Glacier Country and The Flathead

Tucked into the northwest corner of Montana, the Flathead Valley is the gateway to Glacier National Park and home to both Big Mountain ski resort and Flathead Lake – the largest freshwater lake found west of the Mississippi.  Glacier Country includes picturesque towns, championship golf, museums, galleries, shopping, fine cuisine and surprisingly mild weather for an area so far north.

The Flathead Valley is known as one of Montana’s tourism hotspots, with such attractions as Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, the Bob Marshall Wilderness, Whitefish Mountain Ski and Summer Resort, and the Blacktail Mountain Ski Area. Flathead County encompasses 3,262,720 acres or 5,098 square miles. Approximately 94% of the land mass is National or State Forest Land, Wilderness, Agricultural, and Corporate Timber Land, thus confining development to the remaining 6% of the area.

Kalispell, the county seat has a population estimated at 19,927. Other cities and towns in Flathead County include: Bigfork, Columbia Falls, Coram, Evergreen, Hungry Horse, Lakeside, Martin City, Niarada, Somers, and Whitefish. Countywide, the population has increased from 74,471 in 2000, to an estimated 90,928 in 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This represents a 22.1% increase in 10 years. Native residents are now greatly out-numbered by new residents. A large percentage of new residents are retirees and middle aged professionals.

Attraction development has greatly increased in recent years contributing to the influx of tourists and tourism based services, and moving the economic base towards Recreation and Tourism, and creating new jobs in the service industry. Flathead County’s population increases by 40%, during the months of June through August.

Top 20 Private Employers in Flathead County based on 2009 data:

Applied Health Services 6

Brendan House Skilled Nursing Facility 6

Costco 6

Flathead Electric 6

Glacier Bank 7

Healthcenter Northwest 6

Immanuel Lutheran Home 6

Kalispell Regional Medical Center 9

L. C. Staffing Service 6

McDonalds 6

National Flood Services 7

North Valley Hospital 7

Plum Creek 8

Semitool Inc. 8

Smith’s Food & Drug 6

Summit Medical Fitness Center 6

Super 1 Foods 7

Teletech 8

Wal-Mart 7

Winter Sports Inc./Big Mountain 7

Employment Size Class Coding: Class 9 = 1000+ employees, Class 8 = 500 to 999 employees, Class 7 = 250 to 499 employees, Class 6 = 100 to 249 employees, Class 5 = 50 to 99 employees, Class 4 = 20 to 49 employees, Class 3 = 10 to 19 employees

Source: Montana Department of Labor & Industry, Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages Program

Newspapers:   Flathead County News:

Daily Interlake:

Whitefish Pilot: (Weekly newspaper- comes out every Thursday

Hungry Horse News:

Big Fork Eagle:

Flathead Beacon:

Getting Here:

By Air: serving the Glacier Park International Airport (FCA)

Delta/Sky West – (800) 221-1212

Horizon/Alaska – (800) 547-9308

United Airlines – non-stop to Denver and Chicago  1-800-864-8331

Allegiant – 1-702-505-8888

The airport is centrally located between Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls.

By Train: Amtrak’s Empire Builder pulls into the historic Whitefish Depot daily from points east and west from Seattle, WA to Chicago, IL. .

By Car: Automobiles and RV’s can utilize I-90 to Highway 93 or take US 2 into the Flathead Valley.

Distances: To the Flathead Valley from:

Billings: 420 mi / 676 km

Missoula: 120 mi / 194 km

Helena: 196 mi / 315 km

Great Falls: 240 mi / 390 km

Seattle: 543 mi / 874 km

Spokane: 245 mi / 394 km

Calgary: 315 mi / 507 km

Edmonton: 504 mi / 811 km

Fernie: 122 mi / 196 km

Lethbridge: 200 mi / 322 km

Cranbrook: 138 mi / 221 km