Glacier National Park

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Glacier National Park

Post by tman9940 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 9:55 am

We will be in Glacier NP September 10th-17th. Who has been here and has suggestions on hikes? Staying two days on the west side, and 5 days on the east. We are also heading to Waterton NP in Canada for a day. So far we plan on doing : Avalanche Lake, Highline Trail, Hidden Lake overlook, Grinnel Lake, Iceberg Lake.

Furthermore, we have a tricky flight situation. We fly from Philly to Den (southwest) then Denver to Missoula (Frontier). We have about a 5 hour layover, so not too concerned about getting bags and having to recheck them in with Frontier since we have a lot of time. Coming home We fly Missoula (united) to Denver then Denver to Philly (southwest). We only have a two hour layover in Denver..and have to get our bags and recheck them in, and get through security in that time frame. Anyone have any suggestions on how to avoid this? I've thought about shipping my bags separately to avoid the hassle. Thanks for any advice!

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by EggCarton » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:31 am

I visited Glacier in late June and visited both sides of the park. It is beautiful and you will have a great time. Some of the hikes you have listed were unavailable to me because of snow cover.
On the west side of the park, we enjoyed hiking Avalanche Lake and John's Lake Loop. My sister also hiked Apgar Lookout and said it was enjoyable. When hiking Avalanche Lake make sure to continue around the actual lake. Many people stop when the trail opens up at the water. However, you can continue on and end up at/near the waterfalls.
On the east side of the park, I suggest Iceberg Lake, Grinnel Lake, and Siyeh Pass. Siyeh Pass will take you right past Red Rock Falls. We weren't able to complete Siyeh Pass because of a rock slide covering the trail, but just before the slide there was an amazing overlook of the valley below (one of my favorite views from the trip).
Some of the hikes can be done in conjunction with a boat tour/ride. I recommend this. Not only does it cut miles off of the actual walking, but it also provides a different perspective of the park.
I also highly recommend the ranger talks and finishing each day at the closest lodge with drinks and snacks. You can bring your own food and drinks and each lodge has nice seating overlooking amazing scenery.
Should you opt to carry bear spray, I believe the cheapest location to buy it is at any Super 1 grocery store.

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by travelspot » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:57 am

We went a few years ago and loved the hike to Grinnell Glacier. You can shave some miles with the optional boat ride from Many Glacier Hotel, which is a nice way to start and end the trip.

The views on this hike are fantastic. We also saw plenty of wildlife including bighorn sheep and grizzly bears.

The Highline Trail you chose is also fantastic. Enjoy!
If you don't do stuff, then you don't do stuff.

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by Sasquatch » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:24 am

We camped at glacier many years ago in late August. We headed home the first week of September in a snow flurry. Thought I would throw that in so you can pack a couple of extra layers just in case. It’s an epic place for sure

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by jbmitt » Fri Jul 19, 2019 11:27 am

I personally don’t recommend offline airline connections. Especially not with only two hours, involving Frontier or via Denver. I’ve found Frontier to have a lot of delays in and out of Denver. Denver is currently in the middle of major renovation on top of being busy. I’d suggest that if you have to recheck bags that only one member of your party does it and hopefully they have TSA precheck.

Can you get everything to carryon size? You should be able to go from Concourse A to Concourse C without re-clearing security.

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by lthenderson » Fri Jul 19, 2019 2:31 pm

One of my favorite hikes is the Highline Trail from the Logan Pass Visitor Center to the Granite Park Chalet. We usually end up at the chalet end and hike a short trail down to the road. There are regular shuttles to catch back to the Visitor Center or more often, we just hitch a ride. The best part about the hike is that the trail is almost always deserted except for the hordes of people on the last quarter mile at either end.

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by ensign_lee » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:09 pm ... -hikes.htm

I chose my hikes in the park based on this.

Seems like you have a solid itinerary already between Grinnell and the Highline.

If you have the legs for it, you can combine Grinnell with Iceberg Lake in the same day; or go to Ptarmigan.

It's the best park in America. Enjoy it. :)

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by skp » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:21 pm

Your list is good. But I think it's a good idea to be flexible. I had a list last year when we went. The iceberg lake trail was closed to bears and the whole west side of the park was closed due to wildfires. Think flexible.

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by stockrex » Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:55 pm

I was there nearly 20 years back.

Just drove through, the one thing I will mention is that if you are afraid of heights, please drive from North entrance to South, so you are on the inside lane of the Sun Road (if my memory is still good).

I still wake up with cold sweats from that driving experience with big azz campers on the inside lane. :shock:

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by Jeff 59 » Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:06 pm

I think you have a terrific list of hikes. The park is absolutely beautiful!

One hike that you have not listed that we really enjoyed is Virginia Falls. It's on the east side of the park and only three or so miles long, but it takes you past a few different waterfalls.

Two other tips that may or may not be useful. We purchased the map from and found ourselves looking at it over and over again because of a lack of cell phone reception inside the park. It's a very detailed and comprehensive map and helped us easily find the trails we wanted to hike.

If you happen to have a Facebook account, there is large Glacier National Park group on there. It's a really well run page and there is a vast amount of knowledge and experience at your disposal if you have any sort of specific question in regards to your trip. The pictures shared aren't too shabby either. Have a wonderful trip!

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by Nestegg_User » Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:14 pm

ensign_lee wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 3:09 pm ... -hikes.htm

I chose my hikes in the park based on this.

Seems like you have a solid itinerary already between Grinnell and the Highline.

If you have the legs for it, you can combine Grinnell with Iceberg Lake in the same day; or go to Ptarmigan.

It's the best park in America. Enjoy it. :)

Ptarmigan route might be a bit much for many, especially all the way up to the tunnel and over to the other side. I remember some group coming up (about 1/3 of the way) asking if they were almost there.... I shook my head and said something like "not even close" and there was a look on their faces on hearing about the rest of the way (I suspect that they turned around). Other times, bear activity closed many of the routes around Many Glacier; last year the fires closed Sprague, Avalanche, and a couple more campgrounds.... we were going to be there (after our Yellowstone stay) but had to cancel because of the fires and outages.

ETA: Stockrex.... almost everyone starts at the west entrance.... it's a Loooong way around to get to the east side without going over the Going to the Sun Road (I had to do it once when they closed Logan Pass due to heavy snowstorm....remember there's only the gas station at the St Marys area (unless they've added something)... so you need to be prepared)

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by FIREmeup » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:00 pm

I've copy and paste what I quickly wrote up for a few friends who visited after we went in September 2014. We combined it with a trip up to Banff and Lake Louise for some hiking up there.

You chose a great time as the crowds are less and everything should still be open. By then it can be pretty chilly at night so that will help minimize the bugs. It is a beautiful park. As someone mentioned be sure to have back ups as trails can be closed. We were slated to do Mount Brown Lookout Trail but there was high bear activity which closed it so we continued on to Snyder Lake Trail. A nice hike but I wouldn't recommend because every other hike we did was draw dropping.

The Highline was breathtaking and is a must. Try and be flexible and do that on a clear day if you are able to jockey the day you do that hike.

Enjoy! Be sure to get bear spray and bring a good camera.


Flew into Kalispell. There is a Costco, Walmart and Cabelas nearby. Picked up water, snacks and bear spray. It was then a short drive to Glacier. Stayed at the Apgar Village Lodge the first night on Lake Macdonald. Pretty area. Ate at Belton Chalet, cool semi-localish bar and restaurant.

Planned on doing the Mt Brown Lookout hike but was closed due to bear activity, so we continued on the Snyder Lake Trail, wasn't really worth it but didn't have a choice at that point. Driving along Going-To-The-Sun Road there is a short trail on a boardwalk called Trail of the Cedars. Literally one mile on a board walk. Cool quick little get out and stretch hike and the end has a small waterfall into this pool that was crystal clear water. Very pretty and serene and worth the 20 minutes.

Basically drove the entire going to the sun road, it is stunning. Did the Highline Hike. That is a must. It's 11 miles one way…during the summer they have a trolley that will take you all the way back to the pass…the trolleys were already closed in late September so we did from Logan Pass to Haystack and then back…I think it was like 6 miles one way. Great hike, goats and rams all over the place. Ate at Two Sisters that night. Weird/cool place but not many places to eat near there. Have to be careful as things including the road close down around October.

That night we stayed at very fancy cabins. Peaceful. Slept like babies. Then went to the Many Glacier trailheads the next day and hiked to Ptarmigan Tunnel. Many Glacier is an awesome lodge on a lake there, has to be booked very early, would do that if able to as there are a lot of many great hikes right there including Iceberg Lake. Saw bears and moose in this area.

The Ptarmigan hike was pretty grueling but very cool. When you go through the tunnel at the end it is like two different landscapes. That actually continues on for many miles where you can go to an overnight chalet but we went back. Be careful of bears as you do walk through a huckleberry patch for a while. ... k-29634259 ... eports.htm

if you go down on the page it has the different areas and trail reports to tell you if the trail you want to do is open yet.

Food in the area ate at

They have fancy seating and a bar room with all the same food. it was cool…be sure to get a Moose Drool Beer somewhere.

Second night ate here

Strange place but good, wasn’t many places open by the time we were there.

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by TxAg » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:02 pm

I recommend the bakery at Polebridge if you get a chance.

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by Silverado » Fri Jul 19, 2019 10:09 pm

Siyeh Pass from the Sun road was a favorite of ours. Can be tough, but awesome going across the pass. Park at the end and shuttle to start.

Backside of Pigean Pass from Many Glacier was also nice, very quiet out there, can loop a bit and come back by Grinnell Lake. We had a nice lunch while looking at Feather Plume Falls.

Two Medicine trails are nice. Can go around lake, and bail with boat if needed.

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by barneycat » Sat Jul 20, 2019 6:26 am

We went in late June and had an incredible time.

Iceberg Lake trail stood out among all of the hikes we did. The trail runs deep into the park and ends at lake with icebergs floating in it - in the middle of the summer! And because it's a bit off the beaten path and relatively long for a day hike we had the trail to ourselves for most of it. You will definitely need water and bear spray though. The trail re-opened the day we hiked it after being closed due to bear encounters and we came across several bears (and two cubs) along the way. Funny story about that, a week later when we met up with a friend from Montana for his wedding I showed him a picture of the bears and he said "wow, your zoom is really good." I said, "no zoom, that's with a fixed lens" and he paused and said "dude, too close."

Other trails worth doing: Highline and Two Med. All mentioned in previous posts.

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by CardinalRule » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:06 am

Thanks for sharing that. We will be visiting GNP at basically the same time as the OP, and I just joined the Facebook group after seeing your post. It does look helpful and active.
Jeff 59 wrote:
Fri Jul 19, 2019 4:06 pm

If you happen to have a Facebook account, there is large Glacier National Park group on there. It's a really well run page and there is a vast amount of knowledge and experience at your disposal if you have any sort of specific question in regards to your trip. The pictures shared aren't too shabby either. Have a wonderful trip!

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by Calhoon » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:23 am

Did St Mary's/Virginia falls on the way in, which was a good place to start. Quick one.

For sure do Highland pass stands out going from logan pass to the chalet and than down to a loop, where you can pick up a shuttle back to logan pass.

Glacier Lake also stands out. The girls swam out to the iceburgs and back which they through was pretty cool, and on the way back we ran into a mother bear and her cub on the trail. Nothing happened, the cub was just eating huckleberries, but it was on a bend where we didn't see them until we were closer than I ever want to be to a mother and her cub.

What I regret missing was the stargazing programs the park puts on. We didn't do this until later in our stay...and of course clouds rolled in and you couldn't see anything. Think that would've been pretty cool.

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by Mickey7 » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:54 pm

Glacier National Park is great. You will definitely be rewarded with your choice of hikes. If you need some flexibility shoot for Two Medicine. A boat will ferry you out and you choose the hike you want. I took the southerly route and basically came up on a moose. Way too close for me, but I backed off slowly, very slowly. Coming back from Iceberg Lake a few snowflakes fell, no big deal until you realize it was the middle of July.
Next year for me again.


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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by Quirkz » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:55 am

Glacier is one of my favorite places on earth. Not sure I've got much to add that hasn't been covered, but if you can take advantage of any of the park/ranger programs, all the ones I've attended have been good. Take a little time to just sit on the shore of any of their lakes. Always keep an eye out for bear and other wildlife. The whole park is lovely. I've been there twice and can't wait to go back many more times.

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Re: Glacier National Park

Post by tman9940 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 7:03 pm

Thank You all for the suggestions and advice! I am a part of the group on Facebook...the pictures are amazing. We will be driving up from Missoula after spending a night there. Is the National Bison Range good for a stop either going or coming back from Glacier?

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