If you read my post about the wonders of Glacier National Park, and it’s decline due to climate change, then you’re ready for this article! As I said, Glacier was my most cherished National Park that I had the pleasure of visiting on my cross-country road trip.
Not only is it referred to as the Crown of the Continent, but it is also an International Peace Park, pretty cool stuff. It was stunning, and I want you to have a wonderful experience too, so here’s some guidance for planning your Glacier adventure!
First off, the weather is constantly changing in Glacier National Park, so you need to update yourself on the climate before packing. The weather effects which roads are open, if you are able to camp, which attractions are running, etc. Be sure to check before going!
It was freezing when my boyfriend, Brad, and I visited in mid-September, so we did not camp, but camping is a great option! If you choose not to camp, here is some lodging info you may want to consider:
- The three main areas in Glacier National Park are Many Glacier, Lake McDonald, and Apgar. Within these three areas, there are both nicer lodging options, and motor-inns for a cheaper price. Lake McDonald is probably the most popular, & most historic, but Many Glacier, where we stayed, was lovely as well.
We stayed in the Many Glacier Hotel, which was their nicer lodging option in that area of the park. Although the hotel was going through a rehabilitation project at the time, it was just as lovely in that cozy Swiss-style Interlaken Lodge. The room was costly, but well worth it, with our own balcony leading us out to a glacial lake.Sometimes you just have to pay for the experience itself!
- Motor-Inns: If you’re looking for something a little less costly, the motor-inns are perfect! Like I said, Many Glacier, Lake McDonald, & Apgar all have motels/motor-inns as well, which are more affordable. Although, Swiftcurrent, the motor-inn at Many Glacier, did not look quite open when we wandered by after our hike up to Grinnell Glacier. If Switfcurrent is closed, there is the option to stay at the Rising Sun Motor Inn, just a 10-minute ride from Many Glacier, on Going-To-The-Sun-Road. All of the previously mentioned lodging can be found on Glacier National Park’s website. Or, if you’re looking to stay at Apgar Village Lodge or Motel Lake McDonald, click here.
- Backcountry Chalets: If you really want to get the full experience, there is the option to hike to a backcountry chalet. The Sperry Chalet and the Granite Park Chalet are the available backcountry options at Glacier National Park.
- Other Options: The small town of Saint Mary lies on the outskirts of Glacier National Park, and can provide lodging as well.
As far as food goes, the 3 main areas, Many Glacier, Lake McDonald, and Apgar, provide dining options within their lodges. The Interlaken Lodge in Many Glacier, offers a dining room containing some of the most delicious food I have ever had. Brad and I dined on mushroom stroganoff drenched in the most succulent gravy, and freshly caught glacial trout peppered with the perfect amount of seasoning. It was delicious, but other than that one meal, we opted to save our money and eat on the camp stove. We also grabbed some munchies and booze at the grocery store in Saint Mary, so that is an option as well.
What To Do
- Hiking: There are trails that range in mileage and difficulty throughout Glacier National Park. Unfortunately, we did not have enough time in Glacier, but we did get out on a few trails during our stay! The Grinnell Glacier hike was absolutely breathtaking, placing so many different critters in our path, including big-horned sheep. A couple others that we enjoyed were the Iceberg Lake Trail & Swiftcurrent Pass.
- Boating: Currently all park waters are closed to boating. But, they offer boat tours & kayak rentals at Glacier National park, giving you a unique way to see the glaciers.
- Cross-Country Skiing/Snowshoeing: Grab your gear and hit the powder up at Glacier! Within Glacier National Park there are trails for both snowshoeing & cross-country skiing, but make sure to check online to see if certain trails are open first.
- Bicycling: If you prefer not to drive, you can cycle through the roads of Glacier. Be sure to bring your own bike, I did not see anything about bike rentals during our stay.
- Driving: Glacier is a huge park, so you will need to drive around a little, especially if you want to ride the windy Going-To-The-Sun-Road, which whips through lovely Logan’s Pass. On this drive you will also pass by little Wild Goose Island in St. Mary’s Valley. Many other beautiful vistas are trails are scattered throughout this area as well. You really can’t go wrong in Glacier!
Well, that’s just about all the advice I have for your Glacier Trip! If you’re interested in more Glacier photos check out my photo gallery, and follow Brad and I on Instagram @meandering.martians. Have a great trip, and contact me if you need anymore tips!