It is about a 5 minute drive from the Polson KOA to downtown Polson which is a small town (about 5,000 people) on the southern end of Flathead Lake. It has a nice downtown area with a weekly farmer’s market (in the summer), some breweries, restaurants, stores, golf courses, boat rentals, and several lake parks. It is a very nice area to walk around and enjoy the gorgeous weather. The area is known for its cherry orchards and cherry production along with BBQ meat cooked over fruit wood, a cherry festival, and basically all things cherry. Richwine’s is a well known burger joint and every time we drove by the drive through line was back to the street.
Salish Point Park is the closest park to downtown Polson and close to the bridge which crosses the Flathead Lake near the Flathead River. It is a nice waterfront park with picnic tables and fishing and boat docks.
A bit further east in Polson is the beautiful Boettcher Park along the lake along with a marina, golf course, and the local playhouse. And yes, Flathead Lake, does have their own Lochness Monster named Flessie (instead of Nessie)!
About a 10 minute drive further south from Polson, along the Flathead River, is the Kerr Dam Scenic Overlook, which provides a lovely view of the Flathead River, the surrounding area, and the dam. It also has steps down to a small trail with more views.
And I saved the best for last. We took a boat shuttle from a marina in Big Arm over to Wild Horse Island for the day for a bit of hiking. WOW, was it beautiful! It is a small island, about 2,200 acres, but is the largest island on Flathead Lake. It was used by the Kootenai Indians years ago to pasture their horses to help prevent them from getting stolen by other tribes. On the way over we passed by Cromwell Island which is known for its large mansion owned by Robert F Lee.
At this point in time there are 5 or 6 wild horses on the island and an abundant amount of Big Horn Sheep along with deer and miscellaneous other animals (including the occasional mountain lion and bear). A few mountain lions had just been spotted on the island while we were there. It was stunning island and is now a state park with some great trails. We weren’t but 5 minutes off the boat when we spotted a small group of Big Horn Sheep, then a few steps further and we saw some deer and then immediately we saw the wild horses. Of course, you are expected to keep your distance from the animals so great pictures were difficult to get.
Next we hiked up to the Overlook to eat our lunch and admire the views. What a gorgeous place!
We then hiked another few miles back to the boat shuttle pick up point going through the woods and then along the shoreline keeping mindful of mountains lions tracking us!! We had a short wait along the shore awaiting our shuttle. The ride back, which was about 20 minutes, was rather wet and some of us were quite drenched from the spray and the wind of the boat! That’s boat life for you!
It was still a great day, a great experience, and one of the highlights of our trip. We are ready to return!!