Hoping for a cool retreat during the next Montana warm spell? You could join those making a beeline for Flathead Lake, the state's crown jewel. It's a good call—Flathead offers everything from fishing to fine dining—except you'll miss equally stunning Holland Lake about 50 miles south of Bigfork.
Situated in the Swan Valley just off Highway 83, Holland is stocked with westslope cutthroat trout and kokanee salmon for the anglers launching canoes and small motorboats from its ramp.
Boats and tackle aren't your thing? At the lake's northern edge, a 1.3-mile trail running below the peaks of the Swan Range rewards hikers with views of Holland Falls and the Mission Mountains. Families with kids gravitate to the nature trail, a 0.6-mile route that highlights local plant and animal life (www.fs.fed.us/r1/flathead). Others relax with drinks on the waterside lawn of historic Holland Lake Lodge, open for the season on May 15. Rooms from $185. (877) 925-6343, www.hollandlakelodge.com.
Photography by Chuck Haney
This article was first published in May 2009. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.