5 Fun Facts: Montana’s Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake is a gorgeous part of Western Montana, a place that many people in the know head to each spring and others discover for the first time while driving by it on the way north to Glacier National Park. Flathead Lake has many uses by many people, including everything from outdoor recreation to bird watching. It is an important part of the state, a valued treasure by its people, and more than worthy of being visited by anyone.

Here is a look at five fun facts about Montana’s Flathead Lake.

The Biggest Of Them All

Flathead Lake, measuring in with more than 195 square miles of water surface, is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River in the lower 48 states. It barely edges out Lake Tahoe.

One On Each Side

Flathead Lake is extremely scenic, and to show it off it features a scenic highway on both its eastern and western shores. Highway 35 runs along the shore on the east side of the lake and to drive along the western side you would have to take Highway 93.

How High’s The Water?

When Kerr Dam, a concrete arch dam located at the outlet of Flathead Lake near the community of Polson, was completed it raised the water level of the lake by 10 feet.

What’s In A Name?

Prior to going by the name Flathead Lake, it was known as Salish Lake, after the Salish tribe that settled around the body of water.

Now That’s A Lot Of Water!

Scientists estimate that prior to the melting of the glaciers, the water level of Flathead Lake was at one time 500 feet higher than current day.