Glacier National Park Travel Guide

  • the hike to Grinnell Glacier
    the hike to Grinnell Glacier
    by richiecdisc
  • Glacier National Park
    by creilmann
  • Enjoying the tranquil setting
    Enjoying the tranquil setting
    by creilmann

Glacier National Park Highlights

  • Pro
    Bwana_Brown profile photo

    Bwana_Brown says…

     Fantastic scenery and relatively remote 

  • Con
    Hopkid profile photo

    Hopkid says…

     Bugs, crowds along the Going to the Sun Road 

  • In a nutshell
    mrclay2000 profile photo

    mrclay2000 says…

     Beautiful greenery -- evergreen forests and glacial lakes! 

Glacier National Park Things to Do

  • Goose Island

    Goose Island is situated in St Mary Lake, a short drive west of the St Mary entrance to the park, along the Going to the Sun Road. Watch for the sign marking the pull-out. This is the perfect spot to take a picture of this tiny little island.The pull-out for parking is not large; do be courteous to others and move along after you've got your...

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  • The Salt Lick

    The Salt Lick is located along Highway 2, a little ways west of East Glacier. It is a natural mineral salt lick, in the rocks. Mountain goats can often be spotted in this area, attracted by the salt that they need in their diets.This is *supposed* to be an almost sure-thing stop, for spotting mountain goats.... unfortunately, when I visited one...

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  • Sunrift Gorge (Falls)

    The Sunrift Gorge quite simply a stop. It doesn’t really seem to be on anyone’s favorite places to see in the park. The turnout is located along St. Mary Lake on the east side of the park. From the turnout a short path leads you to a narrow channel that Baring creek has cut on its way down to the lake.The falls just off the highway are pretty small...

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Glacier National Park Hotels

Glacier National Park Restaurants

  • a surprise for the very deserving D

    I am at heart a budget traveler. It doesn't take any effort. Born of Depression-era parents, it was instilled in me at an early age. Of course, I like my splurges and when it comes to exotic beer, I will think nothing of spending more than most would think necessary. That said, I rarely break down and buy things when they are over-priced due to...

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  • A Quirky Little Spot

    We did not really want an expensive buffet breakfast at Glacier Park Lodge, so after we checked out, we backtracked to the north again, heading for the spectacular Many Glacier area of the NP. However, in our explorations of East Glacier Park the evening before, we had spotted a likely looking spot for breakfast on the edge of town. The Whistle...

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  • East Glacier's place to be

    If you read any guidebook or website about East Glacier, the number one place you'll hear about is Serrano's. I was excited to try it, but the first night I arrived, the place was packed, with a long line on the front porch, so I moved on. The second night, I made sure I got there right after it opened and was able to score a table on the back...

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Glacier National Park Nightlife

  • Have a Marshmallow Roast

    Ok so this is a stretch, putting this tip under "nightlife spot" lol But seriously, there is nothing like sitting around a camp fire at night under the stars and roasting marshmallows ! CAMP FIRE RULES:*bring in your own fire wood or collect dead and down wood only.*In high use areas, build campfires in existing fire rings to concentrate...

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  • Freeds

    The West Glacier Bar aka Freeda's is were all the locals hang out durning the summer months. If you are looking for a great place to get some local info head there. I'm sure you have to be wearing bottoms!

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  • get your rest, you'll need it

    Glacier National Park has a few bars and restaurants within its boundaries and we did opt for a pizza & beer night on one occasion but as with all places of great natural beauty, the real attraction at all hours is just that: nature. Though nature is there 24 hours a day, the best time to view it is early in the morning and evening, when the light...

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Glacier National Park Transportation

  • Red Jammer Buses

    Become a tourist attraction yourself. Hop on one of these buses and you are sure to command the attention of other visitors and probably get some great information along the way. The buses were given the name Jammers after the sound the buses made when the drivers were ‘jammin’ the gears of the old buses in the late 1930’s when they started...

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  • Must have a Car

    About 3 months prior to our trip, I checked with the major car rental companies to see what I could get for a deal. In the course of my discussions with them, it suddenly occured to me that maybe I should see if they offer any discounts for 'seniors', now that I am over 55! This proved to be a good idea when it came to National Car Rental - they...

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  • Tour Busses

    One of the interesting things about Glacier NP is the presence of a fleet of 33 old touring busses designed and built by the White Motor Company in 1930 to serve as the main means of transportation in various US National Parks. Although several hundred originally entered service (1936 for Glacier and Waterton Lakes) and performed stellar duties for...

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Glacier National Park Shopping

  • Made in Montana Giftware & Glacier Park...

    The gift shop in the lobby of Lake McDonald Lodge carries a large selection of “Made in Montana” gift items.They have a good selection of quality jewelery, pottery and artwork created by well-known Montana artists. And like almost every shop in Flathead County, they also carry a lot of bear and huckleberry themed souvenirs.

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  • Outdoor Gear

    Glacier Outdoor Center has all the gear for outdoor enthusiasts. There is cheap camping gear, cold weather clothing, water wear, all the fishing gear you could think of and fun t-shirts. Eveyone in the shop also know a ton about the area and can help plan a trip! Outdoor gear to keep you prepared

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  • not bad in a pinch

    This little shop attached to the Swift Current Motor Inn & Cabins is a handy all purpose shop. The people who work there are very friendly and helpful. There is a big porch out front with chairs to sit on in case you want to eat/drink what you just bought and enjoy the great views. It is conveniently attached to the lobby of the Swift Current Motor...

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Glacier National Park Local Customs

  • Running Eagle Falls Legend

    The Warrior Known as Running Eagle has a legend that the Blackfeet Tribe has attributed to her:An Indian girl named Weasel Woman’s parents died when she was young. To keep her family intact she took on the male role in the household. She gained her status as a warrior after a Crow Indian raid was successful in taking several horses she broke into...

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  • which bear & what to do

    Glacier National Park is home to the largest population of grizzlies in the Lower 48 as well as a very healthy population of black bears. Being able to distinguish between the two can be important if you run into a bear. There are different protocols depending on which bear you are dealing with. Color is not the best way to do this as both...

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  • hiking with the bears means being noisy...

    While Glacier National Park is great for both hiking and backpacking, you must realize that you will be sharing those well-maintained trails with lots of wildlife including bears. Bears like an easy path between point A and B too and though they are often in the brush eating berries, they walk on the paths just like us for travel purposes. Bears...

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Glacier National Park Warnings and Dangers

  • Beware Waterways May Contain Giardia

    The man above is sipping water from what looks like a pristine stream.Though the aqua rivers and streams look clean and inviting, the water may contain giardia. Bringing in your own bottled water for consumption is advisable. Be sure to boil all collected water or use a filter or purification tablets which can be purchased in a camping supply shop...

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  • Fires

    For your visit to the park fires should never become an issue of safety. If you are planning on hiking especially in the back country during a dry summer you would most likely be warned by the thick smoke or park rangers ushering people out of areas if it was really bad.If there is a fire in the park it is important to note that fires are an...

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  • Keeping the "wild" in wildlife!!!

    As a visitor to Glacier National Park, take the time to learn about the wildlife and respect their need for space to live undisturbed. Enjoy viewing them from a distance because getting too close can have dire consequences in addition to affecting their feeding habits and travel routes. A good rule of thumb is to keep at least 100 ft. (or 30...

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Glacier National Park Tourist Traps

  • GuthrieColin's Profile Photo
    Animal Nut

    by GuthrieColin Written Oct 18, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As is the case in all National Parks their is usually one thing that so many people get caught up in. In Yellowstone i got caught up in Geyser waiting. Here, many people get caught up in trying to view as much wildlife as possible. The Many Glacier area is probably the most active and when you visit you will likely see people with Super-telephoto lenses on their cameras. They are viewing wildlife high up in the hills. Mountain goats, Moose, Grizzly and Black Bears seem to be the 'hot items' for them.

    Unique Suggestions: If it is your intent to see as much Wildlife as possible disregard my tip. If you are intending to get the feel for the whole park, be sure and get out from behind your camera and check out other stuff. Much of what you can view through the camera is so far away that you don't really get the same experience as if you were to encounter the same wildlife while hiking or even alongside the road.

    Fun Alternatives: Their is enough wildlife in Glacier National Park that you will encounter it without even trying. The best way is, if you see people stopped ie. in the middle of the road, stop too and ask them what they are looking at. I would never have seen the black bear that i saw during my trip if it weren't for that method.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Photography
    • Safari

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Glacier National Park What to Pack

  • being prepared for the elements at...

    Glacier has an amazing backcountry so bring your backpack if so inclined. This is also the way to go if you come without your own vehicle and are using park shuttles. Otherwise, a day pack will suffice for the park's many day hikes to suit all levels of hikers. A pair of good sturdy hiking boots and cushioned socks will work wonders for your feet...

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  • Be Prepared!

    Day pack/hydration pack that can fit snacks/lunch, rain shell, fleece, camera, water, hiking book. The best ones have ties on the outside that allow you to secure a rolled up jacket on the outside leaving room for other things in the inner compartments (see photo and note my rolled up rain jacket on the bottom of my Camelback). Shorts, pants...

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  • Proper hiking shoes or boots...

    ...are essential as inside the forest, moist air and spray from the waterfalls can cause a slippery slope!

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Glacier National Park Off The Beaten Path

  • Waterfall

    Off the road to Two Medicine Lake is a short side trail that goes to a small water fall that has a second fall in it. The second fall is the result of a hollow in the stone, that diverts part of the flow to a secondary exit about half way down the larger fall. There were lots of beware of bears warnings (but I still have not seen a bear in the...

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  • Marmot in the sun

    The marmot is one of the classic mountain creatures and even if you never see one while hiking, you are bound to hear one. They make a shrill whistle presumably to warn other marmots of your approach. These large furry rodents are actually just super-sized ground squirrels, differing mostly by habitat. They frequent rocky areas at high elevation...

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  • Mountain Goats

    Whereas Olympic National Park in Washington State debates the right of mountain goats to flourish within its confines due to their not being native, Glacier National Park has chosen the animal as their official symbol. These adept climbers are spotted in the most precipitous places and it is no wonder they exhibit little fear or shyness around...

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Glacier National Park Sports & Outdoors

  • Rent a canoe, rowboat, or kayak

    If you didn't bring your own, take advantage of the rental services and get out on the water! Sea kayaks, rowboats, canoes, and even motor boats are available at an hourly rate. Manual craft go for $10 per hour while the motorized boats go for $19-$20 per hour depending on the location. It's another great way to enjoy the natural beauty of this...

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  • There are no end of...

    ...hikes and walks in this park. Pick up a brochure when you enter, but do take into consideration that some of these hikes are quite long.This is a unique park, so plan to stay more than a day! Good boots with an excellent tread -- you'll experience every type of undergrowth here!

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  • Glacier National Park Hotels

    6 Hotels in Glacier National Park

    8 Reviews and Opinions

Glacier National Park Favorites

  • hope to hear you first

    Bear spray is another can of worms. Many novices carry it and then proceed to ignore the most important suggestion from the National Park Service, and that is to make a lot of noise. I saw many people hiking without so much as a peep, often alone. More experienced hikers in the park differ on their opinion of bear spray but a common belief is it...

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  • the rest of the bear rules

    The rest of the “bear rules” concern food and its storage. Well, food in this case pertains to anything that has a scent as a bear with it's incredibly sensitive sense of smell could misconstrue say a tube of toothpaste as something to eat. Sure we wouldn't think of it as a tasty snack but then again we don't spend eight months in hibernation...

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  • maybe you're more calm in the face of...

    Now, maybe you're more calm in the face of danger but I wasn't so sure I would be so cool to be able to ascertain these qualities with a bear staring me down and time being an unknown factor. But let's say you can make this distinction. The common reasoning was always to fight a black bear if attacked and crouch and play dead if a grizzly. Of...

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