15 Best Things to do in Glacier National Park

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

When I noticed it for myself, I understood what the hype was all about. The water is crystal clear, the wildlife is considerable, and the celebrities are unbelievable. And the place else do you will have glaciers that are accessible in the decrease 48?

Like many individuals passing via, I had 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 following are the most effective issues to do in Glacier National 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 enable you to decide and select your must-sees.

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

1. Lake McDonald

Gorgeous at sundown and dawn

Perhaps Glacier National Park’s most well-known lake, Lake McDonald is the biggest in the park, at roughly 10 miles lengthy. Like most others, it’s characterized by its extremely clear water, colorful rocks, and the mountains that body it for ideal sundown or dawn.

This was my first cease in the park; in the event, you’re coming in from the West Glacier entrance, it’s probably 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; in the event, you arrive at dawn or sundown, you’ll be able to keep away from the crowds.

2. Avalanche Gorge and Lake

Would be extra spectacular in the spring, however nonetheless cool!

Avalanche Gorge and Avalanche Lake are two of the extra accessible issues on this checklist. The Trail of the Cedars loop that leads to the gorge is wheelchair accessible, completely flat, and fairly quick. It’s additionally probably the most fashionable trail in the park for that motive.

You can add on one other mile to get to the lake, in the event you really feel so inclined, which can take you uphill. That mentioned the subsequent lake on this checklist is price a go-to as an alternative in the event you’re quick on time.

3. Road to Logan Pass

glacier national park things to do logan pass
Going-to-the-Sun Road as taken from Logan Pass

You’ll be on Going-to-the-Sun Road from the second you enter the park from the West Glacier entrance and as you cross alongside Lake McDonald. This street is unbelievable in phrases of views and is the perfect method to see the park’s most important options.

Keep in thoughts that the street can also be fairly slender, and may get extremely popular in {the summertime}. I like to recommend heading out proper at dawn in the event you plan on parking at Logan Pass, 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 nearly all to myself once I went stargazing thereafter darkish. Given that Glacier National Park is a dark-sky park, and since I used to be there in the course of the confluence of a number of meteor showers, I simply had to expertise it after darkish.

After a lot of analysis, I discovered that the Milky Way can be completely located for simply the appropriate {photograph} of the lake.

To get there, park at Logan Pass. You 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 just a few steep elements main to the lake.

Keep in thought that that is a grizzly bear nation, and it’s a good suggestion to carry bear spray, which I purchased at Middlefork Cabins, the place I stayed. It’s additionally out there for hire at Logan Pass. Bears hardly ever assault teams, however as a solo hiker, it was a danger to hike down alone, particularly in the dark. Just one thing to preserve in my thoughts!

5. Highline Trail

This hike was extremely stunning

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


The hike can start on the loop or at Logan Pass. You can both hike it out and again, or go all the way in which to the loop and take a bus again. Keep in thoughts that the buses could be full in the summer time — in the event you end late, you might 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. Although it’s a really steep remaining mile on an in any other case fairly mild path, the perspective on the finish was priced it. My journey completed was 15 miles (it will have been 13 if I’d gone to the loop as an alternative).

Keep in thoughts that this path is usually uncovered, will get very popular noon in the summertime, and could be very fashionable. There are just a few steep drop-offs, which can hassle these with a concern of heights. Still, in the event you begin early or go in the low season, you will get a lot of all of it to yourself.

6. Many Glacier

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

Many Glacier is a valley that many take into account to be essentially the most stunning a part of the park. It’s accessible from the St. Mary entrance in 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 in this space

If you’re heading there from Going-to-the-Sun Road, make sure to cease by St. Mary Lake as properly, notably to catch dawn or sundown with a view of Wild Goose Island.

7. Grinnell Glacier Trail

glacier national park things to do many glacier
One of essentially the most stunning trails in the park

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

It’s a 7.6-mile out-and-back path with a 1,840-foot elevation achieve. If you hiked to the overlook on the Highline Trail, this shall be an opportunity to see the glacier up shut, and from one other standpoint.

8. Two Medicine Lake

glacier national park things to do two medicine
Two Medicine, one other dawn and sundown favorite

Two Medicine Lake is excessive on my checklist to go to subsequent times. The greatest method to get there’s via the East Glacier Park space off of Highway 49. There’s a campground and several other climbing trails branching off from the lake as properly.

A Few More Things…

9. Rafting

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

While I didn’t get an opportunity to examine these out, the next are nonetheless excessive on my checklist:

10. The Triple Divide Pass Trail

The Continental Divide runs proper via this a part of Montana, as you’ll see in the event you go to Logan Pass. The Triple Divide Pass Trail, a 14.6-mile out-and-back path with a 2,400-foot elevation achieve, begins at Cut Bank in the East Glacier space. It’s recognized for spectacular views because it weaves in and out of forests and previous meadows.

11. Bowman Lake

If you’re searching, for one thing, for extra secluded, do that lake, which is meant to be superb. The street could be tough, which retains most individuals out, except you will have a 4×4 car.

12. Backcountry climbing

If you’re extra into the backcountry, multiday hikes, learn extra on the National Park Service website. Apply for permits in advance.

As a bonus, from Glacier National Park, you’ll be able to head all the way in which into Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. That can be one epic journey in the event you ask me.

13. Snowshoeing

If you’re visiting Glacier in the wintertime, positively take into account renting some snowshoes to discover. You can rent snowshoes in West Glacier; ask about which trails close by are the most effective situation.

14. Rent an ATV in Whitefish

You can discover Whitefish by renting an ATV, supplying you with extra freedom in the event you’re in a time crunch. Go at your individual tempo, having fun with the journey of driving your individual ATV.

15. St. Mary Falls

This hike is 1.7 miles and begins at the small automotive park on Going-to-the-Sun Road. Getting to St. Mary Falls is a fairly straightforward trek because it’s principally downhill. The waterfall itself has two distinct streams and is particularly considerable in the spring and early summertime after the snow has melted.

Leaving No Trace

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

Avoiding Crowds

bob marshall wilderness
Black Leaf in “the Bob”

The greatest method to keep away from the crowds in Glacier is to head there throughout the shoulder season. September is seemingly essentially the most stunning time in the park, offered there aren’t fires that shut it for the season. You may also snowshoe in the winter, and benefit from the heavier water stream and better lakes in 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 celebrities, and making it in around 5 am, earlier than the solar had risen. Most folks aren’t prepared to do that, however, if you’re, then you definitely see the park in its greatest gentle and are positive to get parking!

The Bob Marshall Wilderness can also be an ideal possibility. Locals refer to this because of the “local” Glacier National Park since there are so few folks and the views are spectacular as properly. It is much more expansive and is greatest for multiday hikes because the sole method of entry into 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 extended, multiday expertise!

➵ Rent a car in Montana here



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