Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in Columbia Falls, MT

  • Published 2022/09/28

Your gateway to adventure in Montana is the small charming town of Columbia Falls, voted as one of the safest places to live in the whole state.

The town sits in one corner of the gorgeous Flathead Valley and is the launching point for several outdoor activities.

For instance, Columbia Falls is a few minutes’ drive away from Flathead Lake, Glacier National Park, and the Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Likewise, the town offers travelers a bevy of excellent golf courses and several downtown attractions.

These spots are also open all year, so you don’t need to go there only during winter.

Visit Columbia Falls, and you’ll feel a unique charm and full flavor of Montana hospitality.

Do you want to know more about Columbia Falls, MT? Check out this list below.

Explore the Rockies at the Glacier National Park

Scenic view of Glacier National Park

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Minutes away from central Columbia Falls lies the Glacier National Park, called the “Crown of the Continent.”

Thanks to its spectacular mountain views and diverse activity options, it’s also one of Montana’s top tourist attractions.

Landscape of Glacier National Park

Sean Patrick Doran /

If you’ve ever dreamed of exploring an ice-capped mountain, then you need to go to Glacier National Park.

Over centuries, ancient rivers carved the mountain ranges spanning your field of vision.

The waters of Glacier National Park

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You’ll see wondrous sights like alpine meadows, icy waterfalls, and deep forests.

However, its main attractions are the 25 glaciers and 200 lakes that shimmer in the sun.

Colorful icy waterfall at Glacier National Park

Timothy Yue /

The entire park covers 1,600 square miles, with only a few paved roads.

If you’ve wanted to know what pristine nature looks like, Glacier National Park will show you.

Tall trees at Glacier National Park

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Get Freaky at the Montana Vortex and House of Mystery

Columbia Falls are not merely a skiing town, as this internationally famous attraction should tell you.

The Montana Vortex and House of Mystery entice people from all over because it breaks the laws of physics without computer help.

So, it’s not CGI or sleight of hand.

One of its features is the Hexagon, discovered in 2005.

When you go there, you’ll stand on stepping stones surrounding a half-circle of trees.

These stones also mark a hexagon of energy nodes.

Step on these stones, and you’ll see your friends shrink and grow as you move from one stone to the next.

Boggle your mind at the Montana Vortex and House of Mystery, located at 7800 US Hwy 2 E, Columbia Falls, MT 59912.

See Everything on the Going-to-the-Sun-Road

Cars along Going-to-the-Sun-Road

Amehime /

When you explore the Glacier National Park, be sure to pass the Going-to-the-Sun-Road.

This road is one of the park’s highlights for a good reason.

For 50 miles, the two-lane highway snakes through the entire park and divides it along east and west.

You’ll also cross the Continental Divide when you reach Logan Pass, standing 6,646 feet above sea level.

The road provides limitless photo opportunities.

Mountain views from Going-to-the-Sun-Road

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While driving, you can pull over and take photos of the different terrain types you pass.

These sights could range from glacial lakes to cedar forests to alpine tundra.

Bring your binoculars, too, so you can appreciate them in close detail.

You might also want to re-cross the Going-to-the-Sun-Road from the opposite direction once you finish.

The road of Going-to-the-Sun-Road

Sean Xu /

The views from one side differ from the other so that you can experience both sides of the park in one trip.

In 1983, the National Register of Historic Places listed the Going-to-the-Sun-Road in its roster.

Two years later, the National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark did the same.

A waterfall along Going-to-the-Sun-Road

Thomas Barrat /

Check Out the Antique Trains at Depot Park

Downtown Columbia Falls has its fair share of attractions, too.

One is Depot Park, sitting on Nucleus Avenue and Railroad Street.

The park is a constant hit with kids because it holds a real antique train engine.

They can clamber up this engine and play around in it safely.

Of course, what kid doesn’t like trains?

This train also holds the distinction of being the oldest in the country.

During the prime of the steam locomotive, the country used trains like this to transport lumber to the main railroad lines.

This rail system connected all states in the country back then.

Today, this vintage train offers a glimpse into history.

Visit Depot Park at Railroad St. E, Columbia Falls, MT 59912.

Try Craft Beer at Backslope Brewing

After a long day of skiing and adventuring, you’ll want to sit back and chill with your friends or family.

What better way to relax than laughing over craft beer and locally sourced meals?

If you’re craving those things, you need to visit Backslope Brewing.

Backslope Brewing is not only a laid-back place, but it also offers peaceful views of the Swan Mountain Range.

You can pick indoor or outdoor seating, both of which provide a calming ambiance for tourists and residents alike.

The brewery also sells diverse handcrafted beers, from stouts to IPAs. They’re all available on tap, too.

Visit Backslope Brewing at 1107 9th St. W, Columbia Falls, MT 59912.

Grab a Nice Meal at the Three Forks Grille

Spending all day doing tourist activities must make you hungry.

Treat yourself to delicious Rocky Mountain cuisine dashed with authentic Italian flavors.

If that sounds enticing to you, then go to the Three Forks Grille, a casual restaurant on Nucleus Avenue, Columbia Falls.

The restaurant prepares classic and modern dishes from locally sourced ingredients.

Not only will your food be tasty, but it’ll also be fresh and clean.

On Sundays, you can try out their brunch menu that features veggie bowls and buckwheat cakes.

Splash Around at the Big Sky Water Park

Waterslide at Big Sky Water Park

Alexander Oganezov /

Go to the Big Sky Water Park and get your feet wet in its ten thrilling water slides and an enormous whirlpool for a more conventional adventure.

Your kids can also enjoy the children’s activity pool, or you can play miniature golf and bumper cars with them.

Sitting in the heart of the Rockies, the Big Sky Water Park also offers other thrill rides like the Climbing Wall and the Water Wars Balloon Battles.

Likewise, you can also hold barbecues for the whole family or play beach volleyball with new friends.

Visit the Big Sky Water Park at 7211 Hwy 2 E, Columbia Falls, MT 59912.

Enjoy the Crown of the Continent with Glacier Adventure Guides

Of course, the main draw of Columbia Falls is its winter attraction, the Glacier National Park.

It’s the “Crown of the Continent” for a good reason.

However, you might ask yourself how to enjoy such a vast place.

Don’t worry.

Glacier Adventure Guides will take care of you.

For over 15 winters, the company has guided tourists on skiing and snowshoeing tours through the Glacier National Park.

Their knowledgeable staff will show you things you would have missed on your own, offering a country experience you can’t get anywhere else.

If you’re not a very good skier, you don’t need to worry, too.

The staff are highly trained and will cat all tourists’ skill levels.

They are also trained to handle extreme situations, such as outdoor emergencies, mountain rescues, and avalanches.

Visit Glacier Adventure Guides at 729 Nucleus Avenue Suite G, Columbia Falls, MT59912.

Tour Glacier Country with Swan Mountain Snowmobiling

Thrill-seekers should take a tour of Glacier Country with Swan Mountain Snowmobiling.

They will take you on several trailheads through guided tours from Desert Mountain, Canyon Creek, and Crane Mountain.

You can choose from the two-hour guided tour, half-day, or the full-day package.

You can also try their sunset snowmobile tour if you’re with a date.

Make sure to leave your significant other with an experience they won’t forget.

Their Great Northern Ultimate Tour is also the longest guided tour in Glacier Country, connecting the Flathead National Forest and Stillwater State Forest.

So, bring your best cameras if you want to try this adventure.

You can also rent snowmobiles from them if you want to go alone.

Visit Swan Mountain Snowmobiling at 680 Railroad St. E, Columbia Falls, MT 59912.

Hit a Homerun at Fenholt Park

Columbia Falls host three parks with full-scale baseball diamonds, and one of them is Fenholt Park.

So, why not take a swing in this field of dreams at Columbia Falls?

Bring your kids or friends with you and deepen your bonds through sports.

Once you’re done playing, you can relax by taking a stroll along the Flathead River.

You can take all the photos you want of the gorgeous riverside views.

Visit Fenholt Park at 9th St. E and 3rd Avenue E, Columbia Falls, MT 59912.

Take a Swing at the Meadow Lake Golf Course

If you’re looking for a special place for a family reunion or company gathering, you might want to check out the Meadow Lake Golf Course.

This 18-hole championship course is open to the public and has won the acclaim of being one of the best in the state.

The golf course has also fostered connections with Flathead Valley properties to provide quality lodging in luxurious villas and hotels.

You can also visit the Pro Shop to grab some beer, wine, or food on the grounds.

You can also hire pro golf teachers to introduce you to the sport.

Visit the Meadow Lake Golf Course at 490 St. Andrews Drive, Columbia Falls, MT 59912.

Learn US History at the Soldiers’ Home Historic District

Exterior of Soldiers’ Home Historic District

Marc Roston, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Columbia Falls also doesn’t suffer from a shortage of historical sites.

If you’re ever curious about American history, you should pay a visit to the Soldiers’ Home Historic District.

The district comprises nine buildings that follow different architectural styles, such as the Victorian and Colonial Revival.

Why did they put up these buildings?

Montana voted to build the campus to take care of the veterans of both the Indian Wars and the Civil War.

During the 20th century, the campus admitted several veterans who began farming on the property and became self-reliant.

The National Register of Historic Places added the Soldiers’ Home Historic District to its list in 1994.

Visit the Soldiers’ Home Historic District at Veterans Drive, Columbia Falls, MT.

Spend the Day at Marantette Park

If you just want a quiet afternoon alone or with family, you can spend it at Marantette Park.

This small park offers a quiet covered picnic area with modern amenities.

Anyone can have fun in this park so that you can bring your kids or parents with you.

Every summer, Marantette Park also holds a concert series featuring the biggest bands in Flathead Valley.

If you want an afternoon filled with music, drop by Marantette Park when you can.

Visit Marantette Park at 133 13th St. E, Columbia Falls, MT 59912.

Enjoy a Nightcap at the Blue Moon Nite Club

Likewise, you’ll find other semi-historic buildings in Columbia Falls, like the Blue Moon Nite Club.

The place opened in 1940 as simply a bar, in time for constructing the Hungry Horse Dam.

Since then, the bar has transformed.

First, it became a bar and casino.

Today, it’s now a bar, casino, and grill.

Notably, the Blue Moon Nite Club is near Glacier Park International Airport, so you can have a quick nightcap after getting off the plane.

You can also see live shows, play pool, tinker with a touchtone jukebox.

You can also try your luck at the casino.

Every Wednesday, the Blue Moon celebrates Ladies’ Night, offering free champagne for the ladies.

They also have happy hour, when you can buy drinks at a dollar off.

Visit the Blue Moon Nite Club at 6105 Highway 2 West, Columbia Falls, MT 59912.

Go on an Adventure at Glacier Ziplines

Glacier Ziplines is the best ziplining experience in Northwest Montana, just west of Glacier National Park.

A 7-zipline excursion is available from Glacier Ziplines in the treetops.

They provide breathtaking sights of the Flathead River, the Great Northern Railway, the Badrock Canyon, and occasionally even a yeti.

It is an adventurous excursion of a lifetime that you won’t want to miss, offering spectacular vistas as you soar through the forests.

Riders on ziplines must weigh between 50 and 250 pounds and be at least six years old.

Parents or legal guardians must sign agreement forms for children under 18.

Gift certificates from Glacier Ziplines are available, allowing you to offer someone a zipline adventure as a present.

Browse for Items to Keep at the Shops at Station 8

The Shops at Station 8 is an antique home furnishings shop with carefully chosen items creatively displayed!

In the late 1800s, the structure served as Columbia Falls’ first railroad terminal.

It is located in the Flathead Valley of Montana and is a store brimming with unique items.

The Shops at Station 8 is owned by Rachel Hopkins, who acquired it from Colette Gross in October 2017.

Resident Rachel has a penchant for all things old and antique!

She always searches for unusual and eccentric products to stock the shop with.

Visit their store to discover their beautiful selection of Montana-themed gifts and decor, along with their excellent collection of old maps.

Order an Alcoholic Beverage at O’Brien’s Liquor & Wine

O’Brien’s Liquor & Wine, a family-run business with a prime location in Columbia Falls, takes pride in its extensive assortment of alcoholic beverages, particularly those produced by the state’s small distilleries.

They carefully hand-pick their wine assortment, which includes reasonably priced wines from across the world with ratings of 90 or above.

Their Gift Shop in the central store has a wide range of Made in Montana goods.

Discover the ideal present for that special person among various delicious huckleberry items, perfumed soaps & candles, artisan jewelry, t-shirts, jackets, and caps.

Organizing a social gathering? Let their event planners assist you in coming up with the ideal wine and spirit menu options for your occasion.

Grab a Bite and Enjoy a Game at the Nite Owl & Back Room Restaurants

Steve Marquesen bought the Nite Owl restaurant in 1979.

If you swing by, you can still see Steve working with his companions Jay and Jana because they are locally managed and owned.

They have installed a casino featuring 20 poker and keno machines throughout the years.

They opened the Back Room in 1984, specializing in BBQ chicken, brisket, pizza, and various salads.

They utilize the leanest beef possible and hand patty all their burgers, making them among the greatest.

Their ribs are all made of pig and are barbecued on-site.

They use high-quality ingredients to create all of their recipes to satisfy the nutritional needs of everyone.

They don’t use saturated fat, cholesterol-free margarine, or oil-containing trans fats.

Spend Your Weekend Nights at Bad Rock Bed and Breakfast

Your doorway to the Glacier is the Bad Rock Bed & Breakfast, tucked away among 10 acres of soaring pines and open meadows.

The bed and breakfast main residence has four exquisitely decorated guest rooms.

The Bad Rock Cabins are only a few steps away from the main home, while the Swan Mountain Cabin is a separate, two-story building that offers seclusion and a spacious living area.

They provide free on-site parking as well as free internet access.

Additionally, guests may easily walk from their cabins to the Game Room, which is open 24/7.

A comprehensive kitchen with a laundry room, a billiards table, board games, and a TV for watching movies are all included.

They also provide a gas grill for their visitors to use and a wood fire pit outside for nighttime gatherings and making s’mores.

Final Thoughts

Columbia Falls might be a skiing and winter sports hotspot, but it’s much more than that — the city has a slew of parks for a relaxing afternoon.

Likewise, you can visit different historical sites unique to the state of Montana.

Book your trip to Columbia Falls today!

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