From wildflower-filled meadows, to glacial-carved terrain and snow-fed streams, Montana’s Glacier National Park in the Rockies is the kind of place you need to see to believe. Located on the Canadian/United States border, the National Park is often referred to as the ‘Crown of the Continent’, as it is situated at the headwaters of the streams that flow into the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Mexico and Hudson Bay.
Whether you’re planning some Glacier National Park travel with the intent to adventure, lodge and dine, you’ll be pleased to know that your options are limitless. Additionally, if you’re seeking adventure beyond the park and into the hills, valleys, rivers and charming small towns of the northwestern corner of Montana, you will not be disappointed. Beautiful in any season, if there’s one thing that Big Sky country can promise, it’s no end to discovery.
With that in mind, are you wondering where in the world you should commence your journey into Glacier National Park in the Rockies? Here, we’ve put together our top sites and locations that you don’t want to miss.
If you’re entering the Park from the West, it’s likely that Lake McDonald will be your first official Glacier National Park travel stop! Perhaps the most famous lake in the park, spanning a length of 10 miles, Lake McDonald is also the largest lake in Glacier National Park.
Similar to other lakes in the park, Lake McDonald is characterized by its incredibly crystal clear water, colourful pebbles and the towering mountains that make for the perfect sunrise and sunset frame.
If you’re hoping to enjoy the serenity of the lake without the crowds, there are plenty of areas around the lake where you can pull off and enjoy this simply awe-inducing gift from Mother Nature.
You’ll feel amazed when you visit Lake McDonald with Trafalgar on the Secrets of the Rockies and Glacier National Park Tour.
Avalanche Gorge and Lake
Winding along a boardwalk, through a magical path of cedars, is the beautiful Avalanche Gorge. The loop that leads to the gorge is wheelchair accessible, flat and fairly short at only half a mile in length.
If you’re keen to keep moving, another mile further is the equally stunning Avalanche Lake, which takes you slightly uphill. If you’re short on time and still have an itch to venture, this walk is ideal!
Sitting at over 2000 metres on the Continental Divide, Logan Pass is the highest elevation you can drive to on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It’s also where the Logan Pass Visitor’s Center is located, so, naturally it’s a fairly popular spot.
From the Visitors Center, there’s a number of ranger-led activities and day hikes offered by the National Park Service that are worth pursuing if you have the time. Alternatively, you could also embark on one of the famous hiking trails on offer within Glacier National Park, as Logan Pass is also the trailhead for the Highline Trail and others along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
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If you’re a keen hiker, you’ll enjoy the popular Hidden Lake trail, which also begins from Logan Pass.
There are a couple of ways in which travellers can peruse the Hidden Lake trail, including the boardwalk to the Hidden Lake Overlook (a short, 1.5 mile boardwalk trail), or, you can hike a further 3 miles to the lake itself.
Even if you can’t make it to the lake, the short boardwalk track to the Hidden Lake Overlook is worth it for the views of the rugged peaks that frame the lake below.
Considered by many as the most beautiful part of Glacier National Park in the Rockies, Many Glacier is accessible from the eastern St Mary entrance into the park.
This is also where you’ll find the famous Grinnell Glacier Trail entrance as well.
Where to Stay
When it comes time to rest your head at Glacier National Park in the Rockies, the lodging options are limitless. In fact, the entire park is dotted with many historic lodges that offer both comfort and indulgence. Here are some of our top picks for a unique Glacier National Park travel stay:
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Triple Creek Ranch
For the ultimate all-inclusive stay, one needs look no further than Triple Creek Ranch. Tucked away in Montana’s Bitterroot Valley, Triple Creek Ranch features a selection of private log luxury cabins, alongside an endless menu of all-inclusive outdoor activities, including horseback riding, fly fishing and sapphire panning to name just a few, as well as gourmet fine cuisine that comes perfectly paired with the finest wine selections. A stay here is nothing short of a blissfully romantic forested mountain retreat.
Glacier Park Lodge
Situated in the southeastern corner of Glacier National Park, Glacier Park Lodge was the first hotel built by the Great Northern Railway in 1913. Stepping foot in this lodge will have you transported back to a different time in history; Douglas Fir logs tower over the lobby, there’s a warm fire crackling away in the stone fireplace and guests gather around the common area to share tales of the day’s adventures. If you’re seeking accommodation that will allow you to unplug and immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings, Glacier Park Lodge is just the place for it.
Many Glacier Hotel
Located on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake – an area that has been nicknamed by some as the ‘Switzerland of North America’ – is the largest hotel in the park, Many Glacier Hotel. While this hotel isn’t a luxury accommodation, it is an iconic hotel, having been built by the Great Northern Railway in 1914. With no televisions or air conditioning, the rooms are comfortable (even in the summer, the average high temperature is 21 degrees celsius), however, the lakeside views framed by snow-capped mountains will ensure you’ll never want to leave.
Lake McDonald Lodge
Built in 1913 and located on the eastern shore of the beautiful Lake McDonald, is the historic Lake McDonald Lodge. Built in the style of a Swiss mountain chalet, on the exterior, the lodge is complete with a gabled roof, wooden balconies and white ornamental trimmings. The interior houses a grand room with vaulted timber beams and taxidermy game is mounted on the walls. Similar to Many Glacier Hotel, Lake McDonald Lodge isn’t a luxury accommodation site; housing 82 guest rooms, a dorm-style hall and cabins without air conditioning, elevators and televisions, visitors of the Lake McDonald Lodge can expect a truly rustic Glacier National Park travel experience.
Have you travelled to Montana and embarked on a journey through the stunning Glacier National Park in the Rockies? Or, are you hoping to visit soon in the future? Let us know in the comments! Or, visit our website to learn more about how you can travel to Glacier National Park and other US National Parks with Trafalgar.