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Glacier NP & Waterton Lakes NP itinerary

northern virginia
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Glacier NP & Waterton Lakes NP itinerary

Continuing from Banff and Jasper, we'll be arriving on the west side of Glacier early Sept. and have 5 days for exploring Glacier and Waterton NPs, before returning to Calgary for 2 nights. I need suggestions on how much time to spend where and places to stay. I understand the midsection of the Going to the Sun Rd. is closed at this time.

Charlotte, North...
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1. Re: Glacier NP & Waterton Lakes NP itinerary

Where did you read that the midsection of GTTS Road is closed during this time? Just wondering because I've never heard that before, and to my knowledge it would only be closed if there was snow/rockslide on the road.

Early September can be a great time to visit Glacier National Park. Are you into hiking, and if so what kind of mileages/elevation changes suit you? I can definitely recommend some good day hikes. I visited Glacier for the first time in 2006 and absolutely love it. It is my favorite place in the U.S. that I've visited (I haven't been to Alaska). If I had 5 days in Glacier, I might suggest the following...

Day 1: Drive GTTS Road if open all the way. Hike to Avalanche Lake & if entire road is open consider Hidden Lake Overlook. If it is not all open, then drive Highway 2 around the park (stopping at Walton Goat Lick Overlook) and drive up GTTS Road from St. Mary and take a hike to St. Mary and Virginia Falls. Spend the night in St. Mary or Rising Sun (perhaps Rising Sun Motor Inn)

Day 2: If GTTS Road is open & the Highline Trail is free of snow, drive to Logan Pass and take the Highline Trail. If in very good condition, hike to Grinnell Glacier Overlook, Granite Park Chalet, over Swiftcurrent Pass, and down to Many Glacier, using a commercial shuttle back to your car. If in fairly good condition, hike Grinnell Glacier Overlook, Granite Park Chalet, and down to the Loop, catching the shuttle back to your car. If not in great condition, hike to Haystack Butte and back to your car. (Stay perhaps @ Many Glacier Lodge or Swiftcurrent Motor Inn)

If GTTS Road is not open or Highline Trail is not free of snow...

Drive down to the Two Medicine area of the park. Consider a day hike (possibly Two Medicine Pass or Dawson-Pitamakan loop if clear of snow and you are in good condition; if not in good condition or snow-covered, possibly Scenic Point, No Name Lake & Upper Two Medicine Lake, or Old Man Lake). Do Running Eagle Falls regardless. Spend night where you did on Night 1.

Day 3: Day hike in Many Glacier. Options include Grinnell Glacier, Cracker Lake, Iceberg Lake, Ptarmigan Tunnel, Bullhead Lake. Spend night in Many Glacier (Stay perhap @ Many Glacier Lodge or Swiftcurrent Motor Inn)

Day 4: Do one of the hikes you didn't on Day 4. Drive to Waterton Lakes NP, take the scenic drives (Akamina Parkway and Red Rock Parkway) and stay there (maybe Prince of Wales Hotel?)

Day 5: Either Crypt Lake or Carthew-Alderson would be awesome if clear of snow. Spend night in Waterton or Calgary (not sure exactly of reservations)

Well there's a pretty basic itinerary. Any season is awesome in Glacier/Waterton, so you can't go wrong. Hopefully you like to hike, because that's how you get the most out of the park. If not, you can definitely take it more leisurely and have just as wonderful of an experience.

Sean

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2. Re: Glacier NP & Waterton Lakes NP itinerary

GTTS road will be under construction for the next few years, but the park service is vowing to have at least one lane open during the summer months, I would think that early Sept - meaning right around Labour Day or so - will still be included in this "summer" time frame. Certainly it would not be closed due to snow in early Sept.

If you are a big hiker, I would highly recommend the Crypt Lake trail at Waterton if you are interested in a full-day hike. It is spectacular.

The Shoreline Cruise on Upper Waterton Lake is another popular choice while in the Canadian side of the park. Hiking is really the big draw for Waterton - not much in terms of "nightlife", although there is a movie theatre in town that is open during the summer season. lol.

Nice lodging choices for Waterton would be the Aspen Village Inn, Crandell Mountain Lodge, & Waterton Glacier Suites. Please let me know if I can offer more detailed info on your Canadian segment of your trip.

Enjoy!

- CG

3. Re: Glacier NP & Waterton Lakes NP itinerary

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