Situated in northern Montana, Glacier National Park offers world-class hiking and mountain escapes. Only a few miles from Canada’s border, it also has one of the most scenic drives in the world.
The park has several hiking trails, and the Going-to-the-sun Road is a must-visit.
There are plenty of activities in Glacier National Park for all travelers, including experienced hikers and road trippers.
This article features the best things to do in Glacier National Park (Montana).
Where Is Glacier National Park?
Glacier National Park is located in Montana’s northwestern region, bordered by Canada’s British Columbia and Alberta provinces.
It spans over a million acres and features over 130 named lakes, hundreds of species of animals, and over a thousand different plants. It’s also close to two mountain ranges, which are part of the Rocky Mountains.
Before Glacier National Park was established, it was inhabited by Native Americans. However, the region was occupied by the Blackfeet after European explorers arrived.
In 1895, the Blackfeet gave the area’s treaty lands to the federal government, which incorporated them into the park.
The park was officially established on May 11, 1910. A couple of years later, the Great Northern Railway constructed several luxury chalets and hotels in the area.
Things To Do In Glacier National Park (Montana)
Before you start your exploration of Glacier National Park, make sure to stop by the visitor center. This is a great place to gather information about the park and its various activities
t also has a map and a newspaper to keep track of the latest road closures and other details about the area.
This is also an excellent way of getting to know the best things to do in Glacier National Park. These are the things to do in Glacier National Park;
1. Going-To-The-Sun Road
The Going-to-the-sun Road is one of the most popular routes in the US, known as the Crown of the Continent. It was constructed in the 1930s and is regarded as an engineering marvel.
The 51-mile scenic drive winds through the park’s heart and features several hiking trails and viewpoints. In addition, it connects various areas in the park, such as the visitor center and the views.
2. Continental Divide at Logan Pass
The highest point along the Going-to-the-sun Road is Logan Pass, with an elevation of 6,646 feet above sea level. It’s also where the Going-to-the-Sun Road crosses the Continental Divide.
The Continental Divide is a long, long line that spans the Rocky Mountains. Water from the Pacific Ocean goes to the Atlantic Ocean, while water from the other side of the divide goes to the sea.
3. Grinnell Glacier Trail
One of the most popular hiking trails in Glacier National Park is the Grinnell Glacier Trail. It follows a path through the mountains and features a viewpoint of the only accessible glacier in the park.
The hike that follows the Going to the Sun Road starts at the Many Glacier Hotel. It then winds through various areas, such as Lake Josephine and Swift current Lake.
It eventually reaches its final destination. This is one of the most fun things in Glacier National Park.
4. Hidden Lake Overlook
One of the most popular hiking trails in the park is the Hidden Lake Overlook Trail.
It takes you through a grassy meadow and offers a spectacular lake view. This trail is easily accessible and has a short distance.
The Logan Pass Trail begins at the Logan Pass Visitor Center. Follow a path that leads to a dirt trail, and then it ends at Hidden Lake Overlook. It’s recommended to park early to find a parking spot.
5. Highline Trail
The Highline Trail is a popular hiking trail that takes you through various areas in Glacier National Park. It features a variety of landscapes and viewpoints.
The hike ends at The Loop, and most hikers take the park shuttle to return to Logan Pass.
Since the trail is one way, most people park their cars at the various campsites along the way. Hiking along this trail is one of the best things to do in Glacier National Park.
6. The Red Bus Tour
One of the most popular tours in the park is the Red Bus Tour. A driving tour is an excellent alternative if you’re not planning on driving the Going-to-the-sun Road.
The Red Bus Tour is a fleet of open-air buses that dates back to the 1930s. These tour buses have various features, including a rollback top for views.
With a guide and 17 passengers, this tour is ideal for people interested in learning more about the park. Taking the Red Bus Tour is also another fun thing to do in Glacier National Park.
7. Two Medicine Lake at Sunrise
One of the lesser-visited areas in Glacier National Park is Two Medicine. Due to its location, fewer people visit this area. It’s also separated from the Going-to-the-sun Road by approximately an hour.
Two Medicine is home to a beautiful lake, a general store, and a boat dock operated by the Glacier Park Boat Company.
It’s best to visit this area at sunrise. During this time of year, only a few people are in the area, and it offers a genuinely inspirational view.
8. Avalanche Lake Trail
The Avalanche Lake Trail is a popular hike that takes you through an area spared from wildfires.
This 4.6-mile trail follows a path that cuts through an old-growth cedar forest. After crossing the street, you can follow the Trail of the Cedars to Avalanche Lake.
The view from Avalanche Lake is spectacular, as it features various waterfalls and avalanche chutes. The lake’s name refers to the chutes that were created by the avalanches.
9. Glacier National Park’s Wildlife
In Glacier National Park, you’ll likely come across various animals known for their beauty.
These include grizzly bears, mountain goats, moose, marmots, and black bears. In addition, you might also see bighorn sheep and mountain goats.
One of the best ways to see these animals is by hiking. However, it is much safer to see them in less busy areas, such as the Going-to-the-sun Road.
10. Many Glacier
One of the most popular areas in Glacier National Park is the Many Glacier. This region is located in the park’s northern section.
To access this area, you’ll need to take the Going-to-the-Sun Road to St. Mary and then head north to Many Glacier Road.
11. Lake McDonald
One of the other popular areas in Glacier National Park that’s open year-round is Lake McDonald.
This region is located on the park’s west side. The Going-to-the-sun Road can be reached in this area even during winter.
One of the first stops for people who enter the park from the West entrance is Lake McDonald. This area is only a few miles from West Glacier and Apgar Village.
Lake McDonald’s is one of the largest bodies of water in the park, and it’s approximately 10 miles long. This lake has a depth of almost 500 feet.
12. Trail of The Cedars
The Avalanche Lake Trail starts and ends near the Avalanche Creek Picnic Area. It winds through a cedar forest that was spared from recent wildfires. The trail also has interpretive signs.
One of the park’s few handicap-accessible trails is the Trail of the Cedars. This short loop follows a path through an area filled with old-growth trees.
13. Waterton Lakes National Park
If you’re planning on visiting Glacier National Park for a whole week, we highly recommend taking a day trip to Waterton Lakes National Park. This beautiful area can be reached by car from around 1.5 hours away.
One of the best ways to see the area is by taking a cruise boat tour. This two-hour tour takes you through Waterton Lake. It’s very comfortable and offers excellent views of the Goat Haunt and the Canadian Rockies.
14. Bowman Lake
If you’re looking for an area off the beaten path, head to the North Fork of Glacier National Park.
This region is home to the Polebridge Mercantile and Bowman Lake. Located off a dirt road, this area is known for its unique attractions.
One of the best ways to spend time in this area is at Bowman Lake. It’s an excellent spot for picnics and relaxing. It’s also a popular location for people who want to try kayaking or paddling.
15. Many Glacier Hotel
One of the best ways to experience Glacier National Park is by staying in one of the lodges in Glacier National Park, such as the Many Glacier Hotel. This allows you to get a deeper understanding of the park’s history.
Although there are plenty of lodges in Glacier National Park, the best locations to stay are Swiss-style accommodations. These include the Lake McDonald Lodge and the Many Glacier Hotel.
16. Iceberg Lake Trail
One of the best places to see in the area is Iceberg Lake, which is filled with crystal blue waters. During the summer, the waters of this lake are filled with icebergs that float in the water.
The 10-mile trail that follows the lake provides fantastic views of Mount Wilbur and Glacier.
17. Boat Tour
One unique way to see Glacier National Park is by taking a boat tour. Although there are only a limited number of tour operators in the area, they can take you on tours of the crystal clear lakes.
One of the most popular boat tours in Glacier National Park is the Glacier Park Boat Company, which is a family-owned business that’s been run since 1938.
Their tours take you around the lake in a customized wooden boat.
18. Granite Park Chalet
If you’re planning on exploring the park’s backcountry but don’t want to deal with the logistics of carrying all of your gear, then a night at a local hotel is the best option.
The Rustic Granite Park Chalet is a great place to stay in Glacier National Park. It’s located along the Highline Trail.
There, you’ll find several cabins that have full kitchens and bathrooms. You can also rent linens and buy food and drinks.
19. Backcountry Camping
Suppose you’re looking for a fantastic experience filled with adventure and solitude, head to Glacier National Park’s remote regions. There, you’ll find plenty of hiking trails ideal for multi-day trips.
Before you can start exploring the park’s remote regions, you’ll need to get a permit.
These permits are released each spring through a lottery system. You can also get additional permits through walk-up applications.
20. Adventure Sports
There are plenty of activities and activities in Glacier National Park that are suitable for all types of people. Some of these include fly fishing, horseback riding, and rafting.
For instance, if you’re planning on taking a kayaking or rafting trip on Lake McDonald, then book a trip with the Glacier Park Boat Company.
Other local businesses that offer these activities include the Great Northern Restaurant and River Wild. If you’re looking for a fly-fishing experience, try one with Glacier Guides.
21. St. Mary and Virginia Falls Trail
One of the most popular trails in Glacier National Park is the St. Mary and Virginia Falls Trail, which takes you to two of the park’s most famous waterfalls. This moderate hike is ideal for a leg of the trip.
The trail starts at the St. Mary Falls Trailhead. Follow it through a wildfire-burned forest. This area is the perfect spot to spot wildlife, such as deer.
Best Time To Visit Glacier National Park
For most people, the best time to visit Glacier National Park is during the summer, which is from June to September.
During this period, people travel to the park to hike, raft, and fish in the rivers. They also want to explore the park’s various areas, such as the Glacier Park Chalets.
How Much Does It Cost To Visit Glacier National Park?
The average cost of a day in Glacier National Park is around $102. This figure is based on the average expenses of past visitors.
Other factors that have been analyzed are the cost of local transportation and meals. The average hotel room rate in Glacier National Park is $90.
Therefore, the average price of a trip for two people is around $1,423.