Things to do at Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is one of the best national Park in US that is popular as “Crown of Continent”. The park has astonishing scenery and wilderness with 700 miles of hiking trail.  The Park is spread across million acres making the park to separate in different areas namely West Glacier, Going-To-The-Sun Road, Many Glacier, Two Medicines, North Fork, Goat Haunt (Canada).  

Things to do at Glacier National Park
Under Bridge just before West Glacier Village
Under Bridge just before West Glacier Village

Visit Apgar Visitor Center

On entering the park from West Glacier Entrance station, Apgar visitor center is the first place that I would recommend stopping by.  This is a good place for tourist to grab a map, park newsletter, learn about road, trail conditions or closures and also talk to a ranger for things to do in Park.  There is nothing much to do at Apgar visitor Center.  But it is always crowded and packed with tourists looking for basic information. 

The visitor center offers facilities like restrooms, water fountain, book store, Ranger led activities, trip planning information.  Visitor center has a huge parking lot where tourist can park and leave the car behind and hop in to Park’s free shuttle to explore the attractions in the park.

Apgar Visitor Center Glacier National Park
Apgar Visitor Center
Black Bear and Grizzly Bear Skin Exhibit at Apgar Visitor Center
Black Bear and Grizzly Bear Skin Exhibit at Apgar Visitor Center

Visit Lake McDonald Lodge

Lake McDonald Lodge is the best place to stay at with in the park on the shore of Lake McDonald. Even if you are not staying, it is worth to have a quick glance in Swiss chalet style Lodge. It is one of the Historic Hotels of America.

Lake McDonald Lodge
Lake McDonald Lodge
Lobby Area at McDonald Lodge
Ancient Chandeliers at Lobby Area at McDonald Lodge
Lobby Area at McDonald Lodge
Lobby Area at McDonald Lodge
Lake McDonald Lodge Things to Do at Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald Lodge

Disclaimer: There may be some affiliate links on this page, which means when you click, I get a tiny percentage of the purchase at no extra cost to you. All the reviews are based on my own experience.

Trail of Cedars

This is very popular trail at park with a view of beautiful waterfall.  The trail is very easy with wooden paved platform which is wheelchair accessible and you could bring a stroller on it as well.

Visit Lake McDonald

There are many pullout points by Lake McDonald. Get out of the vehicle and take a short walk down to the beach.  The beach has small colorful rocks and the lake water is clear and cool.  If the climate permits, you can go for a swim.

Lake McDonald Beach Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald Beach
Cyrstal Clear Water of Lake McDonald Glacier National Park
Cyrstal Clear Water of Lake McDonald
Things to do at Glacier National Park

Drive Going-To-The-Sun Road

One of the most popular things to do at Glacier National Park is driving through the Going-To-The-Sun Road.  The 50-mile scenic long road runs through the heart of park and connects the West Glacier and East Glacier.  The drive itself is one of the biggest attractions of visiting Glacier National Park. 

It may be bit stressful driving for some one as the roads are small and you are on edge of Rocky Mountains and valley.  But the drive is very scenic. There are multiple pullout points where you can stop to take pictures.

Going-To-The-Sun Road just before the Loop Glacier National Park
Going-To-The-Sun Road just before the Loop
View of Small Road of Going-To-The-Sun Road. Big Cloud Rolling in.

Weeping wall

The Weeping wall is mountain rocky section where a waterfall splashes down on the road for quarter a mile distance.  Some visitor enjoys the free cleaning of their vehicle by just parking their vehicle below the falls.

Weeping Wall on Going-To-The-Sun road Glacier National Park
Weeping Wall on Going-To-The-Sun road

There are many beautiful scenic pull out points along the Going-To-The-Sun road.  For more information do read Driving Going-To-The-Sun road.

Visit Logan Pass Visitor Center

The road reaches the highest point in the park where Logan Pass visitor center is located.  Logan Pass is the place where the Continental Divide pass through.  Logan Pass Visitor Center is at very scenic place which in house popular trails of the park – The Highline trail, Hidden Lake Lookout and the Hidden Lake trail. 

Highline Trail is popular among hikers for its unique exhilarating experience. Hiking the starting portion of Highline trail gives you the excitement you looking for. We loved Hiking the Highline trail at Logan Pass. It can be done with small children and family seeking adventures.

Logan Pass Visitor Center Things to do at Glacier National Park
Logan Pass Visitor Center
Logan Pass Visitor Center Parking Lot. Things to do at Glacier National Park
Logan Pass Visitor Center Parking Lot
Family Hiking on Highline Trail
Narrow Ledge of Highline Trail Glacier National Park Montana
Narrow Ledge of Highline Trail

Hike to Hidden Lake Lookout is popular among visitors. For hikers looking for solitude then proceed past to Hidden Lake Lookout and continue hiking towards Hidden Lake. Hike to Hidden Lake drops elevation and has many switch backs.

Visitors enjoying the beautiful view at Hidden Lake Lookout
Visitors enjoying the beautiful view at Hidden Lake Lookout
Things to do at Glacier National Park
Scenic view of Hidden Lake

Even if you are not hiking, stop at Logan Pass Visitor Center to experience the humongous mountains view surrounding the visitor center. The alpine meadows bloomed with colorful wild flowers are worth the stroll on wooden trail behind the Logan Pass Visitor Center. The road continues further in the east to St. Mary Entrance station.

Wooden paved trail leading towards Hidden Lake Lookout at Logan Pass
Wooden paved trail leading towards Hidden Lake Lookout at Logan Pass
Mountain goat posing for a tourist and the Wild Flowers bloomed in the meadows
Stunning View of Clement Mountain with Logan Pass Visitor Center Glacier National Park
Stunning View of Clement Mountain with Logan Pass Visitor Center
Turquoise Water with shades of blue at St. Mary Falls

Hike to St Mary Falls and Virginia Falls is a popular day hike at Glacier National Park.

Wild Goose Island Overlook

Between Logan Pass and the St Mary entrance station, there is famous pull out point known as Wild Goose Island.  This is a popular destination among tourist so pull over, get down and capture some beautiful photos.  

Blue Waters of St. Mary's Lake - Wild Goose Island Lookout Glacier National Park
Blue Waters of St. Mary’s Lake – Wild Goose Island Lookout

Visit St. Mary Visitor Center

St. Mary Visitor Center has best exhibits, museum, gift shops and a movie of hour and half to enjoy, water fountain, restrooms, book store and Ranger Led activities. Visitor can park their vehicles and hop on the free shuttle to different attractions in the park.

Excuse me, Breezy wind at St. Mary Visitor Center
Excuse me, Breezy wind at St. Mary Visitor Center

Visit Many Glacier

Many Glacier is part of glacier National park.  It is not accessible from within the park. One needs to exit the park at St. Mary’s Entrance/Exit station in East and then drive on Highway 89 towards Babb and then take route 3 for Many Glacier Entrance.  Drive to Many Glacier is scenic.

Dramatic Skies on Highway 89 towards Babb.
Dramatic Skies on Highway 89 towards Babb.

The roads get bumpy with big potholes once on route 3.  Many Glacier hotel is very famous for its Swiss style architecture.  Drive to Many Glacier offers picturesque view of Many Glacier Hotel with Swift current lake in background.

Beautiful View of Many Glacier Hotel and SwiftCurrent Lake at Many Glacier
Beautiful View of Many Glacier Hotel and SwiftCurrent Lake at Many Glacier

For more information on what to do at Many Glacier.  Do Read my next post on Things to do at Many Glacier.

Visit Two Medicines

Two Medicines is again part of Glacier National Park that is not accessible from within the park. Once upon a time, Two Medicine was the primary destination of Glacier National Park before the Going-To-The-Sun road was constructed where tourist arrived by train.   

 From West Glacier Village drive on route 2 to East Glacier Park towards Two Medicines.  One gets a feeling of completely leaving the Mountain area and then entering back in to the mountains.  Two Medicine Lake is very beautiful amidst the rugged mountains.  

Two Medicines Lake
Running Eagle Falls at Two Medicines Glacier National Park
Running Eagle Falls at Two Medicines Glacier National Park

Visit Canada and the Waterton Lakes National Park

If you are US citizen or have valid visa to visit Canada, then you would like to visit the Waterton Lakes National Park.  It is part of Glacier National Park but in Canada and know with that name.  The famous attraction the “Goat Haunt” falls in Canada. You need valid passports and documents to cross the border and visit Waterton Lakes National Park.

Things to do at Glacier National Park

Where to See Wild life

There are plenty of wild life in Glacier National Park.  Always carry Bear Spray while hiking on trails in the park.  Follow the Bear Safety rules and keep 100 yards distance when encounter with them.  There are many other wild life in the park that you get to see next to the road you driving on, next to parking lot or on the trails.

Bears

We got to see bears for few consecutive days in the fields next to the road when we were driving west from St. Mary’s Entrance station towards Rising Sun around 7 pm to 8 pm later in the day.  One was very closed to the road and the grizzly baby bear was roaming in to the fields.

Brown Grizzly Bear at Glacier National Park
Brown Grizzly Bear
Black Bear Spotted next to the road near Rising Sun
Black Bear Spotted near Pull over parking at Rising Sun
Sighting of Grizzly Baby Bear in fields between Rising Sun and St. Mary Entrance station
Grizzly Bear in fields
Grizzly Bear in fields
Black Bear Next to the road

Big Horn Sheep

Big Horn sheep are sighted at Logan Pass. We got to see a herd of Big horn sheep grazing in the meadows next to Highline trail.  Second time, we were passing through Logan Pass and saw Bighorn sheep running next to the road and then disappearing in to meadows.

Herd of Bighorn sheep grazing in meadows at Highline trail Glacier National Park
Herd of Bighorn sheep grazing in meadows at Highline trail
BigHorn Sheep Exhibit at Lake McDonald Lodge Things to Do at Glacier National Park
BigHorn Sheep Exhibit at Lake McDonald Lodge

Mountain Goats

We saw mountain goats’ multiple times on trails to Hidden Lake lookout and Hidden lake trail.  We had some unnerving experience with mountain goats. Once while we were hiking Highline trail, mountain goat showed up after a blind turn spot right in front of us.  And Second time, a mountain goat followed us from Hidden lake trail for some time.  Both of the time we realized that we were just visitors in their home territory.  They were returning back to their homes in mountains.

Mamma and Baby Mountain Goats at Hidden Lake Lookout at Logan Pass
Mamma and Baby Mountain Goats at Hidden Lake Lookout at Logan Pass
Mountain Goat showing up after blind spot turn on Highline Trail
Deer grazing next to the road

Red Bus tours

If you just want to sit and enjoy the scenic road and capture beautiful photos, you can take Red Bus tours.  It is around 3 hours’ drive in a day that takes you through the park and stops at famous pull out points and let tourist get down to view and take pictures.  Red Bus tours provide pick up and drop facility from all the lodges in Glacier National Park.   For more information do check on Red Bus Tours.

Red Bus with tourist at Lookout point
Red Bus with tourist at Lookout point

When to Visit Glacier National Park

Best time to see the park depends on you on what you are looking to see? Some portion of the park specially Going-To-The-Sun Road and Logan Pass opens during late June or early July due to snow in the mountains.

After mid August till September, it is wild fire season there. It may vary depending on the climate conditions. Therefore, the window to visit Glacier National Park is very short. I would recommend better planning and prioritizing things to do at Glacier National Park that you would have missed during earlier visit.

Where to Stay

I would highly recommend staying in the lodges/hotels inside the park as that saves lot of time commuting to park and also you get best experience in rustic place.

Hotel/Lodges

Lake MacDonald Village Lodge (West Glacier)

Lake McDonald Village Lodge is perfect place to stay in Glacier National Park near to the West Entrance. The historic lodge is popular for its rustic and the Swiss Style chalet architecture.

Lake McDonald Lodge Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald Lodge

Many Glacier Hotel (East Glacier)

If you are staying in Many Glacier area, then Many Glacier Lodge Hotel is the best place to stay.  Scenery and the hotel looks like as very much in Switzerland.

View of Many Glacier Hotel with grey Skies

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins – Visitors/Hikers looking for Solitude experience in rustic cabins prefer to stay at Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins. The cabins are near to trail leading to famous Swiftcurrent Pass and other trails to Iceberg Lake, Ptarmigan Lake and the unique 183-foot Ptarmigan Tunnel.

Glacier Park Lodge (East Glacier)

Glacier Park Lodge is perfect combination of rustic style and luxury. The huge lobby area looks like a place seen in movies.

Budget Friendly and Economic Hotels

Circle R Motel and Summit Mountain Lodge  are budget friendly at East Glacier Park Village.

St. Mary Lodge & Resort, Glacier General Store and Cabins is economic and next to St.Mary Entrance station.

Due to popularity of Glacier National Park all the lodges and hotels within the park gets fully booked. So plan well in advance and make reservation. Nearest famous towns with shopping malls like Costco, Walmart and Target are located at Whitefish and Kalispell. Visitors prefer to stay at hotels or resorts at Whitefish or Kalispell.

Booking.com

Have you been to Glacier National Park? Feel free to comment below and let me know your favorite spots at Glacier National Park.

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Things to do at Glacier National Park
Wild Flowers at Glacier National Park

6 thoughts on “Things to do at Glacier National Park

  1. What a beautiful place to go! I hope one day I can visit this place and enjoy nature! But I guess first thing to do is save up more money, and I’m really bad at it. But I believe one day I will be able to travel to other countries and experience nature in various way!

  2. WOW! I have been meaning to get to Glacier National Park and this post just made me want to get there ASAP! Lake McDonald and the Highline Trail look like must-see/do things in the park! I’m amazed at all of the wildlife you saw!

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