- Blacktail Mountain Ski Area
- 13990 Blacktail Rd. - Lakeside
- Montana 59922 - United States
- (406) 844-0999
- [email protected]
Lakeside, Montana, is a small community located in Flathead County on the western side of the state. It is situated along the northwestern shore of Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. The area has a rich history, intertwined with the natural beauty of the region and the development of Montana.
The history of Lakeside can be traced back to the indigenous tribes who inhabited the area long before European settlers arrived. The Salish, Kootenai, and Pend d'Oreille tribes are among those who have called this region home for centuries. They relied on the abundant natural resources, including fish, game, and plant life, for their sustenance.
In the late 1800s, as white settlers began to move westward, Lakeside and the surrounding area attracted attention for its scenic beauty and potential for agricultural development. The Montana Lake Shore Townsite Company was formed in 1887, and it played a significant role in the early development of the community. The townsite was platted, and the construction of roads and buildings began.
Lakeside's growth received a boost with the arrival of the Great Northern Railway in 1892, which provided a direct connection to the nearby city of Kalispell. The railway facilitated the transportation of goods and people, fostering economic development in the region. Visitors from across the country were drawn to the area, particularly to enjoy the recreational opportunities offered by Flathead Lake.
The early settlers in Lakeside engaged in various industries, including logging, farming, and mining. Timber was abundant, and logging operations played a crucial role in the local economy. Agriculture flourished in the fertile Flathead Valley, with crops like wheat, barley, and apples being cultivated. Mining operations focused on extracting precious metals like gold and silver from the nearby mountains.
Over the years, Lakeside evolved into a popular resort destination, attracting tourists who sought to enjoy the beauty of Flathead Lake and the surrounding mountains. The community grew steadily, with the construction of summer homes, hotels, and recreational facilities. The establishment of Glacier National Park to the north further enhanced the appeal of the area.
Today, Lakeside remains a small but vibrant community with a population of around 2,000 residents. Its economy is primarily driven by tourism, as visitors flock to the area for fishing, boating, hiking, and other outdoor activities. The town's charming atmosphere, picturesque scenery, and proximity to natural wonders continue to make it a desirable place to live and visit.
Lakeside's history is a testament to the enduring allure of Montana's natural beauty and the resourcefulness of its residents. It serves as a gateway to the wonders of Flathead Lake and the surrounding wilderness, preserving the spirit of the region's past while embracing the opportunities of the present.
Top Tourist Attractions
Lakeside offers a variety of tourist attractions that showcase the natural beauty of the area and provide opportunities for outdoor recreation. Here are some of the top tourist attractions in Lakeside and its surrounding region:
- Flathead Lake: As the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River, Flathead Lake is a major draw for visitors. The lake offers excellent fishing, boating, and water sports opportunities. Take a scenic boat tour, go kayaking, or simply relax on the shore and soak in the stunning mountain views.
- Blacktail Mountain Ski Area: Located just a short drive from Lakeside, Blacktail Mountain Ski Area is a popular winter destination. The ski area features a range of slopes for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. Visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of Flathead Lake and the surrounding mountains while skiing or snowboarding.
- Wayfarers State Park: Situated along the shores of Flathead Lake, Wayfarers State Park is a beautiful outdoor recreation area. The park offers a sandy beach, picnic areas, hiking trails, and a boat launch. It's a perfect spot for swimming, sunbathing, and enjoying a family picnic.
- Wild Horse Island State Park: Accessible by boat, Wild Horse Island State Park is a unique and scenic destination. The island is home to a variety of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, deer, and, of course, wild horses. Visitors can hike the island's trails, enjoy picnicking, and take in panoramic views of Flathead Lake.
- Jewel Basin Hiking Area: For hiking enthusiasts, the Jewel Basin Hiking Area is a must-visit. Located in the Swan Range, this area offers a network of trails that lead to alpine lakes, meadows filled with wildflowers, and stunning mountain vistas. It's a paradise for outdoor lovers and a great place for backpacking or day hikes.
- Glacier National Park: While not located in Lakeside itself, Glacier National Park is within driving distance and well worth a visit. Known for its towering peaks, pristine lakes, and glaciers, the park offers endless opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and photography. The iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road is a must-drive scenic route within the park.
- Bigfork: Just a short drive south of Lakeside, the charming town of Bigfork is worth exploring. It features art galleries, boutique shops, restaurants, and a lively theater scene. The town is also situated on the shores of Flathead Lake, offering beautiful views and recreational activities.
These attractions highlight the natural splendor and outdoor recreational opportunities that make Lakeside and its surroundings an appealing destination for visitors. Whether you're seeking adventure, relaxation, or a chance to immerse yourself in Montana's natural wonders, Lakeside has something to offer.
Lakeside experiences a continental climate characterized by warm summers and cold winters. The region's climate is influenced by its location in the Rocky Mountains and its proximity to Flathead Lake. Here's an overview of the climate in Lakeside:
- Summers (June to August): Summers in Lakeside are generally warm and pleasant. Average daytime temperatures range from the mid-70s to low 80s Fahrenheit (24-28 degrees Celsius). It can occasionally reach the 90s Fahrenheit (32-35 degrees Celsius) during heatwaves, but these are relatively rare. Summers are the peak tourist season, with visitors enjoying the sunny weather and recreational activities on Flathead Lake.
- Autumns (September to November): Autumn in Lakeside brings cooler temperatures and changing foliage colors. September is usually mild, with temperatures gradually cooling down. October sees average highs in the 50s to low 60s Fahrenheit (10-15 degrees Celsius), while November brings colder conditions with highs in the 40s Fahrenheit (4-9 degrees Celsius). Fall can be a beautiful time to visit Lakeside, with the surrounding mountains and forests displaying vibrant autumn colors.
- Winters (December to February): Winters in Lakeside are cold and snowy. Average daytime temperatures range from the mid-20s to mid-30s Fahrenheit (-4 to 1 degree Celsius), while nighttime temperatures can drop into the teens (-7 to -10 degrees Celsius) or even single digits Fahrenheit (-12 to -17 degrees Celsius). Snowfall is common, and the surrounding mountains offer opportunities for winter sports such as skiing and snowboarding. It is recommended to dress warmly and be prepared for winter driving conditions.
- Springs (March to May): Springs in Lakeside are characterized by a gradual transition from winter to milder weather. March can still be chilly, with temperatures slowly rising. By April and May, temperatures start to warm up, with average highs reaching the 50s to 60s Fahrenheit (10-20 degrees Celsius). Spring can be a delightful time to visit, with the awakening of nature and wildflowers blooming.
It's important to note that weather patterns can vary from year to year, and extreme temperatures or weather events can occur. It's always a good idea to check the local weather forecast before visiting Lakeside and pack appropriate clothing and gear for the season.
The community is located along the northwestern shore of Flathead Lake, the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States. The town is nestled between the lake and the rugged peaks of the Swan Range to the east.Here are some key geographical features and characteristics of the Lakeside area:
- Flathead Lake: Flathead Lake is the centerpiece of the region and is a defining geographical feature of Lakeside. It covers an area of approximately 197 square miles (510 square kilometers) and boasts a shoreline of about 185 miles (298 kilometers). The lake offers stunning views, recreational opportunities, and abundant wildlife, including fish, birds, and mammals.
- Swan Range: The Swan Range is a picturesque mountain range that lies to the east of Lakeside. These mountains are part of the larger Northern Rocky Mountains and are characterized by rugged peaks, alpine meadows, and glacially-carved valleys. The highest point in the Swan Range is Holland Peak, standing at an elevation of 9,356 feet (2,852 meters).
- Flathead Valley: Lakeside is located in the Flathead Valley, a broad and fertile valley that stretches from the shores of Flathead Lake to the west to the base of the Rocky Mountains to the east. The valley is known for its agricultural productivity, with crops such as wheat, barley, and cherries being grown in the area.
- Forests and Wilderness: The Lakeside region is encompassed by extensive forests, predominantly consisting of coniferous trees like Douglas fir, lodgepole pine, and western red cedar. These forests provide habitat for diverse wildlife and offer opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. The nearby Jewel Basin Hiking Area and Glacier National Park further showcase the natural beauty and wilderness of the region.
- Climate: Lakeside experiences a continental climate, characterized by warm summers and cold winters. The region receives a moderate amount of precipitation throughout the year, with slightly higher rainfall during the spring and early summer months. The presence of Flathead Lake and the surrounding mountains can influence local weather patterns, resulting in some variation within the area.
The geography of Lakeside is defined by the stunning landscapes, including the expansive Flathead Lake, the majestic Swan Range, and the surrounding forests. It offers residents and visitors a wealth of recreational opportunities, scenic beauty, and a close connection to the natural wonders of Montana.