The Glacier National Park is my favorite of all national parks I have been to so far – 15 in total. It’s the most picturesque and the most adventurous one that brings many good vibes. Hiking, trekking, swimming, kayaking, star gazing and relaxing – everything is possible. Believe me: You will fall in love with this place as well!
#1 Most scenic mountains
I have never seen more scenic mountains than in the Glacier National Park. Wherever you drive or hike you will be amazed by the scenery of mountain ranges. The mountains made me speechless when I was there, and this magic still works when I see photos of the park. So I will just show you a picture and you’ll probably understand.
#2 Most picturesque lakes
The same goes for the lakes in the Glacier National Park. There are plenty of lakes with crystal clear water and colorful pebbles. With the mountains it’s the perfect combination – I was always was a lover of water & mountains.
#3 Winding road with waterfalls – Going-to-the-sun Road
The one and only road through the national park is called Going-to-the-sun Road. It is named after the Going-to-the-sun Mountain, which is the dominating mountain in the park.
The windy, narrow road is a scenic drive along with the mountain range and waterfalls, which flush fresh water on the street. You can either start in St. Mary or at Apgar Visitor Center. Cars wider than 8ft and longer than 21ft are not allowed on this road.
#4 Free shuttle bus in peak season
In peak season, you can enjoy the views of the Going-to-the-sun Road from the free shuttle bus. The system is amazing, considering that they transfer thousands of visitors per day in the summer months. The shuttle bus runs between St. Mary and Apgar Visitor Center. As the road is narrow the busses can only load around 20 people. Hence, there are long waiting times. So be patient. We mostly used the shuttle to get to the trailheads, so that we don’t have to find parking.
#5 Countless hiking trails
Around the Logan Pass and Lake McDonald are many hiking trails that can keep you busy for weeks. We did only two – the Highline Trail and Avalanche Lake Trail.
The Highline Trail is one of the most popular ones. Starting at the Logan Pass Visitor Center, the trail twines along the mountains above the Going-to-the-sun Road. It offers spectacular views of the mountains and valleys. The path passes waterfalls and fields of mountain flowers. Perhaps you’ll even see a goat or sheep.
Avalanche Lake is a beautiful trail as well, although it is different because it leads through an old forest. As a side attraction of the trail, you can sneak a peek into the river gorge, which is stunning! Crystal clear, blue water washes its way through the mossy red rocks of the gorge. The trail ends at the Avalanche Lake, which is surrounded by mountains. They feature some waterfalls, which flush fresh water into the lake. Unfortunately, we couldn’t take a closer look.
The river gorge at Avalanche trail
#6 Trekking options
If you are more into longer hiking trails, the Glacier National Park has it as well! This is still on my bucket list because I believe there are breathtaking hidden places in these mountains.
#7 Stunning night sky
The Glacier National Park is one of the places in the U.S. that has the clearest view of the night sky. We got to join a Night Sky Program with telescopes, which was amazing. The ticket was for free, but we had to pick it up at a visitor’s center one day prior. The event was at the Logan Pass and you had to drive up with your own vehicle. They explain a lot beforehand and make a little show. Then you can look through the telescope of different “astronomy pros”, who will show you galaxies, other planets, moons, certain stars, dying stars, etc. Definitely worth it, if you are already there!
#8 Variety of activities
The Night Sky Program isn’t the only event or activity the Glacier National Park offers. They also provide guided tours for hiking, boat trips, horseback riding, rafting, and bus trips.
There are also ranger-led activities regularly – for example, the “Native American speaks”. A Native American from the Blackfeet, Salish, Kootenai, or Pend d’Oreille tribal talks about history and culture – very interesting! Happens on a regular basis at the campgrounds of the national park.
Of course, swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing and bicycling are possible as well.
#9 Hiding from tourist crowds: Kintla Lake
If you are sick of the crowds, drive North to the Kintla Lake. You will experience the greatest silence. If you got a kayak or boat, it’s even better. Then you can soak in the tranquility of the lake and its surrounding mountains from the water. Although there is a camping site, there aren’t many people at this lake, maybe because it’s quite a long drive from the main attractions.
#10 Being disconnected
The only places you will have phone service is West Glacier, Apgar, and St. Mary. The rest is a dead zone for mobile phones. So if you always wanted to be disconnected from the world, this is the place to go! You can explore the stunning scenery without worrying about emails, messages or any social media. It’s a real getaway!
#11 Improving your photography skills
If you’ve got a heart for photography, the Glacier National Park will be a huge playground for you. All the mountains, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, colors and stars are amazing objects to make great shots. You will have a lot of material to show friends & family at home, or to upload on Instagram & Pinterest (once you’re out of the park). I had a great time playing around with my new camera.
Quick Info & Links
Entrance fee: $30 per car (valid 7 days)
Glacier National Park – official website
Camping inside the park
Costs for camping: around $20 (depending on the season)
Lodging inside the national park
Hotels outside the Glacier National Park