Outdoor-Lovers Guide to Northwest Montana
Northwest Montana has world-class hiking and rafting—not to mention huckleberry milkshakes that'll knock your boots off.
In Kalispell that night, we head out on the town, ignoring the fact that we have 6 a.m. flights the next day. We belly up to the bar atMoose's Saloon, which has graffiti-scratched walls and peanut shells mixed in with sawdust on the floor. As soon as we sit down, Ellie spots something odd—people are drinking beer with a reddish tint to it. "Yup, it's red beer," says the bartender, Travis. "You use a light beer and top it off with tomato juice. It's a Montana thing." He gives us a mug to try, and we're at once repulsed and fascinated by the concoction. We gamely sip the beer, which tastes like fizzy, sour tomato juice, until Travis takes pity on us and pours us ordinary drafts.
At $1.50 a beer, one round turns into many. Before Ellie and I know it, we find ourselves in a peanut-throwing contest with some locals at the other end of the bar. The stakes are another round of beer—and we win! Tomorrow won't be pretty, but, compared to Montana, few things are.
Glacier Park Boat Co.
406/257-2426, glacierparkboats.com, $18
173 N. Main St., Kalispell, 406/755-2337, moosessaloon.com
FINDING THE WAY
Only Northwest, United, Delta, and Horizon serve Glacier International Airport in Kalispell. It might be cheaper to fly to Spokane and drive four hours east. Glacier National Park's Going-to-the-Sun Road is open from mid-June to September; check nps.gov/glac for current conditions. Some sections of the Outside North Fork Road between Columbia Falls and the Canadian border are unpaved.