Our National Parks System is pretty amazing. There are so many options all over the country. One that is consistently a favorite is Glacier National Park in Montana. There are so many things to do in Glacier National Park, and it can be hard to plan a trip when you want to do everything. So, we’ve put together the perfect 5-day itinerary to make sure you see as much of this beautiful park as possible!
Things To Do In Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is open every day of the year so you can visit any season. But we prefer to visit this gem of a national park in the summer because everything is generally open. Here is how we recommend spending 5 lovely days in Glacier.
Day One: The Going-to-the-Sun Road
We think you should spend your first day in Glacier National Park driving one of the best road trip routes in the country, the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The road is the only one that traverses Glacier, crossing the Continental Divide through Logan Pass. The road was designed to blend into the mountain setting and provides you with stunning views of the Rockies.
Glacier National Park is wild country which means wildlife can make an appearance anywhere along Going-to-the-Sun Road. Mountain goats and Bighorn sheep are often seen near Logan Pass. For glacier viewing, Jackson Glacier Overlook is your best opportunity to see a glacier from the road. The overlook is located on the east side of the road between Logan Pass and St. Mary.
You can drive Going-to-the-Sun Road from west to east and turn back. You can also make it a loop by driving the road from West Glacier to St. Mary and heading back to West Glacier via East Glacier Park and Highway 2.
Day Two: The North Fork + Columbia Falls
After a gorgeous drive across Glacier National Park, it is time to head to the wildest sections of the park. Start the day in Columbia Falls for breakfast and then head to the North Fork. This area is one of Glacier’s most scenic sections. Near this off-the-beaten-path area is where you will find the small off-grid community of Polebridge just outside of the park’s border. Stop by the historic Polebridge Mercantile for some snacks and then head into the park for some time on the water! You can rent a kayak or canoe and then spend a few hours paddling on Bowman or Kintla lakes. If you want to do some hiking, Camas Road is a great option.
Day Three: West Glacier
As one of the park’s main hubs, West Glacier is the perfect place to spend your third day. Stop At Swan Mountain Outfitters you can start the day off with a trail ride. If horses aren’t your thing, spending some time fly fishing. You can also contact one of the local raft companies to book a white water rafting trip down the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. And when hunger hits, the historic Belton Chalet where you can watch the trains roll past is a.
Day Four: American Indian History
Glacier National Park is very important to many of the state’s First Nations. In fact, the Blackfeet Nation refers to the park as the “Backbone of the World.” On your fourth day in the park, we highly recommend taking a guided trip with Sun Tours to learn more about the park and the Blackfeet Tribe.
Sun Tours is a local Tribal business run by Ed and Toni DesRosier, members of the Blackfeet and Assiniboine Sioux Tribes. The tours have helped add interpretation of Blackfeet culture and connection, which was previously lacking. All the tour guides specialize in local Blackfeet culture, history, family, and modern-day lifestyle, which helps visitors understand the first nations sacred connection to the landscape.
Ed’s vision of Blackfeet Guides sharing their extensive knowledge, history, and experience of the landscape of Glacier National Park’s inhabited areas is the perfect way to spend your day. The tour covers Glacier National Park’s history, animal species, common plants used by the tribe for nutrition and medicine as well as the spiritual and philosophical perspectives and stories of the Blackfeet people.
Day Five: Many Glacier
Are you ready to spend some time in one of the park’s most stunning and visually breathtaking areas? Ok, excellent – Many Glacier is where you want to go! A short drive from St. Mary, this area of the park is home to a wide variety of the park’s wildlife. It isn’t uncommon to see moose, bear, and other animals in this part of the park. You can grab something to eat at Many Glacier Hotel—a Swiss-style property located on the eastern shore of Swiftcurrent Lake. There are also many outdoor recreational activity options, including trail rides and hiking trails. Make sure you catch the sunset behind the mountains from the hotel’s deck! It is a stunning sight!
Day Six: Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
What better way to end your trip that heading into Canada and visiting another national park? If you’re down for the adventure, head north on the Chief Mountain International Highway to Waterton Lakes National Park. Before you cross the border into Alberta, you’ll see Chief Mountain, a sacred site for the Blackfeet Tribe. In Waterton Lakes National Park head over to the Prince of Wales Hotel for a gorgeous view of the lake! Head into town to spend some time downtown or head out on one of the many hiking trails in the area.
Glacier National Park’s rugged mountains, alpine meadows and, spectacular lakes call visitors every year. With over 700 miles of trails and a number of other things to do, it is easy to see why visitors looking to find wilderness and solitude fall in love with Glacier.