Glacier National Park Travel Guide

Your visit to Glacier National Park is one of a kind, so is our guide.
glacier national park travel guide
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Last Updated
August 8, 2023
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Planning a trip to Glacier National Park? Here are some tips and recommendations: When is the best time to visit, what's the best way to get around, and what to do? If you're planning a summer trip to the park, you'll find the conditions to be ideal.


About Glacier National Park

As one of the first national parks in the United States, Glacier National Park has been a favorite destination of hikers and outdoors enthusiasts for over a century. Located in Montana, the park is home to some of the most stunning scenery in the country, with towering mountains, pristine alpine lakes, and dense forests.

Although it is best known for its dramatic landscape, Glacier National Park also offers a variety of other activities for visitors to enjoy. In addition to hiking and camping, the park also has several historic sites that tell the story of its native peoples and early explorers.

With over 1 million acres of land, Glacier National Park is a popular destination for hikers and campers. The park has over 700 miles of trails, including the popular Continental Divide Trail. There are also many opportunities for fishing in the park’s lakes and streams.

Whether you’re looking for an adventurous vacation or a relaxing getaway, Glacier National Park is sure to have something for you.


Why Go to Glacier National Park

There are many reasons to visit Glacier National Park. Not only is the park open year-round, but it has distinct charms in every season. In fact, summer and fall are generally considered the best times to visit Glacier National Park. However, if you're planning a longer visit, consider taking advantage of the winter months, when lodging costs are lower and the park is much less crowded.

Nature lovers will love Glacier National Park because it is home to more than 70 species of mammals. Since most of the land has been left untouched for decades, you're likely to spot bears, mountain goats, and moose. The park's diverse ecosystems also attract a wide variety of bird species and fish species.

While traveling through Glacier National Park, you should take advantage of the park's public transportation. There are many buses and shuttles that will take you through the park. During the summer months, the Glacier Park Express runs between Whitefish and Apgar, while the Going-to-the-Sun Road shuttle stops at various points of interest. You can also take advantage of the Hiker's Shuttle, which connects West Glacier, Apgar, St. Mary, and Many Glacier. There are also several tour companies that offer full-day tours of Glacier National Park.


Best Time to Go

There is no single best time to visit Glacier National Park. The park is open all year round, but summer and fall are regarded as the most popular times to go. Each season offers its own unique charms, and you'll want to plan your trip accordingly. In addition to a summer visit, there's plenty to do in the park during fall.

The best time to visit Glacier National Park depends on the kind of activity you want to do. If you're looking for low crowds, try going in the spring. Although it is cold, spring is also a beautiful time to hike or go biking. There is little traffic and the weather is still relatively cool.

The park's climate is erratic, so you should always be prepared. Depending on where you stay, summer days in the park can be hot, while winter months can be cooler. For example, if you're planning on backpacking through the park, June or July will be best. You'll have fewer crowds, and you can take advantage of the cool temperatures at Logan Pass.


How to Get Around

There are a few different ways to get around Glacier National Park. The Going-to-the-Sun Road runs through the middle of the park from West Glacier to St. Mary, and connects the park's many destinations. Along this road, you can visit the many glaciers and waterfalls, as well as Logan Pass, St. Mary Falls, and Avalanche Lake. The road is open during the summer, but closes completely in the winter. You'll want to pack appropriate clothing, as temperatures can drop to -30 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.

To get to the east side of Glacier National Park, take Highway 89. You'll get to see breathtaking views of the park's lakes and mountains. You can also take Highway 49, a curvy road through the park that offers stunning mountain vistas. Highway 49 will take you through the Two Medicine area of the park and is not suitable for RVs.

If you're not keen on driving, you can ride the park's shuttle system. It will take you to the major sites without the hassle of finding parking. To make the most of your trip, get there early. Parking in the park can be a nightmare!


Best Restaurants

If you're planning a trip to Glacier National Park, be sure to add some great restaurants to your itinerary. Here are some of the best places to eat near the park.

The Great Bear Cafe is a great spot for breakfast or lunch. The menu features fresh, local ingredients and there's something for everyone.

For dinner, head to Grouse Mountain Lodge. The lodge is located right at the base of Going-to-the-Sun Road and offers stunning views of the park. The menu features regional cuisine and there's a cozy fireplaces in the dining room.


Things to Do

If you're planning a visit to Glacier National Park, there are many different things you can do. There are hiking trails, wildlife viewing, and rafting opportunities. The park is located in northern Montana near the Canadian border. It's well worth spending at least three days exploring everything it has to offer.

To start your hiking adventure, head to the Many Glacier area. It's located about 45 minutes from the entrance at St. Mary, where most visitors start their journey. This area features a ranger-run information center and accommodation. The park is home to several hiking trails, including the Many Glacier trail, which starts from the park's Many Glacier entrance.

You can also book tours of the park. There are several different tour companies that offer them, and you can choose from a variety of packages. Tours can last as long as 9.5 hours and cost up to $50 per person. If you're interested in seeing the most of the park, make sure to book in advance to make sure you get the perfect tour for your needs.


Neighborhoods to Know

Glacier National Park is a million-acre natural paradise bordering Canada and the United States. Established in 1910, it is the poster child for the US National Park movement. It boasts towering peaks, plunging waterfalls, and glassy turquoise lakes that are surrounded by dense forests. Thanks to smart park management, the park has been able to retain its wild, pre-Columbian ecosystem.

In the northeast of the park, you can find the quaint town of Swiftcurrent. It is located just off of Highway 89 and offers multi-day hikes as well as lakeside picnics. You can also visit the historic Many Glaciers Lodge in Swiftcurrent for dinner.

There are three campgrounds within the park. The largest one is the St. Mary Campground, which is right next to one of the area's most popular hiking trails. Other nearby campgrounds include the Glacier Park Lodge and St. Mary Village. If you want to stay in a more remote location, try the Bowman Lake Campground. It is about 30 minutes from the west entrance. You can also stay at Wander Camp, which has yurts and good bathroom facilities.



Depending on the season, the weather in Glacier National Park can be cool or warm. July is the warmest month for this park, with average temperatures in the 60s and 70s. However, only a tiny fraction of tourists visit this park during the summer months. In contrast, fall weather is brisk and cool.

The climate of Glacier is influenced by the Pacific-Atlantic divide. This means there are a variety of microclimates and pockets throughout the Park. For example, the west side is warmed by the Alaskan current, which is the warmest air current over North America. This area is home to many tourist attractions, including the Lake McDonald Lodge, which is situated on the western side of the Park. In contrast, the eastern side of Glacier is cooler and windier from the Great Plains.

Winter months in Glacier are chilly, and heavy snowfalls can create a serious avalanche hazard. In contrast, summers are relatively mild, with daily highs and lows of around five to ten degrees Celsius lower than in Mount Revelstoke.




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