A Guide to the Top Spots to Sail in Montana
Montana is home to some absolutely beautiful sailing spots! In this guide we discuss four of the best places to sail throughout the state as well as how to get involved with each sailing community, rent a sailboat nearby, or even sign up for sailing lessons. Let’s get started:
1. Northwestern Montana: Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi— giving sailors plenty of room to stretch their wings sails and enjoy the beauty of northwestern Montana! One of Flathead’s most beloved boating trips is sailing out to the historic Wild Horse Island. This beautiful island features historic structures and a variety of interesting stories about the area’s past. You can read more about Wild Horse Island here.
Flathead Lake Yacht Clubs
Flathead Lake features two yacht clubs, the North Flathead Yacht Club (NFYC) in Somers and the South Flathead Yacht Club (SFYC) in Dayton. These yacht clubs are great resources to learn about sailing events in the area and become a part of the sailing community. For example, the SFYC organizes and hosts the annual Wild Horse Island Race Weekend, the Labor Day Regatta, as well as weekly distance and buoy racing.
Flathead Lake Sailing Charters, Rentals, and Courses
Go Sail Flathead Lake offers sailing charters and sailing rentals from Dayton, Montana (right next to the South Flathead Lake Yacht Club). Rentals are available to experienced sailors. Those new to sailing are encouraged to take ASA courses or go on a chartered adventure with a captain. Learn about each option on the Go Sail Flathead Lake website.
2. Central Montana: Canyon Ferry Reservoir
Canyon Ferry is one of Montana’s most popular recreation areas. It’s close to major Montana towns (Great Falls, Helena, and Butte) and the lake itself covers nearly 25 miles! Additionally, the lake offers an abundance of public boat launches and a rich history from the days of Lewis and Clark.
Canyon Ferry Yacht Clubs
The Canyon Ferry Yacht Club is actively recruiting new members so it’s a great time to get involved in sailing in Central Montana! Those who are already a part of the club are more than willing to share their boats and knowledge with new members looking to get involved in sailing. Read more about the yacht club’s upcoming events here.
Canyon Ferry Sailing Charters, Rentals, and Courses
Unfortunately, Canyon Ferry doesn’t currently have a business offering charters, rentals, or courses in the area. However, the Canyon Ferry Yacht Club can help you to get out on the water if you don’t already own your own sailboat!
3. Southwestern Montana: Hebgen Lake
The 1959 Hebgen Lake earthquake (Montana’s largest earthquake) brought this reservoir to fame. If you haven’t checked out the resulting Quake Lake before— we highly recommend it! In fact, as you approach this section of Hebgen Lake, you may think you are seeing hundreds of sailboat masts, however, that’s just the area’s “ghost trees.”
Hebgen Lake Yacht Club
The Hebgen Lake Yacht Club is located on the western side of the lake, at the Kirkwood Resort and Marina. The Club organizes cruiser and dinghy regattas, a Fourth of July celebration, Laser match races, cook-outs, raft-ups, and more throughout the year. Learn more about the Hebgen Lake Yacht Club here.
Hebgen Lake Sailing Charters, Rentals, and Courses
While there aren’t any sailboat rentals or charters open to the general public on Hebgen Lake, the Hebgen Lake Yacht Club does offer rentals to its members. Additionally, the yacht club offers sailing seminars throughout the year. You can find the club’s membership rates here.
4. Eastern Montana: Fort Peck Reservoir
Fort Peck Reservoir is a fisherman’s paradise— it features over 46 fish species and holds the world record for saugeye (15.66 pounds) and the co-word record for sauger (8.75 pounds)! However, according to the Summer Sailstice website, the Fort Peck Sailing Club is working to change the reservoir’s reputation “where any boat besides a fishing boat is an oddity.”
Fort Peck Reservoir Yacht Club
While the sailing community here in Fort Peck is small— it does exist! You can contact the Fort Peck Sailing Club to learn more about what’s offered in the community.
Fort Peck Reservoir Sailing Charters, Rentals, and Courses
Fort Peck Reservoir doesn’t currently have any businesses offering charters, rentals, or courses which means the best way to sail this lake is by bringing your own boat! It’s an area worth checking out if you are interested in discovering what could be Montana’s next big sailing spot!