Averill’s Flathead Lake Lodge History

Creating Family Vacation Memories Since 1945

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Flathead Lake Lodge was built in 1932 as a boy’s camp and acquired by Les Averill when he returned to Montana from the war in 1945. His boyhood dream was to build a dude ranch and hunting lodge for folks to experience a part of the west. That dream came true with the purchase of the Flathead Recreation Ranch for Boys, now Flathead Lake Lodge.

The ranch slowly began attracting people from around the world. Dignitaries, celebrities and families discovered the Montana hideaway near the village of Bigfork and word of the beautiful lodge began to spread.

Doug Averill, one of eight sons, took over as the second generation of the guest ranch operation in 1971. Doug, his wife Maureen, and their three children live at the ranch and host the guests, many of whom have become longtime family friends.

The Averill’s created a concept and philosophy at Flathead Lake Lodge that successfully survived more than half a century of dramatic changes in travel and vacation trends. Transportation, technology and family values have changed since 1945, yet the Averill’s idea of memorable family vacations and family reunions has remained the same.

Averill's Flathead Lake LodgeAverill’s Ranch, Flathead Lake Lodge has been rated in the top 2% best family vacation spots in America. In Montana, it is the highest rated hospitality facility by the Mobil Travel Guide. The dude ranch has received national acclaim from Better Homes & Gardens, Bon Appetit, Good Morning America, Sunset Magazine, Travel & Leisure and was named Best of the Best by Kilgore’s Ranch and Resort Guide.

The finest tribute of all, however, is that well over half of our guests return to the ranch each year. Many who return are second-generation guests who want their children and grandchildren to experience Flathead Lake Lodge as they did when they were young.

The experience is the same today as it was when Les Averill started, giving guests the experience of western Montana hospitality combined with unparalleled recreation opportunities from horseback riding to sailing, all to enjoy at your own pace for an exquisite dude ranch vacation for generations.