Go To Planning Guide for your Trip to Glacier National Park
Posted on February 18 2022
By Emily Wahlen
l Overlooking Hidden Lake - Two Tone Trees Trucker Grey with White Hat l
Don’t get me wrong I love a good Bridger Bowl powder day, but with current temperatures sitting below freezing, I can’t help but dream of those warm summer days. There is just something magical about summer days hiking up to glacial lakes and nights spent watching flames dance around the fire. My favorite place on the planet is Glacier National Park, once warmer weather hits I find myself itching to get up there.
Even with the cold front still in full effect, I’ve got plenty of ideas for this summer and I like to start my planning early. When planning my summer trip, I usually start with talking to friends from the area, they tend to know the “inside scoop” about what to do. Then I turn to guide books and blogs to read up on specific hikes or activities I want to do. I’ve noticed that for Glacier at least there are plenty of very well written and informative blogs. Once I get to my location, I always stop in and talk to a park ranger they know all everything about the park from where the bears are to where the tourists aren’t.
Be sure to check with Glacier National Parks official website while planning your trip and while you are at the park. It is the best place to stay up to date on weather conditions and to be notified of any alerts within the park.
Since I’ve done quite a bit of talking about my favorite summer destination I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite things to do and see in Glacier.
l Views from driving Going to the Sun Road l
1. Driving the “Going to the Sun Road”
If you enjoy the thrill of driving on small winding roads on the side of a mountain, you are in for a treat. This road showcases the magnificence of Glacier – large mountains, waterfalls and can’t forget about the glaciers! There are plenty of places to pull over and enjoy the scenery and maybe snap a few Instagram selfies with a mountain goat. Side note: don’t actually try to take a selfie with a mountain goat, it is frowned upon and could end poorly for you and the mountain goat. Also, be sure while driving this stretch of road not to look down, the drops are steep enough and high enough to make a grown man cry.
l Dipping my toes in Avalanche Lake l
2. Avalanche Lake
By far one of the of the best quick hikes in the park. The hike to avalanche lake is only 4.5 miles round trip. I fully recommend getting there super early because it does get crowded but with good reason. Avalanche Lake is a stunning glacial lake and not super cold, so wade on in. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled because grizzly bears are commonly spotted around the lake. On that note, also remember to bring your bear spray.
l Trail to Hidden Lake in the early morning. It's like your head is in the clouds. Two Tone Trees Trucker l
3. Hidden Lake
Another quick and awesome, but super popular trail, is the trail to Hidden Lake. It starts out on a gravel path up at Logan Pass but quickly turns to dirt. Look out for mountain goats, there are usually a few hiding near the beginning of the trail. Hiking this trail in the morning is fun because the low hanging fog makes it feel like your head is in the clouds. If you’re feeling adventurous, continue the hike past the viewing area, and head down to the lake. Not many people head down to the lake so it’s a great place to relax in your hammock, eat a snack and take those super embarrassing yoga Instagram poses you’ve been dying to try.
l Enjoying a huckleberry bear claw from the Polebridge Mercantile wearing our Life is Better in the Mountains Fleece l
4. Huckleberry Bearclaws & Huckleberry everything really.
If you haven’t tried the magic that is a huckleberry, boy you are missing out. Growing up I was always told not to eat strange berries, I’m glad I didn’t follow that rule because huckleberries are the best! As I say this I feel I should add the caveat to make sure it’s a huckleberry you are eating not anything else. Also, when in a huckleberry patch, stay vigilant because humans aren’t the only ones that like huckleberries. Bears love huckleberries! After you’ve tried a fresh huckleberry now it’s time to make the trek to Polebridge to grab a huckleberry bearclaw. The Polebridge Mercantile has everything you need to fill your huckleberry desires but it’s known for its bearclaws. Hands down one of the best bearclaws I have ever consumed, I’m certain I ate four. I washed all the bearclaws down with a huckleberry margarita at Home Ranch Bottoms. Some might say I like huckleberries too much, I call those people crazy.
The Highline Trail – if you’re looking for a trail that’s a tad bit longer (11 miles roughly) and looks over the entire park, this is your hike.
Kintla Lake – Are you looking for a lake off the beaten path where you can live out your inner John Muir fantasy? This lake is for you.
Deadwood Falls – depending on where you start, you can make the hike to deadwood falls long or short. It’s an awesome little waterfall, the water is freezing though. Seriously, my toes could only handle it for about a minute.