A name like Hungry Horse is sure to have a legend behind it, and in fact it does. This small Montana town got its name from a pair of prodigal horses that broke loose from a pack string just before the first big snow of the season in early 1900. They lasted through a month of hard winter and were found alive and skinny chest deep in snow drifts. From then on, what is now a small town in the shadow of Columbia Mountain, hemmed in by the Middle Fork and South Fork of the Flathead River, became known as Hungry Horse.
Today Hungry Horse is known for the 564 ft dam that holds back 3.5 million acre feet of water contained in the Hungry Horse reservoir. The dam has a new visitor center, and folks are sometimes surprised that you can drive or walk across the top of the dam. In fact, you can circumvent the entire 34 mile long reservoir behind the dam, albeit slowly, on a combination of paved and gravel roads, where beautiful views of snow capped peaks, thickly forested slopes and deep clear waters of the “Rez” greet you at every bend of the road. This is accessible wilderness, brimming with wildlife and adventure, with boat launches and trail heads all along the way.
Hungry Horse is the current start of the Gateway to Glacier Trail, a paved pedestrian and bike path which heads four miles northeast along Highway 2 towards Glacier Park. Here you will find small mom-and-pop shops, a grocery store, two gas stations, and also some lodging options.