The Glacier National Park, also known as the Crown of the Continent, is situated in Northwest Montana, on the Canadian border. A popular place to visit due to its unspoiled nature, phenomenal views, pristine lakes, rocky mountain peaks, diverse wildlife, vibrant alpine meadows, and outdoor activities. The Glacier National Park is home to twenty-five glaciers. One of the most popular glaciers in the park is the Grinnell Glacier, which can be reached after an 11.2-mile hike. There are some distinct places to visit in Glacier National Park, such as St. Mary’s, Lake McDonald, Many Glacier, Two Medicine, North Fork, and Goat Haunt. The best time to visit Glacier National Park is between mid-June and late September. As June is when there are fewer visitors to the park due to variable snow and rain conditions, there are many things to do in Glacier National Park in June. Visitors can bike the Going to the Sun Road with very few vehicles and therefore less crowd. In winter, this national park is a great place for cross-country skiing. Be sure to check the Glacier National Park website for any closures for a hassle-free trip. Many travel experts will help you with your US visa and plan a perfect Glacier National Park trip itinerary that will transform a typical vacation into an incredible one for you to cherish forever! Let us look at the many Glacier National Park things to do.
Plunging into a Glacier Lake
After a long hike on a hot summer day, plunge into an ice-cold glacial lake and feel refreshed. The biggest payoff of the hikes in the park is the cool alpine lakes. Some of the best spots for a summer dip in the Glacier National Park are Bowman Lake and Waterton Lake in the North, McDonald Creek Float, and Lake Five near the West Glacier; Les Mason in Whitefish. Tally Lake and Swan Lake are also great places for swimming. The lakes in the Flathead valley are warmer than the lakes in the glacier. Even though the weather is warm, glacier-fed water in nearby lakes and rivers can be very cool.
Hiking at the Avalanche Lake Trail
Glacier National Park is a hiker’s paradise, and no trip to the park is complete without hitting the trails! One of the best hiking trails in the USA is the Avalanche Lake Trail. The hike takes you around two miles through the forest, and at the top, it opens up into a beautiful lake surrounded by mountains and waterfalls. The water in the lake is very shallow, and therefore not possible to take a dip in the lake. But carrying some refreshments along is better as you can relax and spend time in the lake and enjoy the views around. As this trail is populated, it is likely that you will not come across any bears.
Boating at Lake McDonald
Lake McDonald is located on the west side of the Glacier National Park and is the largest lake in the park. This glacial lake is ten miles long and five hundred feet deep. With crystal clear waters, colorful rocks, and breathtaking mountains as a backdrop, it offers a picture-perfect frame for watching sunrise or sunset. The sixty-minute boat tour of Lake McDonald is a leisurely one and is a great way of learning about the history of the area and watching wildlife. Near Lake McDonald, you can find many hiking trails, campgrounds, and boat rental options.
Driving on the Going to the Sun Road
Driving on the Going to the Sun Road is one of the most popular Glacier National Park attractions. Starting at the West Glacier and ending near St. Mary’s, the winding road passes through the park. For fifty miles, the road twists and turns through the mountains and over the Continental Divide. The two-hour drive is very scenic where you can stop to admire the beautiful landscape and take pictures. It is the most crowded and popular section in the park. The lower portion of the Going to the Sun Road is open all year round, but the higher elevations are closed from mid-October till early July because of the snow.
Camping in the Backcountry
Camping in the park is always ideal as it cuts on commute time to enjoy the adventures in the park. Several places around the National park have plenty of options for camping. St. Mary Campground is the largest camping ground in the Glacier National Park. Other camping grounds are the Whitefish to the West and Babb to the East. For more remote camping, try the Bowman Lake Campground, further North in the park. Free winter camping in the glacier national park is available at the St. Mary Campground and Apgar Campground for visitors who can handle the extreme weather conditions.
Glacier National Park is home to the largest intact ecosystem and is home to incredibly diverse wildlife like the red fox, mule deer, mountain goats, grizzly black bears, white-tailed deer, elk, lynx, coyotes, wolverines, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, moose, marmots, and pikas. There are approximately 66 species of mammals, 277 species of birds, and 1132 species of plants in the park. The region is also home to otters, beavers, porcupines, badgers, bats, mink, and more. Due to the large number of bears in Glacier National Park, make sure to carry bear sprays with you, so that you can hike safely.
Go Fly Fishing
Some of the best areas to fly fish in Glacier National Park are Flathead River, Yaak River, Stillwater River, Trout Lake, St. Mary River, Belly River, Two Medicine Creek, and Pray Lake. The fishing through here can be tough if you are not used to tackling big water by foot. Look for pools, riffles, and glides where you can easily find trout. You can fish for Westslope trout, whitefish, rainbow, elk hair caddis, zebra midge, pike, and bull trout. The Westslope cutthroat is the prettiest and native to the glacier area. There are many fly shops and outfitters to guide in the park.
Ziplining at the Whitefish Mountain Resort
In the summer, there are a variety of fun things that you can enjoy in Whitefish Mountain Resort like Zip Lining, Incline Slide, Rope Course, Mountain Biking, Gondola Ride, or Ski Lift ride up the mountain. Soar over the ravines and through trees up to three hundred feet high above the forest floor, the longest zipline adventure that lasts about three hours. There is a restaurant, bar, and a small nature museum at the top where you can pick fresh huckleberries. Whitefish Mountain Resort provides access to over a hundred ski routes during the winter and is one of the most popular ski resorts in Montana.
Go Rafting in Flathead River
Enjoy scenic raft trips down the Middle Fork and North Fork of the Flathead River. Ride past pine forests and glacial valleys as you enjoy the beauty around. The Middle Fork begins near the West Glacier and travels northwest to the southern border of the Glacier National Park. With nine rapids of classes 2 and 3, this section is one of the most thrilling ones that a whitewater rafter can find! Soak in the beautiful views of the Glacier National Park and spend a day full of fun and adventure. The best time for rafting these rapids are from June till September.
Kayaking at one of the Lakes
There are more than seven hundred lakes in Glacier National Park. The spots where you can explore the glacier and the surrounding area by a kayak are Lake McDonald, Swiftcurrent Lake, Bowman Lake, Two Medicine Lake, and St. Mary Lake. Enjoy the spectacular scenery around you with clear waters and surrounding mountains as you go kayaking. The best time to kayak is in the early mornings before the winds pick up or in the evenings when they are low. There are guided kayaking trips available from several area companies to learn the basics and safety precautions before kayaking.
There are many other activities to enjoy in Glacier National Park like exploring the park on horseback or going biking. Glacier National Park has started an online reservation system for Going to the Sun Road, between the park’s West and St. Mary entrances.