The best local hiking is on Whitefish Mountain , but several hiking trails originate from various points around Tally Lake, about 20 miles west of town via Highway 93 and Forest Service Road 113.
From the Tally Lake campground, the Tally Lake Overlook is a 1.2-mile hike.
The Boney Gulch Trail is a steep three-mile trail. Its trailhead is on Road 913 about three miles from the campground.
For the less driven hiker, the Stove Pipe Canyon Trail is just one mile long and goes into a canyon that is true to its name. This trail starts off Road 2924 on the west side of the lake.
The Forest Service irregularly maintains cross-country ski trails at Round Meadows, about 10 miles northwest of town. Take Highway 93 north to Star Meadows Road. A trail map is available from the ranger station in Whitefish  or the Forest Service office in Kalispell . The elevation here is relatively low (approximately 3,300 feet), and good skiing is generally limited to late December through early March. Once the snow melts, mountain bikers take to the trails here.
Dogsledding is another winter sport to consider if you want a day away from the skis. Dog Sled Adventures (406/881-2275) operates out of Olney about 20 miles north of Whitefish. A good day trip is the 12-mile loop through the Stillwater State Forest.
Glacier Cyclery (326 E. 2nd St., 406/862-6446) rents bikes and trailers and serves as a staging area for bicycle tourists, who can arrange to have their bikes shipped to the store in advance of bike trips in the area. The staff can provide you with a bike map of the area and suggest rides; they also sell Flathead National Forest maps with good mountain-bike roads highlighted. During the summer, Glacier Cyclery stables a fleet of mountain bikes on Big Mountain.
The best bets for summer swimming in Whitefish are City Beach or the beach at Whitefish Lake State Recreation Area ($5 for day use). Boat tours of the lake start at City Beach.
Whitefish Lake Golf Course (406/862-4000) is one of the best in the state. This country club–like 36-hole course is on Highway 93 West, across from the Grouse Mountain Lodge.
Drive north to fish in Upper Stillwater Lake, off Highway 93 just north of Olney. The lake reportedly has bull, cutthroat, rainbow, brook trout, perch, and northern pike in it. There’s a small undeveloped lakeside campground.
For guided fishing trips, call or stop by Lakestream Fly Fishing Shop (334 Central Ave., 406/862-1298).
Whitefish Sea Kayaking (321 Columbia Ave., 406/862-3513) rents boats and leads tours of Whitefish and Flathead lakes.
Of course, there’s plenty of white water over near Glacier National Park .