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Swan Lake is well-known for year-round incredible outdoor recreation.

What To Do

Swan Lake is surrounded by the Flathead National Forest and borders the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area. Within the Flathead National Forest, there are more than 200 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers, more than 100 miles of snowmobile trails, numerous campgrounds and picnic areas, and miles of hiking trails.  Swan Lake itself is almost ten miles long and a mile wide.  For maps and trail information:

Swan Lake Trading Post: www.swanlaketradingandcampground.com
Swan Lake District Office: http://dnrc.mt.gov/field_operations/areaoffices/Swan_Lake.asp

Swan Lake Day Use Area.  9 am until 4 pm. Food, fun, raffles, music, arts and crafts.

On the water

Fishing: The clear waters of Swan Lake are home to Kokanee, rainbow trout, Westslope Cutthroat, Bull Trout, Northern Pike and Yellow Perch. The Swan River, which flows into and out of the lake, is host to Westslope Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout.  Fishing licenses are available at the Swan Lake Trading Post, online at www.fwp.mt.gov,  and the Ferndale Market. The river is open for fishing from late June through September and the lake is open year round.  Those who prefer to fish with a guide can contact Swan Mountain Outfitters at 800-949-4416. www.swanmountainoutfitters.com

Boating: Power, paddle or sail.  The Swan Lake Day Use facility provides a boat launch.  For those who prefer a quiet paddle, kayaks are available for rent from Laughing Horse Lodge.

Swimming: The Swan Lake Campground features a roped-off swimming area and beach.

Float the river: Grab a tube, slather on the sunscreen and float down the Swan River.  Ferndale Market will sell you a tube or two.

On Land

Hiking: From nature trails to strenuous hikes, the Swan Lake area offers a range of choices.  The Sprunger-Whitney Nature Trail is an interpretive non-motorized loop trail approximately 2.1 miles long.  Interpretive signs identify plants and special features along the route. More strenuous hiking trails in the immediate area include Sixmile Trail and the Hall Lake Trail.  To the north, just outside of Bigfork, the Jewel Basin Hiking Area features 13,349 acres of lakes, spectacular views and numerous hiking trails.  To the south, the hike to Holland Falls is a Montana favorite.

Horseback riding: Swan Mountain Outfitters offers horseback and wagon rides in the Swan Lake area and Glacier National Park. 800-949-4416. www.swanmountainoutfitters.com.

Bird and wildlife watching: The Swan River National Wildlife Refuge provides more than 1700 acres of flood plain for nesting and migrating birds. The area is home to about 170 species including Canada geese, great blue herons and various species of ducks and teals. Overhead you might spot a bald eagle or osprey, attracted by the fish in the lake and river.  Moose, white-tailed deer, elk, coyote, black bear, beaver, and other animals also call the area home.  The refuge is just a mile south of Swan Lake village. Bird lists are available at the kiosk.

Camping: The Swan Lake Campground offers 36 family-sized campsites and large group site. There is also a Day Use area with a boat launch and beach that are available for campground users. The Swan Lake Campground welcomes bicyclists with bike lanes and a first-come first-serve fully featured campsite for bicyclists. The group site and 11 individual campsites are available for reservation. The remaining 24 sites are available on a first-come first-serve basis.  The campground is open from May 15 through September 30. To make a reservation visit www.recreation.gov .

The Swan Lake Trading Post & Campground is open May through October.  The facility is located on four acres next to the Swan Lake Trading Post and offers tent and RV sites as well as camping cabins.  The complex includes fully plumbed restrooms, showers and laundry facilities.  Arrangements can be made for kayak and boat rentals, horseback riding or guided fishing. www.swanlaketradingandcampground.com.

Hunting: Montana is a hunter’s paradise.  And for many Montana families it’s a tradition.  Now a new Montana law allows residents to invite family members to Come Home to Hunt. Former residents who purchased a Montana license at one time, or who were awarded a Montana hunting education certificate prior to 2010, may be sponsored by a family member to obtain a nonresident combination deer or elk license. The web site for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks makes it easy to learn more about our hunting regulations and to apply for licenses online. www.fwp.mt.gov.  If you prefer a guided hunt, contact Swan Mountain Outfitters at www.swanmountainoutfitters.com

In the Winter

Snowmobiling: Some of the best snowmobiling in the area is found on Crane Mountain which offers 38 miles of groomed trail riding and unlimited play terrain in mountain meadows and old logging clear cuts.  The trails offer views of Flathead Lake, the Swan Mountains and the Mission Mountains.  In addition to groomed trails, there are more than 100 miles of ungroomed logging roads open to snowmobiles.  To reach the trailhead, drive two miles south of Swan Lake on highway 83. Depending on snowfall, most trails are groomed from December through mid-April.  Trail maps are available from the US Forest Service www.fs.fed.us/rl/flathead.

Ice Fishing: Ice fishing is a popular sport on Swan Lake as well as some other area lakes.  All Montana fishing regulations still apply. Licenses can be purchased online www.fwp.mt.gov, at the Swan Lake Trading Post and the Ferndale Market.

Cross-country skiing & Snowshoeing: The Swan Lake Nordic Trail System provides 50 miles of mapped backcountry trails for skiers and snowshoers. Maps are available to Laughing Horse Lodge and (list any other locations).

Dog Sledding: This is a great way to see some of the area! Dog sled trips of just a couple of hours to a full day are available from Base Camp Bigfork (406) 871-9733 www.basecampbigfork.com

All Year:

Library: Open every Wednesday from 10 am until 3 pm.  Internet connections.

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