When I was working on the Montana portion of my Redbook road trips story this spring, I read all about Whitefish Mountain Resort and its “one-of-a-kind” canopy walk. I had no idea what this meant. So what better way to find out than experience it for ourselves?
There’s a huge mountain that towers over the lodge, but you wouldn’t know it from the soupy fog!
As luck would have it, we arrived in Whitefish on the same day the resort opened for summer. I felt sorry for the resort and all the people looking forward to coming out for some summer fun, as it felt—and looked—more like opening day in winter, not summer. I was afraid that our trip would be canceled due to the rain, but Whitefish Mountain Resort has a “rain or shine” policy, so we had a brief training for Walk in the Treetops and learned how to use our carabiners under the safety of a tent and then trudged off into the woods.
There was only one other couple braving the rain—a lovely pair of newlyweds on their honeymoon from Georgia, their accents as thick as syrup. Nicky and Lynn, our guides, were extremely knowledgeable about the flora and fauna in Whitefish, so we spent the first hour or so learning about the various trees and plants and what wildlife eat them. There is even a plant that bears eat to abort their young when there’s a problem with the baby in utero! I had no idea about such things.
Also, how much does the forest look like the setting for Twilight?!
And then we reached the first platform. The best way to describe the process is that it’s a series of seven swinging fences that are strung from treetop to treetop. You clip in and out of each with the two ropes attached to your harness then climb across each.
This trip is definitely not for those with fear of heights—luckily, this is one phobia I don’t have—as the highest platform we stood atop was 70 feet above the ground.
I had no idea how much fun wobbling your way across a swinging bridge could be!
The trip was about three hours round trip, but our fun didn’t end with the Walk in the Treetops.
Whitefish Mountain Resort has a whole host of summer activities from mountain biking to an alpine slide, but we had another thing on the agenda: ziplining!
Now, I’ve been ziplining in quite a few different countries—Canada, Barbados and Cuba to name a few—but this zipline took the cake. There are two options for tours: six ziplines or four. We obviously went for the more intense one, and I’m definitely glad we did! The longest was 1500 feet—a third of a mile!—and the highest was a whopping 300 feet above the ground.
And the fog was so thick in parts you couldn’t see the middle of each run, let alone the end. It definitely added an extra element of adventure to the whole thing!
We had to take the ski lift up to reach the last four. It was really weird to get on and off a lift without skis—in fact, I sort of didn’t know how and almost got stuck as I didn’t hop off in time!
After rafting in Glacier and our day in the treetops, I’d say we were finally figuring out how to spend our rainy days in style.
Have you ever ziplined or walked in the canopy? What was your experience like?
Week 5 Overview: June 12-18
Distance Driven: 644 miles
Total Trip Distance: 4323.6 miles
States Visited: Montana
Gas Used: 67.4 gallons, $251.80
Cheapest Gas: $3.69/gallon; Polson, Montana
Most Expensive Gas: $3.75/gallon; Butte and Whitefish, Montana
Best Gas Mileage: 14 miles/gallon
Worst Gas Mileage: 11.5 miles/gallon
Lodging/Campground Fees: $207