Fav Destination: Glacier National Park

My husband is a big fan of the national parks, which I have barely visited. Most of my travels are out of the country, so I am woefully under-traveled in the US. And when I do travel in the US, it is typically for work or to visit friends. So this year we decided to  break that trend and road trip up to Glacier National Park in Montana and Waterton National Park just across the border in Canada. Both places are amazing, but 75% of Waterton was recently burned in a wildfire, so most of the park is closed for recovery. We honestly barely scratched the surface of Glacier National Park, so I’m not going to claim that what we did is the best in the park, because that remains to be seen. I do know that Glacier is now on my list as somewhere to return to, and hopefully sooner rather than later!

The facts:

  • Glacier National Park is in fact named after the over 100 glaciers that used to exist in the park. Sadly, thanks to climate change, only 25 glaciers remain, and they will all disappear between 2020 – 2030. Heatbreaking. Doubly heartbreaking:  this is already causing problems for the ptarmigan population that needs the snow all year in order to not die of heat stroke!
  • There are several entrances on both the east and the west sides of the park, connected by the famous Going-To-The-Sun road. Turns out, early June is super early there, and the road wasn’t yet open, so we only saw the east side of the park. Something to do next time, I guess!
  • We stayed in Many Glacier Lodge, built in the early 1900s. Amazing. Plenty of trailheads at the lodge, so we could hike from the hotel. Gorgeous decks and indoor lounges looking out over the lake, where people set up in the evenings with a bottle of wine and a pair of binoculars to watch the wildlife frolic (or fight!) along the banks.
  • Bears abound in the park, so bring your bear spray!
  • Even in the summer, come prepared for all the weather: we needed everything from t-shirts to puffy jackets.

The photos:

Wild Goose Island on St. Mary's Lake in Glacier National Park. This was taken from a roadside pulloff along the Going-to-the-Sun road, so anyone can enjoy this view - no hike required!
Wild Goose Island on St. Mary’s Lake in Glacier National Park. This was taken from a roadside pulloff along the Going-to-the-Sun road, so anyone can enjoy this view – no hike required!
Many Glacier Lodge in Glacier National Park - our home-sweet-home for 2 nights. The loge is a bit pricey but totally worth it for the setting and the convenience. Two great restaurants and a coffee shop in the lodge mean once you get there, you don't need your car! Nice to have a tiny bit of luxury to come back to after a 12-mile hike...
Many Glacier Lodge in Glacier National Park – our home-sweet-home for 2 nights. The lodge is a bit pricey but totally worth it for the setting and the convenience. Two great restaurants and a coffee shop on site mean once you get there, you don’t need your car! Plus, it’s nice to have a tiny bit of luxury to come back to after a 12-mile hike…
A boat on Josephine Lake. You can take a boat tour, or an easy 3.5 mile hike around the lakes by the lodge, as a great way to see some of the park quickly and easily.
Josephine Lake in Glacier National Park. From Many Glacier Lodge, you can take a boat tour, or do an easy 3.5 mile hike around the lakes by the lodge. Either is a great way to see some of the park quickly and easily, with gorgeous lake and mountain views everywhere you look.
Cracker Lake in Glacier National Park, which we hiked to from Many Glacier Lodge. It's about 6 miles one way, and the trail passes another lake and crosses a stream a couple times before delivering you to this beauty. The lakes are this color when they are fed by glaciers...
Cracker Lake in Glacier National Park, which we hiked to from Many Glacier Lodge. It’s about 6 miles one way, and the trail passes another lake and crosses a stream a couple times before delivering you to this beauty. The lakes are this color when they are fed by glaciers…
Fresh bear prints on the Cracker Lake Trail in Glacier National Park! We never saw this bear, but we had our bear spray handy just in case.
Fresh bear prints on the Cracker Lake Trail in Glacier National Park! We never saw this bear, but we had our bear spray handy just in case. Up in Waterton (the Canada side of the park) we did come upon a bear on the hike we did up there. We made plenty of noise and backed up to give him space, and he lumbered up the hillside away from us, thankfully…

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