what to do near glacier national park

Glacier National Park and Beyond

what to do near glacier national park

Glacier National Park

river in montana

Traveling Gingerbread Tips:

  • Get an early start. Parking is limited and fills up as quickly as 9:30am at popular trailheads. 
  • We stayed at a lodge in Hungry Horse outside West Glacier. It was more affordable, less crowded, and only 15 minutes from the entrance of Glacier National Park.
  • The grocery selections were very limited in the handful of stores surrounding the park. At the market near our lodge in Hungry Horse, only a box of whole wheat pancake mix and a canister of grits occupied the shelves in the breakfast aisle. 
  • There are multiple boat inspection stations on the way to Glacier National Park. All boats must be thoroughly cleaned and inspected before entering Glacier National Park to prevent aquatic invasive species such as Quagga and Zebra Mussels.
  • Dress in layers. Visiting in early September, mornings were cool and foggy, but temperatures increased as much as 30 degrees by late afternoon. We also experienced drastic temperature changes during even short hikes through various landscapes.

North Fork Valley

mcgee creek glacier national park

forest and fire trail glacier national park

north fork valley glacier national park

  • To reach North Fork Valley, turn left after entering the park onto Camas Road and continue past McGee Creek. The 1.1 mile Forest and Fire Trail near Camas Creek winds through a forest burned by wildfires in 1967 and 2001 now alive with new growth and colorful wildflowers.

Lake McDonald

lake mcdonald glacier national park

  • Lake McDonald, the largest lake in Glacier National Park, is nearly 500 feet deep and 10 miles long. There are many trailheads along the lake in addition to McDonald Lodge, a swiss chalet, offering 3 dining options, a gift shop, and general store.

McDonald Falls

mcdonald falls

  • Stairs descend from Going-to-the-Sun Road to the McDonald Falls Overlook.

Trail of the Cedars -> Avalanche Lake

us hiking in glacier national park

  • Avalanche Lake Trail begins at Trail of the Cedars Nature Trail, an easy 1 mile boardwalk loop trail through a hemlock and cedar forest. About halfway through the trail, a sign directs hikers to Avalanche Lake Trail (an additional 4 miles round trip).

canyon along trail of the cedars

avalanche lake glacier national park

  • Avalanche Lake Trail begins along Avalanche Gorge Creek, continues through the forest, and emerges into a glacially carved amphitheater. While admiring Avalanche Lake, look for waterfalls in the surrounding mountains created by runoff from Sperry Glacier, hidden above the mountains.

Going-to-the-Sun Road

view from going to the sun road

Traveling Gingerbread Note: Watch out for falling rocks! While driving along Going-to-the-Sun Road a small dust shower was followed by a falling rock landing on the roof of our van. 
driving along going to the sun road

view along going to the sun road

  • Going-to-the-Sun Road is the only road through the East side of Glacier National Park. The portion of the road between Avalanche Creek and Rising Sun is not for the faint of heart. The road hugs a steep cliff with falling rock on one side and a deep valley on the other.

Three Falls Trail

three falls trail glacier national park

glacier national park three falls hiking

baring falls three falls trail

the base of baring falls

  • Three Falls Trail is a 2.8 mile one way hike to Baring Falls, St. Mary Falls, and Virginia Falls. The trail begins at Sun Point parking lot. From Three Falls Trailhead, Sun Point is .1 miles to the left and Baring Falls, pictured above, is .6 miles to the right. The hike to Baring Falls provided beautiful views of Mary Lake, but felt much longer than .6 miles!

Logan’s Pass

logans pass glacier national park

  • Logan’s Pass is the highest point accessible by car in Glacier National Park and mountain goats are frequently seen in the area. Parking can fill up as early as 8:30am due to the popular 1.5 mile trail to Hidden Lake Overlook and 3 mile trail to Hidden Lake. If you aren’t able to arrive early, parking spots open up around sunset, but keep in mind it will be a very dark drive on Going-to-the-Sun Road to the park exit. 

West Glacier

The Old Belton Bridge

original entrance to glacier national park

us at old bridge

    • The Belton Bridge, referred to by locals as Old Bridge, was the original entrance to Glacier National Park. The bridge built over the Flathead River in the 1920’s, is now only open to pedestrian traffic making it a popular fishing and picnic spot.

    Middle Fork of the Flathead River

    scenic flathead river float in glacier

    • We enjoyed a relaxing float down the Middle Fork of the Flathead River along Glacier National Park’s Southwest border. Glacier Guides also offers kayaking, rafting, and fishing trips.

    Hungry Horse

    Hungry Horse Reservoir

    hungry horse reservoir west glacier

    • The Hungry Horse Dam, 15 miles South of Glacier National Park, is on the South Fork of the Flathead River. The Hungry Horse Reservoir is 34 miles long. The many bays with bright cyan water along the 170 mile shoreline are a popular weekend destination for locals.

    Hungry Horse Glacier View Ranger District

    Hungry Horse/Glacier View/Spotted Bear Ranger Stations

    • Hungry Horse Glacier View Ranger District borders Glacier National Park and the Flathead River. Follow the road past 10 Hungry Horse Drive and turn left at the fork to reach Hungry Horse Dam, pictured above.

    Nearby Breweries and Distilleries

    Coram: Glacier Distilling

    glacier distilling company

    • Low on whiskey during a snowstorm, a group of friends had an idea to never be depleted of whiskey during a blizzard again, they would make it themselves. In addition to whiskey, Glacier Distilling also offers vodka, gin, rum, liqueur, brandy, absinthe, and bourbon. Order a spirit flight of 4 or a handcrafted cocktail from an extensive drink menu. Next door Josephine’s Bar and Kitchen offers a menu of small plates and sandwiches. We recommend Mule Kick, a rye whiskey infused with jalapenos, garlic, and peppercorn, and Huckleberry Gin.

    Whitefish: Bonsai Brewing Project

    beer flight

    • Enjoy a menu of hotdogs, sandwiches, salads, burgers, bowls, and snacks including vegan and gluten free options in the eclectic tap room or in the large outdoor space. Bonsai Brewing Project has flights of 4 and half pours available to sample the 10+ beers on draft.

    Columbia Falls: Backslope Brewing

    beer flight at backslope brewing

    • Backslope Brewing offers a delicious menu of bowls, sandwiches, salads, and small plates to enjoy in the taproom or on the outdoor patio. Order a flight of 4 to sample the 10+ beers on draft. We recommend the chicken and rice bowl with a side of mac and cheese to compliment a pour of River Runs Deep, an imperial saison aged in wine barrels. 

    Polson: Glacier Brewing Company

    beer flight at glacier brewing compnay

    • Glacier Brewing Company‘s pet friendly tap room and outdoor patio has 10+ beers on draft. We recommend Cow in a Coal Mine, a foreign stout, and Slurry Bomber Street, a milk stout.

    Waterton Glacier National Park Map

    Traveling Gingerbread Note: Unfortunately during our visit Going-to-the-Sun Road was closed at Rising Sun. 

    August 2020


    3 responses to “Glacier National Park and Beyond”

    1. travelerdon Avatar

      Absolutely love it! Elee and I will be going to Whitefish for a destination wedding there in 2021. I’ll be sure to save this link as we’ll want to review it for our trip! We will spend probably 5 days there plus the wedding!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The Traveling Gingerbread Avatar

        Thank you! 🙂 That will be a beautiful location for a destination wedding! Glacier National Park was one of our favorite parks we visited this year. We definitely recommend taking a few days to explore.


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