48 Hours in Glacier Nationwide Park

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Montana’s Glacier Nationwide Park had been on my bucket listing for a while. Rumors of Montana’s magnificence had swirled in my outdoorsy particular person circles and Instagram feed for years, tempting me. Once I noticed it for myself I understood what the hype was all about. The water is crystal clear, the wildlife is considerable, the celebs are unimaginable, and the place else do you might have glaciers that accessible within the decrease 48?

Like many individuals passing via, I needed to make my time there depend since I didn’t have greater than a few days to take pleasure in Glacier Nationwide Park, although I’m already planning on a return. 

The next are the most effective issues to do in Glacier Nationwide Park. There’s much more right here than one can do in 48 hours, but it surely ought to enable you 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 publish I’ll begin west and transfer east, starting with the facet that I explored extra of, and what you’ll be nearer to when you fly into Kalispell or are coming in from Idaho – West Glacier. 

Lake McDonald

Beautiful at sundown and sunrisePerhaps Glacier Nationwide Park’s most well-known lake, Lake McDonald is the biggest lake within the park at over 10 miles lengthy. Like a lot of the lakes within the park, 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 and when you’re coming in from a west entrance, it’s prone to be yours, too. There are a number of locations alongside the lake the place you’ll be able to pull off to take pleasure in it and when you go at sundown or sundown, you’ll be able to keep away from the crowds.

Avalanche Gorge and Lake

Can be extra spectacular within the spring, however nonetheless cool!Avalanche Gorge and Avalanche Lake are two of the extra accessible issues on this listing. The Path of the Cedars loop that results in this gorge is wheelchair accessible, completely flat, and is fairly quick. It’s additionally probably the most widespread trails within the park for that cause.

You possibly can add on one other mile to get to Avalanche Lake, which can take you uphill, when you really feel so inclined. That mentioned, the following lake on this listing is value a go to as a substitute when you’re quick on time.

Logan Move

Going-to-the-Solar Highway as taken from Logan PassYou’ll be on Going-to-the-Solar Highway from the second you enter the park from the West Glacier entrance and as you cross alongside Lake McDonald. This highway is unimaginable when it comes to views and the right method to see the park’s primary options. Remember that the highway can also be fairly slender, and may get very fashionable within the summertime. I like to recommend heading out proper at dawn when you plan on parking at Logan Move, which is the place the next trailheads depart from.

Hidden Lake

Insane for stargazingI was amazed by Hidden Lake. One other widespread path within the park, I had it virtually all to myself after I went stargazing there after darkish. Provided that Glacier Nationwide Park is in a darkish sky park, and since I used to be there throughout the confluence of a number of meteor showers, I needed to see it after darkish. After a lot analysis, I discovered that the Milky Approach could be completely located for the right of the lake.

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, and has a number of steep elements resulting in the lake.

Remember 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 out there for hire at Logan Move. Bears hardly ever assault teams. As a solo hiker, it was a threat to hike down alone, particularly in the dead of night. Simply one thing to remember!

To get there, park at Logan cross.

Highline Path

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

PerfectionThe hike can start on the loop or at Logan Move. You possibly can both hike it out and again, or go all the best way to the loop and take a bus again. Remember that the buses might be full in the summertime and when you end late, you may need to hitchhike again (Not an enormous deal. I picked up a hitchhiker myself!).

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 last mile on an in any other case fairly mild path, the perspective on the finish was value it. My journey whole was 15 miles, and would have been 13 if I’d gone to the loop as a substitute. Consider this path is generally uncovered, will get highly regarded noon in the summertime, and could be very widespread. There are a number of steep drop offs, which can trouble these with a concern of heights. Nonetheless, when you begin early or go within the off season, you may get a lot of all of it to your self. 

Many Glacier

Swiftcurrent Lake in Many GlacierMany Glacier is a valley within the park that many take into account to be essentially the most stunning half. This a part of the park is accessible from the east St. Mary entrance. That is the place you can see the well-known Grinnell Glacier Path entrance as properly.

“Many” glaciers to see on this areaIf you’re heading there from Going-to-the-Solar Highway, you’ll want to cease by Saint Mary Lake as properly, notably to catch dawn or sundown with a view of Wild Goose Island.

Grinnell Glacier Path

Some of the stunning trails within the parkThis was the path I had my sights on after I first began choices in Glacier Nationwide Park. It has all of it when it comes to views, and finishes at an aquamarine lake and the well-known Grinnell Glacier. The path begins on the Many Glacier Lodge boat dock, with an choice to take a ship for a part of the best way.

It’s a 7.6-mile out and again path with an 1840-foot elevation acquire. When you hiked to the overlook on the Highline Path, this shall be an opportunity to see it up shut, and from one other viewpoint.

Two Drugs Lake

Two Drugs, one other dawn and sundown favoriteTwo Drugs Lake is excessive on my listing 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 climbing trails branching off from the lake as properly.

A Few Extra…

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

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

The Triple Divide Move Path: The Continental Divide runs proper via this a part of Montana, as you’ll see when you go to Logan Move. The Triple Divide Move Path begins at Reduce Financial institution within the East Glacier space and is a 14.6-mile out and again path with a 2400 foot elevation acquire. The path is understood for spectacular views, weaving out and in of forests and previous meadows.

Bowman Lake: When you’re in search of one thing extra secluded, this lake retains most individuals out as a result of the highway in might be tough. When you have a four×four automobile, although, this lake is meant to be wonderful.

Backcountry Climbing: When you’re extra into the backcountry, multi-day hikes, learn extra on the Nationwide Park Service web site. You’ll need to apply for permits prematurely.

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 may be one epic journey when you ask me.

Leaving No Hint

Please endeavor to depart no hint when having fun with nature, in Glacier Nationwide Park, and anyplace you could be. Meaning packing out all of your trash, at all times staying on path, not selecting any flowers, and solely tenting in designated spots.

Avoiding Crowds

Black Leaf within the BobThe greatest method to keep away from the crowds in Glacier is to go there throughout a shoulder season. September is outwardly essentially the most stunning time within the park, offered there aren’t fires closing it for the season. It’s also possible to snowshoe within the park within the winter, and benefit from the heavier water circulate and better lakes within the spring.

In the summertime, I used to be capable of 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 keen to try this, however in case you are then you definitely’ll see the park in its greatest gentle and are certain to get parking!

The Bob Marshall Wilderness can also be an excellent choice. Locals discuss with this because the ‘native’ Glacier NP since there are so few folks and the views are spectacular as properly. The world of land within the Bob Marshall Wilderness is much more expansive, and is greatest for multi-day hikes for the reason that solely method to entry a lot of the wilderness is by horse or foot. Dropstone Outfitting is an area, female-owned and run firm who took me out for a day hike and left me wanting an extended, multi-day climbing expertise!


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

I hope this publish helped you to seek out some wonderful picks in your journey to Glacier Nationwide Park. There are such a lot of issues to do there, but it surely’s all so stunning you could’t actually go unsuitable.

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

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