Lowdown

  • Established

    1945
  • Owner

    Doug and Maureen Averill and their children Chase, Laine and Quindee.
  • Manager

    Chase Averill
  • Tel

    406-837-4391
  • Nightly Rates (per adult)*

    $589 - $706
  • Nightly Rates (per child)*

    $274 - $283
  • Minimum Stay

    1 week
  • Maximum Guests

    120
  • Works with travel agents?

    Yes
  • Great For

    Action & adventure
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Flathead Lake Lodge is a third-generation family-operated guest ranch located on the shores of Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. Founded in 1945 by Les Averill, it continues to reside with the Averill family 76 years later.

This all-inclusive dude ranch is the perfect way to experience the best of Montana. Activities include guided horseback riding, sailing, boating, fly-fishing instruction, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, biking, tennis, swimming in our lakeside pool, yoga and of course, mouse races. Families will forge connections and make memories at our party in the pasture (our outdoor version of a barn dance), live music around the campfire, mountain meadow steak fry, transportation on vintage fire trucks and watching the sun set down from the patio at the Main Lodge. In addition to the all-inclusive offerings at the ranch, Glacier National Park is a short 35 miles from Flathead Lake Lodge and is easily accessible.

Good time to go

The guest ranch is open from May through October. Family season runs from June to September, while adults-only retreats, specialty packages and destinations weddings take place in May, September and October.

Children at the Ranch

Great for children aged 0 and over

Flathead Lake Lodge is a family-friendly guest ranch that’s ideal for multigenerational travel. With a robust kids program, the ranch gives children the freedom to explore the property safely, make friends and learn new skills. The children-focused activities include horseback rides, arts and crafts, water activities, an overnight teepee adventure, kids rodeo, a junior wrangler program and more. Your child is sure to fall in love with all that Flathead Lake Lodge has to offer and have memories that will last forever.

Junior Wrangler Program:

With a focus on life at the ranch, our junior wrangler program encourages children to spend time with horses and gives them a chance to work alongside our seasoned wranglers to learn the basics of horse care and handling. In addition to daily horse duties, they will also learn basic horsemanship and rodeo techniques. At the end of the week, we host a kids rodeo where participants can perform their newly learned skills.

Kid Offerings:

Our kid-friendly offerings include pony rides in our barn, guided trail rides, daily arts and crafts, water sports and mountain laser tag, as well as horseshoes, volleyball and board games.

Activities

hiking, biking, picnics, outdoor play area, cookouts, campouts, petting zoo, whitewater rafting, floating, supervised swimming

Games

scavenger/treasure hunts, board games, horseshoes, volleyball, ping pong, pool table

Baby Sitting

From age 0 to 12.

Baby Sitting Provided By

Onsite child care is available for young children, and all our providers attend a babysitting class that is administered by the local health center. Rates vary; advance notice is required.

Environmental & Social Practices

Environment

Socially sustainable practices run deep at Flathead Lake Lodge. Our operations focus on recycling, composting, using chemical-free cleaners, reclaimed materials and energy efficient fixtures. In addition, our food and beverage department use as many locally sourced ingredients – including meat and produce – as possible.

In addition to operations, the Averill family has spearheaded non-profit organizations that are focused on and dedicated to the improvement and sustainability of the surrounding landscapes.

Ranch History

Originally built as a boys camp in 1932, Flathead Lake Lodge was purchased by Les Averill after his return from World War II in 1945. His boyhood dream was to build a dude ranch and hunting lodge for folks to experience a part of the West, and that dream came true with the purchase of the Flathead Recreation Ranch for Boys, now Flathead Lake Lodge.

The ranch slowly began attracting people from around the world. Dignitaries, celebrities and families discovered the Montana hideaway near the village of Bigfork and word of the beautiful lodge began to spread.

Doug Averill, one of eight sons, took over as the second generation of the guest ranch operation in 1971. Doug and his wife Maureen raised their three children at the ranch and hosted guests, many of whom have become longtime family friends. Doug and Maureen’s oldest son Chase now manages the ranch, where he is also raising his own family.

The Averills created a concept and philosophy at Flathead Lake Lodge that has survived more than 75 years of changes in the world. While transportation, technology and daily life have evolved since 1945, the Averill's idea of memorable family vacations has remained the same.

Lowdown

  • Enjoy

    Ranch-style
  • Meals served

    family style, buffet style, meals roll with days activities, everyone eats together, children dine separately, scheduled meals
  • Alcohol

    BYOB
  • Enjoy dining in

    nature settings, patio, dining room (casual attire), lounge
  • You'll definitely love

    fresh daily bread, fresh daily desserts
  • Dietary restrictions catered for

    lactose intolerant, vegans, vegetarians, Gluten free, other

Flathead Lake Lodge’s Executive Chef Rob Clagett brings a strong culinary background to the ranch, with a focus that includes sourcing and serving dishes that feature as many local ingredients as possible. New for 2021: an outdoor kitchen. The new outdoor kitchen provides a richer connection between the guests and the culinary experience at the ranch, with live fire and a gorgeous backdrop of Flathead Lake. All meals are made-from-scratch at the lodge and are accompanied by homemade bread, desserts and other treats throughout the day.

A daily happy hour gathering for adults offers a variety of hearty hors d' oeuvres in our private Saddle Sore Saloon.

Guest Favourites

  • Steak Fry: Steaks are cooked on a large outdoor mesquite charcoal grill and served with famous cowboy beans, cheesy bread, potato salad, fruit salad and Maureen’s famous undone brownies.
  • Breakfast Camp: Bacon, eggs and country-style pancakes.
  • Sweet Treats: Made-fresh cookies, huckleberry scones and lemonade.

Lowdown

  • Address

    150 Flathead Lodge Road
    Bigfork
    Montana
    59911
    USA
  • Remote Location

    No
  • Elevation

    3100 ft
  • Private Land

    1000-5000 acres

Nearest Town - Bigfork

Bigfork has a population of 4,668 (approx), and is situated 1 miles / 15 mins from the Ranch.

Facilities in Bigfork include: grocery store, pharmacy, church, school, post office, medical clinic, bank, atm, gas station.

For shopping Bigfork offers: small hometown necessity shops, boutique shops, western wear.

Nearest Airports

Glacier Park International Airport, Kalispell(FCA)

Distance

30 miles / 30 mins

Airlines

Delta, United, Allegiant, Horizon, Alaska


Missoula International Airport, Missoula(MSO)

Distance

120 miles / 2 hours

Airlines

Delta, United, Allegiant, Horizon, Alaska, United Express

Rental car

Required


Private Air Travel

Nearest location(s)

Glacier Jet Center, Kalispell

Travel by

Airplane

Distance

30 miles

Lowdown

  • Type of Riding

    Western Riding
  • Riding opportunities for

    Beginner, Intermediate, Experienced
  • Most riders are

    Intermediate
  • Rides are grouped by

    Age, Ability, Pace of Ride, Rides tailored to guest requests
  • Max riders per ride

    8
  • Wranglers per ride

    1
  • Pace of ride

    Walk, Trot, Lope
  • Guest Horses

    105
  • Horse Types

    Quarterhorse, Appaloosas, Draft Cross, Paints, Geldings, Mares
  • Hours in the saddle

    Morning - 2 hours
    Afternoon - 2 hours
    Evening - 1 hour

The Setting

Private Land (1000-5000 acres)

With approximately 20 miles of trails located on the ranch’s 2,000 acres, our daily rides go through forested terrain that lead to hidden spots on the ranch, through our onsite elk preserve and to gorgeous viewpoints that look out over Flathead Lake. While on your horseback trail ride, be sure to keep your eyes open for wildlife, as our property borders the national forest.


Our Riding

Scheduled rides

Our guest ranch offers multiple daily horseback trail rides that include breakfast rides, lunch trail rides and more. A full schedule—with daily ride options – is posted in the Main Lodge.

Guided rides

Guided rides of all levels of experience are available, with rides that range from beginner to advanced, allowing everyone to enjoy their time on the ranch.

Program rides

Rides available at Flathead Lake Lodge include the following:

·         Early Bird Ride: 3 - 4 hours

·         Hot Lunch Ride: 4 - 5-hour ride into a wilderness remote cabin

·         Breakfast Ride: leave at 7 a.m. and ride to our breakfast camp

·         Dinner Ride: ride through our 500 acre Rocky Mountain Elk Preserve, allowing all to witness elk up close and personal

·         Cowgirl Ride: ask us!

Good to know

We do not conduct an actual riding test to decipher an individual's ability to trot or lope; instead, we gauge body language and experience levels to pair you up with a horse.  On our first ride, we take a casual ride where we can informally ride and visit with each guest to decipher their riding abilities. In addition, we do offer instructions and riding lessons in the barn and arena.

Riding considerations

no riding experience needed

Hours in the saddle

The majority of rides last approximately 2 hours; we also offer half-day and full-day rides. Upon arrival, visit with Carson Averill, our barn manager, and he'll help you find the perfect ride. 


Why our riding stands out

  • Flexible & Accommodating - Our riding program offers riding options all day, allowing you to choose what’s right for you.
  • Diversity & Options - We offer riding for all levels of experience and abilities.
  • Experience & Safety – We live and breathe horses at Flathead Lake Lodge, providing professional experience at all levels.

Sample Riding Itinerary

Each day of riding at Flathead Lake Lodge starts with one important schedule—yours. As a guest, you have the ability to mold your day based on your interest level. The morning riding options consist of an early morning breakfast ride that leaves the barn at 7 a.m., followed by the early bird that departs around 9:30 a.m. and returns in time for lunch.

Our lunch rides typically last around 5 hours and take guests further into the mountains and forests. Lunch is served at a historic trapper’s cabin which is nestled on a remote corner of our property. When you arrive at the cabin, your wrangler will cook up a hot lunch while you relax and stretch.

Evening rides provide cooler temperatures to venture out to take in the gorgeous sunset views beyond the lake. We also offer ranch and rodeo demonstrations – like steer roping, team penning and barrel racing – in our outdoor arena.

Rest assured that no matter where and when you ride, our staff leads in response time and safety, thanks to a personal radio system developed specifically for the ranch.

Riding Lessons

Whether you are a first-time rider in need of the most basic of instruction or a well-seasoned horseman, Flathead Lake Lodge, the Averills and the staff have the experience to offer lessons for all ability levels. If you’re a novice guest who would like private lessons in our arena, our wranglers are happy to accommodate. Or if you’re an experienced rider looking to brush up on your riding skills, we’ll pair you with a wrangler with the appropriate skill level. Basic riding lessons are included in your all-inclusive stay in our arena and on trails.

Details

lessons come with package, basic riding lessons

Given by

wrangler

Location

on the trail, in the arena

Arena Work

Flathead Lake Lodge offers a variety of arena opportunities. Throughout your stay, you’ll have the chance to witness a ranch rodeo and western demonstrations that include team roping, penning, barrel racing and more. The ranch also has a kids rodeo, while all guests can be involved. You may also watch wranglers work with horses throughout the week.

Type

outdoor arena, professional rodeo arena

Activities

penning, roping from horseback, barrels, pole bending, rodeo

Lowdown

  • Nightly Rates (per adult)*

    $589 - $706
  • Nightly Rates (per child)*

    $274 - $283
  • Minimum Stay

    1 week
  • Preferred Arrival Day

    Sun
  • Preferred Departure Day

    Sun
  • Style of accommodation

    Ranch rustic, Western rustic chic
  • Packages available

    1 week
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge can cater for up to 120 guests. Accommodation includes Lodges and Cabins. See below for details and indicative rates.

Lodge | Lodge Rate

Rates (Per Person)*

$274 - $589
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Minimum Stay

1 week

Description

Weekly Lodge Rates: 

Adult: $4,123

Children (ages 6 – 17): $3,213

Children (ages 3 – 5): $1,918

Children (under 3): $210

A 2% Montana State Accommodations Tax is added to the rates and automatic 10% gratuity will be added to parties of 8 or more.

Rooms

18

Bathrooms

Private bathroom

Cabin | Cabin Rate

Rates (Per Person)*

$283 - $706
* Rates will vary based on Season and Accommodation selection. Please contact the ranch directly for Date Request, Availability and exact Rate quote/proposal

Minimum Stay

1 week

Description

Weekly Cabin Rates:

Adult: $4,942

Children (ages 6 – 17): $3,864

Children (ages 3 – 5): $1,981

Children (under 3): $210

A 2% Montana State Accommodations Tax is added to the rates and automatic 10% gratuity will be added to parties of 8 or more.

Rooms

22


Booking Policy

Make a Reservation:

To reserve your space, please fill out a reservation request online or call our office at 406-837-4391. We'd love to help you with any availability and reservation questions.

Deposit:

A 30% deposit is required for confirmation for single family reservations. Multiple family groups, consisting of three or more families require a 50% deposit to confirm the reservation.

Cancellation Policy:

Single family reservations cancelled 150 or more days prior to arrival date will be refunded the deposit less a $500 cancellation fee. Multiple family groups cancelled 150 or more days prior to the arrival date will be refunded the deposit, less a $500 cancellation fee per individual family unit. Any reservation cancelled less than 150 days prior to arrival date, including multiple family groups, will only be refunded if Flathead Lake Lodge is able to rebook the reservation with the same number of people. As stated, the $500 cancellation fee(s) will apply. We highly recommend trip insurance to cover any losses or interruption of travel plans due to unforeseen circumstances. No refunds or adjustments will be made to your total package price for any changes within 60 days of arrival which result in shortening the length of stay or reduction in occupancy.

Included in your stay

Riding, meals, lodging, guided hiking, guided mountain biking, horseback trail rides, horseback riding lessons, yoga overlooking Flathead Lake, boat cruises, water sports (including sailing, sailing lessons, wakeboarding, water skiing, canoeing, stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking), fly-casting lessons, line dancing lessons, mouse races and more.

Extras

Other

Off-site adventures (for an additional feel) include guided fly-fishing, golfing, clay shooting, whitewater rafting and spa services operated through private outfitters.

Lowdown

  • You can borrow

    Riding helmets, Saddle bags
  • Communications

    Wireless Internet/Wifi, telephone.
  • Cell Networks

    alltel, AT&T, verizon.
  • Business Services

    Conference center, computer and fax hookups, printers.

Onsite

Shopping

The Stage Stop Gift Shop is located on Flathead Lake Lodge’s property and offers a variety of Western wear, cowboy boots, athletic wear and made-in-Montana gifts.

Outdoor Activities

mountain biking, tennis, Yoga, sporting clays, wagon rides, Shooting - trap / clays, Hiking, volleyball and horseback riding

Water based Activities

outdoor pool, lake water sports, sailing, water skiing, kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, and canoeing.


Fishing & Wildlife

Montana is famous for its fly-fishing and some of the top rivers are located nearby on the Swan and Flathead rivers. Enjoy casting to eager trout while surrounded by towering mountains and wilderness. If you’re interested in lake fishing, Flathead Lake –which is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River – has an array of fishing opportunities, including trolling for massive lake trout. Flathead Lake Lodge works with experienced outfitters who can provide a personized experience for you and/or your family.

Wildlife

In addition, the ranch has a stocked pond onsite, and a private elk preserve. Wildlife often makes their way through the ranch and you may spot elk (on our private elk preserve), as well as deer, bears, mountain lions, lynx, bobcats, fox, coyotes, bald eagles and more.


Additional Services

Corporate Retreats

For groups of 75-100.

The ranch is ideal for groups of 75 – 100, with most retreats and meeting being held in May, June, September and October. Meeting amenities include a large conference center with three meeting rooms.

Weddings

We can cater for groups of 100 & over.

An ideal location for destination weddings, Flathead Lake Lodge hosts weddings with custom-created itineraries. Additional highlights include custom menus, multiple locations for ceremony and reception, group events and live music.


Local Attractions

Bigfork

Enjoy shopping, antiquing and a variety of sightseeing, as well as local watering holes, made-in-Montana shops and a charming small-town atmosphere.

Distance

1 miles / 15 mins


Glacier National Park

Often referred to as the Crown of the Continent, Glacier National Park is 38 miles from Flathead Lake Lodge. Whether you make it part of your stay at the lodge or if you plan to experience before or after your stay, be sure to put a day (or two) in Glacier National Park on your list. Highlights include glacier-carved terrain, massive mountain lakes, historic lodges, the Going-to-the-Sun Road and abundant wildlife, like mountain goats, bighorn sheep, grizzly and black bears and moose. to an abundance of wildlife most notably big horn sheep, mountain goats, bears and moose.

Distance

38 miles / 45 mins


National Bison Range

Located on the Flathead Indian Reservation, the National Bison Range and its 18,500 acres are home to hundreds of bison, as well as deer, antelope, elk and mountain lion. Drive through the entire range on Red Sleep Mountain Drive, with views of the Mission Mountains.

Distance

52 miles / 1 hour

Highs

  • A very special ranch - the hospitality is truly unbelievable. The water and equestrian program of highest quality – you WILL create memories here! A very hospitable ranch
  • You're set with the most gorgeous view of Flathead Lake and the riding's set in beautiful wilderness. They offer lessons throughout the week as you wish
  • Take a river cruise on one of their historical sail boats to an art gallery or into Big Fork for some antiquing and shopping, or to experience local nightlife
  • A fabulous, relaxing ranch mixed with an abundance of activities for everyone. Voted as one of the Top 50 Family Vacations by Home & Garden Magazine. Excellent Children’s Program, including their Junior Wranlger Program and weekly Kids' Rodeo

Lows

  • Averill’s is targeted mainly toward families; however, couples or singles are of course welcome as well
  • Runs on a tight schedule; however, everything runs very smoothly and you always feel relaxed, not overwhelmed

Visitor Reviews

Dont just take our word for it, see what visitors like you say...

My happy place

Our extended family has been going here for the past 5-6 years. It is so wonderful. There are 15 of us and something to do for everyone! If you like horseback riding and lake activities, this is a great place for you. The food is delicious as well. They really make you feel like you're part of the family there. I selfishly haven't written about it in the past because it's so special and I never want it to change.

5 stars

You can find more reviews for Averill's Flathead Lake Lodge on TripAdvisor