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Short changing the west side?

Boston
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Short changing the west side?

For our summer 2011 Yellowstone-Glacier trip, we will have 5 nights/4 days to spend in Glacier which will be split up as:

4 nights Many Glacier or St Mary

1 night near Great Falls airport

During our 4 days in Glacier, we want to do:

-GTTSR + Hidden Lake + see Lake MacDonald

-Grinnell Glacier

-Highline Trail

-Waterton

I really want to spend all 4 nights on the east side because it gives us maximum flexibility for the hikes if the weather is bad on one or two days.

So the question is are we short changing the west side? I notice that many people suggest one night on the west side, which we could do if we left from Kalispell instead of Great Falls, but the flight times are more pleasant from Great Falls (9am versus 7am).

indiana
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for Glacier National Park
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1. Re: Short changing the west side?

I usually recommend one night on the west side so you can take your time going across the park. You can certainly see it all from the east. You can take the day and drive to the Lake McDonald area and then backtrack. If you stay one night on the west, you avoid the backtracking. You will notice different points of interest by traveling both ways on GTTSR. Try to arrange your lodging as soon as possible. Many Glacier hotel will only have half the rooms available next year due to renovation. I would try to stay there or Swiftcurrent instead of St. Mary, especially with the trails you want to hike and the trip to Waterton.

East side of...
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2. Re: Short changing the west side?

In response to the renovations at Many Glacier Lodge for the next two summers, the lodging options at Paul Ranch Montana have expanded. To assist those now planning their vacations, advance reservations are available earlier than usual this fall. Details are available on the website www.paulranch.com which also includes links to our VRBO sites.

NJ
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3. Re: Short changing the west side?

lots of folks usually do have one night on the west side but you really can do a one day trip to the west side. leave early in the morning and then you have 2 options, one is to drive back on 2 and stop at the goat lick (almost guaranteed to see mtn. goats there) and you can see the town of east glacier park, see glacier park lodge. you can do some of the short hikes on the west side to stretch your legs. (avalanche lake)

the second is that you may also just want to drive back on gtts road as it looks very different east to west and west to east AND hitting things right for sun rise and sun set . so many gorgeous views so many choices!

Boston
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4. Re: Short changing the west side?

Thanks, think we'll fly out of Kalispell after all so we'll have one night on the west side, probably somewhere near the airport since we have such an early flight

Lansing, MI
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5. Re: Short changing the west side?

I was considering Great Falls too because the rental vehicles seemed a little cheaper but found a pretty good deal in Kalispell so we're going to go with that airport. We plan to spend 2 nights on the west side, 6 nights in the east side of the park then back to the east side for the final night before our flight back. So, nine total nights.

buffalo
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6. Re: Short changing the west side?

Now, you're talking!!!! The best answer is always more nights in the Park....Sounds like a good agenda....

NJ
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7. Re: Short changing the west side?

for the west side try for apgar village , village inn or lake macdonald lodge OR you can also look for lodging in Hungry Horse, mt.

i would point out that the west side is closer to the airport - I would just end my vacation on the west side, it's only about 30 miles to the airport from the west enterance of glacier gtts road.

It's over 100 miles from St. Mary (the east gtts road enterance. this way you only have to have 2 hotel rooms, (one move....)

Boston
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8. Re: Short changing the west side?

Thanks folks :-)

Strange question, but do you know if the car rental agencies (eg. Alamo) open up early enough for people on early 7am flights to return the car?

indiana
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for Glacier National Park
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9. Re: Short changing the west side?

We have had the early morning flight many times and most of the rental agencies have a drop box for the keys.

Boston
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382 posts
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10. Re: Short changing the west side?

Ah, makes sense. Good to know.