Things to do in Glacier National Park

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There may be an absolute abundance of enjoyable issues to do in Glacier Nationwide Park! It had at all times been on our bucket checklist however we nonetheless weren’t fairly certain what to anticipate. Nevertheless, it’s secure to say it exceeded our wildest expectations! The climbing, the lakes, the sunsets, the wildlife – it was all wonderful. This park skyrocketed into our prime 5 nationwide parks in a coronary heart beat.

Even with half the park being closed for the 2020 season, there was ample to do for the three days we had been there. Beneath is every thing it’s essential know to go to Glacier Nationwide Park and all the most effective issues to do whilst you’re there! Make certain to learn all the way in which on the backside for essential info for touring to Glacier, particularly in 2020.

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The place is Glacier Nationwide Park?

Glacier Nationwide Park is within the northwest nook of Montana, USA, close to the Canadian Border. It’s 32 miles from Kalispell, 25 miles from Whitefish and 137 miles from Missoula.

Overview of Glacier Nationwide Park

12 months established 1910
Location Montana, USA
Entrance Charge $35
Bears Sure
Variety of days 3-5
Open 12 months spherical
Finest time to go to Could – September

The very first thing it’s essential know is that Glacier Nationwide Park is a large park – I’m speaking 1500 sq miles large! In truth, there are 7 named areas of the park: Goat Hang-out, The North Fork, Two Medication, Many Glacier, St. Mary Valley, Logan Go and Lake McDonald Valley. That stated, positively plan your journey itinerary in line with areas since it is extremely unfold out. We’ve got a map it can save you on Google maps under and you too can obtain path maps for every space right here.

Be sure you additionally learn up on the park’s historical past earlier than you go as it’s tremendous attention-grabbing. The park was based again in 1910 because the tenth nationwide park within the US. In 1932 the Canadian facet of the Park and the US facet of the park as Waterton-Glacier Worldwide Peace Park, the world’s first worldwide peace park. Because of this Canadian and US flags each fly on the similar top all through the park!

18 Issues To Do in Glacier Nationwide Park

1. Hidden Lake Hike

Sitting on the railing of the observation deck on the hidden lake hike at sunset in Glacier National Park

In the event you solely have time to do one factor in Glacier Nationwide Park, make it the Hidden Lake path. On this path we noticed mountain goats and essentially the most epic sundown, which made for the most effective first day within the park after an extended drive!

This hike begins at Logan Go and is a good bang-for-your-buck hike! It’s solely 2.7 miles spherical journey with 540 ft of elevation achieve, and a lot of the path is boardwalk.

Hidden Lake at sunset, one of the top things to do in Glacier National Park

When you get to the viewing deck you may have the choice of continuous additional all the way down to the lake. Once we had been there this was roped off for bear exercise, so we weren’t in a position to go down. That stated, individuals say the view from above is the most effective anyway!

2. St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls Hike

The powerful Virginia Falls in Glacier National Park

The hike to St. Mary and Virginia Falls is tremendous unsuspecting and actually blew us away! It’s one more straightforward/reasonable trek that has unbelievable views. When you hit St. Mary’s Falls carry on going to Virginia Falls. It’s solely one other .8 miles and the payoff is HUGE! Significantly, Virginia Falls was so stunning and highly effective that it made us really feel like we had been transported to Iceland.

3. Bowman Lake

Must-see Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park

Bowman Lake is a complete hidden gem and an area favourite. It’s positioned within the North Fork space of the park, which is the least visited space of the park (there are 7 areas complete). Whereas the street is dusty and bumpy to get there, it’s completely well worth the trek. Alongside the way in which you’ll go by means of areas that take you again in time to the early settlements, after which come throughout the city of Polebridge. Positively cease right here and have a look round!

Professional tip: there may be restricted parking at Bowman Lake, so as soon as the lot is full they shut the street there from Polebridge. Test the Leisure Exercise Board at Apgar Customer Heart or on-line right here to see if the street is open.

4. Drive Going-To-The-Solar street

Going-to-the-sun road at sunset, one of the best things to do in Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-sun street is essentially the most iconic scenic drive in Glacier Nationwide Park. Not solely is it the primary street to entry all of the hikes in west Glacier, there are such a lot of flip offs to benefit from the sights alongside the way in which. Positively pull off to admire Lake McDonald, McDonald Falls, Large Bend, Jackson Glacier and Wild Goose Island!

5. Path of the Cedars and Avalanche Creek

Crystal blue Avalanche Creek along Trail of the Cedars in Glacier National Park

Path of the Cedars is an ADA accessible loop path that’s tremendous straightforward and household pleasant. Alongside the flat boardwalk you’ll be able to see tons of various kinds of bushes with informational postings about them. Our favourite factor alongside this path, although, was Avalanche Creek! Avalanche creek is about midway across the loop and the water is so pristine and blue, it’s completely gorgeous.

6. Avalanche Lake Hike

The Avalanche Lake Hike begins on the similar spot on the Path of the Cedars hike and is a reasonable 4 miles spherical journey with 500 ft of elevation achieve. With attractive glacial runoff coming down the mountains, this trek seemed completely gorgeous. Sadly we obtained right here within the mid-day crowds and warmth after our Highline Loop Hike (under) and determined to go. If we weren’t tuckered out we’d’ve completely gone for it!

7. Highline Loop Hike + Grinnel Glacier Overlook

Sitting on top of Haystack Butte along the Highline Loop Hike in Glacier National Park

The Highline Loop Hike is such a singular hike! It takes you parallel with Going-to-the-sun street proper alongside the facet of the mountain. It actually made us really feel like we had been in a 3D picture or VR headset – the sensation is tough to explain! The gorgeous Granite Park Chalet is alongside this path which is such a singular again nation lodging that was inbuilt 1914.

One of many coolest issues to see on this hike is the Grinnel Glacier Overlook, however it’s a must to work for it because it provides about 1.6 miles and fairly a little bit of elevation to the journey.

View from Haystack Butte along the Highline Hike

In regular years, you can begin the hike at Logan Go and end at The Loop, and get a shuttle again to your automotive. Sadly shuttles aren’t working in 2020 so should you do the entire 11.8 miles, it’s a must to reverse the entire thing. That stated, you continue to have a couple of choices for having fun with this hike in 2020.

  1. Begin at Logan Go and hike 3.6 miles to Haystack Butte. This makes for a wonderful 7.2 mile spherical journey hike and is what we selected to do for time’s sake.
  2. Begin at Logan Go and hike to the Chalet and Grinnel Glacier Overlook after which reverse your route (round 16 miles complete). This hike is a doable day hike however you positively should be ready.

For well being causes, we completely don’t suggest doing the entire hike and making an attempt to hitch hike again to your automotive!

8. Large Bend & Paradise Meadow

Paradise Meadow and surrounding mountains in Glacier National Park

Large Bend was our favourite cease alongside Going-to-the-sun street! It’s really unmarked (surprisingly) however it’s proper by the Weeping Wall and there’s a giant flip off space. It consists of essentially the most attractive purple flowers and mountain views. In the event you hike up a bit on the mountainside you’re going to get a stunning view of the street, and should you cross the road you’ll be able to wander by means of Paradise Meadow. Please make sure you not trample any of the attractive flowers.

9. Lake McDonald

Pink sky at sunset at Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald is the quintessential lake once I consider Glacier Nationwide Park. It’s the greatest lake within the park and is usually a sizzling spot for kayaking. Sadly kayaking is just not open for the 2020 season, however in future years you’ll be able to lease from Glacier Outfitters on the southwest facet of the lake.

Lake McDonald at sunset, one of the can't miss things to do in Glacier National Park

This lake can be recognized for dawn and sundown and is a photographer’s paradise. Our favourite view for this was from the Apgar Space. One bonus of the boats being shut down this season is that the water is extra nonetheless for images!

10. Jackson Glacier

View of Jackson Glacier from the lookout in Glacier National Park

Jackson Glacier is a fast turnoff on Going-to-the-sun street simply previous Logan Go. It’s one of many solely glaciers (perhaps the solely?) that you could see from a street pull-off. Sadly lower than 26 of the Glaciers stay of the 100+ that existed when the park was shaped in 1910, so positively benefit from the view!

11. Rising Solar

General store in the Rising Sun area

Rising Solar is a wonderful space of the park and in 2020 is the furthest east you’ll be able to go into the park. Situated proper off of St. Mary Lake, Rising Solar is a good pit cease alongside Going-to-the-sun street. There’s a Basic Retailer right here that actually blew us away! We’re not memento individuals and we needed to purchase every thing in there. Plus, the meals and snack choice was prime notch and the costs weren’t jacked up in any respect – we couldn’t imagine it. Additionally, should you’re searching for something Huckleberry, they’ve all of it!

12. Wild Goose Island

View of St. Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island in Glacier National Park

The pull off for Wild Goose Island is totally gorgeous! This spot supplies postcard-worthy views of St. Mary lake, the encompassing peaks and naturally the lovely little island named “Wild Goose.”

13. Polebridge Mercantile

Walking out of Polebridge Mercantile

Polebridge Mercantile is a basic retailer and bakery within the city of Polebridge that may take you again in time. It’s been round for over 100 years and is a must-visit within the North Fork space of the park.

Holding a huckleberry bear claw, a must-try in Glacier National Park!

Plus, if you’re in Montana you MUST attempt huckleberries. It’s like a proper of passage, severely. Anyhow, Polebridge Mercantile is legendary for his or her Huckleberry Bear Claws. And belief me, the style completely lives as much as the hype! You’ll want to cease right here in your option to Bowman Lake (you’ll be able to’t miss it on the route).

Huckleberry bear claws on display at Polebridge Mercantile

14. Cracker Lake Hike

(Closed for 2020) The subsequent 3 hikes are on our checklist as a result of had we gone when East Glacier was open, these would have been on the prime of our checklist. Cracker Lake is the bluest blue turquoise lake and the hike there appears AMAZING. It’s decently lengthy at 12.6 miles (hike particulars are right here) however the views look out of this world. We will’t wait to get again and do that one!

15. Grinnel Glacier Hike

(Closed for 2020) The Grinnel Glacier Hike (which is completely different from the Grinnel Glacier Overlook hike) can be closed this 12 months (2020) however it appears unbelievable! It’s a glacial lake down within the bowl surrounded by mountains. It’s rated as strenuous however appears price it! Take a look at the complete path right here.

16. Iceberg Lake Hike

(Closed for 2020) The Iceberg Lake Hike appears completely unbelievable! With icebergs floating all through the piercing blue lake, and mountains towering above, this place is insane. Positively on the prime of our checklist once we return! Take a look at full path particulars right here.

17. Discover Whitefish

Floral store in Whitefish, Montana

Whitefish is a tremendous cute city simply 40 minutes exterior of West Glacier. You may select to base out of this city or simply go for a go to. There are lovely boutiques, scrumptious eating places and wonderful espresso outlets right here!

18. Wandering Gringo burritos

Burrito from Wandering Gringo Burritos

Proper exterior the park in West Glacier is a Mexican meals truck known as Wandering Gringo. The burritos listed below are the PERFECT post-hike meal and it’s so good not having to go all the way in which to Kalispell for a sizzling, fairly priced lunch.

Map of the issues to do in Glacier Nationwide Park

Beneath is a map of the prime issues to do in Glacier that we lined above. You should utilize this for relative location of the various things to do and to plan your route! Simply click on the ‘star’ to put it aside to your Google Maps!

Is Glacier Nationwide Park Open?

View from the trunk of the car looking out onto Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park

Presently the west facet of the park is open (August 2020) however the east facet is just not. The park has stated the Many Glacier and Two medication areas will not be planning to open in 2020. You may enter the park by means of the West Entrance and may drive Going-to-the-sun street till the Rising Solar space, then it’s a must to flip round. The east entrance is just not open or accessible.

Additionally observe that campgrounds are closed besides Fish Creek Campground and the shuttle service is just not working this season. Reference the map under from the Nationwide Park Service for the areas which might be open, and verify right here for the freshest opening info.

When within the park, make sure you observe tips for social distancing and put on a masks. All of us have to do our half in stopping the unfold and retaining one another secure.

Map of Glacier National Park 2020 closures

All that stated, in regular years the park is technically open year-round, barring some street closures from snow. You may at all times verify the street standing right here and get the freshest info.

How you can get to Glacier Nationwide Park

Driving to Glacier Nationwide Park

To get to the west entrance, head to Kalispell and observe freeway 2 north till you get to West Glacier. To achieve the east entrances, take freeway 89 north to Browning after which observe indicators to the doorway you’re searching for.

Airports close to Glacier Nationwide Park

In the event you’re wanting to begin in West Glacier, the most effective airport is Glacier Park Worldwide Airport close to Kalispell. You may as well fly into Missoula should you don’t thoughts driving a couple of extra hours.

In the event you plan to begin in East Glacier, think about flying into Nice Falls Worldwide Airport. No matter the place you fly into, you’ll want to lease a automotive to discover Glacier.

Prepare to Glacier Nationwide Park

You may take the historic Empire Builder Amtrack Prepare from many locations within the US on to Glacier Nationwide Park. Take a look at the routes right here!

How you can get round Glacier Nationwide Park

The easiest way to get round Glacier is by automotive. There may be additionally a shuttle that runs all through the park, nevertheless it’s closed for 2020. All of the details about the shuttle system is right here.

The place to remain in Glacier Nationwide Park

Reflections at sunset in Bowman Lake

There are solely 8 locations to remain inside the park (together with 2 backcountry chalets it’s a must to hike to) they usually all ebook up in a short time. The Lake McDonald Lodge and the Many Glacier Resort look the most effective, however you’ll be able to see all of the in-park lodging right here.

That stated, there are many stunning lodging simply exterior the park! Think about these:

Listed here are all the lodging close to Glacier to take a look at. You may as well think about using the city of Whitefish as a base. Take a look at all the lodging in Whitefish right here.

Tenting in Glacier Nationwide Park

Sitting in the van at Bowman Lake in Glacier National Park

Tenting in Glacier Nationwide Park is a complete deal with! We did our normal car-camping right here and had the most effective keep. Since it’s a nationwide park, although, you’ll be able to’t simply park anyplace. Throughout the park boundaries you should camp at official campgrounds. Nevertheless, exterior the park you should use the iOverlander app to search out some free tenting spots.

That stated, there are 13 stunning campgrounds inside the park they usually’re all tremendous inexpensive ($10-23 per night time)! A few of them you’ll be able to reserve on recreation.gov (in addition they have an app) and others are first come first serve. The Fish Creek campground is the one campground open for 2020, and we stayed there all 3 nights. Spots ebook up tremendous fast however I counsel simply refreshing recreation.gov time and again and hoping for a cancellation. For all the information on tenting in Glacier, go to the official park web site right here and verify this out should you’re focused on backcountry tenting.

>>Learn our Final Automotive-Tenting Packing Checklist earlier than you go!

Finest time to go to Glacier Nationwide Park

Sunrise from Logan's Pass in Glacier National Park

The height season is the summer season, usually from Could to September. That is when a lot of the roads, hikes, ranger stations, and many others. are open and accessible to go to. Relying on the 12 months, spring or fall may very well be good instances to go to should you don’t thoughts the customer facilities, campgrounds, and many others. being closed. The park will at all times maintain circumstances updated right here so verify earlier than you go.

What number of days in Glacier Nationwide Park?

I’d counsel 3 to five days in Glacier. 3 days is a lot to see the west facet of the park, however to see all areas I’d say 4 or 5 ought to do it!

Glacier Nationwide Park Entrance Charge

It prices $35 for a 7-day go Could by means of October and $25 November by means of April. You may as well use your America The Stunning go right here which will get you into all the nationwide parks for a calendar 12 months. It prices $80 so should you plan to go to 3 or extra parks in the course of the 12 months it’s completely price it. You should buy one right here.

Animals in Glacier Nationwide Park

Mountain goat in Glacier National Park

There are every kind of animals in Glacier, however Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, Mountain Goats and Mountain Lions are essentially the most prevalant. Be sure you maintain your distance from these animals and know what to do should you encounter them earlier than you go. At all times carry bear spray and be bear-aware always. Listed here are the park’s suggestions for bear security.

Issues to know earlier than visiting Glacier Nationwide Park

Sunset at Bowman Lake
  • There may be restricted cell coverage within the park. The one place we discovered sign is close to the Apgar Space. So plan forward and be sure to have offline maps downloaded.
  • Trails can shut unexpectedly for bears, and many others. so at all times make sure you verify by calling or visiting a ranger station earlier than you head out
  • The Leisure Exercise Dashboard (RAD) on the Apgar Customer Heart is a good useful resource to know the climate, what’s open, parking availability, street closures, and many others. You may as well verify it on-line right here.
  • Parking tons replenish SUPER early. Intention to be at a hike’s parking zone no later than 7:15 am to get a spot. In any other case, after 4 pm is an effective time too. That is particularly essential on the Loop, Avalanche and Logan Go.
  • Don’t neglect to pack bear spray, bug spray and sunscreen!
  • There may be no gasoline contained in the park. There’s a gasoline station simply exterior the west entrance, although, should you’re in a bind.
  • Be sure you know the 7 Rules of Go away No Hint and deal with our stunning open air!

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Have a good time in Glacier Nationwide Park!

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18 Things to do in Glacier National Park, blog by Love Hard Travel Often
Glacier National Park best things to do plus must-know tips before you go, blog by Love Hard Travel Often
Glacier National Park best things to do plus must-know tips before you go, blog by Love Hard Travel Often
Glacier National Park: 18 epic things to do plus everything you need to know before you go, blog by Love Hard Travel Often

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