Glacier National Park, located in Montana, is known for its stunning landscape, which includes mountains, forests, and lakes. The best time to visit Glacier National Park depends on what you want to do. Hiking? Go in the summer! But if you want the magic of snow-covered landscape, winter is the season! We visited Glacier National Park in the summer, but would love to go back in winter!
Glacier National Park Road Trip Itinerary
A road trip through this magnificent park is the perfect way to experience its dramatic landscapes, pristine lakes, soaring mountains, and glaciers. Here’s a sample itinerary for a road trip through Glacier National Park:
Day 1: Arrival in Kalispell, MT
- Drive from the airport to your hotel in Kalispell and settle in
- Enjoy dinner in town and explore the local area
Day 2: Scenic Drive through the Park
- Start your day with a drive along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, one of the most iconic roads in the park
- Make stops along the way to enjoy scenic overlooks and take in views of glaciers, alpine meadows, and wildlife
- Visit the famous Logan Pass, where you can hike and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains
- Drive back to Kalispell for dinner and an overnight stay
Day 3: Explore the Lakes
- Today, focus on exploring the numerous lakes in the park
- Start with a visit to Saint Mary Lake, which is surrounded by stunning mountain peaks and offers plenty of opportunities for boating and fishing
- Continue to Two Medicine Lake, which is known for its serene beauty and excellent fishing opportunities
- Drive to Many Glacier Lake for lunch and a scenic hike along the lake’s shore
Day 4: Wildlife and History
- Start your day with a guided wildlife tour to see the park’s famous grizzly bears, wolves, mountain lions, and bighorn sheep
- Visit the park’s museum to learn about the history of Glacier National Park and the people who first explored this magnificent landscape
- Take a scenic drive to the historic Many Glacier Hotel, which was built in 1915 and is one of the park’s most famous landmarks
- Drive back to Kalispell for dinner and an overnight stay
Day 5: Hiking and Adventure
- Today, focus on outdoor activities and adventure
- Start with a hike to a stunning mountain peak, such as Mount Grinnell or Mount Wilbur, to enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape
- Explore the park’s glaciers, including the Grinnell Glacier, Jackson Glacier, and Sperry Glacier
- Drive to the park’s backcountry for a backpacking trip, or enjoy a scenic boat tour of one of the park’s many lakes
- Drive back to Kalispell for dinner and an overnight stay
Day 6: Departure
- Drive back to the airport and depart Glacier National Park with memories that will last a lifetime
This itinerary provides a general outline for a road trip through Glacier National Park, and can be adjusted to suit your interests and schedule. No matter how you choose to experience this magnificent park, you’re sure to be awed by its stunning beauty and natural wonders.
Top Things to See in Glacier National Park
The park is home to numerous stunning lakes, each with its own unique beauty. Some of the most popular lakes include Saint Mary Lake, Two Medicine Lake, and Many Glacier Lake. You can explore these lakes by boat, hike around them, or simply relax and take in the views.
Glacier National Park is a hiker’s paradise, with numerous trails that offer incredible views of the surrounding peaks. Some of the most famous mountains in the park include Mount Grinnell, Mount Wilbur, and Mount Reynolds. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or simply looking for a scenic walk, there’s something for everyone in Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park is home to some of the last glaciers in the lower 48 states, and these ancient rivers of ice are a must-see attraction. Some of the most famous glaciers in the park include the Grinnell Glacier, Jackson Glacier, and the Sperry Glacier.
The park has a rich history, and there are several historic sites to visit, including Glacier National Park has a rich history, and visitors can learn about the park’s past by visiting historic sites such as the Many Glacier Hotel, the St. Mary Visitor Center and the Lake McDonald Lodge, and the park’s museum. These sites offer a glimpse into the park’s early days and the people who first explored this magnificent landscape.
Things to Do at the Glacier National Park
Whether you’re interested in hiking, fishing, boating, or simply exploring the park, Glacier National Park has something for everyone. The park offers a variety of outdoor activities, from easy walks to strenuous backcountry treks, and visitors can customize their experience to suit their interests and abilities.
Glacier National Park Hiking
The park has over 700 miles of trails, ranging from easy to challenging. Some popular hikes include the Highline Trail and the Grinnell Glacier Trail.
Going-to-the-Sun Road Scenic Drive
One of the best ways to experience Glacier National Park is to take a scenic drive. The park has several scenic drives that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape, but the most popular drive is along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This iconic road winds its way through the park and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks, valleys, and lakes. From the road, you’ll have the opportunity to see glaciers, alpine meadows, and wildlife up close.
Glacier National Park is home to a variety of wildlife, including grizzly bears, wolves, mountain lions, mountain goats, and bighorn sheep. Visitors to the park have the opportunity to see these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat, and guided wildlife tours are available for those who want a more immersive experience. Keep an eye out for these animals as you explore the park.
Glacier National Park Kayaking
The park has several lakes where you can go kayaking or canoeing, including Lake McDonald and Saint Mary Lake. You can rent a kayak or bring your own.
Glacier National Park Horseback Riding
The park offers guided horseback rides through the backcountry, which can be a great way to see the park’s remote areas.
If you are into riding, check out our week -long horseback riding experience in Montana!
Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
Glacier National Park is part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park is located in both Montana and Alberta, Canada, and offers a unique blend of natural and cultural resources.
Winter Things to Do at the Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is a winter wonderland, with a wide range of activities to enjoy during the colder months. Here are some of the top winter activities in Glacier National Park
In the winter, the park is a great place for snowshoeing. The park has several trails and ski areas, including the Many Glacier Snowcoach Tour.
Snowshoeing is a popular activity in Glacier National Park during the winter, with many trails to choose from. It’s a great way to explore the park’s beautiful winter landscapes and get some exercise at the same time.
Cross-country skiing is another popular winter activity in Glacier National Park, with many trails to choose from. Skiers can enjoy the park’s stunning winter landscapes, get some exercise, and see wildlife along the way.
Many of the park’s lakes freeze over during the winter, making them perfect for ice skating. There are several popular ice skating locations in the park, including Lake McDonald, St. Mary Lake, and Two Medicine Lake.
Winter Wildlife Viewing
Glacier National Park is home to a wide range of wildlife, including bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, and more. Winter is a great time to see these animals, as they are often easier to spot in the snow-covered landscapes.
Glacier National Park is a photographer’s paradise, with stunning landscapes and wildlife to capture. Winter provides a unique opportunity to capture the park’s landscapes in a blanket of snow, with crystal clear skies and gorgeous sunsets.
While camping in Glacier National Park is not allowed during the winter months, backcountry camping is possible with the right gear and experience. Winter camping provides a unique opportunity to experience the park’s wilderness in a way that is not possible during the
Glacier National Park Hiking & Trekking
Glacier National Park is a hiker’s paradise, with countless trails that lead through stunning landscapes of glaciers, lakes, forests, and mountain peaks. Here are 10 of the best hikes in Glacier National Park:
- Highline Trail: This hike takes you along a stunning ridge, offering breathtaking views of the park’s alpine meadows, lakes, and glaciers. The trail is about 11 miles round trip and can be strenuous, but the views are well worth the effort.
- Iceberg Lake Trail: This hike takes you through forests and meadows to a stunning lake surrounded by towering mountain peaks. The trail is about 9.6 miles round trip and is considered moderate in difficulty.
- Grinnell Glacier Trail: This hike takes you to one of the park’s most famous glaciers, offering breathtaking views along the way. The trail is about 11 miles round trip and can be strenuous, but the views of the glacier and surrounding landscape are unmatched.
- Hidden Lake Overlook: This hike takes you to a stunning overlook above Hidden Lake, offering views of the lake, surrounding mountains, and glaciers. The trail is about 3 miles round trip and is considered easy to moderate in difficulty.
- Saint Mary Falls Trail: This hike takes you to a beautiful waterfall surrounded by lush forest and mountains. The trail is about 2.7 miles round trip and is considered easy in difficulty.
- Two Medicine Lake Trail: This hike takes you through forests and meadows to a serene lake surrounded by stunning mountain peaks. The trail is about 8 miles round trip and is considered moderate in difficulty.
- Avalanche Lake Trail: This hike takes you through lush forests to a stunning lake surrounded by mountain peaks. The trail is about 4.5 miles round trip and is considered easy in difficulty.
- Gunsight Pass Trail: This hike takes you through alpine meadows and over a mountain pass, offering breathtaking views of the park’s glaciers, lakes, and mountains. The trail is about 9 miles round trip and is considered strenuous in difficulty.
- Siyeh Pass Trail: This hike takes you through alpine meadows and over a mountain pass, offering breathtaking views of the park’s glaciers, lakes, and mountains. The trail is about 10.7 miles round trip and is considered strenuous in difficulty.
- Reynolds Mountain Trail: This hike takes you to a stunning mountain peak, offering breathtaking views of the park’s glaciers, lakes, and mountains. The trail is about 7 miles round trip and is considered strenuous in difficulty.
These 10 hikes provide a great starting point for exploring the trails of Glacier National Park, but there are countless other hikes to choose from. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, there’s a trail that’s perfect for you in this magnificent park. So lace up your hiking boots and get ready to hit the trails in Glacier National Park!
Independent Road Trip or Guided Tour
You can easily rent a car and explore on your own. You can join a ranger-led tours, which will take you to specific areas and are a great way to learn more about the park.
Alternatively, you can also book a full guided tour of Glacier National.
How to Visit Glacier National Park in Montana
Here are some options:
- Fly: The nearest major airport to the park is Kalispell Glacier Park International Airport, which is about a 1-hour drive from the park. From there, you can rent a car or take a shuttle to the park.
- Drive: If you’re driving to the park, you can enter the park from several different locations. The park has two main entrances: the West Entrance in Montana and the St. Mary Entrance in Montana. There are also several other entrances that offer access to specific areas of the park.
- Take the bus: The Glacier National Park Shuttle offers bus service from several locations in Montana to the park.
- Take the train: The Amtrak Empire Builder train serves the park and stops at several stations in the surrounding area, including West Glacier, Whitefish, and Sandpoint. From there, you can catch a shuttle or a bus to the park.
When is the Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park
Generally speaking, the best time to visit the park is from late June through mid-September. The Going to the Sun Road is usually open. You can go white water rafting, and hike one of the numerous trails. And you can explore the each side of the Continental Divide.
What time of year can you see the northern lights in Glacier National Park?
It’s best to go from September to April, as the winter and spring months make the sky clearer and therefore better for a chance to see the Aurora Borealis in Glacier National Park.
Is it worth visiting Glacier National Park in winter?
The white colors of the snow blanket Glacier National Park in the winter, making for a fairy like atmosphere. Fewer open roads and colder temperatures mean fewer people, which allows you to appreciate the quiet nature. In winter, the only open and plowed roads are 11 miles on the western side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Lake McDonald Lodge, and a little over one mile towards St. Mary Campground, and around Apgar Village.
Once you arrive at the park, there are several options for getting around. You can drive through the park on the scenic drives, take a bus tour, or participate in other outdoor activities. You can also visit the Glacier National Park Visitor Centers to learn more about the park’s history and ecosystem.
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