Referred to as the “Crown of the Continent,” Glacier National Park features gorgeous waterfalls, diverse wildlife, glacier-capped mountains, and breathtaking aquamarine lakes. In addition to the scenery, it offers activities that will attract any explorer or nature-lover. If you’re planning to visit Glacier National Park, this post is perfect for you.
Located on the border with Canada in northern Montana, it is one of the most popular national parks in the country. Although it remains open all year round, many tourists flock to the park in the summer months, i.e., late June to mid-October is the best time to visit Glacier National Park.
Things To Do During Your Visit to Glacier National Park
With over 700 lakes, many hiking trails, and guided tours, you’ll need to have an itinerary to explore everything the park has to offer. To help you get started, here are a few things that you can do at Glacier National Park.
The Going-to-the-Sun Road is open only during the summer months, which is why we recommend that time to plan your visit. Stretching 50 miles long, this road offers one of the most beautiful drives through the mountains, all the way to Logan Pass. Due to its popularity, you can expect a decent amount of traffic along this road.
The majestic scenery includes natural gems like Lake McDonald, St Mary Falls, Avalanche Lake, Grinnell Glacier, and Swiftcurrent Lake. Each of these feature unique activities, for example, boat tours and horseback riding at Lake McDonald, hiking at St. Mary Falls, having a picnic at Avalanche Lake, and kayaking at Swiftcurrent Lake.
The hiking trails at Glacier National Park range from a short hike to one of the lakes to longer, adventurous trails deep into the park. Trail of the Cedars takes you on a one-mile easy hike into a thick forest full of cedar trees, whereas the Highline Trail is over eleven miles long. The hike to Grinnell Glacier is more challenging, but with rewards of emerald green lakes, wildlife, waterfalls, and beautiful scenery. A hike to the Hidden Lake can give you a chance to stargaze under the night sky and spot the Milky Way.
Glacier National Park’s diverse habitats allow for a variety of wildlife, from Bighorn sheep, Mountain goats, and Elk to the rare Lynx, Harlequins, Mountain Lions, and Bears. You can spot some of these on your hiking trails to Grinnell Glacier or on the Highline Trail.
Concentrate on the views and not the driving by taking one of the guided bus tours of the park, or immerse yourself in the grandeur of its epic lakes with a scenic boat tour combined with a guided hiking tour.
Glacier National Park’s signature Red Jammer tour allows you to explore and learn about the park’s highlights. These vintage touring vehicles seat 17 people, with 4 across on bench seating and 1 front passenger seat. The roll-back tops are perfect for providing full views of the stunning mountains, and the area’s signature Big Sky. Due to the snug quarters with limited space, the Red Bus tours tend to sell out on a daily basis, so make a reservation at least one day in advance.
Glacier National Park may be know for its beautiful Glaciers and mountains but it is also home too many beautiful lakes. Glacier Park Boat Company offers boat tours on two historic wooden boats — Chief Two Guns on Swiftcurrent Lake and Morning Eagle on Lake Josephine. The boat tours take visitors on narrated tours of Lake McDonald, St. Mary’s Lake at Rising Sun, Two Medicine and Many Glacier. Guided hikes are included in the price of the boat tour or you can do a self guided hike. Reservations require a minimum of one day advance notice due to limited seating.
What You Need to Know Before Planning Your Trip
Booking early for your visit to Glacier National Park is important since it’s a popular destination spot. For instance, the Glacier Boat Tour is booked at least 6 weeks in advance.
If you plan on entering the park through the Going-to-the-Sun Road, you will need to book a reservation for the summer of 2021. Moreover, you cannot bring an RV or a trailer for the narrow road. Hence, you should consider opting for the park shuttle or the Red Bus tour.
Lastly, since the park features abundant wildlife, remember to keep your distance and carry bear spray.
When you visit Glacier National Park, remember to take lots of pictures of the charming scenery and collect souvenirs such as this Glacier National Park Mug.