Well, it’s been a hot-minute but we are back with more travel stories for our friends and family and anyone looking for some tips for exploring Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park is located outside of Kalispell, Montana very close to the Canadian border. Like most National Parks, it is massive with a diverse landscape and a ton of wildlife. We have been to many National Parks; they all have elements that make them unique and I can honestly say that Glacier was home to some of the most incredible views we have ever seen. But definitely not without some bumps in the road.
We hiked for days, but barely made a dent in all this stunning park had to offer. Over a couple of blog posts, we are happy to share all our tips, tricks & experiences, for the parts of Glacier we were able to take in. Think grizzly bears. And mountain goats. Think snow-capped mountains and emerald glacier lakes and moose staring at you from the side of the road.
Going to the Sun Road
There is one main road that takes you through the park and it is supposed to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world! Supposed to be. That’s right. We spent days in the park and hardly touched the road. Why? 15 feet of snow is why. IN JUNE.
The weather in this area is severe and unpredictable. We went into our summer trip expecting 60 and 70 degree days but were met with icy winds, snowfall and a TON of rain. During the time we were in the park in June 2022, Going to the Sun Road was only open 16 miles in from the west entrance and a similar distance from the east, leaving most of the road, most of the park, and most of the trails, unattainable. This is definitely something to keep in mind when planning a trip to Glacier, and if we had to do it all over again, we would have waited until July when it is more likely the plows will have finished the entire road.
That being said, we made the most of our time and did nearly every hike we could! There was plenty we could still access to take in those views and have a wonderful time.
Hiking with a toddler
Every parent hiking with a young child knows the hiking backpacks are the way to go!! We have used ours since our son was old enough to hold his head up confidently and are at a very unfortunate point where he is too big for the backpack but too slow to hike on his own all the time.
Alas, this was the backpack’s last trip. Between the 9lb bag and by 40 lb three year old, my husband was hiking up and down with 50+ pounds on his back. RIP Osprey Poco Carrier. You have been well loved. After this park, we will be choosing shorter flatter hikes for a while, getting Owen used to trekking on his own.
If you are going to be frequenting the West Entrance to Glacier National Park, Whitefish is a great town to stay in. We got an adorable, extremely clean house in Whitefish and it was the perfect place to set up our basecamp for our Glacier adventures.
Whitefish is about 30 minutes from the park entrance and has everything you need from bakeries, restaurants, outfitters and gift shops. The Whitefish Mountain Resort is right in the middle of town and boasts great skiing in the winter. If you are there in the summer, like we were, you can head up the mountain for gondola rides to summit views and the alpine mountain coaster rides back down. Or, if you get “lucky” like us—SNOW!
Other notable Whitefish activities:
• Stop by the tiny but mighty train depot and museum if you have a train-loving kiddo like mine
• Check out Whitefish Lake with a small but beautiful beach for those rare warm days
• Whitefish Trail is a local community-driven trail system with 40 miles of trails and walkways to explore