Glacier Nationwide Park is without doubt one of the hottest parks within the Nationwide Park Service, but these guests who aren’t fortunate sufficient to attain both a resort reservation contained in the park and/or automobile reservations to drive Going-to-the-Solar Highway would possibly discover themselves annoyed with restricted entry to the park. However don’t despair, even when your time throughout the park is restricted, there are many enjoyable and adventurous issues to do close to Glacier Nationwide Park. In spite of everything, magnificence and nature don’t cease on the park borders!
Once I visited Montana final fall, I solely spent at some point exploring the park, however then loved per week doing different actions close to Glacier Nationwide Park. Visiting GNP could be an train in persistence coping with full parking tons, bumper-to-bumper visitors, ready in traces, and crowded mountaineering trails — under no circumstances what persons are searching for in an “outdoorsy” trip. (See my ideas for visiting Glacier Nationwide Park in September!)
Don’t fret! Go to Glacier, tick the field, stamp the passport, purchase the t-shirt, see the highlights and scenic drives…then transfer on to all of the issues to do exterior of Glacier Nationwide Park.
The place to Keep Close to Glacier nationwide Park
Word: My journey to northwest Montana was sponsored by Glacier Nation Tourism, however all opinions are my very own. I additionally visited Glacier Nationwide Park as a visitor of Pursuit Glacier Park Assortment to overview these inns. This publish incorporates affiliate hyperlinks. In case you click on a hyperlink and make a purchase order, I could obtain a small fee.
Earlier than we get to all of the issues to do round Glacier Nationwide Park, let’s first work out the place to remain close to Glacier Nationwide Park, particularly since getting reservations inside the park requires some critical advance planning and many driving to get from one part of the park to the opposite.
If you’re going to be visiting most of the points of interest and actions close to Glacier Nationwide Park, you may be higher off staying west of the park, in West Glacier or the encompassing areas, as most of the issues to do close to Glacier Nationwide Park are higher accessed from the areas west of the park.
Belton Chalet, West Glacier
The Belton Chalet sits simply exterior of the West Glacier park entrance, inside a brief stroll to West Glacier Village and the purchasing, eating places, and actions supplied there. It’s the first of the long-lasting lodges constructed by the Nice Northern Railroad as an effort to carry tourism to the world, opening its doorways in the summertime of 1910.
This Swiss-style chalet presents 25 rooms and suites within the lodge, together with two, three-bedroom cabins, that are excellent for households. With its location and measurement, rooms ebook up quick so it’s best to attempt to make your reservation once they open up 13 months upfront. The comfy rooms function queen beds and small loos, with a captivating decor becoming for this historic property.
On-site, you can even benefit from the foyer fire, downstairs recreation room with video games, together with shuffleboard and ping pong, and refill on a scrumptious dinner on the Belton Chalet Faucet Room. It is a excellent selection for exploring Glacier Nationwide Park and the Flathead Lake River and Nationwide Forest.
Whitefish & Kalispell
There are many different choices west of the park, together with glamping resorts like Underneath Canvas, however if you’re searching for an extended keep after spending a few days within the park, I’d suggest sticking to one of many bigger cities, which additionally supply extra facilities and providers. Grouse Mountain Lodge is a well-liked selection, providing spectacular mountain views, recreation choices, and trendy lodge lodging, all inside hanging distance of the charming ski-town of Whitefish.
Staying in Kalispell to the southwest of Glacier will present extra finances choices as there are a variety of chain inns simply exterior of the downtown. Plus, whereas there are nice eating places and breweries on the town, the world by the freeway and inns additionally has superstores, chain eating places, and quick meals/quick informal choices. Once I visited, I stayed on the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Kalispell, which was fairly handy and good.
Seek for different choices:
Issues to do Close to Glacier Nationwide Park
After visiting Glacier Nationwide Park, some folks like to go north throughout the border into neighboring Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park in Canada to remain on the Prince of Wales Resort, or they head as much as the Canadian Rockies to see Banff and Jasper. Nonetheless, there are many issues to do close to Glacier Nationwide Park proper in Montana – no passport required!
Listed below are a number of of the issues to do exterior of Glacier Nationwide Park that gives you that outside trip and journey you might be searching for.
Drive an hour south of West Glacier for probably the most distinctive outside experiences you’ll ever have — trekking with llamas. In spite of everything, who desires to go for a daily hike when you’ll be able to go on a hike with llamas? Swan Mountain Outfitters will introduce you to your llama for the journey and knowledgeable information will take you into the Flathead Nationwide Forest to get pleasure from a picnic lunch by a waterfall.
You don’t want to fret a few factor on this family-friendly trek because the information packs the lunch and the llamas carry it for you. Or, you’ll be able to go for a shorter, adults-only afternoon trek with wine. The llamas are so awkwardly cute that it’s unimaginable to not smile. Extremely suggest this exercise for anybody that wants psychological well being break.
Kayaking or paddleboarding
There are lots of rivers and lakes to get pleasure from in Northwest Montana exterior of the well-known ones in Glacier Nationwide Park (e.g. Lake McDonald, St. Mary Lake, Avalanche Lake or Hidden Lake.) You may get pleasure from kayaking or paddle boarding on Whitefish Lake, fly fishing on Flathead River, and boating on the immense Flathead Lake.
One of many extra distinctive and enjoyable methods to get out on the water is to paddle the Clearwater River Canoe Path. Positioned on the shore of Seeley Lake and surrounded by Lolo Nationwide Forest, Tamaracks Resort gives gear rental and a shuttle service to get pleasure from a lazy, three-hour scenic float down the Clearwater River Path. Alongside the best way, you might even see wildlife alongside the river together with turtles, fish, birds, and possibly even a moose.
Sundown Cruise on Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake is the most important freshwater lake in Montana, and in the entire Western U.S. by floor space, if you happen to exclude Alaska. It’s over 27 miles lengthy and 15 miles broad on the widest level. It averages 164 ft in depth, however it may possibly rise up to 370 ft deep. Additionally it is one of many clearest lakes in the US. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, together with the Montana Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, who handle the lake work exhausting to make sure it stays clear and clear by inspecting all watercraft for invasive species.
With a mess of coves carved into an irregular shoreline and a number of islands within the lake, it’s best to discover Flathead Lake by boat. Flathead Lake Charters presents half or full-day fishing charters, the place you’ll be able to fish for lake trout, pike, yellow perch, whitefish, rainbow trout, bass, kokanee salmon, and a few bull trout. In case you don’t need to go fishing, Uncover Flathead Lake presents personal scenic boat excursions of most of the stunning coves alongside the lake, with a cease on Wildhorse Island for a hike.
Nonetheless, a night sundown cruise to look at the colourful glow on the Mission Mountains as you discover the shoreline and cliffside views of Rocky Level and the Flathead River is a visit spotlight when visiting Glacier Nation. Convey your personal drinks and snacks and sit again and take in the pure magnificence.
While you’re exploring Flathead Lake, remember to spend a while within the darling little city of Large Fork. This charming, artsy city feels prefer it could possibly be in a Hallmark film, with cute boutiques, galleries, and cafes.
Hike By the Cedars
Couldn’t get a parking spot on the trailhead for the Path of the Cedars in Glacier Nationwide Park? That’s okay. You may stroll by means of an enormous cedar grove at Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Space in Libby, Montana. It’s a lengthy drive to get there however one of many enjoyable issues to do exterior of Glacier Nationwide Park is to take a scenic drive by means of stunning Montana anyway (plus you’ll be able to go to some waterfalls alongside the best way).
Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Space is a grove of western pink cedars with an interpretive strolling path a few mile lengthy. Among the timber are as much as 400 years previous and attain eight ft in diameter. The scenic space is off of Freeway 56, up a four-mile lengthy entry highway that winds up and round to the car parking zone.
The path takes about one hour to discover if you happen to cease and browse the intepretative indicators that explains the world’s ecology and historical past.
There are lots of waterfalls in Glacier Nationwide Park, comparable to Virginia Falls and Saint Mary Falls, however you can even discover stunning waterfalls throughout Northwest Montana. Columbia Mountain Path, which isn’t removed from the park, has three waterfalls alongside the path.
Additionally, about two-and-a-half hours from the park, in your method to Ross Creek Cedar Path, you’ll discover Kootenai Falls, one of many largest free-flowing waterfalls within the Northwest. The falls space is a sacred web site to the Kootenai folks and it was as soon as a spot the place tribal members communed with religious forces. Right now, you’ll be able to comply with strolling trails all the way down to the river’s edge and alongside the falls.
It is a beautiful spot for a picnic or you’ll be able to cease within the city of Libby for lunch at Cupboard Mountain Brewery first. There’s extra to do than simply benefit from the waterfalls although. A pleasant, pretty simple hike, with stunning views will carry you to the Kootenai Suspension Bridge. This bouncy however sturdy bridge presents a distinct perspective of the quickly flowing river and brings you to different stunning overlooks alongside the other financial institution.
Zipline and Journey Course
In case you are searching for journey a little bit nearer to Glacier Nationwide Park, the Glacier Highline is the proper spot to carry the household. This journey park presents over 50 completely different highline and ropes course actions. There are ziplines, a treetop journey course, mountaineering wall, Tarzan swing, and even an inflatable impediment course and waterslide.
Whitefish Mountain Resort additionally presents ziplining, an alpine slide, a treetop journey course, and even tubing in the summertime! For these not fairly so thrill-seeking, the resort presents scenic chair elevate rides and mountaineering trails to get pleasure from, all just one hour from Glacier Nationwide Park.
In case you are searching for thrills, strive white water rafting alongside Class II – III rapids on the Flathead River. The Glacier Raft Firm presents half, full, and multi-day rafting journeys on the scenic Center and North Fork of the Flathead River. These areas are throughout the Flathead Wild and Scenic River designation and are collectively managed by Glacier Nationwide Park and the Flathead Nationwide Forest.
In case you aren’t positive if you’re prepared for the joys of the rapids, there are additionally scenic float choices that allow you to glide alongside and recognize the gorgeous surroundings with out drumming up your adrenaline. Glacier Raft Firm is conveniently situated proper in West Glacier Village, however different rafting firms additionally function close by together with Glacier Guides, Montana Raft Firm, and Nice Northern Resort. Simply remember the fact that reservations are required and later within the season, the water could also be too low or gradual for rafting.
Many individuals go to Glacier Nationwide Park hoping to see wildlife (simply hopefully no shut encounters with grizzly bears), which is why you must all the time be ready with bear spray and recreate responsibly. Nonetheless, if you happen to depart Glacier Nationwide Park with out recognizing any wild creatures, don’t fear. The Park isn’t a zoo and the wild animals wander all through the state. You might simply encounter a bear testing the picnic space of a city park (true story — occurred to us in Large Fork however fortunately it was only a black bear.)
I might be stunned if you happen to spent any size of time close to Glacier Nationwide Park and didn’t encounter not less than some deer or elk alongside your drives, which is why you all the time want to remain alert, particularly when driving at night time.
Nonetheless, if you would like a close to assure of spying wildlife, drive two hours south of Glacier Nationwide Park to go to the Bison Vary. The Bison Vary, which has been restored to federal belief possession for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), is dwelling to 350 grownup bison. The Bison Vary is a pay-to-enter, fee-use space that encompasses a customer middle and a 24-mile scenic loop.
Guests ought to plan on taking a number of hours to drive the one-way loop, however when you have much less time, you’ll be able to drive a decrease part of the loop earlier than turning again when it switches to one-way solely. Along with bison, there are additionally elk, white-tail and mule deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and black bear, together with over 200 species of birds within the reserve.
Go Mountain Biking
There are lots of biking trails close to Glacier Nationwide Park, together with the ten.5 mile paved Gateway-to-Glacier Path that runs from Hungry Horse to West Glacier and the Whitefish path for starting and intermediate mountain bikers. Glacier Information presents bike leases for these wishing to bike Going-to-the-Solar Highway, together with e-bikes, and even gives guided biking journeys.
For one thing more difficult, Whitefish Mountain Resort presents downhill mountain biking with two lifts and over 25 miles of downhill trails from newbie to professional.
With so many issues to do close to Glacier Nationwide Park, you’ll not get bored. Simply pack your bug spray, solar display, mountaineering boots, cozy garments, water bottle and purchase some bear spray and prepare for journey.