Getting to Whitefish Montana

At the north tip of Flathead Valley is Whitefish MT.

While only 20 miles away from Glacier National Park, Whitefish, Montana seems worlds away from the tourist crowds associated with Glacier.

Nestled against Whitefish Lake, the city of Whitefish is directly off of Highway 93.

Big Sky Mountain, or Whitefish Mountain, attracts Montana skiers in the winter and Whitefish Lake and the golf course vistas are summer hotspots.

While fall and spring months do not require planning ahead, you must book your Whitefish Montana lodging well in advance for peak seasons, or risk sleeping in your car.

Personally, I find it challenging to comprehend the popularity of Whitefish MT for out-of-staters — while it is a fantastic little town, getting here is no easy task.

Flying to Whitefish, Montana

If you are just coming to Whitefish for the skiing, golfing or water activities, it seems foolish to fly into Whitefish. Honestly, I just do not believe the expensive plane tickets are worth it.

However, if you are an east coaster and planning to visit Glacier National Park, too, then by all means, go for it!

For those intent on flying into Whitefish and have the spare cash to do it, local hotels and resorts make it incredibly easy:

  • Airport – Glacier Park International Airport is only about 14 miles away & Great Falls is close by, too
  • Car Pickup – You don’t even need a car as many of the resorts offer airport shuttles for free
  • Price – This one can hit you hard. Few cities offer direct flights and GPI Airport is remote, causing airfare to skyrocketFinding flights into Glacier Park Airport is nearly impossible. I highly recommend flying into Great Falls Airport (GTF) and using Onetravel to book, potentially saving 60%

By Train

Traveling by train is one of the best methods of getting to Whitefish MT. In fact, the Whitefish train depot is the busiest in all of Montana.

Once you arrive there, the depot is a 5 minute walk from downtown. Like the airports, many Whitefish lodging accommodations provide train shuttles, making it even easier to arrive at your end destination.

Train travel is also much cheaper than flying.

Driving to Whitefish

Depending on your starting location, driving to Whitefish may be your cheapest travel option. For me, living in Boulder, CO makes Whitefish only a 14 hour drive. With gas costs relatively cheaper now, there is no doubt about it — my next trip here will be by car.

Still, even driving to Whitefish, Montana can be challenging. No interstate highways exist in the Flathead Valley. This means you will be driving on dangerous, mountain roads alongside hazardous trucks and other impatient drivers.

While the scenery is gorgeous, my experience with driving to Whitefish has been one of flirting with death.

If you are traveling from Glacier National Park however, the roads are not nearly as bad. You just hop on Highway 2 for a few minutes.

From any other direction though, you will be getting off Highway 90 and then making the beautiful, but dangerous, drive along mountain roads until arriving in Whitefish.

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  1. The name of the resort is Whitefish Mountain Resort. The name of the physical mountain is Big Mountain. Big SKY is a totally different ski area six hours away.

    The drive between the interstate down in Missoula and Whitefish is not mountainous for the most part. There is a climb around Evaro, but that’s it. There are regular opportunities to pass, with two lanes running each direction. I cannot think what mountainous route you could possibly be referring to. There are more mountains on the interstates in the area than on route 93.

    That being said, I would recommend flying over driving or even over the train, as the train in winter is frequently delayed, not only by snow, but also by the oil field shipments in North Dakota.

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