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Tiny islands, curving coves and wide bays are part of the allure of northern Montana's Echo Lake. Coupled with mountains, wildlife, and the smell of the fresh outdoors, and this 725-acre lake is hard to forget. Grab your summer or winter gear and plan your trip to this piece of paradise.
Echo Lake is located within Flathead County, set within the Flathead Valley and the Glacier Country tourism region of northwest Montana. Flathead National Forest is a few miles east of the lake, and the city of Bigfork is to the south. The lake, which is a part of a chain of lakes, is fed by springs below its surface as well as a few small creeks trickling down from the nearby Swan Mountain range. With a maximum depth of roughly 78 feet, the water temperature in Echo Lake warms up relatively quickly after June's snow melt, making for a divine dip during a hot summer day.
Visitors staying in the plentiful number of nearby lakeside vacation rentals at Echo Lake are able to sprint off their private dock and splash into the water without getting too much of a chilly shock. A fair number of real estate opportunities along the shores of this lake are available for those looking to settle down in this quiet spot within Montana's rich landscape. A quick peek outside a cabin window during the chillier months reveals snowcapped mountains, with snowmobiling, snowshoeing and other winter activities readily available for those willing to take on the winter environment.
Anglers will have a relatively easy time of it during the summer months and on through most of autumn at Echo Lake. Grab your boat and push off from one of the public boat ramps, settling in and casting out your line in search of evening's dinner. Northern pike are a good find in the lake, along with trout, perch and pumpkinseed species. Largemouth bass are also plentiful at Echo Lake, although catch-and-release is required during spring spawning.
Most of Echo Lake is no-wake to protect swimmers, canoeists, and kayakers. The exceptions to the no-wake policy are the narrow corridor leading into and out of Causeway Bay, located in the northeast section of the lake, and the corridor leading into and out of Blackies Bay, which is located in the northwest portion of the lake. Pick up a little speed in these spots, allowing your wakeboarding and waterskiing friends to tear across the waters.
Take time away from your Echo Lake vacation rental to explore the social side of this nature lover's paradise. The city of Bigfork lies a few miles to the south, bringing an eclectic blend of people and culture to this mountainous region. The downtown area holds cafes and boutiques, art galleries and museums, restaurants and low-key bars. Take a side tour from the city and look into the spot where Swan River meets Flathead Lake, an enormous body of water with a surface area spreading across 197 square miles.
Find yourself a peaceful spot in Echo Lake's paradise, be it within a comfortable lakeside cabin of your own or under the stars at a nearby campsite, listening to the wilderness fall softly asleep. National forests abound in the areas nearby, offering up fly fishing along the rivers, huckleberry picking in the bushes and horseback riding along rocky trails that wind their way around jagged peaks. Check out the Jewel Basin hiking area nearby this crystal clear body of water -- finding a new vantage point of Echo Lake is certainly worth the effort.
And, yes, Echo Lake does echo, with sounds bouncing off the Swan Mountain range.
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