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3 days in Glacier

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3 days in Glacier

My boyfriend and I (early 20s) plan on spending about 3 full days and 3 nights in Glacier before heading to Banff. We are both in good shape and enjoy full, busy days of vacation :) here is our itinerary so far:

Day 1: driving,arrive at St. Mary's campground in the evening.

Day 2: wake early to start on Going to the Sun Road. Along with stops along the way, we plan on doing the Hidden lake overlook trail and the trail to Avalanche lake. Camp at either Fish Creek or Apgar campground.

Day 3: hike the highline loop. I have seen very different explanations of this trail, with some saying it is mostly flat with a few difficult parts and some saying the entire way is hard. Can someone give me an accurate description? Will 2 fit,young adults have a problem with this trail? Also, is it better to start at the loop or at Logan pass? If we arrive to either by 8:00 a.m I wouldn't expect parking to be a problem.... later in the evening we plan to drive to Many glacier area and camp there.

Day 4: another early day, catching the boat for the Grinnell glacier hike. I feel we may be a bit tired from the previous day, but read the guided hike to Grinnell glacier lasts about 8 hours, so I am assuming it is at a somewhat slower pace and will not be too challenging. Then, that evening we plan on driving up to Waterton and staying at the Townsite there.

I should note all of our campsites will be reserved.

Does this itinerary seem ok? Thank you in advance for answers.

USA
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1. Re: 3 days in Glacier

The big question is when is your trip! Hopefully not too early in the season - you want to make sure the GTTSR is open and that the higher elevation trails are passable.

Day 3 - why switch to Fish Creek/Apgar? Seems like a big waste of time. Stay at St. Mary or Many Glacier campgrounds the whole time. Especially for such a short trip.

I doubt you will have trouble with this trail. Due to the length, up/down on the Highline, and downhill on the Loop it is not easy. But I wouldn't call it difficult. In my opinion, it is much better to start at Logan Pass with fresh legs so you can enjoy the scenery, beat the crowds, and avoid the big uphill hike. I haven't done the Loop portion of the trail, but I feel like that's a better section of trail to rush through when you're tired and ready to be done with the hike. But that's just me.

Parking at Logan Pass shouldn't be a problem at 8am. You might want to try parking at the Loop and catching the first shuttle to Logan Pass so you can end up at your car.

Another thing to consider is that you can hike from Logan Pass, out the Highline to Granite Park, then down the Swiftcurrent Pass trail to end up at Many Glacier. It's a much longer hike, but more interesting scenery than the Loop (I've been told). I did it over two days (with a Granite Park Chalet stay in between), and both section separately are pretty easy (combined in one day would be more difficult). You would have to use the paid hiker shuttle from MG to St. Mary and GTTSR shuttle on one end of the hike.

You might be tired, but if you are in good shape (and don't injure yourself!) I wouldn't hesitate to do Highline and Grinnell Glacier on back-to-back days. If you take the guided hike, there will be plenty of stops.

Hudson, Wisconsin
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2. Re: 3 days in Glacier

I'm fit and in my early 30s and have hiked Highline Trail from Logan Pass to Granite Park Chalet up and over Swiftcurrent Pass down to Many Glacier in a single day...and then the next day hiked Grinnell Glacier Trail. It is actually not too bad on back to back days, especially since Grinnell Glacier Trail you can do at a much slower pace if you take the boat. You would need to pay a small fee for a shuttle to get you back to your car to do the Logan Pass to Many Glacier hike. IMO, it is totally worth it!

From the Chalet down to the Loop it is extremely boring and a lot of downhill. If you decide not to go over Swiftcurrent Pass, then expect to breeze through this section (4 mi. in length). I think when I did this section on one particular trip it took me only 1.25 hrs since I wasn't stopping for pictures...

Another option is to check out the Grinnell Glacier Overlook, a 0.9 mi. spur trail off Highline Trail about 0.8 mi. before you reach the Chalet. Incredible views, but you'll have to work to get there. You gain 1000 ft. in elevation during that 0.9 mi. But IMO, the overlook is one of the most stunning in all of America. If you did that, I wouldn't recommend hiking all the way to Many Glacier though, but you still could "speed walk" down to the Loop.

Kalispell, Montana
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for Glacier National Park, Santa Fe, Sedona
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3. Re: 3 days in Glacier

For a first time visit, I think your plan with some small changes sounds real well thought out. I think the Fish Creek campground area is a little prettier and seems less crowded than the Apgar camp...but both work just fine.

**And if you want to take all the hikes mentioned, don't come until toward the third week of July for the best access to the trails without snow and mud. You will need to buy bear spray to hike safely. And the canister must be labeled bear spray on it or it is considered a weapon and will be confiscated at the border crossing.

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Day 2 sounds great to me.

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On your day 3, I would just drive back along the Lake McDonald early and park at Logan Summit by 8. Forget about the shuttles and hiking the entire Highline trail. A hike to Haystack and then back up to Logan is the most scenic trail you will have. The lower part of the Highline is a time wasting bore IMO. The hike back up will look completely different to you and the light will have changed to make it look even more different for photos. If you have energy and time after that you can either hike the St Mary/Virginia Falls trail on the GTTSR east side descent. Or just enjoy the drive, a short walk at Sunrift Gorge and a brief stop at the Wild Goose Island over look for views and photos.

Then move on and get settled into Many Glacier. But that evening, do take the easy walk to Fishercap Lake there to see the resident moose...plural. Trailhead is at the far end of the Swiftcurrent parking lot.

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I think your Many Glacier to Waterton Lakes day sounds just right. Try for an early two lake boat tour with ranger led hike. Make sure you drive over to Waterton Lakes before it gets too late in the afternoon. Check to make sure what time the border crossing at Chief Mountain closes for the night.

And the addition of Banff/Jasper is very exciting. I hope you know that the section of Banff that is the very most beautiful and famous is between Lake Louise and Jasper township...the world famous Icefields Highway. Banff itself is fun to visit but the stunning scenery begins a little further north. Check it out.

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U.S. Chief Mountain border - Ezbordercrossing.com

ezbordercrossing.com/.../…chief-mountain

Chief Mountain Port Information. The hours of operation for this border crossings are seasonal and can change from year to year.

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For fun watch some of the narrated ad-free videos of the hikes you are choosing to take on the site below. You have planned well and should have a great time if you are not coming too soon for the trails to be fully clear. We are having a real long winter with a lot of snow this year, so it may mean the GTTSR opens a little later as well.

Your Guide to Glacier National Park

https://www.hike734.com

Welcome to Hike 734 where you'll find trail and trip info for every mile of trail in Glacier National Park in description and beautiful video form.

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4. Re: 3 days in Glacier

al_in_al-I didn't mention our trip is in mid August. Thank you for all of the info on highline!

Edited: 9:42 am, January 16, 2017
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5. Re: 3 days in Glacier

Jeremiah- Great info! Thanks! I think we will skip doing the loop portion.

Edited: 9:43 am, January 16, 2017
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6. Re: 3 days in Glacier

MaryEllen- Thank you for the information on the bear spray,as well as the border crossing. Did not think of either of those previously. I think we are now planning on doing the highline to haystack like you suggested :) thanks for your help!

USA
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7. Re: 3 days in Glacier

August is perfect.

I don't consider the section of the Highline between Haystack and Granite Park to be boring at all. But if you do intend to turn around at Haystack Butte, make sure you follow the trail to the top (the most difficult part of the trail, really), to get some nice northern views of the park.

8. Re: 3 days in Glacier

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