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bootlegga Glacier National Park - A travel report by James
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Glacier National Park,  United States - flag United States -  Montana
9572 readers

bootlegga's travel reports

The Crown of the Continent

  15 votes
Page: 1 2
Glacier National Park offers a variety of ecosystems, from prairies to mountains. Together with the Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada, it formed the world’s first International Peace Park in 1932.

Weeping Wall Waterfalls
Weeping Wall Waterfalls
The park has it all. Massive glaciers, old-growth forests, deep ice-cold lakes, and plenty of wildlife. It is the only national park in the USA where ALL its natural carnivores survive. Grizzlies, Black bears, wolves, lynx, and cougars thrive. Such a large population of predators means that there are also huge numbers of elk, deer, mountain goats, and moose. The park also has plenty of birds, from trumpeter swans to bald eagles to ducks to hummingbirds. Water from the glaciers in the park run thousands of kilometers into the Pacific Ocean, Hudson’s Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Most of the park closes for the winter, due to cold weather and poor visibility, so I would recommend making your trip during summer or fall. Even during the summer, Logan’s Pass can be very windy and cold.

Favourite spots:
Logan Pass
Logan Pass
The most impressive place in the park is the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which runs from the eastern park entrance, up over the Continental Divide in Logan’s Pass down to the west park entrance. In doing so, you gain an elevation of over 2000 metres and drive through the clouds and past some stunning scenery.

Once you make your way into the mountains, there are plenty of waterfalls to gaze at and if the weather is even slightly inclement, you can expect at least part of your drive to be through the clouds! Built in the 1930s, it is not a drive for the faint of heart. There are many places where there are shear drop-offs measured in hundreds of metres, so it can be a little nerve-wracking…and the road is so narrow and the turns so sharp in places, that vehicles longer than 21 ft (six metres) long or 8 feet wide are not permitted past Lake McDonald (west) or Saint Mary Lake (east).

What's really great:
Bird Woman Falls
Bird Woman Falls
The park is filled with wildlife and natural beauty. From lakes, to mountains, to its eastern prairie edge, there is an incredible array of breathtaking scenery.

The view from Logan Pass
The view from Logan Pass
Besides the spectacular Going-to-the-Sun road, there are several other great sights. Many Glacier is a great place to for hiking. There are trails that head out past the areas lakes as well as high into the mountains.

Lake McDonald and St. Mary Lake on the Going-to-the-sun road are also well worth a stop. St. Mary Lake is over 1300m deep, so be careful not to fall in! Lake McDonald is an impressive 961m deep. You can either visit on foot, or by taking a scenic cruise of either lake for $14 US.

Another boat will let you tour Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes while in the Many Glacier area, while yet another tours Two Medicine lake in the southeast corner of the park.

Ridgeline near St. Mary, MT
Ridgeline near St. Mary, MT
There are a variety of lodgings in and around the park. Lake McDonald Lodge is a former hunting lodge converted to a hotel on the shores of Lake McDonald. Many Glacier Hotel is styled after a hotel in the Swiss Alps and looks pretty amazing, and comes with similarly amazing prices. The Rising Sun Motor inn offers more affordable lodging for about $100 US/night.

There are plenty of campgrounds throughout the park for those looking to camp. Just off main roads, there are over a dozen places. There are also almost 50 back-country campgrounds as well.

Mt. Oberlin on the Going-to-the-Sun Road
Mt. Oberlin on the Going-to-the-Sun Road
There are plenty of small restaurants located throughout the park. Both Lake Mcdonald and St. Mary Lake have them as well as in the Logan’s Pass visitor centre and near both park entrances.

Otherwise, my suggestion is to bring a cooler full of food and some wood and enjoy an old-fashioned wood fire-cooked meal.

Other recommendations:
Flathead Lake
Flathead Lake
If you have time, head north and visit the other half of the Peace Park, Waterton National Park in Canada. It is a short drive (a little more than one hour from St Mary Visitor Center) through some stunning scenery and once there, there is plenty to see and do, including fishing, hiking, camping, canoeing, and golf.

The jumping off point for Glacier National Park is nearby Kalispell, MT. It is only about 30 minutes from the west entrance and offers everything a visitor could need. While there, you can tour Flathead Lake (the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi in the United States ) by boat or stop in and explore the Conrad Mansion, a museum that has showcases luxurious life in the late 19th century.

Published on Wednesday September 14th, 2005

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Tue, Sep 27 2005 - 02:18 AM rating by magsalex

Great report.

Fri, Sep 16 2005 - 07:37 PM rating by gloriajames

I enjoyed the read!

Thu, Sep 15 2005 - 11:14 AM rating by eirekay

Wonderful Report with great photos - I am ready to strap on my backpack and head out!

Thu, Sep 15 2005 - 05:23 AM rating by bear495

Great job, James. I really like that part of the country.


Thu, Sep 15 2005 - 02:41 AM rating by rangutan

Beautiful and excellent! I miss an old-fashioned wood fire :-)

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