There are several entrances into the park depending on where you’re coming from. We landed in Kalispell, MO and headed towards Glacier National Park from the West Entrance.
Recommended Lodging & Eatery: If you’re planning on staying in or near the west entrance of the park, know that there are very limited hotels and lodging inside the park. Make sure to book your hotel early to get a room at the McDonald Lake Lodge or inside Apgar Village. If lodging is completely booked at these places, try the Historic Tamarack Lodge and Cabins. The Tamarack Lodge is just outside the West Entrance, and has all the amenities you probably won’t find if you were staying inside the park. Tamarack Lodge has a nice restaurant that is opened for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Make sure to order the street corn as your side dish. For your main course, they are known for their ribs. For Lodging, cabins came equipped with television, fridge, and a microwave. There’s also a convenient gas station 1 mile down, where you could stop to stock up on snacks during your stay. Make sure to fill up your tank here before your enter the park. There won’t be any fuel available once you’ve enter the park.
Suggested Itinerary and Points of Interest worth mentioning:
1.) Going-to-the-Sun-Road – This should be on everybody’s must-do list while in Glacier National Park. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is considered as one of the most beautiful drives in America. You must drive this road going both ways heading from West to East and from East to West. This road is closed during the winter, so plan your trip between Mid-July and October if you plan on driving this beautiful route. There are a few stops along the way that are worth mentioning. These are the stop that I recommend.
2.) Apgar Village and McDonald Lake – Start by driving to Apgar Village for sunrise or sunset. Better yet, I highly recommend doing both! The beautiful McDonald Lake will give you an amazing reflection of the rising sun during sunrise, and amazing colorful river rocks during sunset. Take the Apgar Loop towards the two lodges. Park in the designated parking area, and walk towards the boat dock. From here, you’ll have the best view of Lake McDonald as well as a stunning backdrop for jaw dropping shots. While driving down McDonald Lake, there will be tons of pullouts that you can take. In my opinion, I would skip all of these. The best views of the lake are the 2 opposite ends of the lake. Apgar Village is on the south end of McDonald Lake, while the Lake McDonald Ranger Station is on the North end of the Lake. You won’t go wrong stopping at either of these spots for the best views of the lakes and surrounding mountains.
3.) McDonald Falls and McDonald Creek – There’s a Upper and Lower McDonald Falls along the McDonald Creek. Both spots are definitely worth stopping for. There are no signs, pointing you to the right pullout. Be on the lookout on the left side, if you’re headed East from the West Entrance. If you see Trail of Cedars, then you’ve gone too far. Turn around and look on your right. You will see a bridge where John Lake Loop Trail head starts.
4.) Logan Pass – Wow, where do I even start with Logan Pass? Make sure to get here early if you’d like to get a parking spot. This was one of the busiest area in the entire park, and for good reason. Logan Pass is the start of several trail heads, which explains why it’s such a hot spot for tourists. In addition, Logan Pass is the highest point on the entire Going-to-the-Sun Road, so the views up here were simply spectacular. Logan Pass offers many hiking trails, but amongst those trails, there are 2 that are most memorable for me. The first is the Hidden Lake Trail. With the abundance of wildflowers and open meadows, this place looked as though it came straight out of a fairytale. We spotted a ton of wildlife including marmots, dozens of mountain goats, and a couple big horn sheep. Beware of Grizzly Bears. The mountain goats were gentle, and unafraid of humans. We shared the trail with the mountain goats and it was such an exhilarating experience. The marmots were a lot bigger here than what I had anticipated. Most of them were not shy at all, and didn’t mind the presence of humans. This is a short 3 mile hike to get a stunning viewpoint of Hidden Lake, a horseshoe shaped lake. The second most memorable hike would be the Highline Trail. This trail is not for the faint of heart. With cables running along a steep drop-off section of the hike, this hike is not recommended for anyone afraid of heights. The Highline Trail was one of the highlights of our trip in Glacier National Park. Anyone with a sense of Adventure should hike at least the first quarter mile. This is where the cable starts. With 100 foot drop off down to the Going to the Sun Road – this trail offers amazing views throughout the entire hike. We highly recommend this hike.
5.) Sunrift Gorge and St. Mary’s Lake – Unfortunately, during our visit up there, heavy road construction prevented us from visiting both the Sunrift Gorge and St. Mary’s Lake. The new pavement on the 2 lane road didn’t allow us to park in designated parking areas to be able to explore either of these areas. Make sure to stop at St. Mary’s to check out Wild Goose Island.