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glacier nat park.

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glacier nat park.

Where is the best and closest place to stay while visiting Glacier Nat Park. My husband and I will be there the end of June. We are very fit and would like to take short hikes, if possible. Also wanting to drive the Going to the Sun highway. We're driving from Ca. up to Yellowstone, through Bozeman then up to Glacier. Our plans are flexible and subject to change. but that's the plan so far.

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indiana
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1. Re: glacier nat park.

The end of June you run into the possibility that the Sun Rd may not be open. It depends on snow levels as to when it opens. The last few years it has opened by the end of June, but some years it has been the first week of July. If you want to be sure it is open, I would delay my trip till July. Most higher elevation trails will be snow covered at that time, but it sounds like you won't be hiking those anyway. Try www.hikingglacier.com and. www.hike734.com for hiking ideas. You need to finalize your dates and book lodging now. www.xanterra.com It is best to stay a night or two on the west side (Apgar) and then St. Mary or Many Glacier area. There are great trails right at the hotels in Many Glacier area and also wildlife viewing.

Edited: 23 November 2017, 11:07
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2. Re: glacier nat park.

Hi Donageri.

Glacier is a large park. You'll want bases for the Two Medicine, Many Glacier (the park highlight) and Lake McDonald regions. Some might say you might also want a base at St. Mary Lake as well depending on how much time you want to spend on the road. Many visitors also cross the Canadian border for one or two nights in Glacier's sister park Waterton Lakes on the same vacation. If you can do that, I highly recommend it.

Where you should stay in each region depends on your budget. Glacier has several of the "Great Lodges" of the National Park System, but that's not for everyone. Waterton has the Prince of Wales, but if the price is prohibitive, you might want to look into lodgings in the town of Waterton instead.

At any rate, you need to book next summer extremely soon. Glacier is a major park, so it book up early.

Kalispell, Montana
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3. Re: glacier nat park.

Great points made above about the early season in Glacier.

Coming from Yellowstone, I would use the very scenic freeway all the way to Missoula and then come up the 93 to the west side of Glacier. You will be driving the very scenic 93 or 93/35. Those go up through the beautiful Mission Mountain Valley and along the huge Flathead Lake...the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi. Use the 93 if you want to stay in Whitefish resort before heading to Glacier. Or stay there after your Glacier visit on the way back home.

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Use the basic itinerary below to help you plan the Glacier part of your trip.

First off, its best to begin your trip on the West side of Glacier and move to the East side. That way the scenery and hiking just keep getting better and better.

A...We recommend 2, maybe 3 nights on the west side, staying either inside the park or in one of the nearby bedroom communities. The first day is often used up by flight arrival or a long drive getting here. Basic attractions on the west are:

1... If you want an orientation tour or don't want to drive the Going to the Sun Road, you can book a Red Bus Crown of the Continent Tour which will take you over Logan Summit and down to Many Glacier and back.

2...A short drive up to Polebridge on the OUTER Northfork road to visit the Famous Mercantile Bakery and perhaps a drive up to Bowman Lake for hiking. Google "A Short Movie About a Montana Bakery".

3...River Rafting and float trips on the river are ONLY available from West Glacier.

4...Touring the Lake McDonald valley's turnouts, the stopping at Lodge area for a meal and to enjoy its historic interior and walk out back down to the lake shore. Finally at Avalanche, taking the Trail of the Cedars/Avalanche Lake trail. The Trail of the Cedars section is handicapped accessible...boardwalked and has benches along the way. The Avalanche Lake section is the best trail on the west side. The combo great.

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B...Allot 3 - 5 nights on the "East Side Core" (St Mary/Rising Sun, or Many Glacier/ Babb/Duck Lake), 3 nights if you are auto-tourists, 5+ if you are avid hikers and/or have more time available.

1...After staying on the West Side, traverse the Going to the Sun Road to the Core of the East side, staying in *either St. Mary/Rising Sun or in Many Glacier/Swiftcurrent. SM is most central, MG has more hiking trailheads but much longer drives to other parts of the park if you use it as a home base.

The day you traverse the GTTSR can be totally used up by the overlooks and famous hikes along that route. For example, at Logan Summit the Hidden Lake Overlook and the top part of the famous Highline Trail to Haystack or Grinnell Glacier overlook and back. Grinnell Glacier Overlook is a section that is very steep and quite physically challenging. On the east side descent, you can take a walk up the creek at Siyeh Bend for views and photo ops, a short walk up Sunrift Gorge or a hike to St Mary and Virginia Falls. Stop at the Wild Goose Island overlook as you near the far end of St Mary Lake.

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2...In Many Glacier Valley, the highlight can be the two-lake boat tour/ranger led hike to Grinnell Glacier. GG is a strenuous hike, gaining 1,700' between the last boat dock & the glacier. Grinnell Lake is an easier/flatter hike...or independent hiking according to your ability. Then there is beautiful Iceberg Lake and the horse back tour to Cracker Lake from the MG Stables. There are several ways to enjoy backcountry hikes from there. An evening must-do walk is to Fishercap Lake to see the resident Moose...plural.

You can also rent kayaks and canoes there.

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3...You can take a day trip or overnight up to Waterton Lakes, Glacier's sister park. It is very different from Glacier and not very far. You will need passports. Keep in mind that 2017 had a huge fire which destroyed 70% of the park. Check this link to read about it!

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g14302…

4...You can make a day trip via the 89/49 down to Two Medicine Lake for hiking or a boat tour/ranger led hike to Upper Two Medicine Lake and fabulous scenery. Trick Falls (two level when water is running high) is there...the trail handicapped accessible.

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C....OR Allow a night in East Glacier Park village. Its a small independent village outside the park but very near Two Medicine Valley which is the second gem of the east side. Avid hikers will want to take the spectacular 16 mile Pitamakan/Dawson Loop trail. If you are making a scenic round trip tour back to the Kalispell Airport, it makes sense to stay there on your last night. Hikers may want 2 nights in that area.

After East Glacier Park you head back along the #2 to continue your drive/road trip toward home.

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A great website to explore is the following:

Your Guide to Glacier National Park

https://www.hike734.com

Welcome to Hike 734 where you'll find trail statistics for every mile of trail in Glacier National Park in description and beautiful ad-free, narrated video form! They also sell the wonderful rip and waterproof trail maps, where all trails have color-coded steepness guides. Also a complete guide/map to the Going to the Run Road and all of its stops along the way.

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The following is a fairly long list of accommodations which may help you obtain reservations in the various places in and near Glacier.

WEST SIDE :Here is a list which includes some places that are not always on the 3rd party booking sites:

INSIDE the park: In Apgar = Village Inn in Apgar, every room has the best views across the lake to the mountains beyond, the Motel Lake McDonald, or the Apgar Village Lodge and cabins.

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In and near WEST GLACIER village JUST OUTSIDE the park: West Glacier Motel, Vista Motel, Glacier Guides Lodge, Glacier Highlands and the Belton Chalet. The Great Northern Resort and rafting, SilverWolf deluxe log chalets, Great Bear Inn. Mountain Cleft Wilderness Retreat, a VRBO home. Glacier Outdoor Center cabins and rafting. Cabins at the KOA campground. San-Suz-Ed campground and 8 B&B rooms. *Also check airbnb and VRBO for home/cabin rentals but know exactly where they are located and especially what the cancellation policies are!

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In and around CORUM and HUNGRY HORSE, 9 MILES AWAY from the west gate: Mini Golden Motel, the historic Tamarack Lodge, Lake Five Resort, Evergreen Motel, Crooked Tree, Glacier B&B and Log Cabins. Hungry Horse Motel. Glacier Park Inn B&B. Glacier's Mountain Resort cabins.

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Near COLUMBIA FALLS, 15 -20 minutes from the west gate: Brand new Cedar Creek Lodge. Reclusive Moose Cabins, North Fork Resort Cabins (between CF and Whitefish), Meadow Lake Resort and golf club, Meadow Lake View B&B, Glacier Travel Inn. Along the Northfork road...the Moss Mountain Inn B&B. Smoky Bear Lodge. Bad Rock B&B. *Also check airbnb and VRBO for home/cabin rentals but know exactly where they are located and especiallty what the cancellation policies are! *Also check airbnb and VRBO for home/cabin rentals but know "exactly" where they are located and especially what the cancellation policies are!

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CORE OF THE EAST SIDE of GNP where most of the hiking is located.

At RISING SUN, an IN-PARK motorlodge and cabins just inside the East Gate.

In ST.MARY just BARELY OUTSIDE the East Gate: St. Mary Lodge Complex = its Great Bear annex (the only place with AC, TV, and fairly reliable WiFi,) #2 50's era renovated motels, several new cabins & some new teeny "tiny houses".

Glacier Trailhead Cabins, The Cottages at Glacier (was called Pinnacle). Johnson’s and the new cabins at the KOA. It may not be MG but it is still beautiful around there and centrally located if you want a nice home base handy to all of the east side.

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In MANY GLACIER VALLEY inside the park: Many Glacier Lodge and the Swiftcurrent motel and cabins.

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In BABB, 15 miles from Many Glacier Valley: Thronson's, a basic but clean older motel. 4 miles north of Babb Is Paul Ranch Montana with its alpacas. East of Babb at Duck Lake...Duck Lake Lodge, recently renovated. The new Duck Lake Loft, a cabin on the lake. The Stone House.

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Lodging in EAST GLACIER PARK VILLAGE. Its OUTSIDE the park on the south end of the east side...13 miles from Two Medicine Valley, 40 miles from St Mary and 65 miles from Many Glacier. It varies a little depending on whether or not the 49 cut across is open early in the season. Ideal for visiting Two Medicine Valley for a one night stay before or after the East Side Core:

Glacier Park Lodge with its famous tree lined atrium lobby. Mountain Pine Motel, Sears Motel, Jacobson's Cabins, Whistling Swan, Travelers Rest Lodge and cabins, The Brown House and Lone Elk Lodge and condo. Glacier Park Circle R cabins and new motel addition. Also a unique hikers cabin/hostel facility, the Backpacker's Inn, behind Serrano's Restaurant and run by the same. *read recent reviews/look at visitor's photos...some are very small and more rustic than you may like.

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The following 3 towns can be used in a pinch for the west side or later as continuations of your trip depending on which way you intend to drive back home.

Lodging in and near WHITEFISH, a unique and very fun resort town...30 miles away from western gate of Glacier NP. It will also have outdoor activities up at Big Mountain resort just behind town:

The Lodge on Whitefish Lake, Grouse Mountain Lodge, New Hampton Inn & Suites, Best Western Rocky Mountain Lodge, Chalet Motel, Big Mountain Lodge in town, Cheap Sleep Motel, Pine Lodge, The new Firebrand Hotel, The Garden Wall Inn B&B, Bailey's Bed and Bale, Duck Inn B&B, The Hidden Moose Lodge, Whitefish Downtown Suites, and the Haymoon Ranch for seclusion and larger groups. VRBO.com/514543 a condo and VRBO.com/344122 a lovely mountain home. Good Medicine Lodge B&B. Also the great Whitefish Bike retreat. Whitefish TLC B&B for adults. A new Marriott hotel now being built = opening in 2018?

Up at Big Mountain Summer/Winter Resort behind the village. Kandahar Lodge and condos etc. listed on the Whitefish Mountain Resort website.

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In and near BIG FORK the arts village on NE corner of Flathead Lake (also good for Flathead Lake activities), 40 miles away from West Glacier:

Dreamcatcher Lodge B&B (30 miles away) Other motels Flathead Lake Lodge, Mountain Lake Lodge, Bridge Street Cabins, Timbers Motel, Sleeping Bear Lodge. Candlewyck Inn.

Kalispell, Montana
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4. Re: glacier nat park.

Must-do hikes usually leads with this list:

1...Avalanche Lake/Trail of the Cedars and Gunsight Pass on the West side. Gunsight is a longer hike.

2...Along the Going to the Sun Road at Logan Summit:: Hidden Lake Overlook and an in-and-out of the famous Highline Trail to Haystack, or onto Grinnell Glacier overlook if you are very fit and back. The lower 4 miles down toward the Loop is not nearly as beautiful as taking the upper section in both directions

Along the east side descent of the GTTSR: the beautiful Siyeh/Piegan Loop, and St. Mary/Virginia Falls trails. Or the newly reopened and longer St Mary Lakeside trail beginning from Sun Point and going all the way to St. Mary/Virginia Falls. On the return of that hike you can either hike back to Sun Point or up to the road side at the end of the lake and take the free shuttle back to Sun Point to where you may have parked your car.

3...Grinnell Glacier and Iceberg Lake in Many Glacier. The Grinnell Glacier trail gains/drops 1,700’ from and back to the last boat dock area. Horseback tour to Cracker Lake.

4...In Two Medicine Valley, the second gem of the east side...for fit hikers, the stunning 16 mile Pitamakan/Dawson loop trail. Upper Two Medicine Lake trail. The easy Trick Falls trail which in July is a fun, short one to take because the falls will truly be “trick” or two level.

5...The fires in Waterton Lakes National park were much more destructive if you were planning on going up there for hiking during your trip. It is said that 70% of the park burned. The Village, Prince of Wales Hotel and areas south of Waterton Lakes were spared from the fire.

https://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g14302…

The Hike.734 site mentioned in the last post above will help you decide on which look best to you for the time you will have.

Kalispell, Montana
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5. Re: glacier nat park.

You need to settle your itinerary SOON, especially if your plans are for 2018! Set dates and begin to secure accommodations in the correct order to avoid un-necessary driving and back-tracking which is time consuming.

Just a hint...People jam the park-run hotel reservation lines first thing when it opens...When you do get connected, even then, the reservations can come up as totally booked for your dates.

Not to worry. When people get on the site first thing, they grab what ever comes up and sometimes double and triple book reservations in multiple places and then calm down and cancel later what actually does not fit their schedule. They may do that for trip plans in two different months even until they decide on when they can actually get their vacation leave settled.

Its not right and unfair really...but it happens all the time. As time passes, cancellations tend to show up consistently and quite often. That is when you need to grab what shows up at least as your own plan B until what you really want for each day opens up. If it happens, relax a bit...you have an entire year to get lodging in place. Cancellation policies are very lenient up here...which actually causes the over booking in the first place but its nice if you do legitimately need to cancel your own plans later.

Good luck....don't panic.

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6. Re: glacier nat park.

If you're look for some short hikes, this list of the best easy hikes in Glacier is a great starting point for planning your itinerary: hikinginglacier.com/glacier-best-easy-hikes.…

Kalispell, Montana
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7. Re: glacier nat park.

One comment on the Hidden Lake Overlook trail. It is not good for anyone with knee, ankle or some back problems. There is a *very long board-walked section that has much deeper than normal stair risers. It is killer on knees both on the climb and maybe even worse coming back down them on the way back.

If you are healthy orthopedically you will be just fine.

Edited: 24 November 2017, 02:38
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8. Re: glacier nat park.

Late June you may find many of the hikes still closed. High line typically opens 4th of July. Many high trails, like hidden lake will still have snow in most years. Grinnel will only be open partially, but that is all you need for great views. Too early for iceberg. Swiftcurrent valley will be accessible to basi of swiftcurrent pass and potential animal viewing.b bear spray a necessity.

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