Glacier National Park
Photos capture a moment, but great travel experiences touch you. In Glacier National Park, an experience like that—a place, view, hike, paddle, even realizing the power of glacial geology—is a #MontanaMoment.
“I was walking back from a day hike in the high country of Glacier National Park when I took a detour to look for wildlife along the hillside across this lake. As I scanned the hillside with my binoculars I heard a huge splash in front of me. Startled, I almost dropped my binoculars, and found a massive bull moose 50 feet away. The moose had been completely submerged when I first arrived at the lake.” —Ronan Donovan
Inside Glacier National Park, you can climb to the mountaintops or drive the tunnels through them. Glimpse a cirque lake far across the glacier-carved terrain, or jump right into Lake McDonald with a stand-up paddleboard.
Outside the park, it’s just as varied. To the south, a million acres of roadless area make up the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex. Head west of the park to shop, sip and socialize in mountain towns like Whitefish and Bigfork. Or turn east, where your line of sight jumps out of the steep mountains and across a hundred miles of open plains.
To get a closer look at the 25 active glaciers remaining in the park today, hike your choice of more than 700 miles of trails. A favorite start is the Highline Trail along the Garden Wall rock formation–your entrance to a million acres of Glacier terrain.
“As I was taking this photo of my husband, David, I stood on the summit of Swiftcurrent Mountain, and it really hit home just how vast and impressive this special place truly is. He looked so small compared to the towering mountains all around him. The beauty of the landscape was nearly overwhelming.”
—David and Shannon Biegel
Historic Stays, Unforgettable Settings
The park’s historic log-constructed lodges remain open to the public today. They’re in such demand it’s best to book at least six months in advance, but it is worth it. Many Glacier Hotel is on Swiftcurrent Lake, a ways north of Glacier Park Lodge at the East Entrance to the park. Lake McDonald Lodge sits at the other end of Going-to-the-Sun Road near the West Entrance. For the more adventurous, the Sperry Chalet and Granite Park Chalet are hike-in-only lodges built back in 1914.
“We were on the road before the sun, urged on by the promise of hot huckleberry bearclaws from the Polebridge Mercantile. As we neared a fork in the road, a young grizzly lumbered out of a berry patch, sending clouds of warm breakfast breath into the cool morning air.”
Exploring the Area
Wander outside the park’s western border to the remote town of Polebridge, which hides near the end of the unpaved North Fork Road. This off-the-grid community is home to the Polebridge Mercantile—famous for its baked goods—as well as a rustic eatery and access to Glacier’s Northwest Entrance.