Thompson Falls, a smaller town of 1,378 people, is surrounded by the gorgeous Rocky Mountains. It also lies along the Clark Fork River, next to beautiful waterfalls! Founded in 1910, Thompson Falls was named after fur trapper David Thompson. The Thompson Falls dam has been in operation since 1915 and sits atop the original falls. There are four dams, and together, they impound an upstream reservoir, with a water storage capacity of 8300 acre-feet and a seven-unit hydroelectric generation capacity of 94 megawatts. The river makes for excellent fishing and other water sports; and the proximity to the mountains allows for hiking, camping and more.
Located on the southern shore of Flathead Lake in northwestern Montana is the town of Polson. The region was originally occupied by two major tribes, the Salish and the Pend d’Oreilles, and one band of the Kootenai Tribe. Settlers soon discovered, as the natives had before them, that the Flathead Lake provided an efficient way to transport goods. The first ferry in present-day Polson was operated by Abraham Finley, a French-Canadian who came to the area in 1840. In 1910, Polson was incorporated and named after prominent local rancher David Polson. Today, the town has a population of 4,777 and is the county seat of Lake County. Polson is also located near fertile farming areas, with a prominent crop being cherries!
While in Thompson Falls, be sure to check out the Old Jail Museum! This museum is one of the oldest buildings in use in Sanders County, Montana. It was originally the county jail, sheriff’s office and sheriff’s residence. Now, it is a museum with several historical artifacts, images and maps. Some of the exhibits showcase David Thompson, founder of Thompson Falls, construction of the dam, the 1910 fires, Civilian Conservation Corps camps, and a period kitchen. The Old Jail Museum preserves the town’s history and honors pioneers who explored, mapped, settled and farmed the area.
Right next to Polson is Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River. This lake has over 200 square miles of water and 185 miles of shoreline! In other words, there are a plethora of opportunities available here! Visitors and locals love sailing, power boating, water skiing, swimming, fishing, picnicking and camping. There are even thirteen public access sites around the lake! In the summer, farmers even sell locally grown cherries, apples, plums and other fruits along the eastern shore. There is so much to see and do at Flathead Lake; you won't be disappointed you visited!
If you will be in Thompson Falls at the beginning of December, complete your holiday shopping and help a local charity at the Sanders County Christmas Bazaar! The bazaar is held at the Thompson Falls High School and showcases local artists and craftsmen creations. With over 40 vendors, you’re sure to find something for everyone on your list! A portion of the proceeds from this event go to a local charity which provides food and gifts to families in need in Sanders County.
Polson is located in prime cherry country, so it's no wonder locals love the Polson Cherry Festival! Here, there are plenty of activities for the entire family to enjoy. Every year, the festival hosts two contests: a pie-eating contest and a cherry pit-spitting contest. Try your luck at next year's festival! There are also vendors that showcase art, photography, crafts and food. If those don't tickle your fancy, play a few games or listen to live music! You're sure to make lifelong memories at the Polson Cherry Festival.
Located along the Clark Fork River, Big Eddy’s offers beautiful views, delicious food and drinks, and live music. They serve lunch and dinner with a menu that includes steak, taco salad, the journey south burger, naked chicken cordon bleu, spicy ranch flatbread with horseradish sauce, and much more! In the mood for soup on a chilly night? Try their sausage, cabbage, potato or black bean soup; they're all delicious! And don't forget dessert: salted caramel creme brule parfait. Our mouths are watering just thinking about it! Stop by Big Eddy's the next time you're in Thompson Falls; the scenery and food won't disappoint.
In the mood for some good barbecue? Head on over to Cherries BBQ Pit to get your fill! Cooked with their secret homemade rub, the meat is slow cooked over local cherry wood for hours. They also make all of their sides from scratch daily. These include: baked beans, peas n cheese salad, ribbon fries, bacon cream corn, chicharrones, and coleslaw. They offer a wide selection of homemade sauces, including spicy, sweet, tangy, and smoky. They also offer gluten free options! Short on time? They have a drive through! After a day on Flathead Lake, stop by Cherries BBQ Pit for a delicious meal.
Thompson Falls Agent
We have the best of both worlds, a beautiful location located in a banana belt of Montana with zero stop lights!
What I like most about Polson is the breathtaking views of the Mission Mountains and Flathead Lake.