There’s something about mountain towns—how civilization butts up against rising forests and lakes, zig-zagged skylines in all directions. That juxtaposition of the wild environment and a charming community is something I’ve always enjoyed. Whitefish is no exception. With a classic main street (Central Ave, actually) framing a quintessential view up to the local ski hill, Whitefish Mountain Resort on the aptly-named Big Mountain, it’s straight out of a postcard. And whether you’re fueling up for a hardy ride at breakfast or celebrating an epic day over beers and BBQ, Whitefish dishes out something for everyone. You won’t find your chain restaurants here either; these are family-run establishments, town institutions locals would say.
Some of my favorite spots? For my morning fix, I gravitate toward Swift Creek Cafe for their eggs Benedict, across the street from Glacier Cyclery, a popular stop for cyclists braving the Tour Divide, the epic route running from Canada to Mexico. For the sweet side, delicious pastries from Fleur Bake Shop with a cortado on the side. And there’s Wild Coffee for their pour over coffee, smoothies and egg biscuits.
My mid-day caffeine needs are usually met by Montana Coffee Traders or the nice folks at Great Northern Cycle, conveniently a spot to get a perfect Americano, local trail knowledge and your tires resealed, all at the same time.
When I’ve logged in my miles, whether on dirt, tarmac or gravel, the cradle of Whitefish welcomes me back with plenty of spots to enjoy celebratory drinks and tasty grub. Perhaps Casey’s for sliders, Bonsai Brewing Project for a fresh microbrew and an ahi ‘soul bowl,’ or my long-time favorite…Tupelo Grille, for their chicken and dumplings and incredible selection of bourbon for the perfect old fashioned. As you walk the town, window shopping the artwork and souvenirs, don’t be afraid to head over to Sweet Peaks to carbo-load with their signature huckleberry ice cream waffle cone, made from hand-picked local berries; you won’t regret it.
In Whitefish, it’s easy to walk around, or ride of course, and sample the many shops, pubs and restaurants of the area. Even the Lodge at Whitefish Lake, offering both accommodations and dining, and a large deck overlooking Whitefish Lake, is a short distance from downtown, accessed by one of the many community bike paths.
For cyclists looking to combine world-class rides with relaxation in a beautiful mountain setting, Whitefish is a perfect destination. You may have to come more than once to experience all that the town offers.
As a reminder, operating hours and services are different this year. Be flexible and plan accordingly. Whitefish is encouraging visitors to create an experience where safety comes first. More details on lodging, dining, activities and safety protocols can be found at ExploreWhitefish.com and WhitefishCovidCares.com.