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15 Finest Issues to do in Glacier Nationwide Park in 48 Hours


Montana’s Glacier Nationwide Park had been on my bucket record for a while. Rumors of Montana’s magnificence had swirled in my outdoorsy-person circles and Instagram feed for years, tempting me.

After I noticed it for myself, I understood what the hype was all about. The water is crystal clear, the wildlife is ample, the celebs are unbelievable. And the place else do you’ve got glaciers that accessible within the decrease 48?

Like many individuals passing via, I needed to make my time there rely, since I didn’t have greater than a few days to get pleasure from it, although I’m already planning on a return. 

The next are the very best issues to do in Glacier Nationwide Park. I solely had two days to discover, and there’s much more right here than one can do in 48 hours, however it ought to make it easier to decide and select your must-sees.

There are a number of totally different areas of the park, with a number of east and west entrance choices. For the needs of this submit I’ll begin within the west (West Glacier entrance) and transfer east, starting with the aspect that I explored extra of, and what you’ll be nearer to for those who fly into Kalispell or are coming in from Idaho. 

1. Lake McDonald

glacier national park things to do lake mcdonald
Beautiful at sundown and dawn

Maybe Glacier Nationwide Park’s most well-known lake, Lake McDonald is the most important within the park, at roughly 10 miles lengthy. Like most otheres, it’s characterised by its extremely clear water, colourful rocks, and the mountains that body it for an ideal sundown or dawn.

This was my first cease within the park; for those who’re coming in from the West Glacier entrance, it’s more likely to be yours, too. There are a number of locations alongside the lake the place you’ll be able to pull off to get pleasure from it; for those who arrive at dawn or sundown, you’ll be able to keep away from the crowds.

2. Avalanche Gorge and Lake

glacier national park things to do avalanche gorge
Can be extra spectacular within the spring, however nonetheless cool!

Avalanche Gorge and Avalanche Lake are two of the extra accessible issues on this record. The Path of the Cedars loop that results in the gorge is wheelchair accessible, completely flat, and fairly brief. It’s additionally one of the vital common trails within the park for that purpose.

You may add on one other mile to get to the lake, for those who really feel so inclined, which can take you uphill. That mentioned, the following lake on this record is value a go to as an alternative for those who’re brief on time.

3. Highway to Logan Cross

glacier national park things to do logan pass
Going-to-the-Solar Highway as taken from Logan Cross

You’ll be on Going-to-the-Solar Highway from the second you enter the park from the West Glacier entrance and as you go alongside Lake McDonald. This highway is unbelievable by way of views and the perfect option to see the park’s fundamental options. Remember the fact that the highway can be fairly slim, and may get extremely popular within the summertime. I like to recommend heading out proper at dawn for those who plan on parking at Logan Cross, which is the place the next trailheads depart from.

4. Hidden Lake

glacier national park things to do hidden lake
Insane for stargazing

I used to be amazed by Hidden Lake. I had it virtually all to myself once I went stargazing there after darkish. Provided that Glacier Nationwide Park is a dark-sky park, and since I used to be there throughout the confluence of a number of meteor showers, I simply needed to expertise it after darkish. After a lot analysis, I discovered that the Milky Method can be completely located for simply the correct {photograph} of the lake.

To get there, park at Logan Cross. You could have a few choices for this hike, together with ending on the overlook a mile and a half in, or going three miles to the lake. The path is fairly flat up till the overlook, then has a number of steep components resulting in the lake.

Remember the fact that that is grizzly bear nation, and it’s a good suggestion to hold bear spray, which I purchased at Middlefork Cabins, the place I stayed. It’s additionally accessible for lease at Logan Cross. Bears not often assault teams, however as a solo hiker, it was a threat to hike down alone, particularly at the hours of darkness. Simply one thing to remember!

5. Highline Path

glacier national park things to do highline trail
This hike was extremely lovely

The Highline Path was my large hike throughout my go to to Glacier Nationwide Park, and it didn’t disappoint! I began it proper at dawn, watching because the rays of sunshine danced throughout the mountains.

glacier national park things to do highline trail

The hike can start on the loop or at Logan Cross. You may both hike it out and again, or go all the best way to the loop and take a bus again. Remember the fact that the buses will be full in the summertime — for those who end late, you may need to hitchhike again (not an enormous deal — I picked up a hitchhiker myself!).

glacier national park things to do highline trail
The Grinnell Glacier overlook

I did the path as an out and again, including on the Grinnell Glacier overlook. Though it’s a really steep closing mile on an in any other case fairly mild path, the point of view on the finish was value it. My journey complete was 15 miles (it will have been 13 if I’d gone to the loop as an alternative). Remember the fact that this path is usually uncovered, will get very popular noon in the summertime, and may be very common. There are a number of steep drop-offs, which can hassle these with a worry of heights. Nonetheless, for those who begin early or go within the low season, you may get a lot of all of it to your self. 

6. Many Glacier

glacier national park things to do many glacier
Swiftcurrent Lake in Many Glacier

Many Glacier is a valley that many think about to be probably the most lovely a part of the park. It’s accessible from the St. Mary entrance within the east, after which additionally, you will discover the well-known Grinnell Glacier trailhead.

glacier national park things to do many glacier
“Many” glaciers to see on this space

In case you’re heading there from Going-to-the-Solar Highway, make sure to cease by St. Mary Lake as nicely, notably to catch dawn or sundown with a view of Wild Goose Island.

7. Grinnell Glacier Path

glacier national park things to do many glacier
Some of the lovely trails within the park

This was the path I had my sights on once I first began choices in Glacier Nationwide Park. It has all of it by way of views, and finishes at an aquamarine lake and the well-known Grinnell Glacier. The path begins on the Many Glacier Resort boat dock, the place there’s an choice to take a ship for a part of the best way.

It’s a 7.6-mile out-and-back path with an 1,840-foot elevation acquire. In case you hiked to the overlook on the Highline Path, this will probably be an opportunity to see the glacier up shut, and from one other standpoint.

8. Two Medication Lake

glacier national park things to do two medicine
Two Medication, one other dawn and sundown favourite

Two Medication Lake is excessive on my record to go to subsequent time. One of the simplest ways to get there’s via the East Glacier Park space off of Freeway 49. There’s a campground and several other mountaineering trails branching off from the lake as nicely.

A Few Extra Issues…

9. Rafting

Glacier Guides provides guided hikes of the park, in addition to rafting adventures, together with dinner. Although the rapids are fairly tame (principally Class II), it’s supreme for a soothing afternoon, and provides an opportunity to raft on tremendous clear water.

Whereas I didn’t get an opportunity to test these out, the next are nonetheless excessive on my record:

10. The Triple Divide Cross Path 

The Continental Divide runs proper via this a part of Montana, as you’ll see for those who go to Logan Cross. The Triple Divide Cross Path, a 14.6-mile out-and-back path with a 2,400-foot elevation acquire, begins at Reduce Financial institution within the East Glacier space. It’s recognized for spectacular views because it weaves out and in of forests and previous meadows.

11. Bowman Lake

In case you’re in search of one thing extra secluded, do that lake, which is meant to be wonderful. The highway in will be troublesome, which retains most individuals out, except you’ve got a 4×4 automobile.

12. Backcountry mountaineering 

In case you’re extra into backcountry, multiday hikes, learn extra on the Nationwide Park Service web site. Apply for permits upfront.

As a bonus, from Glacier Nationwide Park, you’ll be able to head all the best way into Canada’s Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park in Alberta. That might be one epic journey for those who ask me.

13. Snowshoeing

In case you’re visiting Glacier within the wintertime, undoubtedly think about renting some snowshoes to discover. You may lease snowshoes in West Glacier; ask about which trails close by are in the very best situation.

14. Lease an ATV in Whitefish

You may discover Whitefish by renting an ATV, supplying you with extra freedom for those who’re in a time crunch. Go at your personal tempo, having fun with the journey of driving your personal ATV.

15. St. Mary Falls

This hike is 1.7 miles and begins on the small automotive park on Going-to-the-Solar Highway. Attending to St. Mary Falls is a fairly simple trek, because it’s principally downhill. The waterfall itself has two distinct streams and is very ample within the spring and early summer time, after the snow has melted.

Leaving No Hint

Please endeavor to depart no hint when having fun with nature in Glacier Nationwide Park (and wherever you could go). Which means packing out all of your trash, all the time staying on the path, not choosing any flowers, and solely tenting in designated spots.

Avoiding Crowds

bob marshall wilderness
Black Leaf in “the Bob”

One of the simplest ways to keep away from the crowds in Glacier is to move there throughout a shoulder season. September is seemingly probably the most lovely time within the park, supplied there aren’t fires that shut it for the season. You can even snowshoe within the winter, and benefit from the heavier water circulate and better lakes within the spring.

In the summertime, I used to be in a position to keep away from the crowds by heading out at sundown, catching the celebs, and making it in round 5am, earlier than the solar had risen. Most individuals aren’t prepared to try this, however in case you are, then you definitely’ll see the park in its finest gentle and are certain to get parking!

The Bob Marshall Wilderness can be an incredible choice. Locals discuss with this because the “native” Glacier Nationwide Park since there are so few folks and the views are spectacular as nicely. It’s much more expansive, and is finest for multiday hikes, because the solely option to entry many of the wilderness is by horse or foot. Dropstone Outfitting is an area women-owned, women-run firm that took me out for a day hike and left me wanting an extended, multiday expertise!

➵ Lease a automotive in Montana right here

The place to Keep

The West Glacier Village was so good! It appeared fairly new, had a sitting space, and a full kitchen. I’ll undoubtedly keep there once more subsequent time I go to Glacier.

I hope this submit helped you to search out some wonderful locations to your journey to Glacier Nationwide Park. There are such a lot of issues to do there, however then once more, it’s all so lovely that you could’t actually go flawed.

*This submit was delivered to you in partnership with Go to Montana. All ideas on the wonderful nationwide park are my very own. How may one not be impressed, proper?

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glacier national park things to do highline trail





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