There’s so many options of what to do when visiting Glacier National Park in the north west of Montana. It can feel overwhelming to plan a trip there and to make sure you stop at the best places along the way. This blog will share with you 7 of the best spots in the park that are great for hiking, photography, a meal, and wildlife views.
#1 – Two Medicine Lakes Area
There are three lakes on the eastern side of the park slightly north of East Glacier Park Village along route 49. They are Upper Two Medicine Lake, Two Medicine Lake, and Lower Two Medicine Lake. What you see below are some views from Route 49 that overlook the lower lake as well as some closer photos of Two Medicine lake where you see the boats and buildings. If you’re lucky, you may see some big horned sheep in the area as well.
#2 – Going to the Sun Road
Construction began on this 49 mile road connecting the Apgar Visitors Center on the west and St. Mary’s on the east back in 1919 that travels over Logan Pass. The east and western sides of the road are open all year but the highest point through the top of the mountains at Logan Pass usually has snow covering it until late June or early July when it’s able to be removed. This means if you’re staying on the western part of the park and want to visit the eastern side when the road isn’t open, you will need to leave the park and go around it in order to enter on the east side by car. You can find more information on the road here.
#3 – Apgar Village
This little village sits at the south end of Lake McDonald in the western portion of the park. There’s a wonderful place for dinner called Eddie’s Cafe. I recommend the chicken fried steak. There’s also an Eddie’s ice cream next door which has huckleberry ice cream. If you weren’t already aware, huckleberry anything is quite popular in the area so I would recommend choosing a few different huckleberry items to try on your trip. Eddie’s also has a mercantile so you can pick up tee shirts, mugs, or stickers for yourself or friends and family along your travels. There’s also a lodge and cabins in this area if you’re looking for a place to stay on the west side of the park that’s both cozy and cute.
#4 – Lake McDonald
Lake McDonald is on the west side of the park and was initially created by glaciers. It is about 10 miles long and 500 feet deep. Going to the Sun Road runs along its eastern shore and Apgar Village sits at the south end of the lake. In the area are many hiking trails as well as some campgrounds. I recommend spending some time going on a hike, eating in the village of Apgar, and enjoying the view from the lakeshore before continuing ahead on the Going to the Sun Road or heading back to your lodge in Apgar.
#5 – McDonald Falls
McDonald falls is along the Going to the Sun road on the western part of the park. There’s a few trails that begin here and you’ll also find a place to park. We did not go hiking since we didn’t have any bear spray but we enjoyed the falls with such blue water and beautiful evergreens. The rocks here are also so well washed they show a unique coloring when you see them.
#6 – Saint Mary Lake
Saint Mary Lake is on the eastern side of the park and is where I saw my first bear of my trip. If you look closely in between the two trees below you’ll see a momma bear standing and what you can’t see are her three cubs closely behind at her feet. This area is the beginning of the going to the Sun Road on the east side of the park. The mountains here are so high and overpowering I was in shock when we saw them. There’s a variety of hiking opportunities on this side of the park as well which you can check out here and here.
#7 – Logan Pass
This is my favorite stop that I never got to do. When I visited the park, Going to the Sun road wasn’t the entire way open. It literally opened the day after we left in late June so this is my favorite spot that I really wanted to get to but was unable. If you are here in middle to late summer, be sure to drive the road in it’s entirety to enjoy all it has to offer.
Glacier National Park is a magical place. Even as I’m writing this blog, I’m realizing how much I didn’t get to explore and am already planning my next trip back here and what spots I’d like to visit again and trails I’d like to hike for the first time. It’s so untouched and so beautiful, I highly recommend a trip out this way!