experience, and it’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking for an off-the-beaten-path adventure in Montana.

Polbridge Montana

Dog Sledding in the Flathead Valley

Dog Sledding in the Flathead Valley, Montana

Dog sledding is a popular winter activity in the Flathead Valley of Montana. Here are a few places where you can go dog sledding in the area:

  1. Base Camp Bigfork: Base Camp Bigfork offers dog sledding tours in the Flathead National Forest, near the town of Bigfork. Their tours range from half-day to full-day adventures, and include opportunities to mush your own team of sled dogs through the snowy wilderness.

  2. Dog Sled Adventures Montana: Dog Sled Adventures Montana is located in Olney, just a short drive from Whitefish and Kalispell. They offer a variety of dog sledding tours, ranging from one-hour rides to overnight trips.

  3. Winter Woods Dog Sled Tours: Winter Woods Dog Sled Tours is based in West Glacier, and offers a variety of tours that take you through the beautiful forests and snow-covered landscapes of Glacier National Park. They offer both half-day and full-day tours, as well as customized trips for larger groups.

  4. Dog Song Adventures: Dog Song Adventures is located in the town of Essex, just outside the southern boundary of Glacier National Park. They offer dog sled tours through the pristine forests and snow-covered meadows of the park, with options ranging from one-hour rides to multi-day adventures.

Be sure to check with each of these companies for their specific tour options, pricing, and availability, as they may vary depending on the season and weather conditions.

Winter in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park in Winter

Glacier National Park in Montana is a popular winter destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Here are some of the winter activities available in Glacier National Park:

  1. Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing: Glacier National Park offers miles of scenic trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Some popular trails include the Apgar Loop, Camas Road, and the Lake McDonald Lodge area.

  2. Downhill Skiing and Snowboarding: Visitors can hit the slopes at the nearby Whitefish Mountain Resort, which is located just outside the west entrance of Glacier National Park.

  3. Ice Climbing: Experienced climbers can tackle the frozen waterfalls and ice formations in the park. Guided trips and classes are available for beginners.

  4. Wildlife Viewing: Winter is a great time to spot wildlife in Glacier National Park, including bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and elk.

  5. Snowmobiling: Snowmobiling is allowed on certain roads in the park, including the Camas Road and the Inside North Fork Road.

  6. Sleigh Rides: Visitors can take a scenic sleigh ride through the park, enjoying the snowy scenery and possibly spotting wildlife along the way.

It’s important to note that some roads and facilities in Glacier National Park are closed during the winter months, so it’s important to check the park’s website for up-to-date information before planning your visit. Additionally, it’s important to be prepared for winter weather conditions and to follow safety guidelines for any outdoor activities you choose to do in the park.

Blacktail Mountain Resort

Blacktail Mountain Resort

Blacktail Mountain Ski Area is a popular resort located in Lakeside, Montana. Here are some of the things you can do on Blacktail Resort:

  1. Skiing and Snowboarding: Blacktail Mountain Ski Area is a great place to hit the slopes, with over 1,000 acres of terrain and a variety of runs for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.

  2. Snowshoeing and Cross-Country Skiing: If you prefer to explore the winter wonderland on foot, you can go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing on the resort’s trails.

  3. Hiking and Mountain Biking: During the summer months, Blacktail Mountain Ski Area transforms into a hiking and mountain biking destination. The resort offers a variety of trails with stunning views of Flathead Lake and the surrounding mountains.

  4. Disc Golf: Blacktail Mountain Ski Area also has a disc golf course with 18 holes, which is open during the summer months.

  5. Scenic Chairlift Rides: If you want to take in the stunning views without exerting too much energy, you can take a scenic chairlift ride to the top of the mountain.

  6. Photography: Blacktail Mountain Ski Area offers plenty of opportunities for photography enthusiasts, with breathtaking views of Flathead Lake and the surrounding mountains.

Overall, Blacktail Resort is a great place to visit for outdoor recreation and relaxation, whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast or a summer adventurer.

Blacktail Mountain Ski Resort

Christmas with the Clydesdales

Clydesdale Outpost Christmas

Are you looking for something fun to do with the family on the weekends? The Clydesdale Outpost has created something magical for the entire family with the Inaugural Christmas with the Clydesdales. Gather your friends & family for the inaugural Christmas With The Clydesdales. Visit Santa’s Barn with local artists, specialty cocktails & mulled wine a the BRR… BAR with benefits going to Big Brothers Big Sisters NW Montana and hosted by Treasure State Hospitality, Life size Nativity, Photos with Santa (sold separately) and a Clydesdale decorated by Home Consign and Design… and of course our Clydesdales! Join us for a holiday spectacular unlike anything else in the Flathead including VIP Igloos, furnished by Empress Tents & Events, & 300 ft ice skate trail (weather dependent)!

Christmas With The Clydesdales

Christmas With The Clydesdales – Schedule & Experience Details

Christmas with the Clydesdales Main Event | 4pm – 8pm Saturdays & Sundays | $15 admission, Children under the age of 3 receive complimentary access. Admission includes Santa’s Clydesdale Barn where families can experience local artisan vendors, food for purchase from Swift Creek Cafe, drinks at the Brrr… Bar for purchase benefiting Big Brother Big Sisters NW Montana and hosted by Treasure State Hospitality, VIP Igloos (sold separately) & Photos with Santa (sold separately). Admission Tickets include free cookies and hot chocolate in Welcome Center.

Photos with Santa during Christmas with the Clydesdales Main Event | $25, pre-booked online. Admission tickets still required in addition to photos with Santa.

VIP Igloos sponsored by Empress Tents & Events | Saturdays & Sundays | 4pm-6pm & 6pm-8pm – Have a space for your friends and family at the event! Book your exclusive and private igloo with electric fireplace. Includes Admission for 6 people, 6 Ice Skate admission ticket & rentals (weather permitting) Artisanal S’mores Board, Champagne or Sparkling Cider Bottle | $300/ 2 hours. (please note, Main Event tickets outside of 6 tickets and photos with Santa must be booked separately).

Learn more – CLICK HERE!

406 Buzz Montana News

Are you in the Buzz?

406.Buzz is your best resource for the latest events happening around the Montana Flathead Valley area. From Kalispell and Whitefish to Eureka and Columbia Falls, we’ve got the hottest events, best outdoor activities, restaurant lists, and so much more.  From farmers’ markets and breweries to festivals, music events and family fun entertainment, we know all the buzz happening around town.

Whether you are a local or a visitor, we have all the insider information on the best places to check out every day of the week. Check out our  Events Calendar – HERE –  and get in the buzz!