Thursday, September 1, 2016

Swan River Nature Trail in Big Fork Montana…


Our new RV friends Larry and Nancy wanted to share another NW Montana experience with us so they had us up and out of the motorhome bright and early once again. We left at 8:00 am to drive over to Big Fork Montana to visit one of their favorite eateries for breakfast called Pocketstone Cafe ( A real Road Treat!). It is a local favorite in Big Fork with a cozy atmosphere and big portions of delicious food. 


Larry had a short stack of buttermilk pancakes with sausage links and Nancy had a half order of the eggs benedict with potatoes.  We opted to split the Montana Huevos Rancheros with potatoes.  Oh My!  Even though most of us downsized our orders there was more than enough food.  The ambiance and the service was great so we could really understand why they drive the 40 minutes from Kalispell to enjoy this place.


After our meal the plan was to take the Swan River Nature Trail to hike off some of those calories consumed at breakfast.  This urban trail follows the Swan River for 2.2 miles offering amazing views of the river and opportunities for bird watching.  We parked at the trailhead closest to town and once on the trail we let Larry set our pace.  It was a very nice trail wide enough to accommodate both walkers and bikers.



Nancy pointed out a large osprey nest and right on cue an osprey flew by.  We heard a lot of other birds chirping but on this day but we were out more for exercise than bird watching.  John and I however both silently resolved to return soon to walk the trail again at a leisurely pace with binoculars in hand to discover the different species enjoying this riverside retreat.


Our pace was quick and before we knew it we had reached the opposite end of the trail and parking lot so we turned back to retrace steps back to the car.  We did pause to snap a few photos of the beautiful river and were thankful for the crisp clear day.  There have been wild fires causing some days to be a little hazy from the smoke but this particular day was free of haze.  Our breakfast was so plentiful and delicious that once we were back home only a snack was needed mid day to tide us over until dinner.  We were so happy Larry and Nancy shared this little urban hike and the restaurant because both were a real treat.


Sure enough a few days later we returned to the hike with our binoculars but parked this time at the far end of the trail away from town.    We once again saw the osprey nest, but this time mama osprey flew into the nest with a big fish to share with her fledgling.  How fun it was for us to watch them enjoy their meal. We also took several side trails to the river this time not only to enjoy closer views of the river but also for the opportunity to bird watch.  We saw juncos, chickadees, pine siskins and warblers. We even spotted a beautiful white winged crossbill, a rare sighting for us! Along the trail we also saw a family of deer (mom, dad and fawn) making their way down to the riverside across the trail.  We decided this was a great dual purpose trail depending on our mood.  Its excellent for either a robust exercise walk or a leisurely bird (and people) watching expedition.


We are extremely happy we dedicated an entire month to stay in this area as we continue to find so much to do and see. To thank Larry and Nancy for sharing their favorite places in the area we made a nice dinner on their last night over at our RV space.  We will miss them for sure but are hoping we see them on down the road…..perhaps this winter in Arizona…..

NOTE: We are in Kalispell Montana until September 12, 2016. Then we will head over toward Spokane Washington most likely…


  1. Glad to hear you're having such a great time in Kalispell. Have you been to Moose's for a pizza yet?

  2. Looks like you are having fun times there with your new friends while they were there.