Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
Post Reply
Topic Author
fishmonger
Posts: 694
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:20 pm

Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by fishmonger »

Hi all,
Family and I (DW and two kids 11 and 10) are planning on traveling to Glacier Natl Park next July for a week. Our home base will be in Whitefish, MT. Good friends of ours live there, so our plan is to hang with them for a few days, and then bounce around on a couple of day trips. My first idea was to do Glacier and Yellowstone in one shot - we live in NH so realistically it'll be a while before we'll be in this part of the country again. But too much driving for only 7 days.

We are veterans of the Natl Park system so that will be the bulk of our trip. That being said, what are some close day trips that are worthwhile - Missoula? Blackfeet Indian land? Our interests are varied but include hiking, fishing, history, craft beer and sports.

Any recs are appreciated on places to stay as well. Thanks!
FreddyC
Posts: 36
Joined: Mon Jul 06, 2015 7:25 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by FreddyC »

There will be lots to offer based on your interests. If you decide not to drive to Yellowstone, there are plenty of parts of Glacier NP to explore beyond the obligatory stops along the Going-to-the-Sun road. Polebridge has lots of charm and the lakes are very fun. For sports, kids will love to try the whitefish resorts summer activities, including zip-lining and alpine slide. And check out a rodeo for some local sporting flair. Columbia Falls has a fun one- I’m sure there are others if you want to explore.
User avatar
lthenderson
Posts: 5623
Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 12:43 pm
Location: Iowa

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by lthenderson »

Last time I went to Yellowstone and Glacier during July it was bumper to bumper traffic and hordes of people everywhere. The only thing that made me enjoy the trip was getting off on the trails and hiking. After a 1/4 mile, the trail traffic would thin out and we would have them to ourselves until we got within another 1/4 mile of a terminus. That was 40 years ago. I can't imagine it's gotten any better.
User avatar
vitaflo
Posts: 1519
Joined: Sat Sep 03, 2011 3:02 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by vitaflo »

Probably smart to skip Yellowstone if you only have 7 days. You could easily spend 7 days in Yellowstone and not see everything you want, it's just a massive park.

You have a great resource if you're staying with friends who live in the area. They would know more than anyone. That said, don't sleep on the national forests. Kootenai and Flathead national forests are near Whitefish. If you're into nature and have a capable vehicle (or your friend does) national forests are a great way to see nature without the massive crowds the national parks bring.

One thing to keep in mind since you said you're in NH, everything out west is very far apart. If you're used to the east coast this can be a bit of a shock. I love this aspect but you're doing to be going a lot of driving if you want to get between destinations. Almost all the roads (what few there are) are single lane too, so it's easy to get stuck behind a semi or an RV. Keep all this in mind when you're planning day trips.
ScubaHogg
Posts: 774
Joined: Sun Nov 06, 2011 3:02 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by ScubaHogg »

If you only have 7 days skip Yellowstone. It’s a hike between those two points.

- it’s kinda a pain from Whitefish, but I thought the area around Swiftcurrent Lake was really cool

- uh, the part of Blackfeet lands that I saw was not something I would seek out on a vacation. Really just depressing. Maybe there is a different area though...
“Unexpected Returns dominate the Expected Returns” - Ken French
Random Poster
Posts: 2377
Joined: Wed Feb 03, 2010 10:17 am

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by Random Poster »

Not exactly close, but if you like western art then go to the Charlie Russell museum in Great Falls.

And hit Helena to visit the state capitol. Take a guided tour to see the murals in some of the rooms.

Bullman’s (in Helena and Kalispell) has pizza that is worth the drive from out of state.

If you are in Glacier, might as well go to Waterton in Canada too, but that can make for a long day.
User avatar
MrBobcat
Posts: 611
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:19 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by MrBobcat »

lthenderson wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 8:37 am Last time I went to Yellowstone and Glacier during July it was bumper to bumper traffic and hordes of people everywhere. The only thing that made me enjoy the trip was getting off on the trails and hiking. After a 1/4 mile, the trail traffic would thin out and we would have them to ourselves until we got within another 1/4 mile of a terminus. That was 40 years ago. I can't imagine it's gotten any better.
No it hasn't though it's been 15ish+ years since we last went through. We couldn't even stop at Logan Pass as it was full with cars parked on the road a good mile each way. Drive from west entrance to east and back again. Pretty disappointing. We were staying with friends in Kalispell and figured let's take the kids, pretty drive but not much stopping to hike/look around.
SmallSaver
Posts: 227
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:34 am

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by SmallSaver »

As with all parks, if you get 1/2 mile from the road you will have a vastly different experience. If the kids are up for it, the highline trail from macdonald pass to the bend is a great day hike. Whitefish is a nice place to hang out with some good breweries. Polebridge is also worth checking out, the drive keeps it quieter. If you want to explore the area a little and like adventure, the Mission Mtns south of there are pretty wild. Missoula is fine, but I wouldn't make the 3 hour drive just to hang out there. You can easily spend 7 days in glacier checking things out if you get off the going to the sun road. If you want to camp, there are a bunch of campgrounds around the hungry horse reservoir which, while crowded, might be easier to get into than the park cgs. If you want to camp in the park, book EARLY! There is great mountain biking around whitefish, so you could rent some bikes (I'm sure people run tours too). Likewise, I suspect the ski hill has zip lines, chair-assist hiking, and the like.
inverter
Posts: 493
Joined: Mon Jul 27, 2015 1:40 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by inverter »

I would just hang out around Glacier National Park, Whitefish, and Kallispell. In August, I got a cabin on Flathead Lake and there was plenty to do in hiking and water sports right in that area.

No need to go to Wyoming.
User avatar
CardinalRule
Posts: 583
Joined: Sun Jan 15, 2017 11:01 am
Location: United States

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by CardinalRule »

ScubaHogg wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:37 am
- uh, the part of Blackfeet lands that I saw was not something I would seek out on a vacation. Really just depressing. Maybe there is a different area though...
The drive between East Glacier and Browning is a nice, scenic drive. Maybe 25 miles? Yeah, Browning itself will strike many as rather bleak, sadly. I certainly didn't want to spend a lot of time there. It would be an educational and cultural-economic experience for kids, though.

https://www.google.com/maps/dir/East+Gl ... 569174!3e0

We visited the Glacier NP area last fall, when the crowds were less. July can be pretty crowded in the park. I agree with others that also hitting Yellowstone in one relatively short trip doesn't make logistical sense.
Wilderness Librarian
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Idaho

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by Wilderness Librarian »

A rule of thumb I try to apply is that the time on the ground at the primary destination should equal or exceed the RT driving time or it is probably not worth leaving home in the first place. With 7 days at destination that would mean 3.5 days one way driving. Possibly doable haven't checked but no matter what that drive back is likely to be really fatiguing especially with several day trips from base. Your kids are going to be crabby and you probably will too. Not saying you shouldn't do this but make sure you take all of the other posters seriously.
User avatar
fishandgolf
Posts: 638
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 2:50 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by fishandgolf »

lthenderson wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 8:37 am Last time I went to Yellowstone and Glacier during July it was bumper to bumper traffic and hordes of people everywhere. The only thing that made me enjoy the trip was getting off on the trails and hiking. After a 1/4 mile, the trail traffic would thin out and we would have them to ourselves until we got within another 1/4 mile of a terminus. That was 40 years ago. I can't imagine it's gotten any better.
DW and I spent our honeymoon at Glacier.....June 1977. We stayed at several of the lodges.......really enjoy our time there. We plan to revisit this majestic treasure within the next year or two.........Traffic was crazy, crazy on the weekends.

A few years ago, we traveled to Little Bighorn Battlefield......Custer's Last Stand. Back in the day when I was still in short pants, it's place that I always wanted to see. I really enjoyed it..........spent the entire day walking throughout the area.
SmallSaver
Posts: 227
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:34 am

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by SmallSaver »

Oh yeah, look into staying at one of the backcountry lodges. It won't be cheap, but they're really cool and a great way to spend time out there if your family isn't the backpacking type. You need to reserve basically the minute they open up the system, so be ready for that.
rich126
Posts: 2457
Joined: Thu Mar 01, 2018 4:56 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by rich126 »

Never been there in the summer. Years ago went skiing at Big Mountain before they changed their name. Wonderful experiences. Stayed at Grouse Mountain lodge but that was 20 yrs ago.
Wilderness Librarian
Posts: 238
Joined: Sat Jun 23, 2018 8:50 pm
Location: Idaho

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by Wilderness Librarian »

Just remembered another point. Many years ago I ran into a group of adults (multiple families) who had driven several times over the years from NH to where I saw them (I think British Columbia not that far from Glacier in Montana but can't remember) They figured out best route was to go through Quebec and way way north through Ontario (farther north than trans Canada). They would drive continously through the night trading drivers and spend first day just resting not going anyplace at all then do active hiking. I realize with Covid you can't do this but you might keep this routing in mind for future years.
Topic Author
fishmonger
Posts: 694
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:20 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by fishmonger »

Thanks all. Thought I made it clear in my post that we are NOT entertaining doing Yellowstone, so just looking for additional ideas within a short drive from Glacier (3 hrs or so)
User avatar
MrBobcat
Posts: 611
Joined: Fri Jan 11, 2019 5:19 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by MrBobcat »

fishmonger wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:23 am Thanks all. Thought I made it clear in my post that we are NOT entertaining doing Yellowstone, so just looking for additional ideas within a short drive from Glacier (3 hrs or so)
If you have access to a boat it's kind of fun to drive around the shores of Flathead lake and look at the big "cabins". We always went in around the Bigfork area. That being said Whitefish lake probably has it fair share of big cabins too.
SmallSaver
Posts: 227
Joined: Mon Mar 26, 2012 11:34 am

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by SmallSaver »

fishmonger wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:23 am Thanks all. Thought I made it clear in my post that we are NOT entertaining doing Yellowstone, so just looking for additional ideas within a short drive from Glacier (3 hrs or so)
The thing about Montana is it's big and empty. So there are a half dozen mountain ranges within 3 hours of Whitefish, but not a lot of infrastructure. If you like camping out and hiking peaks I can can suggest a bunch of stuff, otherwise I'm not so sure.

Something else to think about (these are coming to me sporadically) would be to stay over on the east side of the park for a few days. It's a pretty long haul over there from Whitefish for a day trip, but the east side ecology is noticeably different from the west due to the rain shadow. Kind of a neat ecology lesson if you're into that, and pretty different scenery.
quantAndHold
Posts: 5197
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by quantAndHold »

7 days, including the drive to and from NH? You’ll barely have time to do Glacier properly. If you’re from New England, you’ll be surprised at how *far* it is from place to place. There’s plenty to do nearby. If you get FOMO and try to do everything, you’ll just spend the whole trip rushing around in the car.

If you’re staying with friends or family, ask them what to do. They live there and presumably know what’s worthwhile.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
Topic Author
fishmonger
Posts: 694
Joined: Fri Jan 31, 2014 2:20 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by fishmonger »

quantAndHold wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:03 am 7 days, including the drive to and from NH? You’ll barely have time to do Glacier properly. If you’re from New England, you’ll be surprised at how *far* it is from place to place. There’s plenty to do nearby. If you get FOMO and try to do everything, you’ll just spend the whole trip rushing around in the car.

If you’re staying with friends or family, ask them what to do. They live there and presumably know what’s worthwhile.
Not driving, flying
Oilcans
Posts: 49
Joined: Tue Mar 27, 2018 12:50 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by Oilcans »

If I were you I would go on Glacier National Park Travel Forum through Trip Advisor and post the same question. You will get some excellent advice in addition to the folks here. There is a lady who lives close by to Glacier named MaryEllen who will probably put together a daily itinerary for you, as she has done for many. She provides great advice. We are going to Glacier and Banff next July also. Hope this helps.
phxjcc
Posts: 779
Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 3:47 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by phxjcc »

Going to the sun road is a good day.
They TRY and have it open by July 4.
Watch the film at the ranger station.
Stop at the top and hike to see the Rocky Mountain goats.
It is an easy hike.
Wife got shamed into it after the octogenarians said "aren't you going to go, dear?"

You won't believe the clarity of the water.

Any short day hike is a treat.
If boondocking, get bug spay--they have a couple months to eat, so they can be voracious.

Afternoon thunderstorms are no joke--and can blow up in an hour.

Food is pretty good on the western side.

Have fun, it is a magical place.
quantAndHold
Posts: 5197
Joined: Thu Sep 17, 2015 10:39 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by quantAndHold »

Bring warm clothes. I’ve been snowed on up there on July 4.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.
User avatar
willthrill81
Posts: 23588
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:17 pm
Location: USA

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by willthrill81 »

Be prepared for the Going to the Sun Road to not be fully open. If the snowpack is heavy this year, which the Old Farmer's Almanac is predicting (all the skiers I know in the PNW swear by it), it could be late July before the road opens. It didn't open until July 13th this year. I would schedule the trip for late July or early August if you can. By then, the flowers should be in full bloom.

Glacier is a hiker's paradise. The Continental Divide Trail goes right through the park.

Nearby Flathead Lake is beautiful and has some great boating opportunities.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
jmg229
Posts: 355
Joined: Mon Jan 31, 2011 1:21 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by jmg229 »

If you're going to be there in late July, you might take a day to try searching out some huckleberries (August is more ideal, but you might get lucky in late July). It's a fun day hike activity and there's a ski resort near Whitefish that always has some.
ralph124cf
Posts: 2653
Joined: Tue Apr 01, 2014 11:41 am

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by ralph124cf »

Many Glacier Hotel on the shore of Swiftcurrent Lake is worth consideration. $$$.

Also consider one of many glacier day hikes. One of the few places that you can still walk on an actual glacier in the lower 48.

Ralph
User avatar
Watty
Posts: 21844
Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2007 3:55 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by Watty »

I am not sure specifically about Glacier but many of the national parks, campgrounds, restaurants, hotels, etc in the west need to bring in summer employees from out of the area and they may need to stay in some sort of dorm or crowded summer employee housing that might not be possible in a pandemic.

Bringing in summer employees like that also takes a lot of advance planning probably starting in the winter and with the pandemic they may not be able to make those advance plans to bring people in.

You may find that many facilities are closed, crowded, understaffed, or booked up very fast. Be sure that you have food in your car so that you can have a picnic meal instead of trying to find some restaurant.

Lots and lots of people are also planning to take trips with RVs, car camping, domestic hotel trips, etc because international travel will likely not be possible then. Be sure to make your reservations as soon as you can. If I remember correctly campgrounds in national parks open for booking something like 270(?) days ahead of time and people will stay up and book them as soon as they become available at midnight. The popular ones will be booked up within minutes of when they become available.

If you only have 7 days and you spend three of them with your friend then I would just try to find some place that you can book for 4 nights and use it as a basecamp. If there are lodges in the park that will be open they will be expensive but to me that would be be a worthwhile splurge if you can afford it since it is such a short trip. Again plan on booking the hotel the minute they allow you to made the hotel reservation.

Do not try doing the Road To The Sun drive during midday since scenic pullouts will likely be full and you will not be able to stop.


In particular pay a lot of attention to booking a rental car. Many of the towns in the area are tiny and there is only high demand for rental cars for a few months of the year so they have a very limited inventory of rental cars, and they will charge top dollar for them. I spent the summer in Missoula a few years ago and some of the people I was with had a lot of difficulty in finding a rental car when they needed one.
rockstar
Posts: 1347
Joined: Mon Feb 03, 2020 6:51 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by rockstar »

I went in August this year. Half of the park is closed. You can hit the major trails if you get to the parking lots around 6-7a in the morning. If you're staying in Whitefish, give yourself a good hour to get into the park. If you go that early, you don't have to pay to go in. I had a great time even with the pandemic going on. I do plan to go back when the rest of the park reopens. We spent a week exploring the park. If the other half was open, we'd probably need two weeks. And we didn't even consider the Canadian side.

One of the frustrating things we ran into at the park was trail closures due to bears. We did see one run across the trail to Avalanche lake. The trail closed the next day. One of the trails we wanted to do remained close due to bears the entire time we were at the park. Also, because the shuttles weren't running, we had to do Highline Trail in and out, so we only did half of it. This also meant a lot of traffic on the Going to the Sun road.

I do recommend reserving kayaks and spending time on Lake McDonald.

Finally, cell reception is terrible in the park. If you're using Google Maps, download the maps in advance. Also, I carried in inReach Mini to be able to keep in touch with folks while on the trial.

I also found this super helpful:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fnJVCXm8rZg
User avatar
Random Musings
Posts: 5908
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by Random Musings »

July is a brutal month to visit. I've been there both times in June with the roads luckily being open. Hopefully, Covid will ease by next summer which should make more parts of the park opened compared to this year and just make Glacier (my favorite NP) super busy. Just visit the hot spots early or later in the day and the less travelled ones in the middle. If you are staying with friends in Whitefish, I would hope they have reasonable knowledge about Glacier. Are you planning to spend some time with them?

Couple of thoughts. July has long days which you can use to do early and late in day driving for other road trips. Coeur d'Alene is beautiful and would be a long one day trip (7 1/2 hr round trip), but a really early start pre sunrise makes it doable, at least in my crazy way I do I some trips. Typically, we start the days around seven and get back in near or after sunset. Always can rest after your vacation. :D

Also, your kids are at the age where it might make sense, IMHO, to see Yellowstone. You did imply that you may not be out there again for a while, this may be the only opportunity to do this with your kids. They are at the age where seeing Yellowstone would be a fantastic experience with the geysers, pools, wildlife and so on. Same rules with hot spots early and less travelled during the busy middle of the day. But you would have to stay in the park to save time and again do some really early and late driving to get there and return to Whitefish. Unless you fly in and out of different airports.

You can easily spend a week around the Glacier area, would be more relaxing and spending some time with friends (but still dealing with Glacier crowds). Having two kids at those ages makes adding Yellowstone to the trip a compelling thought, with the caveat it will require some off peak driving to optimize visiting two great NP parks.

RM
I figure the odds be fifty-fifty I just might have something to say. FZ
CMD1
Posts: 135
Joined: Tue Nov 28, 2017 8:10 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by CMD1 »

+1 for the east side of the park (we camped at Medicine Lake and really liked it), note that it's not on the main going to the Sun road route so you'll have to seek it out. Take the historic boat across the lake and go hiking.

Also +1 for Polebridge, a must do is the bakery in the old historic building (post office?).
User avatar
Nestegg_User
Posts: 1638
Joined: Wed Aug 05, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by Nestegg_User »

remember that at St Mary's lake and east you are then on reservation land and they may restrict access, as they needed to do this year. You would need to transit through it to get to Many Glacier area or get to Waterton (Canadian part of the park, if it is open for US).

The trails on the Many Glacier side seem to have a bit more bear activity and thus closures....some times the Grinnell lake trail is open and other times not due to bears. The Ptarmigan tunnel hike is fairly strenuous, you DO need to be in shape to get to the top, but the marmots at the top can be friendly (if you're still enough they sometimes approach you (to lick salt off your boots)) but even that steep trail can be closed due to bears.

Also, there was significant fire activity two years ago, with most campgrounds closed; if there's a recurrence there will likely be no place to stay in the park, if it's open at all.

ETA: remember that there's only gas available in limited areas (and it's a LONG way around if Logan Pass is closed, {hmmm, ask me how I know}
User avatar
willthrill81
Posts: 23588
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:17 pm
Location: USA

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by willthrill81 »

Watty wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:08 pm In particular pay a lot of attention to booking a rental car. Many of the towns in the area are tiny and there is only high demand for rental cars for a few months of the year so they have a very limited inventory of rental cars, and they will charge top dollar for them. I spent the summer in Missoula a few years ago and some of the people I was with had a lot of difficulty in finding a rental car when they needed one.
When we visited Glacier for the first time, we brought our own vehicle but had some issues with it that needed repairing. During the day that it was in the shop, we rented a vehicle in Whitefish. For $60, we got a brand new, pumpkin orange Camaro convertible! We had the top down the entire day (in early August) and ran the heat in morning and the AC in the afternoon. It was a fantastic way to see the park and the best day we've ever had there! :D

To your point, rental reservations should, ideally, be made long in advance.
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
User avatar
willthrill81
Posts: 23588
Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:17 pm
Location: USA

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by willthrill81 »

Random Musings wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:58 pm July is a brutal month to visit. I've been there both times in June with the roads luckily being open. Hopefully, Covid will ease by next summer which should make more parts of the park opened compared to this year and just make Glacier (my favorite NP) super busy. Just visit the hot spots early or later in the day and the less travelled ones in the middle. If you are staying with friends in Whitefish, I would hope they have reasonable knowledge about Glacier. Are you planning to spend some time with them?

Couple of thoughts. July has long days which you can use to do early and late in day driving for other road trips. Coeur d'Alene is beautiful and would be a long one day trip (7 1/2 hr round trip), but a really early start pre sunrise makes it doable, at least in my crazy way I do I some trips. Typically, we start the days around seven and get back in near or after sunset. Always can rest after your vacation. :D
We live about 20 minutes from Coeur d'Alene, and it's a tourist mecca for good reason. It's in one of the most beautiful settings of any city in all of the West, especially inland. There is so much to do in the area that I would hate it for someone to merely drive to it and then turn around. At the least, it's worthy of spending a night there, preferably at the CDA Resort with a lake view room, if you can swing it. On a clear day, a hike around Tubbs Hill, just a couple minutes walk from the resort, offers stunning views. The downtown area is very vibrant. Lake Pend O'Reille, 45 minutes to the north, is spectacular as well and worthy of a day trip all by itself. The views from the top of Schweitzer Mountain of the surrounding mountains, lakes, and rivers on a good day are simply magical.

And while it's not as scenic, nearby Spokane has some lovely and fun places to visit. The wide array of flowers at Duncan Garden at Manito Park are breathtaking for most of the summer as is the nearby rose garden, and fall is very lovely both at the Japanese garden at the park and the not distant Finch Arboretum. The Spokane Falls downtown are impressive in April and May, and there are some very nice short hikes around the city. From June to November, Greenbluff is one of the very best agritourism areas in the PNW, offering a wide array of fruit with a few nice shops too. And the area is almost as well known as Portland for its craft brews.

In case you can't tell, I love where we live! :D
“It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don't keep your feet, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to.” J.R.R. Tolkien,The Lord of the Rings
jlawrence01
Posts: 1689
Joined: Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:34 am
Location: Southern AZ

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by jlawrence01 »

Watty wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:08 pm
In particular pay a lot of attention to booking a rental car. Many of the towns in the area are tiny and there is only high demand for rental cars for a few months of the year so they have a very limited inventory of rental cars, and they will charge top dollar for them. I spent the summer in Missoula a few years ago and some of the people I was with had a lot of difficulty in finding a rental car when they needed one.
I would agree with you on that point. In addition, I have also encountered 100 mi per day limits on vehicles rented in some of the western resort areas.

In the past when traveling to Montana during the summer months, we have flown into either Boise or Spokane and driven into the Montana national parks as the flights have been significantly cheaper as have been the rental cars. Some would argue that would involve a lot of driving. However, I would say that you are driving through some of the most scenic areas on North America and it was well worth saving a few dollars. In addition, it has given us a chance to stock up on groceries at Winco Foods prior to heading into the resort areas.
Norsky19
Posts: 105
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:25 am

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by Norsky19 »

I'm a native....
Start your day off eating at The Buffalo for breakfast in Whitefish. Order huckleberry pancakes. Amazing.
Do the walk of the Cedars on your way up to Logan Pass.
You do realize that Yellowstone is about 7 hours southeast of Glacier right?
Norsky19
Posts: 105
Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 3:25 am

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by Norsky19 »

Random Poster wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 9:42 am Not exactly close, but if you like western art then go to the Charlie Russell museum in Great Falls.

And hit Helena to visit the state capitol. Take a guided tour to see the murals in some of the rooms.

Bullman’s (in Helena and Kalispell) has pizza that is worth the drive from out of state.

If you are in Glacier, might as well go to Waterton in Canada too, but that can make for a long day.
Bullmans is good......Mooses is better. It's iconic to Montana. In Kalispell
User avatar
Random Musings
Posts: 5908
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:24 pm
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Glacier Natl Park and Montana

Post by Random Musings »

willthrill81 wrote: Sat Oct 03, 2020 9:23 pm We live about 20 minutes from Coeur d'Alene, and it's a tourist mecca for good reason. It's in one of the most beautiful settings of any city in all of the West, especially inland. There is so much to do in the area that I would hate it for someone to merely drive to it and then turn around. At the least, it's worthy of spending a night there, preferably at the CDA Resort with a lake view room, if you can swing it. On a clear day, a hike around Tubbs Hill, just a couple minutes walk from the resort, offers stunning views. The downtown area is very vibrant. Lake Pend O'Reille, 45 minutes to the north, is spectacular as well and worthy of a day trip all by itself. The views from the top of Schweitzer Mountain of the surrounding mountains, lakes, and rivers on a good day are simply magical.

In case you can't tell, I love where we live! :D
WT, I've been to Coeur d'Alene once and would love to go back again. I would not hesitate to recommend to stay over one night there as part of a Glacier combo as the one way drive is roughly half compared to Yellowstone (but there is far more driving using the figure eight loop in Yellowstone). I would rate Coeur d'Alene above visiting other areas in MT. Issue is whether OP is tethered to Glacier area as friends are there and overnights are not even a consideration.

With kids the age they are and the fact they may not be back in that area for a while, going to Yellowstone would be a great experience for them (fly out of Jackson Hole to save on driving time). However, July (and August) are just so damn crowded at Glacier and Yellowstone which therefore requires careful planning, and early starts, to avoid crowds as best as possible in the prime areas. We went in late June two summers ago, perhaps we got lucky, but parking was never a problem (GPSpring was a little tight), there were no traffic issues or bison jams (they were kind and stayed off the roads), and crowds were light, compared to July and August.

RM
I figure the odds be fifty-fifty I just might have something to say. FZ
Post Reply