Swimming in Flathead Lake, Montana

evmoevmo San FranciscoAdmin
This discussion was created from comments split from: What are Your Swimming Goals for 2016!.


  • FlowSwimmersFlowSwimmers Polson, MontanaMember

    Introduce 20 open water swimmers to the wonders of Flathead Lake in northwest Montana. As the largest fresh water lake west of the Mississippi and sitting at the base of Glacier National Park, this is a wonderful place for open water swimming. My wife and I will take you out on our pontoon boat and show off one of the best places in the world! Come visit!

  • ssthomasssthomas DenverCharter Member

    I can vouch for Flathead Lake and @flowswimmers! It's a beautiful lake in a beautiful part of the country. Go swimming there!

  • @FlowSwimmers: That sounds very nice. I have stopped for a swim in Flathead Lake on my way to Glacier. The lakes in Glacier National Park are a lot of fun, too!
    My 2016 goal is awfully modest and ho-hum: try to get a reliable spine so I can swim a mile OW regularly.

  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member

    @FlowSwimmers - I'd love more Montana swim information. We have family there and this could potentially work for me.

    Is there a website? Also, um, water temp is an issue for me...I'm a big wimp. ;)

  • FlowSwimmersFlowSwimmers Polson, MontanaMember

    @SydneD - Visit www.flowswimmers.com for more information. If you're in the area and want to go for a swim, you're more than welcome to join us...we're always looking for a reason to show off this beautiful area.

    Basic water temp is 50s in May, 60s in June, 70s in July/August, and back down in September.

    There are several great islands to swim around, or someone could take on the Grizzly Crossing (15 miles), swimming the length (28 miles) or a never-done circumnavigation along the Flathead Lake Marine Trail (80 miles).

    Since you've been to the area, you know how beautiful it is!


  • Views on 10K swim race ? Hugs the shoreline I guess.

  • FlowSwimmersFlowSwimmers Polson, MontanaMember

    The 10K is twice around a 5K diamond-shaped course in Big Arm Bay. It's a pretty good event and for a good cause.

  • Karl_KingeryKarl_Kingery Denver, COMember

    You can also swim to Wild Horse island in Big Arm Bay and, you guessed it. Find wild horses (along with bighorn sheep, deer and other critters.)

  • FlowSwimmersFlowSwimmers Polson, MontanaMember
    edited February 2016

    Here's a very fun swim if you're looking a 15-mile challenge:

    Chasing The Grizzly

  • SydneDSydneD Senior Member

    @FlowSwimmers - My husband is now ALL OVER me doing this. ;)

    He spent all of his summers in Livingston, as a kid, and loves Montana.

    My next swim goal is one of at least 20 miles so that length appeals to me. I am, however, a major cold water weenie so that's a consideration. August is the warmest??

  • FlowSwimmersFlowSwimmers Polson, MontanaMember

    @SydneD : Late July / Early August are likely the warmest times, topping out in the low 70s. It is spectacularly beautiful around here, so your husband knows what he's talking about.

    The water temperature, of course, depends upon the weather. Flathead Lake is very deep, and a big wind event can bring cold water up from the depths. It's not totally unusual for it to go from 73 to 54 overnight! When the wind calms, the warm water resurfaces, and it's back to 73. That being said, you just need to be aware of the weather patterns.

    Let me know if I can help in any way. We could easily come up with a cool 20-mile swim.

  • FlowSwimmersFlowSwimmers Polson, MontanaMember

    Absolutely GORGEOUS conditions for this year's Chasing The Grizzly swim. 15-miles of pure bliss, and you're all invited this way anytime.

  • @FlowSwimmers: Looks like a perfect day! So glad you are taking the lead in creating swimming opportunities on Flathead. The Inland Northwest (for those unfamiliar with the territory) has big sparkly lakes and forested shores and hills, all conducive to jumping in! Exhilarating and uplifting - both!

    My aquatic adventure this year was limited to St. Mary Lake in Glacier NP, which is pretty cold and felt wonderful. A way to escape the fires and get an all-over cold water massage after a day of hiking. I will try to move a Flathead swim more to the front of the calendar, especially if shorter distances are possible. Will check the website.

    @SydneD: might huckleberries and Flathead Valley cherries help swing the decision?

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