Glacier National Park – soon without Glaciers?!

Avalanche Lake

Wildlife, crystal clear lakes and over 1000 hikes – Glacier National Park

Visit Glacier National Park while there is still glacier extant. With the global warming, the glaciers are melting. It’s not easy to predict, when exactly the last one will be gone but in 1850 the Park had 80 glaciers and by 2015 where only 26 remaining. For more information visit Overview of Glacier National Park’s Glaciers

First, we drove the „ going to the Sun Road “, it is one of the most scenic drives in North America, 50 miles from West Glacier to St. Mary. While driving we used the  Gypsy audio guide, so we got a lot of interesting information as well as a lot of ideas where we should stop. First, we passed MC Donald Lake (10 miles) and after half of the „going to the Sun Road” we stopped at the Logan Pass Visitor Center to get the Junior Ranger Book.

yellow Jeep

Then we hiked the Hidden Lake Trail and we have seen Bighorn Sheeps and Mountain Goats. On the way back we also hiked to the Avalanche Lake.
The next day we drove the whole „going to the Sun Road“. At Saint Mary Visitor Center Chiara has sworn to become a Junior Ranger. After that we hiked to Fishercap Lake and Grinell Lake, on our walk back we saw a Moos, but he showed us only his back. On our way back we saw a black bear and a Grizzly.

Best time to visit the Park?

As with most national parks, the best time to visit Glacier National Park really depends on what you want to do. Summer is the park’s busiest season. Keep in mind that you cannot drive the whole Going-to-the-Sun Road until the snow melts; most years, it’s fully open between late June and the third Monday in October. High-country trails sometimes are not snow-free until early-to-mid-July. July and August are the peak months for visitors with July being a particularly good month for waterfall viewing. Wildflower lovers will be pleased to know that different species bloom all summer long. most visitor facilities are closed from early October to late May. The park is typically buried in snow from November to April, but it is still open to visit.

There is a free downloadable Going-to-the-Sun Road audio tour.

Once you get to the park, you can use the free Going-to-the-Sun Road Shuttle that stops at many points of interest. However, because so many people visit during such a short window during the summer, the shuttle is often packed.

Top 15 of Glacier National Park

  1. Drive Going to the Sun Road – the main 50 miles road going through the park
  2. Go to Grinell Lake
  3. Hike Avalanche Lake (Lake McDonald)
  4. See Many Glacier
  5. Enjoy Hidden Lake and Hike To Hidden Lake Overlook (Trailhead is located next to Logan Visitos Center)
  6. Visit Logan Pass
  7. Take on Trial of Cedaras
  8. Kajak on Fishercap Lake
  9. Eat breakfast, or Dinner at Many Glacier Hotel
  10. Explore Lake McDonald
  11. Jump in the water at Bowman Lake (we didn’t but try it, and let me know how you liked it)
  12. Explore MANY GLACIER AREA LAKE JOSEPHINE AND GRINNELL GLACIER)
  13. Book a “red jammers tour”
  14. Lake Josephine is known for its sunrise views
  15. Hike To Grinnell Glacier: Grinnell Glacier Hike is an 11.28-mile out-and-back trail

Hike ideas

Here are some hikes for more information and back country hikes visit Glacier National Park Website.

  • Avalanche Lake (Lake McDonald) is a moderate, 4.6-mile (round trip) hike with stunning lake views. The first section of the hike—the Trail of Cedars—is an accessible boardwalk.
  • Hidden Lake (Logan Pass) is a moderate, 5.4-mile (round trip) hike with an elevation gain of 1,325 feet which starts from the west side of the visitor center.
  • Grinnell Glacier (Many Glacier) is a strenuous, 7.6-mile (round trip) hike that begins at the Many Glacier Hotel. However, you can shave off 3.4 miles by taking two shuttle boats with Glacier Park Boat Company, crossing Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. Then you begin the 1,840-foot climb to the turquoise waters of Grinnell Lake.  
  • Grinnell Lake easy, 7.1 Mile round trip.
  • Iceberg Lake (Many Glacier), 9.7-mile hike (in and out) with 1,275 feed elevation. Bears and Elkes are common here.

Camping and accommodations

Glacier National Park Lodges are open between May and September and bookable 13 months in advance:

Lake McDonald Lodge (Lake McDonald Area)

Village Inn at Apgar (Lake McDonald Area)

Many Glacier Hotel (Many Glacier Area)

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins (Many Glacier Area)

Rising Sun Motor Inn and Cabins (St. Mary, East Glacier Area)

 

RV Campgrounds / Park campgrounds

Lake Five Resort

St. Mary KOA Campground & Lodges – East Glacier National Park, St. Mary, Montana (goglacier.com)

Johnson’s of St. Mary

Camping in Glacier National Park is a great option for budget-conscious travelers. Most of Glacier’s campsites are open from mid-June to early September.

Many Glacier Campground – Reservable 6 months in advance

St. Mary Campground – Reservable 6 months in advance

Rising Sun Campground – Normally first come, first-served but closed in 2021

Other reservable campgrounds on the western side are Apgar Campground and Fish Creek Campground, both sites are reservable 6 months out.