Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park was one of our main stops on a recent tour around the northwest and it was definitely unexpected.
We arrived on the east side of the park late in the day (we drove from southern MO all day). Our drive into the park was certainly spectacular. In fact, I remember saying over and over how intimidated I was by the peaks, fully nervous for the next day’s hike.
Once we got through the park gates on the eat side of Going to the Sun Road, we checked out the hotel we were staying in that night (Rising Sun Motor Lodge) and took a drive down as far as we could go. At that time it was Jackson Glacier Overlook. We stopped, looked around, saw a few bikers head up the road, so we followed on foot. Usually roads aren’t our #1 choice of a hike, but it delivered with the views. We got passed an avalanche sign and around a pretty stunning corner when Tom got antsy to check out the road to Many Glacier, so back we went and northward.
Upon driving on the (extremely rough) road to Many Glacier, we arrived at Swiftcurrent lake and we were blown away. The peaks, the hotel were beyond. So much so we switched our hotel and stayed there instead. This ended up being an amazing choice because not only did we get the sunset of a lifetime, we saw a momma moose and her baby.
The next day we woke up to rain, which followed us the whole way at the east side of Glacier. We debated which hike to do, terrified by the sheer amount of bears which seemed to be visible on every single route we took. But we sucked it up, chose Iceberg Lake based on a local suggestion and sat in the parking lot convincing each other that we just need to do this. So we did. And I’m a bit glad we took the time to psych each other up because we ended up starting when a group of girls from LA showed up and we conveniently joined them for the trip.
They were 3 of the most amazing girls. We talked the whole way (and clapped for bears), got soaked to the bone by the torrential rain, but saw some absolutely beautiful sights. We definitely recommend this, especially deeper into the summer where you may get to see Icerbergs in the lake (we saw only a sheet of ice). But nonetheless, it was stunning.
After a 12 mile hike and a completely ruined phone (UGH to my forever loved Marmot jacket that failed me), we headed to the Swiftcurrent Inn to wash up in their campground bathrooms. At that time we stumbled on a few cabins that were to die for. And of course, we switched our hotel AGAIN to the cabins. Now these cabins were an absolutely must. They have everything but a toilet and shower, but were the most adorable little places.
So we drank a lot of wine, and hit the sack pretty early (we were exhausted). And so came the morning when we packed up for Banff.
But our trip to Glacier doesn’t stop there. On the way back from Banff we went to the west side as our flight was out of Kalispell. We didn’t have much time here. We stayed in a dorm at Lake McDonald Lodge (also to die for), and opted to ride bikes up Going to the Sun Road because of lack of time. This was great, minus the horrendous thunder and lightning storm that came suddenly and made me want to cry (I actually did cry). But to be fair, there was a lightning strike that was close enough to even scare Tom.
From there it was on to the twin beds in the dorm room for sleep.
And finally, on our las day, on the way to the airport (with more time than we needed), we heard GTTSR was open!! So we turned around and added 2+ hours on to our trip to the airport and drove it. SO. WORTH. IT. Even thought it was foggy as could be, to see the views, the sheer cliffs, and the amount of snow still on the peaks was astounding. So if you go, try to head in late June so you could check it out too.
Overall, worth it. But pack the bear spray - you’ll need it.