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10 to 12 Days August 2013 - Chalets Camping Motels Hikes?

Groveland...
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10 to 12 Days August 2013 - Chalets Camping Motels Hikes?

I am thinking Glacier NP in August 2013, and have found TA Forums awesome for info gathering and local experts advice. (My trip last February to Fairbanks for the Aurora was a huge success thanks to TA forum helpers, I posted my thanks!)

10 days (not including travel on each end to/from Sacramento/SF area and Kalispell. :

I think I want to stay at the 2 hike-in Chalets, 2 to 3 nights each, but its expensive. Was thinking of trying to do without car rental, to balance costs, and seems a shame to have a rental car just sit for 5 or 6 days while I hike. Can I really get to/from airport and lodging near (inside or out) west park entrance, then use Going to Sun Shuttle to move around? Will I miss a lot by not having a car?

Other option, find the nearest small RV or Juicy Van rental place, and camp in between Chalet nights. Or rent the smallest car possible and stay in cheapest clean motels in between Chalet nights. Or skip the Chalets and go with better lodging. Thoughts?

(I have a VW Bus, but am not driving all the way from Yosemite to Glacier, it would take too many days from my 2 weeks off work.)

I welcome a list of the "must sees", anywhere in the park. I hike, mostly day hikes by have backpacking equipment. My range is 5 to 10 miles a day, depending on elevation change. Since traveling alone, I do not plan to camp out on the trail in bear country. I don't mind crowds of tourists, just not the entire time, need solitude in between. I like to take photos, and am mad about wildlife. (My trip to Yellowstone 3 years ago, wolves in the wild, so many critters, and those geysers, all wonderful!)

buffalo
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1. Re: 10 to 12 Days August 2013 - Chalets Camping Motels Hikes?

How about 1 night each at Sperry and Granite Park Chalets....

Save money and get to experience them....both are amazing (though I prefer Sperry)...

By the way, reservations for next year just went up today, most nights will be gone in a few days I made my reservation for 2 nights at Sperry this morning on 9/5 and 9/6)...so make up your mind very soon!!!

I'd also recommend staying in the Many Glacier area (Many Glacier Hotel, Swiftcurrent Inn or Many Glacier Campground) for several nights and while there hike Grinnell Glacier and Iceberg Lake...

Don't spend more than 2-3 nights on the West side (if you are a hiker)...

Do Hidden Lake hike at Logan Pass....as well as Highline (which would get you to Granite Park Chalet)

Edited: 7:46 pm, October 29, 2012
Louisville, Kentucky
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2. Re: 10 to 12 Days August 2013 - Chalets Camping Motels Hikes?

You've picked the perfect month to visit Glacier! The historic chalets are definitely worth seeing, but quite expensive for a single night, muchless a multi-night visit. We've stayed at Sperry and the rooms have very thin (and I mean thin) walls. So, unless you want to do some hiking beyond Sperry, I would just recommend a day hike up to Sperry, they serve lunch in their diningroom of homemade soups, breads, sandwiches and pies- it would be a 12 mile round trip hike. The hike itself it nothing specatcular and pretty rugged, but there are some very nice views from the chalet.

As far as Granite Park Chalet, we've never stayed there, but have done the Highline Loop Hike utilizing the shuttle system. If you do stay overnight at the chalet, you have to pack in your own food and prepare it yourself.

www.hikinginglacier.com/highline-loop.htm

The trialhead for Sperry is on the west side of the park, which you may want tto visit for 1-2 days; however, the really spectacular hiking is on the east side of the park, specifically the Many Glacier area. Many Glacier is where you'll have a great chance of seeing bears.

As far as must-do hikes, I would recommend Iceberg Lake, Grinnell Glacier, Redrock Fall and Swiftcurrent Lake Nature Trail all out of Many Glacier. For hikes off the Going to the Sun Road, Hidden Lake Overlook and St. Mary Falls/Virginia Falls are spectacular short hikes. AT Hidden Lake Overlook you're almost always guaranteed to see mountain goats.

In the Two Medicine area, my favorite hikes are Dawson Pass (or awesome pass!), Scenic Point and Pitamakan Pass. Here's a list of some of the top hikes in Glacier:

hikinginglacier.com/glacier-top-ten-hikes.htm

Many of these hikes are in the ranger led series and if you are traveling alone it's a great way to meet people. This link will take you to the website for the ranger led hikes, but they won't have next year's scheduled posted yet.

nps.gov/glac/…ranger-led-activities.htm

Personally, I would skip the overnights at the chalets, rent a car and look for inexpensive lodging outside of the park. Now is the time to book your lodging as the east side fills up very quickly. A very inexpense and bare bones spot in the St. Mary/Babb area (which is close to Many Glacier) is Elkhorn Cabins. If you wanted to spend a few days hiking in Two Medicine, there are some small motels in the town of East Glacier. We've stayed at Jacobsons' Cottages several times and have been very happy with them.

Also, plan to spend an entire day driving the Going to the Sun Road, especially if you enjoy photography. You will want to make lots of stops and even hike some of the side trails.

Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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3. Re: 10 to 12 Days August 2013 - Chalets Camping Motels Hikes?

I respectfully disagree with above post. Do anything to save enough to stay over night at one of the chalets. If money is the concern, pick Granite Park. I would never hike to Sperry for the day. You need to spend two nights to appreciate it and the layover day can be used to hike to Sperry Glacier. that way you need not kill yourself. Traveling alone makes lodging expensive as you have no one to split the cost with.

have you considered camping? I have packed a small tent, sleeping pad, bag and back pack stove in my luggage along with pot and minimal utensils. You will not find small RV or Juicy Van rentals near Kalispell or anywhere near GNP.

Hard to do all the things you want to do and see the musts without a car.

Edited: 11:43 pm, October 29, 2012
Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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4. Re: 10 to 12 Days August 2013 - Chalets Camping Motels Hikes?

How long would it take to drive? If you have 2 full weeks, that would give you 10 days in the park. Plenty of time IMHO.

Chicago, Illinois
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5. Re: 10 to 12 Days August 2013 - Chalets Camping Motels Hikes?

At Granite Park Chalet, you can pre-order your food and it will be awaiting your arrival.. They usually have what you want, but to make sure, preorder 2 weeks before you arrive.. They have a kitchen with all the cookware (large gas stove).. You can purchase disposable silverware, plates... Also they have lot's of snack foods.. Last year was the first to have potable water available to guests... (it's a quarter mile walk to the water supply). While at Granite Park, your right at the trailheads to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook as well as the trail up to Swiftcurrent lookout.... Both are exceltional IMHO..Hike in viia Highline trail and hike out Swiftcurrent Pass trail to Swiftcurrent motor Inn.. The shuttle system allows you to easily do this.

Groveland...
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6. Re: 10 to 12 Days August 2013 - Chalets Camping Motels Hikes?

HI all,

Well I submitted my reservation request yesterday morning for the 2 Chalets, and I am 300+ in the line for a booking, so not much hope. Thanks for all the advice. I am trying to decide whether, if I don't get at least 1 night at one of the 2 chalets, I should wait another year or go with other lodging. In spite of my trip to Alaska in February, I have never seen a glacier, and figure I'd better hurry!

Carolyn

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7. Re: 10 to 12 Days August 2013 - Chalets Camping Motels Hikes?

Being #300 isn't that bad... I'd say you have a good chance, also if people don't pay half their fees within 30 days, it goes back up for grabs!! That's how it worked last year and at least one person on this board made that work for them... And... I stayed there 2 nights last year and some of the other guests got their rooms later due to cancellations, so don't give up too quickly!

Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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8. Re: 10 to 12 Days August 2013 - Chalets Camping Motels Hikes?

Well if you want to see glaciers, go to Banff and Jasper. They have many more than Glacier and bigger too.

Whitefish, Montana
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9. Re: 10 to 12 Days August 2013 - Chalets Camping Motels Hikes?

Rent a car and camp. As GNP4me suggested bring some of your gear on the plane and then I would suggest buy the rest here / and or / ship it to yourself.

The reason your going to need a car is that Many Glacier is the hiking center of the park and the wildlife center of the park and it is very difficult to get to without a car.

Camping in Many Glacier makes hiking / wildlife viewing very simple. Early morning for both wildlife viewing and photography are made a lot easier if you are there. I lost track of how many bears I saw this year!

www.glacierhikers.com/grinnell-glacier.html

Is GNP famous glacier trail which I highly recommend.

There is one other trail which is well known in itself but not as well known for easy glacier access and that is the Siyeh Bend Sunrift Gorge Trail.

www.glacierhikers.com/piegan-pass-trail.html

I will be adding pics this winter of Sexton Glacier which is a spur trail just after/before Siyeh Pass.

Right now I'm getting ready for another Montana Winter.

If you have trouble finding a camping space in Many Glacier stay at Johnson's Campground in St Mary. They also have a great cafe especially for dinner with huge servings.

Unless your staying two days I would also vote for Granite Park Chalet. I hiked to both Switfcurrent Lookout and Glacier Overlook from the Loop this year and was glad to be able to get gatorade at Granite Park. Two hikes spread 7 days apart which if I was staying at the Chalet could have easily been done in two back to back days of hiking. The view at the top of my home page is from Grinnell Overlook (GNP calls it something else)

www.glacierhikers.com/index.html

slow hiker

Groveland...
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10. Re: 10 to 12 Days August 2013 - Chalets Camping Motels Hikes?

Oh Wow, I just got a confirmation for 2 nights at Sperry, yippee! I also sent in a request for 1 or 2 nights at Granite, will wait until tomorrow (I did them within 3 minutes of each other, I type fast) to see if anything comes through there. Then I can start planning the rest of my trip, soooo happy!