National Parks

Glacier National Park, Montana


The Glacier National Park in Montana encompasses more than one million acres of landscapes ranging from the Rocky Mountains to the Great Plains. The park showcases its many snow-capped glacier-carved peaks, valleys, lakes, cascading waterfalls, and alpine hiking trails, along with its glorious, iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road.

These photos are from our trip to Glacier National Park in late August 2013.

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Quick Facts and Tips

  • Best Time to Visit: Mid June to mid September
    • Busiest months and warm weather: July to August
    • Less crowd and cooler weather: June and September are pleasant, but Going-to-the-Sun Road and Logan Pass may be closed.
  • Fly into
    • Glacier Park International Airport, Kalispell: 30 mins drive to West Glacier Entrance.
    • Missoula International Airport: 2 and 1/2 hour drive to West Glacier Entrance.
    • Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport: 6 hours drive to Glacier West entrance. There are more frequent flights from West-Coast cities of US and more expensive and fewer flights from East-Coast cities of US. This airport is convenient if you are planning to visit Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton national parks.
    • Consider Yellowstone Airport or Jackson Hole Airport if you are planning to visit Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks along with Glacier National Park. These airports give you good access to Grand Teton, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.
  • Clothing
    • Plan to dress in layers. Comfortable pants, hiking shorts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, comfortable walking/hiking shoes and warm jackets, scarfs, caps, gloves for chilly evenings and nights
  • How Many Days: At least 2 days
  • What to Expect
    • Glaciers, Iceberg Lakes, Snow-capped Mountains, Waterfalls, Valleys, Wildflowers, Wildlife
  • Be sure to check the Park Website for alerts on road closure and current trails conditions.
  • Entrance Fee: $35 per vehicle or from $20 to $30 per person/motorcycle, good for seven days.
  • Start early in the morning or use the free park shuttle service as the parking lots fill up quickly by late morning in summer. Expect road delays and difficulty in finding parking.
  • Starting early is the best way not only to beat the traffic, but also for the best lighting, more elbow room, and increase chance of seeing wildlife.
  • There are plenty of pull-outs or overlooks along Going-to-the-Sun Road. Keep some extra time for stopping for photos, wildlife, sights and for unplanned delays.
  • No gas stations are within Glacier Park boundaries, have the gas tank filled before you hit the road.
  • Weak/no cell phone signals, highly recommend to have maps downloaded or printed.
  • Roads are very narrow, winding with many hairpin turns, and limited parking. Be patient, drive slowly, be prepared to stop and park only the designated area.
  • Take extra caution when you pull over to capture pictures.
  • Prepare yourself if you have motion sickness.
  • Hike with a group to avoid a bear encounter. Do not forget to carry bear spray and secure your food while going for a hike.
  • Take food and water so you can spend the day touring.
  • There is a lot to capture, so keep your camera ready. Make sure that camera is fully charged and also keep backup battery and memory cards.
  • Best Things to Do
    • Lake McDonald: Enjoy the beauty of Lake McDonald valley filled with spectacular u-shaped glacier carved mountain peaks, hiking trails, diverse species of plants and animals. You can rent kayaks/paddle boards or book a scenic lake cruise for another perspective of the lake views.
    • Going-to-the-Sun Road: Drive the most scenic winding mountain road the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This iconic 50 miles road between West Entrance (Apgar Visitor Center) and East Entrance (St Mary Visitor Center) takes you through the stunning views of the most grand vistas in all of the northern Rocky Mountains. Going-to-the-Sun Road offers every beauty of nature. From snow-capped mountains to glacier-fed lakes and waterfalls, from vast mountain vistas to cedar forests, from verdant lush valleys to windswept alpine meadows filled with wildflowers… and the list goes on. It takes at least 2 hours to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road with NO stops. But it is irresistible not to stop with so many breathtaking views along the way. Stop and enjoy the spectacular views at popular attractions like Lake McDonald, McDonald Falls, Avalanche Falls, Trail of the Cedars, the Loop, Haystack Falls and Weeping Wall, Logan Pass, Jackson Glacier Overlook, and Sun Point.
    • Logan Pass: Visit Logan Pass and relish the breathtaking views of Reynolds Mountain and Clements Mountain that sit on the carpets of wildflowers. Logan pass is the highest elevation point on the park and is located along the Continental Divide in Glacier National Park. Hike the Hidden Lake Trail from the Logan Pass Visitor Center. This 5.3 mile uphill hike offers gorgeous Hidden Lake, colorful wildflowers blanket, stunning views of Reynolds Mountain and Clements Mountain and Wildlife.
    • Sun Point: Visit Sun Point, a small peninsula on St Mary Lake. Just a short walk from the Sun Point parking lot that opens up to a breathtaking panoramic view of the St Mary Lake and the snow capped mountain peaks in the distance. Trail can be expanded to further 1.2 mile to see Barring Falls and Saint Mary Falls.
    • Many Glacier: Drive to Many Glacier region, almost 40 miles (1 and 1/2 hour drive) from Logan Pass. The Many Glacier region is located north of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, on the east side of the park. The rough and bumpy ride to Many Glaciers is forgettable once you view the gorgeous glaciers, blue water lakes, and mountains. The Many Glacier region offers many wonderful hikes like Apakuni Falls Trail, Swiftcurrent Lake, Fishercap Lake Trail, Iceberg Trail. Go hiking to experience the real beauty of the Many Glacier region.
    • Two Medicine: Visit the Two Medicine region located in the southeastern part of Glacier National Park. Even though the Two Medicine offers dramatic views of vast snow-capped mountains, rushing waterfalls, and reflective pristine lakes, it is less visited than other parts of the park. Take an easy 0.6 mile loop walk to Running Eagle Falls. You can rent a rowboat, kayak, or canoe or book a Two Medicine boat tour to explore Two Medicine Lake even more
    • Take a guided Boat/Bus tour. More info here.
  • Nearby Attraction
    • Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (you may need Canadian Visa).

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