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Glacier NP Trip Report Archive

Ohio, USA
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for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
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Glacier NP Trip Report Archive

There are many outstanding trip reports posted to this forum. These trip reports are a tremendous resource to future travelers when they are planning their excursions to Glacier National Park. To provide a convenient way to access the trip reports, please post links to your trip report and relevant pictures on this thread. To aid folks as they search the trip reports, please include the following details that are covered in the TR:

Primary destination(s) visited (areas of the park, i.e. Many Glacier, Two Medicine, Lake McDonald, etc.).

Dates of trip.

Duration of trip.

If the length of the link is too long for TA to accept, use http://tinyurl.com or a similar service to reduce the link length.

74 replies to this topic
Ohio, USA
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for Bryce Canyon National Park, Bryce, Arches National Park
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1. Re: Glacier NP Trip Report Archive

We visited Lake McDonald, Sperry Chalet (what I great hike to get there) and Many Glacier (simply beautiful), as well as touring along the GTTSR. We were there for 11 days, from August 14 through 24, 2009.

Here’s the trip report from our excursion:

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143026-i1168-k305…

And some photos from that trip:

www.photoshop.com/user/EAAtravel/…

Arlington, Virginia
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2. Re: Glacier NP Trip Report Archive

Date of trip: Last week of June 2009

Duration of trip: 7 days

Destinations: Kalispell (1 night); West Glacier (3 nights); Many Glacier (1 night); East Glacier (2 nights)

http://tinyurl.com/ybdj2x7 (Part 1: Accomodations Reviews)

http://tinyurl.com/yb24zop (Part 2: Hiking Reviews)

buffalo
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3. Re: Glacier NP Trip Report Archive

Trip #1 - September 7th-16th, 2008

Summary - Long report with lots of pictures of a tent camping, day hiking trip featuring the following hikes (Iceberg Lake, Highline to Swiftcurrent, Grinnell Glacier, Cracker Lake, Avalanche Lake, Dragon Tail, Cobalt Lake/Two Medicine Pass, Scenic Point)

glacierparkchat.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php…

Trip #2 - September 4th-21st, 2009

Summary - Longer report with more pictures....tent camping at Rising Sun, Many Glacier, and a stay at Sperry Chalet....featuring an extensive list of day hikes (Siyeh Loop, Goat Mountain (climb), Gunsight Trailhead to Sperry Chalet, Sperry Chalet to Lake McDonald, Ptarmagan Tunnel, Piegan Pass to Many Glacier, Cracker Lake, Pitamakan/Dawson Loop, Highline to Grinnell Glacier Overlook, Dragon Tail, Oberlin Mountain (climb), Triple Divide Pass, Lee Ridge to Belly River to Chief Mountain Loop, Grinnell Glacier)

glacierparkchat.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php…

buffalo
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4. Re: Glacier NP Trip Report Archive

I'm sorry...but our board changed addresses...these are the new ones...

2008:

…nationalparkschat.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php…

2009:

…nationalparkschat.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php…

Moab, Utah
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5. Re: Glacier NP Trip Report Archive

Our trip to Glacier National Park was from June 16-20, 2010. We're a family of four with two teenage children. During our stay we had two nights at Many Glacier and two nights at Lake McDonald.

Trip report link- tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143026-i1168-k372…

Associated photos- http://outtrim.id.au/USA2009/?p=545 & http://outtrim.id.au/USA2009/?p=547

Twin Cities, MN
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6. Re: Glacier NP Trip Report Archive

Have never done a trip report before...How do I do that? Thanks. Have read others' reports & they've helped a lot...our June 21-29 trip this year was awesome, thanks to Trip Advisor Glacier forum!

Minnesota
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7. Re: Glacier NP Trip Report Archive

We camped (tent) in the Many Glacier Campground for 4 nights, June 28 - July 2. Trip report here: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143026-i1168-k379… -- some pictures can be found with my Many Glacier Campground review (link within the Trip Report).

Family with kids ages 12 and 14. Iceberg Lake hiking trail, whitewater rafting out of West Glacier, Going-to-the-Sun-Road, Avalanche Creek and Lake hiking trails, boat ride from Many Glacier Lodge, and more.

Champaign, Illinois
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8. Re: Glacier NP Trip Report Archive

We road tripped from Illinois to GNP starting July 21 and returning July 30. We camped a few nights and stayed at a rental in Whitefish the rest of the time. You can read my trip report and see pictures at my blog post. Feel free to post questions over there. I may have cataloged more of what I want to remember versus what would be useful to fellow travelers. :-)

Primary Destinations: St. Mary, Apgar, Logan Pass, Many Glacier

Dates: 7/21/2010-7/31/2010

Duration: 6 days in the park area

Link: …onthedial.com/2010/08/glacier-national-park…

Newtown, PA
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9. Re: Glacier NP Trip Report Archive

Many thanks to all who helped make this an unforgettable vacation. If interested, I also posted reviews of every place we stayed. Just hit my handle. Here's the link to all the photos and videos:

http://picasaweb.google.com/Relayer51

My wife and I had a fabulous time in the Grand Teton, Glacier, Waterton and Yellowstone National Parks. Although we enjoyed everything, it was Glacier that left the biggest impression on us. That is one place we want to return. If I did anything differently, we might have saved Waterton for another time and completed another hike in Glacier, such as Iceberg Lake. If we come back to Glacier and include Banff, I might spend a night in Waterton as someone on the forum suggested.

Day 1: Fly into Jackson Hole at 12:30, and checked into the Buckrail Lodge an hour later. We drove back to the Tetons and surveyed the park for a few hours, then went to Albertson’s and K-Mart for food and supplies, hit the sack from exhaustion.

Day 2: Boat ride across Jenny Lake, hiked to Inspiration Point and a half-mile or so into the canyon. Drove to Signal Mountain Summit for some great views. Heading back we stopped and did the Taggart Lake Hike, completing the loop trail back to the car. Took Moose-Wilson Road back to Jackson and stopped by Teton Village to see our lodging (Alpenhof Lodge) for the last night of the trip. Explored Jackson in the evening, having dinner at the Cadillac Grille. It’s a fun place to be and good food. Sat at the bar and watched the all-star game.

Day 3: Set out to go from Jackson to Big Sky. We saw the northern end of Tetons (stopped by Colter Bay for half an hour), and then headed to Old Faithful. Colter Bay was a beautiful spot on Jackson Lake. Our first stop in Yellowstone was Lewis Falls after heading in the south entrance. Once in the Old Faithful area, we covered all the geyser basins heading toward West Yellowstone. This took most of the day. We finally rolled into the Lodge at Big Sky at 8:30. Ordered a pizza and ate in.

Day 4: Half-Day Raft Trip on the Gallatin River with Montana Whitewater. Great fun! Lots of class III rapids and one class IV. Drove to Missoula taking the Anaconda-Pintler Scenic Highway on the way. A good alternative to saying on I-90 the whole time. The road does move along. Georgetown Lake is a good spot to rest. Checked into the Hawthorne Suites, checked out Missoula, U of Montana, and ate at Outback Steakhouse because I had a $50 gift card.

Day 5: Started our ride toward Glacier. First stop was the National Bison Range. This is about a 2-hour stop because it’s a scenic 19-mile gravel road, just fine for a rental car. Next were Flathead Lake and the town of Polson, which was pretty busy and picturesque along the lake. We drove up the east side of the lake on route 35 and had lunch at Finley Point State Park. One of our favorite towns was Bigfork, although we only stayed about an hour. We headed to Historic Tamarack Lodge and checked in for a 2-night stay, explored Lake McDonald area, and stopped at the LM lodge for a bite to eat at the bar.

Day 6: Hiked to Avalanche Lake with a packed lunch. This is a good hike that’s not strenuous and the reward is a pristine alpine lake. It is a busy trail, but my wife likes that because she always has bears on her mind. After, we made some stops along the McDonald Creek before heading back to Tamarack. We got cleaned up and drove to Whitefish and Kalispell. We checked out the lake and ski area in Whitefish. Stopped at Safeway and Target in Kalispell for more food and stuff before 4 nights in the park. It was getting late so we stopped at Applebee’s in Kalispell for a quick bite. It was just about dark pulling into the Tamarack Lodge.

Day 7: Drove to Logan Pass and hiked to Hidden Lake. On the way up we stopped at many of the overlooks, a great drive up to the pass. Hidden Lake was fun tracking through the snow to awesome views of the lake. We continued for half a mile or so toward the lake. Drove down to Rising Sun Motor Inn and checked. We headed back out to Sun Point for magnificent views of Lake Saint Mary and saw Baring Falls on the same trail. Had dinner at Two Dog Flats Grill in Rising Sun and it was very good.

Day 8: Nasty storms in the morning so we got a late start. We hiked to St Mary and Virginia Falls. If one goes to St Mary Falls, it’s a must to continue to Virginia Falls, a very impressive waterfall. Next, we drove to the Many Glacier Hotel, checked in, and basically spent the late afternoon enjoying the views with a few beverages on the balcony. Had dinner downstairs in the tavern, which was busy, but sufficient.

Day 9: Drove to Waterton Lakes for the day. This was the only day we didn’t see the sun, although it didn’t rain, just cloudy. We had an OK time, maybe I was expecting more. Maybe the gloomy day played a factor. We drove to Cameron Lake, walked to Akamina Lake, came back to the town, then took the shuttle out to Red Rock Canyon and did a couple short hikes. Red Rock Canyon was very unique and worth a visit. Only problem with Red Rock Canyon is the parking lot is under construction, hence the shuttle. It only runs every hour and we had just missed a shuttle returning and had to wait an hour for the next one. We checked out the town of Waterton, lots of mule deer everywhere, and saw our first bear of the trip in Waterton. Lots of neat shops, lodges and restaurants in town. We were going to hang out for dinner, but didn’t want to get caught in the dark leaving. Hardly any traffic crossing the border. Had dinner at the Swiftcurrent Restaurant after checking in to our room.

Day 10: Ranger led Grinnel Glacier Hike. One of the highlights of our trip. What else can I say besides do this hike. The ranger was very informative, although I would have preferred a little faster pace. There was a grizzly sighting during the day, so being in a crowd was a good thing. Had dinner again at Swiftcurrent Restaurant, we like the place for its convenience.

Day 11: Drove down to Two Medicine and East Glacier Park on the way to Bozeman. Stopped in the Glacier Park Lodge. It’s a nice looking old lodge. Too bad it’s nowhere near the main sections of the park. Checked into the Residence Inn in Bozeman, great hotel. Headed into town for “Music on Main Street”. Every Thursday Main Street is blocked off for live music, food and drink. We had lots of fun; it was basically a block party in Bozeman. Saw the campus of Montana State and returned to the hotel.

Day 12: Drove the Beartooth Highway and Chief Joseph Highway to Cody. Actually drove as far as Cooke City and turned around. Great scenic road! A must do when traveling to Yellowstone. We checked into the Best Western, hit the shootout at the Irma, had dinner and then took the shuttle bus to the rodeo. It was a long day to say the least. The shootout was more like an infomercial for local merchants. It took forever to get to any action and that was just OK. The rodeo was fun, but I would bring a jacket or sweatshirt as it cools down in the evening.

Day 13: Buffalo Bill Historic Center for a couple hours, and then hit Wal-Mart leaving Cody. The museum was a neat place; we spent a couple hours there. I can see where one might spend all day. It would be perfect on a rainy day. On the way out of town we checked out the Buffalo Bill Dam and it was on the way to Yellowstone. Checked into the western cabin at Canyon Section and explored the Grand Canyon ‘til dark. Had a bite to eat in the lounge to finish the day.

Day 14: Mount Washburn hike, a lot of fun with plenty of scenery. This is another must-do hike. It took us 4 hours to complete the roundtrip that included lunch at the top. We took a ride up to Lamar Valley and then came back and did some of the canyon hikes (Uncle Toms, Brink of Lower Falls). Ate at the Canyon dining room and it was the worst meal we’ve had in a long time. Oh well, can’t be good every night.

Day 15: Did the upper loop road, hitting the rest of the geysers and springs. The Mammoth Springs area was very nice. Norris Geyer area was OK, but not as good as the others. Took a ride to Gardiner, and then took a dip in the boiling river. That was definitely worth it. Keep in mind there is only one pit toilet to change, so you might want to wear your suit underneath. Next, we grabbed an early dinner at the café in Mammoth, and then took another ride through Lamar Valley in the early evening before heading back to canyon.

Day 16: Drove the west side of Yellowstone Lake heading toward Teton Village and explored West Thumb Geyser Basin. A good end to our time in Yellowstone. A very neat set of springs and geysers right on Lake Yellowstone. We hung out at Teton Village for the evening as our flight was at 8am. The Alpenhof Lodge was a cozy place to stay. I would love to return here in ski season.

Day 17. Who knew that our connecting flight in Chicago would get cancelled and we would be spending the night at O’Hare. At least United put us up at the Crowne Plaza. Ended up getting home 24 hours later than planned.

Cupertino, CA
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10. Re: Glacier NP Trip Report Archive

We had a wonderful 2+ week trip! (July 23-Aug 7) Many thanks to the TripAdvisor Forum contributors and especially to the Local Experts who tirelessly answer the same questions over and over.

I’ll break this up and post by parks but will post links to the other parts.

Our itinerary was: Calgary (1 nt), Banff (3 nts), Jasper (3 nts), Lake Louise (2 nts), Waterton (1 nt), Many Glacier Hotel (3 nts), Lake McDonald Lodge (2 nts), Calgary (1 nt)

Links to the other parts:

Banff: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g154910-i220-k3858…

Jasper: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g154917-i464-k3858…

Waterton: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g184841-i1389-k385…

My dear husband (DH) and dear son (DS, 13) were along for the fun.

Here is a link to our photos on Flickr: flickr.com/photos/…

I enjoy reading detailed reports so this may be a bit long. I’ll try to include some of the little bits on info you can’t find anywhere else but on TA. If you’re interested, read on!

We left Waterton and headed down to Glacier. It took about an hour and 15 minutes in the rain. Three border agents at Chief Mountain came out to the car to check us out. When we passed back into Canada there was just one woman who sat in a booth (but there was a camera so she could check our license plate.) There isn’t much in Babb but we filled up on gas.

We stayed at the Many Glacier Hotel for 3 nights and 2 nights at Lake McDonald. I got the cheapest accommodations and was quite happy with our rooms. At MGH we had a second floor balcony facing the parking lot. It was plenty roomy maybe because we had a double and a twin in there.

At Lake McD we had a small cabin that was a bit smaller but it was fine. No lake view of course. Never had a noise problem at either place. I booked in October and they were filling up fast. There were lots of tour people at the hotels so they probably block out a bunch of rooms for them that are let loose at some point. Keep checking if you can’t get in!

Check in at Lake McD was a pain. We got there about 2:00 but check in is at 3. They wouldn’t let us get our room at that time which is reasonable (my guess is they don’t know what rooms are ready.) DH checked at 2:50 and was told (not nicely) to come back in a half hour (!?!) I went to the counter at 3 and was given a room

.

We noticed that eating in the park was significantly less than what we had been spending in the Canada parks. Even the Ptarmigan seemed reasonable at that point! We did get tired of eating in Glacier though since it is pretty repetitive.

We (especially DH) did a fair amount of hiking and never encountered a bear. I think that if you are going on the popular trails during the summer season you won’t have a problem. Bear bells are annoying and several times I heard that they really don’t do anything (but they help if someone is coming up behind you!) I noticed that the Jammer drivers had bear spray with them though.

Where we ate:

• Swiftcurrent (dinner): decent pizza, decent price, but I’m spoiled by some really good pizzas at home (Amici’s, Pizza My Heart) We had our first doses of huckleberry: DS loved the Jammer Soda and DH and I imbibed a bunch of Huckleberry Wheat Beers throughout the trip

.

• Heidi’s in MGH (breakfast and snacks): minimal choices for breakfast goodies. Should have bought some things from outside the park. Was crowded in the morning. Got soft serve huckleberry ice cream a couple of times. You get to serve yourself and can mix it with vanilla (I preferred about 2/3 huck and 1/3 vanilla) Only $2.50 for a large cup.

• Swiss Room Lounge (dinner): busy place but service was ok. Food was decent but the cheese fondue was a bit grainy (but we had no problem eating it all.)

• Ptarmigan (dinner): very good meal (except too much violin music!). There are small and large portions available for some of the entrees. The small ones were still pretty good sized. Service was very good. I really liked my beef medallions and a nice glass of red wine.

• Park Café in Saint Mary (breakfast and lunch): as good as everyone says! The pancakes are huge (one was enough for me). We got some razzleberry and pecan pie to go the first time and ate it while waiting for our turn on a one way part of the Sun Road. On our way back north we stopped again for lunch (the burgers were really good and juicy) and then got four pieces to go since we were stuffed (DH couldn’t decide so he got two). We added blackberry and strawberry rhubarb to the mix.

• Jammers at Lake McDonald Lodge (dinner): not so good. My pasta had the ickiest marinara sauce. DH had an Italian sandwich he liked though. DS’s pizza was blah.

• Lucke’s Lounge (drinks): DS and I had some huckleberry drinks after our hike. He had a Jammer soda and I had a large frozen margarita. Yummy!

• Russells at Lake McDonald Lodge (dinner): too lazy to drive to Apgar. Dinner was decent. DH really enjoyed the Halibut special. We had some scooped huckleberry ice cream for dessert which is better than the soft serve.

• Eddies in Apgar (breakfast): on our way back to Calgary. Nice place, efficient service. DS and I loved the huge cinnamon rolls (you can also get them at the coffee counter outside. Almost too much icing though.

What we did:

• Saw a Mtn Goat through a ranger’s spotting scope after dinner at Swiftcurrent.

• Spent a lot of time in/outside of MGH looking at the lake while reading, playing games or whatever. Not fond of the violinist (who played well, just not my cup of tea)

Red Rock Falls: DS and I did this on a drippy morning. Nice flat walk that gets really nice when you get to the lake. The red rocks show up at the falls. DS had fun climbing rocks and skipping them in the lake.

Iceberg Lake: DH did this because Grinnell Glacier was closed due to bear activity. He enjoyed it. He walked back from Swiftcurrent via a trail above the road. As he got close to MGH a lot of people were staring at him. Turns out there was a mamma grizz with 2 cubs a little higher up than him.

• Native America Speaks: went to the Swiftcurrent amphitheater to hear Jack Gladstone. It was a nice evening of talking and singing. He’s very heartfelt. A little too much sing along for our taste and he had along a sax player that didn’t quite seem to go along with the songs. We thought it would be cold so we brought along a blanket from our room but didn’t need it. Saw a bit of alpenglow as as the sun broke through the clouds.

• Swiftcurrent/Josephine Lakes: Grinnell Glacier trail was open so DH decided to do it while DS and I did Grinnell Lake He went to the boat docks at 8 and got on a waiting list for the 8:30 guided hike for himself and the 9:00 boat for DS and me. He got on the boat easily but our boat was packed with people on the Great Lodges tour. Worked out though since they had another boat going at 9:30 for the rest of us. The hike between the lakes is posted as a strenuous ¼ mile hike. The hike is longer, just the uphill part is ¼ mile (and it’s not that bad.) The ride is gorgeous on both lakes!

• Grinnell Lake hike: flat and easy. Since we had a later boat we kind of hustled along to make it back for the return boat without waiting for 2 hours. There is a suspension bridge over a creek that is pretty shaky (only one at a time allowed.) DS didn’t want to wait so crawled across on a downed log. The lake is pretty. Not the most exciting trail though.

• Grinnell Glacier: DH enjoyed it even though it was a slower pace than he’s used to. The guided hike part ended when they got to the glacier so he was able to scurry back. He didn’t want to wait the 20 minutes for a return boat so he just walked all the way back to the hotel.

Fishercap Lake after dinner: saw a female moose munching in the lake.

• Drove over Going to the Sun Road on a clear day! I had downloaded a set of MP3 podcasts from the NPS website. It was fairly good but the intro music was quite annoying. Stopped for some overlooks and walked down to Baring Falls. Got to Logan Pass about noon and circled the lot for 20 minutes or so. No luck with a spot so we just continued down to Lake McD. Stopped along McD creek for lunch. Tip I found out later: there is usually parking at the Loop where you can pick up a shuttle. The shuttles have to leave 2 seats open for the Loop

• Stupidest thing we saw on the Sun Road: a dad driving a big Caddy letting his teenage kids sit on the windowsills outside the car. Survival of the fittest…

• Trail of the Cedars: did it after dinner and there were only a handful of people there. It was pleasant.

• Took the shuttle up to Logan Pass. It was really crowded going to Avalanche Creek (Standing room only). Since we were the last ones on the big bus, we were first off at Avalanche and got in line for the small shuttle up the mountain (no standees allowed) On the shuttle you hear announcements about being prepared for fickle mountain weather. How true! It was cold and windy when we got there, rained a bit and then it was warm and sunny as we left!

• DS and I did the Hidden Lake Overlook. I enjoyed it since there was so much to see – mountains, snow (had to walk over patches), pond, animals (marmots, mountain goats) and the lake is beautiful. DS wanted to keep going so he went to the lake and back by himself and met up with me at the Visitor’s center. I figured it would be pretty safe since it was a well populated trail but I was still a little nervous about letting him go on his own! He said it was a lot of work to come back up from the lake. His favorite thing was watching some marmots fighting.

• DH is a machine. He took the Highline to Granite Chalet (with a side trip to Grinnell overlook) and then down to the Loop where he caught the shuttle back to Lake Mc D. This was during the cold windy rainy part – no way I would do that skinny little path cut out of the mountain. The ranger told him it would take 7 hours without the side trip. DH did it in less than 5 hours.

• Drove on the Roosevelt Highway (2) around the south end of the park and then up to Calgary. It was a long ride, not that particularly scenic. We stopped the Glacier Park Lodge which is lovely and Two Medicine for a short bit (waterfall and lake) which was nice and fairly peaceful (much less people).

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