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Need help with itinerary in Glacier NP

Bratislava, Slovakia
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Need help with itinerary in Glacier NP

We are doing a road trip in August which includes a visit to Glacier NP. Now that I am trying to put together an itinerary for our stay I realise that I made a huge mistake allocating only 3 days for Glacier NP. There is too much to see and we have too little time.

I read that driving the GTTSR can take a whole itself. Besides that we want to do the following hikes:

Iceberg trail

Grinnell Glacier trail

Highline Trail

I find it hard to have to sacrifice one of them, my question is, is it possible to do the GTTSR drive and these three hikes in 3 days?

We are staying in St Mary's for the first 2 nights, 1 night in Swifcurrent Motor Inn and 1 night outside the park in Cut Bank.

Any suggestions are very welcome. Thank you

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1. Re: Need help with itinerary in Glacier NP

Where will you be arriving from? It may be possible to take the Going to the Sun highway and hike part of the Highline trail on your way across. You also might take that hike on the day after you arrive at St. Mary. It isn't far from St. Mary to Swiftcurrent so if you got an early start on the day you move you could hike Grinnell Glacier that day and Iceberg Lake the next. From Swiftcurrent to Cut Bank is about 80 miles and could be done when you return from hiking that day.

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Bratislava, Slovakia
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53 posts
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2. Re: Need help with itinerary in Glacier NP

We will be arriving from West Yellowstone. I assume we will get to St Mary's in the late afternoon so won't be able to do much that day. Actually, we are then staying at Cut Bank and last night a Swiftcurrent.

Here is the itinerary:

Day 1: arrive at St Mary's (coming from West Yellowstone)

Day 2: Stay at St Mary's

Day 3: Stay at Cut Bank

Day 4: Stay at Swiftcurrent Motor Inn

If it's possible to the the GTTSR and hike part of the Highline Trail in one day as you suggested, that would be great and this way we could do all the hikes listed. Thank you

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3. Re: Need help with itinerary in Glacier NP

Is there a specific reason that you're spending your 3rd night at Cut Bank? The town of Cut Bank is 66 miles from St Mary. If there isn't a specific reason for going there it doesn't make sense to go that far away from the park especially with such a short stay.

Another option for the 3rd night is to to lodge on the west side of the park (just outside of the park- West Glacier, Columbia Falls). The 1st and 2nd day you can use to explore/hike the area around St Mary and the east side of the Going to the Sun Road and maybe the Two Medicine area. On the 3rd day work your way across the Going to the Sun Road hiking part of Highline. The morning of the 4th maybe drive up to Polebridge and then back across the Sun Road to Swiftcurrent for your 4th night.

Where are you going after Glacier?

Deb

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Bratislava, Slovakia
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4. Re: Need help with itinerary in Glacier NP

No specific reason for staying in Cut Bank, I know it's not ideal but everything was booked up inside the park. I did check West Glacier and Columbia falls just now but it's quite expensive to stay there. Also, when I looked at the map, Columbia falls seems to be much more of a drive to the trails we want to do (except Highline -which we will do from St Mary's) than Cut Bank.

After Glacier we are going to the Black Hills, but breaking up the drive and staying at Billings.

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The Black Hills
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5. Re: Need help with itinerary in Glacier NP

We have always tent camped on our trips to Glacier but this year (due to a big 3 night backpacking trip that we're taking)we decided to treat ourselves and stay at one of the camping cabins at Johnson's Campground at St Mary. Well, actually we are staying on cabin 1 for two nights and cabin 2 for two nights. They are pretty reasonable (cabin 1- $60 night +tax and cabin 2- $75 night + tax) but you would need to have your own bedding (sleeping bag or sheets/blanket).

You might want to check the reservations link on the webpage to see if there is anything is available the night you have scheduled for Cut Bank.

johnsonsofstmary.com/services/…campground.htm

Another place that I looked into was the Bunkhouse at Paul Ranch Cabins which is 4 miles north of Babb (where you turn to go to Many Glacier). It is $55 a night and has linens and blankets. No showers on site though with the nearest showers being at Many Glacier. My grandson and I need showers closer so I decided to go with the cabins at Johnson's for this trip as there are showers in the campground for use.

paulranchlodging.homestead.com/BUNKHOUSE.html

Deb

Edited: 11 May 2014, 15:08
Spokane, Washington
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6. Re: Need help with itinerary in Glacier NP

If you are hiking at average speed, you can do all 3 trails + GTTSR. Days are long in the summer. With time constraint, I agree with emphasis on East side of the park.

Bratislava, Slovakia
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7. Re: Need help with itinerary in Glacier NP

That's good news, thank you. I will try and change the night in Cut Bank for inside park lodging. Hopefully there will be some cancellations.

Do you think it's possible to do the Iceberg and Grinnell Glacier trail in one day?Or will that be too much?

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Grinnell Glacier
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505 Reviews
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indiana
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8. Re: Need help with itinerary in Glacier NP

Grinnell and Iceberg are both in the ten mile range with approx. 1400 ft. elevation gain each. That would be a lot for me. You can hike part of the Highline on the day you explore GTTSR. If you can stay nearer the park than Cut Bank it would help a lot. Check Glacier Trailhead Cabins, Thronson's Motel, Duck Lake, Paul's Ranch for closer lodging. There are a few others if you google St. Mary or Babb. Keep trying for another night at either St Mary or Swiftcurrent. Cancellations do happen. You may even be able to get a room once you arrive at the park. The hotels will book for same day stays when there are cancellations.

Edited: 12 May 2014, 00:10
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Glacier Trailhead Cabins
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178 Reviews
Saint Mary, MT
NJ
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9. Re: Need help with itinerary in Glacier NP

keep on checking (by phone) each day in the park and see if any openings happen at rising sun or swift current. I'd also rather be in East Glacier than Cut Bank there are a lot of little cabin/motel places that might have a night for you.

http://www.eastglacierpark.info/Motels.html

http://www.eastglacierpark.info/Lodging.html

10. Re: Need help with itinerary in Glacier NP

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