Wild Horse Island State Park

Wild  Horse Island is the largest Island in Flathead Lake, the largest freshwater lake in Montana. For centuries, the Salish-Kootenai tribe used the island, 2,164 acres (8.76 km) in size, in order to pasture horses and keep them from being stolen by other tribes. Protected as a state park since 1987, the island near Big Arm Bay is home to abundant wildlife including Bighorn Sheep, Mule Deer, Waterfowl, Bald Eagles and, now, five to six Wild Horses. Access is by Boat Only and for day use only. It’s managed by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks and it lies within the Flathead Indian Reservation in Western Montana. One great aspect is that FWP put a pit toilet there for Flathead Boat Rental folks to use while visiting!

The Bighorn Sheep on the island are so healthy that they spawn numerous offspring, allowing state FWP personnel to trap and relocate them to other
areas, to bolster other herds. In the Spring of most years a strange sight may be seen in the area: helicopters transporting tranquilized sheep by rope and
slings across the water to Big Arm State Park, where they are prepared for transportation elsewhere.

There are so many activities for Flathead rental boats to explore and enjoy, including geocaching, picnicking, hiking, swimming, wildlife viewing, photographing, and countless more. Each is explained in a little more detail below:

Geocaching is a sport which is gaining ground across the world. Geo meaning “World” and Caching meaning treasure, Geocaching is a treasure hunt using GPS devices to let you know your latitude and longitude, in order to find hidden treasure boxes which are, literally, everywhere. To get more information about this fun sport and great caches on Wild Horse Island, go to

, set up an easy and free account, then type in our area zip code, which is 59910. The map feature allows you to see the approximate location of each cache to find. Many smart phones today allow you to access a GPS device; if you don’t have one, when you rent a boat from us on Flathead Boat Rentals and Rides, we will be happy to provide you with GPS devices to use for a small fee and deposit.

Picnicking is available on Wild Horse Island. Flathead rental boats can access the island at hundreds of different locations and we at Flathead Boat Rentals and Rides know every one of them. An exciting new development is taking place: during 2015 the Montana State Legislature passed a resolution to make a new dock at Wild Horse Island for Flathead boat rentals to use. It’s located at a popular Wild Horse Island trailhead. Ask us about more details on this subject if you like.

The very best hiking in the Flathead Valley are on Wild Horse Island.
The 2,165 acre island rises over 500 feet in elevation from the lake shore level to the tallest peak, which is on the East end of Wild Horse Island. There are many trails across and over the Island, some are well maintained and delineated/marked for wheelchair access, while others are scrambles over gravel and pine needles.

The most impressive and notable hike is to the top of the island where Flathead boat rentals folks will get to see an amazing site: at the top of the island sits a caldera of sorts, a depression which is covered in green grass and walled all the way around. This is the absolute best spot to picnic! Rising to the rim you can walk South a short way to get a truly stunning, 360 degree view of the Flathead Lake, Polson, Bigfork, Lakeside, Kalispell and even Whitefish and Glacier National Park!

Swimming in the numerous soft pebbled beaches and bays is sure to garner lifelong memories. There is green, purple and orange rock which is smooth and easy to walk on, underneath the crystal clear Flathead Lake water. Some areas have huge smooth slanting rocks which angle deeper into the water as you leave the shore. In our humble opinions, there is no better place for Flathead Boat rental patrons to swim on Earth.

Wildlife viewing
and Photographing at Flathead Lake’s Wild Horse Island holds a secret only those who’ve been there know: The animals are almost domesticated due to little or no predator activity and countless years of friendly encounters with humans. On the Salish and Kootenai Tribal Reservation, hunting big game is not allowed for non-tribal members. This means that you will never see Mule Deer as big and majestic, you will never see Bighorn Sheep with full curl horns, you will never likely see more Bald Eagle nesting and fishing activities as you are likely to see when you visit Wild Horse Island on a Flathead Boat Rental.

Want to visit Wild Horse Island State Park? There are many ways to accomplish
your goal –
• Paddle over in a canoe, kayak or paddleboard, sup (stand up paddleboard). It will take approximately 30 to 45 minutes for most people starting near Boat Rentals and Rides Flathead Lake location.

• Take a personal watercraft (which are also known as a Seadoo, Jetski, or Waverunner, depending on the manufacturer). Comfortably, two people fit on a three-seater watercraft. It will take approximately 3-7 minutes to reach the island for people starting near Boat Rentals and Rides Flathead Lake location. Note: Jet Skis may not park at the island (only go around it) as there is no public dock to safely store a Jet Ski at the island.

• Take a pontoon boat. Boat Rentals and Rides Flathead Lake location has two different options for renters: a pontoon holding up to 1600 pounds, or a pontoon holding up to 1800 pounds. Either one will get you to the island in about 23 minutes. A great idea is to circumnavigate the Island, stopping at all of the numerous trailheads along the way.

• Take a ski boat. Ski boats fit six to eight people (900 to 1100 pounds capacity). A fast one will get you to the island in about 15 minutes (unless a waterskier or tuber happens to fall off along the way).

• Get a ride. Boat Rentals and Rides offers boat tours over to Wild Horse Island, at 9 am, noon, and 3 pm each day. Call us to make arrangements, we are here to serve you.

To make any of these arrangements, call 406.260.5090  or email us at  rentals@boatrentalsandrides.com .