From ice-covered shimmering lakes to gushing waterfalls and alpine vistas covered with wildflowers, Glacier National Park is an incredible place. Here is the list of ten things to do in Glacier National Park!
1. Going to the Sun Road
It's also known as Highway 91, and it's one of the best ways to see Mount Saint Helens and Mount Rainier. If you're going to be in Washington state, you have to take this road!
The Going-to-the-Sun Road is a scenic highway that extends across the North Fork Flathead River Valley between St. Mary and Logan Pass. It's the highest paved road in America, with an elevation of 6646 feet (about 2000 meters) above sea level at Logan Pass, which makes it perfect for seeing some incredible sights like Glacier National Park, Waterton Lakes National Park, and Jasper National Park (just to name a few).
The Going-to-the-Sun road has been open since 1933, but construction didn't begin until 1916 when crews started building up the trail from Two Medicine all the way up to Logan Pass by hand (and on horseback). This was no easy feat and there were no modern tools or machines available at that time!
2. Trail of the Cedars
Trail of the Cedars is one of the most popular trails in Glacier National Park. The wide, paved trail takes visitors through a stand of western red cedars, a rare species that is only found in Montana and British Columbia. You'll be able to see these trees up close as you hike along the path.
The trail begins at the Logan Pass Visitor Center and winds through a forest of Douglas first, subalpine fir, Engelmann spruce, and whitebark pine. At 1 mile round-trip, this easy walk is perfect for families with small children or older adults who may find other hikes too strenuous.
The trail ends at an overlook with views of Mt. Wilbur and McDonald Creek Valley. From there you can see Mt. Gould, Mt. Reynolds, and the Going-to-the-Sun Road winding its way up through the mountains—it's an incredible sight!
3. Visit St. Mary
If you're looking for a place to stay in Glacier National Park, St. Mary's in Glacier National Park is one of the best places to stay. This hotel is located on Going-to-the-Sun Road, which means it's just a short drive from many of the park's most popular attractions.
The hotel has 49 rooms and suites that are all decorated with a rustic western theme. Each room has either two queen beds or a king bed and can sleep up to four people comfortably. There's also a mini kitchenette with stove top, microwave oven, refrigerator, sink and utensils for cooking meals if you want to save money and eat in your room instead of going out for every meal.
The hotel offers free Wi-Fi and free parking as well as laundry services (for an extra fee). If you don't have any plans while staying at St Mary's in Glacier National Park, there are plenty of things nearby to do like hiking or exploring nature trails.
4. Hike Lake Mcdonald
Lake McDonald is a beautiful lake nestled in Glacier National Park. It's one of the most popular places for hiking, camping, and fishing in the park.
There are many different trails that lead to Lake McDonald, but one of the most popular is the Apgar Lookout Trail. The trailhead is at the Apgar Village and is about 3 miles long round trip. This is also where you can get on the Going-to-the Sun Road to drive over Logan Pass or hike up to Grinnell Glacier.
The trail follows along the shore of Lake McDonald, which makes it an easy hike if you're looking for something less strenuous than some of the others in the park (it's rated as “leisurely”). If you have time, we recommend stopping at Avalanche Creek Falls along your way down from the lookout point. It's about 1/4 mile off trail and has some great views of Avalanche Creek Falls crashing down into Avalanche Gorge below!
5. Visit Glacier Park Boat Company
The company has been in business for over 50 years, and their boats are the most reliable way to explore the beautiful Lake McDonald.
They offer multiple daily tours that take you through the park waters, with an expert guide who will tell you about the natural history of Glacier National Park and the surrounding area. You'll learn about local wildlife, as well as some fascinating stories about early miners who used to settle in this area.
The tour lasts around three hours, but they also offer shorter options if you're looking for something shorter. And if you'd like to have lunch or dinner on your trip, they can arrange that as well! If there's one thing you should do while visiting Glacier National Park, it's taking a boat tour with Visit Glacier Park Boat Company!
6. Hike Avalanche Lake Trail
Hike Avalanche Lake Trail is a scenic and challenging hike that leads you to the beautiful Avalanche Lake. The trail starts at the Trail of the Cedar.
The hike starts with a steady climb through tall trees. You'll pass through open areas with great views of the mountains, including Mt. Cannon and Mt. Jackson on either side of you.
After about two miles, you'll reach the meadow below Avalanche Creek Falls. This stretch of trail has some steep sections but also some gradual ones, so it's perfect for families or people new to hiking who want to try something more challenging than what they've done before but still within their comfort zone.
From here, it's another mile to the lake itself. You'll come out at an overlook that looks down upon it. If you're lucky enough to be there when there's no snow on the ground yet (which happens around mid-June), then you'll get an even better view–you'll be able to see right into its depths!
7. Visit Hidden Lake
Hidden Lake is a beautiful and secluded spot in Glacier National Park. It's a great place to spend the day hiking, fishing or just relaxing with friends.
If you're looking for a place to stay in Glacier Park without having to deal with the crowds, this is it. You can make reservations ahead of time so you don't have to worry about whether there are any spots available when you get there.
Once you reach the parking lot, it's an easy 0.2 miles on an unpaved path through the forest before reaching the lake itself. This trail is open year-round but may be more difficult during winter months due to snow cover.
Once at Hidden Lake, there are plenty of options for exploring: swimming, canoeing (with an approved permit), fishing (state regulations apply), picnicking, hiking and more!
8. Go to Logan Pass
Logan Pass is a stop on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. The road was built in 1960, and is one of the most scenic drives in America. It's famous for its views of the mountains, as well as for its wildlife—you might see bears, mountain goats, and elk (to name a few).
There are several things to do at Logan Pass. The first is hiking: you can find trails that lead to Hidden Lake or Avalanche Lake. If you're looking for something even more challenging, check out the Highline Trail—it's an 8-mile round trip hike (with an elevation gain of 1,400 feet) that takes you through some incredibly beautiful scenery.
You can also try horseback riding. There are stables that offer rides from Logan Pass such as Swan Mountain Outfitter.
9. Hike Iceberg Lake Trail
Iceberg Lake Trail near Logan Pass is one of the most popular hikes in Glacier National Park. The trail climbs through alpine meadows and forest to reach this beautiful lake, which sits at the base of Mount Oberlin. This hike is perfect for families with children, and it's also a great hike for those who are looking for a short but challenging hike that leads to a beautiful view.
The Iceberg Lake Trail starts at the Many Glacier Hotel parking lot and follows the Belly River to the Going-to-the-Sun Road. From there, it heads west up an old logging road before turning onto a newer trail that leads directly to Iceberg Lake. The total distance from Many Glacier Hotel to Iceberg Lake is approximately 2 miles one way with an elevation gain of only 300 feet—a perfect distance for children! On the way up, hikers will pass through several streams and small lakes before reaching Iceberg Lake itself.
Glacier National Park is a beautiful, expansive park. It's important to pick the right things to do during your time here in order to maximize the enjoyment of your trip. We hope the information here can be useful when planning your visit.
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