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Polson, Montana

Polson is located on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Northwest Montana. Polson lies in a natural amphitheater at the south end of Flathead Lake.

This charming lakeside community is the trading center for one of Montana’s most fertile farming areas. In a prime cherry growing region and home to numerous cherry orchards, Polson celebrates with an annual Cherry Festival.

The broad, sweeping Mission Valley south of Polson is bordered by the rugged, snow-capped Mission Mountains. The Flathead River that flows from Polson features whitewater rafting and Kerr Dam. The National Bison Range at Moiese just south of Ronan Montana with its large herds of bison, elk, deer, antelope and barn sheep is nearby, as well as the Ninepipes and Pablo Wildlife Refuges for bird watchers.

Two museums, , offer many displays and memorabilia. Polson also has several city parks located on the lake. Visitors are advised to keep their cameras ready for the area’s own “Flathead Monster,” sitings of which date back over a hundred years. Also, don’t miss the Polson Golf Course.

Polson Montana become an attraction in the summer time when temperatures range from 80 to 95 degrees. All of Northwest Montana comes alive during the spring. In July Polson plays host to the Flathead Lake Hoopfest and then in August hosts the largest Car Show in the Pacific Northwest. The Mission Valley Cruisers boast 500 hotrods, custom and classic that line the streets of Polson Montana

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Major Events and Festivals


Flathead Cherry Fest
Held in mid-May.  Community Clubs annual fundraising event featuring quality arts and crafts, bake sale, luncheon, entertainment, raffles and door prizes. Take a drive to see the beautiful cherry blossoms and join us for the festivities. 406.982.3839


Polson Farmers Market 

Polson Farmers' Market offers farm produce, flowers, bedding plants, wood crafts, woodworks, baked goods, jewelry, photography, soap products, etc. Montana's oldest long running market at the south foot of Flathead Lake. 406.883.3595


Polson Main Street Festival
Held in mid-June. This annual event brings over 100 vendors to down town Polson for 2 full days of fun, food & great shopping. Art work, jewerly, furniture, clothing and the best barbecued hamburgers, ribs and delicious ice cream, fill our main street. 406.883.5800

Mission Mountain PRCA Rodeo

Held in late June. Exciting Pro Rodeo action held in the Polson Rodeo Arena with spectacular views facing the beautiful Mission Mountains and Flathead River. JS Rodeo Company will be furnishing their stock for lots of thrills and spills! 406.883.1100


Standing Arrow Pow Wow

Held in mid-July in Elmo, MT, just north of Poulson. This is an Indian social gathering featuring drumming, dancing, and traditional dress and food. Visitors are welcome and asked to respect the dance area, which is sacred. Learn the how's and why's of Pow Wow dancing. Know the difference between a grass dancer and a jungle dress dancer. Watch the veteran's honoring ceremony, tiny tots dancing, and enjoy 'Indian' humor. Meander through vendor's wares from the heart of Indian country. This is the Kootenai Tribe's celebration hosted by the Flathead Reservation, on the west shore of Flathead Lake.

Polson Main Street Flathead Cherry Festival

Held in mid-July. Cherry time in Montana's Flathead Lake Valley is one of the most exciting times of the year and Polson is where the cherry action is. Last year Polson's Annual Cherry Festival was a great success and this year's festival is sure to be even bigger, better and more exciting. Family Fun Event. The Festival is sponsored by the Polson Business Community with assistance from community organizations and businesses like the Flathead Lake Cherry Growers Association. With Cherry related foods, displays of Montana made items for sale and games for kids (or adults who think they are kids), your family will have a most memorable time.

Annual Flathead Lake Hoopfest

Held in late July. 3 on 3 basketball competition played on the streets of downtown Polson. This fun and popular event is held just a slam dunk away from beautiful Flathead Lake.


Polson Festival Days

Held in mid-August. Includes a car show, poker run, arts and crafts show, live music and a carnival for the kids!


The Miracle of America Museum

The Museum contains everything from the walking-plow to walking on the moon.

Polson-Flathead Historical Museum


Finley Point
Finley Point is hidden away in a conifer forest. It is located near the south end of Flathead Lake. There are campsites here, and some of them have boat docks. This area is a good place to fish for yellow perch and lake trout. Finley Point is about 11miles north of Polson on Montana Highway 35. In addition to camping and fishing, Finley point also has picnic sites, a swimming area, and boat launch. Fishing for whitefish is said to be great and is done from a boat since whitefish live in deep water. Whitefish can get up to 22 inches long. In the summer, lake trout also like the deep water and can be found in the middle of Flathead Lake. Try using large lures for these fish.

Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake is one of the 300 largest natural lakes in the world and is the largest natural freshwater lake in the western United States. Of those large lakes, Flathead is one of the cleanest. Studies at the Biological Station show that water quality in Flathead Lake is among the best in the world. The Lake’s major tributaries are the Flathead and Swan Rivers. Numerous small streams flow directly into the Lake at its shoreline, particularly on the wetter East Shore. Kerr Dam is located at the outlet of Flathead Lake in Polson, at the southern end. Regulations of outflow by the dam maintain the Lake’s level between 2,883 and 2,893 feet above sea level. If runoff conditions in the mountains don’t warrant flood threats, the lake level is brought to 2,890 feet by the end of May and to full pool by June 15th. Maximum flow in the Flathead River generally occurs during spring freshet between May 15th and June 10th, creating a plume of sediment that covers the lake surface. Due to its massive volume and normally active winds over the surface, Flathead Lake does not freeze over most winters although the bays often have winter ice cover. The lake did freeze over in the winters of 1978-79 (all winter, 1987-88 (all winter), 1988-89 (March only) and 1989-90 (January only). Open space on the shoreline includes the National Wildlife Refuge on the North Shore and State Parks.

Wildhorse Island
This is one of North America's largest islands, at 2,163 acres. It is now being preserved as a Wilderness Area. Wildhorse Island is home to many species of wildlife, horses among them. It is widely believed that Salish and Pend d'Oreille tribes brought horses to the island first. They hid their horses on the island to keep the Blackfoot tribes from taking them during raids. In 1977, the Bureau of Land Management brought wildhorses back to the island again. Bighorn sheep were brought to Wildhorse Island as a tourist attraction, but the herd grew so much that many had to be relocated. Bird watchers love the island because it is home to a great number of species. Among the birds found on the island are a variety of ducks, swans and geese, red tailed hawk, bald eagle, and many small songbirds. There is a wonderful variety of bird and wildlife species to be found everywhere around Flathead Lake. The only way to get to Wildhorse Island is by boat. There are cruises and boat rentals available from Big Arm. The island is a day use area only.