A visit to Glacier National park in Montana
Glacier National park is one of the jewels of the US national park systems and if one of the must see destinations to put in your bucket list. I have heard a lot about this park, but never took the initiative to spend some time to research and plan a trip, but this has really been a great opportunity to finally visit the park on a road trip from the capital Helena which is about 2 1/2 hours south of the park entrance.
West entrance Glacier National Park
Arriving at the west entrance, you will pass through all the tourist center in West Glacier filled with lodgings, restaurants, galleries and typical tour companies that specialize in park tours. Past the entrance, you can stop at the popular tourist information center which is always busy but has a complete center for guides and tourist information. You continue on in a world of lush greens and views to the large lake fronts the main drive, Lake McDonald is gorgeous with those glimpse of those magnificent peaks in the park.
Stunning annual blooms throughout the park
The views keep getting better with a combination of lake vistas, little ferry boats and stunning mountain peaks in the background. Driving through the valley floor is filled with so many ooohs and aaaaahs passing through rushing streams, mass meadows of blooming wildflowers and the start of an incline drive up the mountains of Glacier park.
Framed wildflower blooms with river views
Driving the famous Road to the Sun
One of the highlights of visiting Glacier National Park is to drive the entire length of the Road to the Sun. One of the most scenic road trips in the National Parks systems, the Road to the Sun is about 50 miles in length traveling from the valley floor and Lake McDonald up through the high peaks of the park. Along the way you will see some amazing vistas and will practically stop at every overlook point to see another exciting vantage point to enjoy and photograph. It’s easy to see why this road is one of the most popular and spectacular drives of the national parks in the US, there’s just too many amazing views and panoramas worth stopping and enjoying those breathtaking landscapes.
Here are some highlights of that gorgeous drive up to the peaks of the national park
Beautiful views looking up from the valley floor
Scenic panoramas of Glacier National Park
Around the summit area is a multitude of lookout points and when you see the entire valley floor and mountain range, it just takes your breath away. Pictures really cannot do it justice and you definitely have to visit this park to witness the amazing landscape and vistas driving through the summit road.
Selfie time with my niece at an overlook
Along the drive, you will pass through many waterfalls and some that you will actually drive above like the image below of Haystack waterfalls. With the flush of melting snow, it seems like waterfalls are tumbling everywhere and on your drive there are so many varieties of waterfalls including: Bird Woman falls, Lunch Creek and the famous weeping falls which passes directly on the road with water gushing directly from the rock walls onto the road and creating an awesome spectacle to drive through.
More gorgeous waterfalls
The Big Bend scenic lookout
Visitor center at Logan Pass
At the summit of the Road to the Summit is the Logan Pass Visitor Center which is the highest point you will pass along the Road to the Sun Drive. This is a worthwhile visit not just to the information center, but also for the spectacular views, exhibits and the wonderful alpine trails above the center. The hike to the Alpine areas include the two popular trails: the Highline trail and the Hidden Lake Trail. In the spring and summertime, the trails are filled with wonderful wildflowers in the meadows going up to the mountain peaks. Along the way on this hike you can also wildlife including Big Horn Sheep Rams that frequent all the meadows of the Alpine trails.
A furry Marmot greets you at the Visitors center
Alpine blooms above the visitor center
Alpine hike above visitors center
Right above the visitor’s center at the summit is a fantastic alpine hike and the views are spectacular. You can hike the Highland loop trail approximately 11.2 miles to the top peak or just go as far as you would like. Or if you want try the Hidden Lake trail which is one of the most popular hikes in the park, the hike is approximately 5.4 miles roundtrip. Along the way are magnificent wildflowers that are blooming this time of the year (Visited in July) throughout the meadow areas and up to the mountain peaks.
A magnificent hotel to stay
Lake McDonald Lodge located on the shores of McDonald lake is one of those iconic national park hotels to stay and experience the history and elegance of these historic inns while visiting the park. Of course you do need to book a reservation months in advanced especially during the peak and short visiting season to the park. Here’s what you will see when you enter the hotel and the grounds around the lakefront property.
Rustic interior elegance
A rustic and elegant entrance leads to this stunning interior of the lodge with these huge lanterns and wooden posts and beams that create a stunning presence. If you do visit the park, try to book a stay at Lake McDonald Lodge, it really adds to the entire park experience. For more information and details about staying at the Lake McDonald Lodge check this website for current prices and availability.
Beautiful cabins next to the main lodge and fronting the lake
You can rent a boat or take a steamer from the lodge boat launch
Tips before you go
You definitely need to spend some time researching and booking hotels, car rentals and other activities when you visit because everything books months in advance due to the short visiting season at this park. If you are planning your trip to this national park make sure you book your hotels asap or consider camping at Glacier National Park as an affordable alternative.
Booking your hotel
The first thing to work out is where you will stay because hotels do book months or years in advance especially during the peak season. Prices due rise according to limited availability of hotel or BnB housing. You can check out reviews and the latest prices through any of your favorite booking websites below.
TripAdvisor Glacier National Park lodging reviews and latest prices
Booking.com reviews and bargains of lodges and Inns
Price line current prices and promotions for Glacier National Park
Booking your car rental
In order to get the best prices for limited inventory, you also need to book your rental car as soon as you can. Depending on location you can book basically from where you fly into.
Hertz Rental cars, save 40% when you pay now
Expedia Car Rentals for current prices and availability
Tour activities at the National Park
You can take the Big Red Bus tours around the park on these classic buses with guides and stopping at strategic places to view the landscape. For more information on these tours, check out their website here for details and prices.
National parks group small van tours
If your adverse to driving through the parks and other amazing places to visit in the Northwest, why not take a small group tour of the National Parks in the Northwest. You can check out these small group tours offered by Tours4Fun here for some of the spectacular tours in the Northwest National Parks tour.
Other things to do in the area
Thanks for visiting today and checking out this post on A visit to Glacier National park in Montana, hopefully you will be able to see and experience this amazing national park and drive through the spectacular Road to the Sun drive. If you enjoyed the images and post, could you please share it with any of the social media buttons located around the post.
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