Wild Horse Island is a real “jewel” that shines among Montana’s State Park system. It is the largest island in Montana’s beautiful, pristine Flathead Lake and lies within the boundaries of the Flathead Indian Reservation between Missoula and Kalispell. It is one of the 3 great attractions of western Montana, along with Glacier National Park and the National Bison Range (also within the Flathead Reservation).
I must confess, I have lived in the Mission Valley 20 years, and although I have been by it many times by boat, I only visited the island this year – big mistake. I had originally wanted to go in May, when the island is covered in blooming Arrowleaf Balsamroot. However, the weather had other ideas, and it took till late August to finally make it. I am already planning a return visit later in the fall when the skies clear. It is one of the best places to watch big horn sheep rams duel during their rut.
The park is noted for its wildlife including bighorn sheep, mule deer, songbirds, waterfowl, bald eagles, osprey, falcons, and, of course, its remaining five wild horses. Also, bears are seen from time to time, swimming to the island! The most popular landing spot is Skeeko Bay on the northwest side, but there are 7 designated landing areas around the island – each with self-guided interpretive trails.