Introduction to Glacier National Park

SUMMER ROAD TRIP, DAYS 18 – 19

The one and only thing you need to know about Glacier National Park in Montana is that you have to make it a priority to visit and visit soon. In our lifetime, Glacier National Park will go through a complete transformation because of climate change. The park was once home to 150 glaciers and the 25 remaining are expected to be gone by 2030.

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And so our epic 80 day summer road trip continues – 12 U.S. states, 1 Canadian province and 11 national parks. Follow our journey via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Total Miles Driven: 3,931, Average Gas Price per Gallon: $2.56

If you would like to see our full itinerary, start at the beginning here. And Start at Day One here.

Hidden Lake

It’s our first full day in Glacier so we decided to get out early and hike. Check out these morning views as we drove to our first stop at Logan Pass.

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Going to the Sun Road

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Hidden Lake – Hiking through Snow with a Grizzly Bear

The Highline Trail was our top pick for a day hike, but we found out once we arrived at the Visitor Center that it is closed due to hazardous conditions. This is where I should have been tipped off that my week might include traipsing around in the snow even though it’s July!

Hidden Lake Trail 2Since the Highline was closed, we decided to take the Hidden Lake Overlook Trail. As we were about to begin, we noticed a grizzly bear and her cub to the left, not even a block from the Visitor Center. Okay, I’m good with seeing a grizzly from afar or from the car, but now they are walking in the same territory as our hike. The city girl in me is thinking this is absolutely crazy, but the husband is not going to let me turn around. They meandered in the opposite direction of where we were going so we (me, reluctantly) continued on.

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Hidden Lake Trail

The trail is a 3-mile roundtrip, easy hike through alpine meadows that leads to an overlook high above a mountain lake. Well, it said easy but I beg to differ! With snow covering most of the boardwalk and a slippery slope to climb, it was not as easy as it should have been. It was definitely worth the effort, but I wouldn’t consider it easy.

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We reached the overlook and enjoyed the impressive views along with a few friendly marmots.

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On the way back, the rumor on the trail was that the bear was making her way back in our direction. We partnered up with a group of people (safety in numbers) as we headed back. We reached a part on the trail where one side was a steep hill and the other side had a few trees with a shelf that dropped off to a parallel open area. We heard shouts from the hikers to the left of us on the ridge of the hill, “The bear! The bear!” They were waving their arms and screaming at us that the bear was close. We didn’t know if we should turn back or go forward so for a few seconds we all just stood still discussing what we should do. A young guy and I saw the brown hump across from us at the same time. She was only about 50 – 60 feet on the other path where the ledge dropped off! I’ll never forget the look on his face, I’m smiling just thinking about it. Crazy, I tell you!! We all picked up the pace as we were looking behind us, hoping she kept going the opposite way.

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What a way to start our time at Glacier… hiking through the snow with a grizzly bear!

Going-to-the-Sun Road

If you have never experienced Going-to-the Sun Road, I would describe it to you as a scenic drive where heaven and earth meet. The 50-mile road traverses right through the middle of Glacier and brings you to some of the most exquisite scenery I have ever laid eyes on. The road hugs the mountainside as it shares space with weeping walls, nomadic wildlife and cascading waterfalls.

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Trail of the Cedars Nature Trail to Avalanche Lake

We ended the day with a popular hike off the scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road. The hike starts with a short boardwalk stroll along a narrow gorge contoured with bright green moss and glossy stones.

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Another 2-miles further from the nature trail, a tree-lined path leads you to the lovely Avalanche Lake. All of today’s activities are highly recommended for your visit to Glacier National Park.

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Next Stop: Cobalt Lake

 

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Thanks for following along! Do you have any questions for us about our epic 80 day summer road trip?

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6 Responses

  1. WOW. Seeing so many images of Glacier recently and I’m completely falling in love with the place. I really want to go! Your pictures are fantastic BTW. Such a said fact about the number of glaciers, to think that they will be gone in less than 15 years is insane. We best get out there quick!

  2. Hello there Dang,
    More wonderful pictures, thank you again. I agree, Glacier Park & Going to the Sun road shouldn’t be missed if possible & sooner than later.
    It’s disconcerting for sure to be on a trail with a sow & cub. As much as I enjoy seeing wildlife, I’m with you, it’s much more comfortable from a vehicle or with a ravine between you & them.
    Onward,
    Kim B

  3. Hello there Travelers,
    Glacier is one of my fav spots. Your pictures are wonderful. I stayed at an interesting campground on the east side of the park, Chewing Black Bones, it was nice, plus I saw a variety of livestock on the roads outside the park, just a fun local feel to the reservation. I also enjoyed the International Peace Park.
    I’m enjoying reliving a few of my trips through the area.
    Onward,
    Kim B

    • That’s an interesting name for a campground…Chewing Black Bones! If the International Peace Park is Waterton, we enjoyed it too. We saw the most bears on the whole trip in our one day visit. It was great!

  4. Hello again,
    Love your pictures. I thoroughly enjoy “Going to the Sun” & the drive into Watertown. I think the International Peace Park is an awesome stop as well. I’ve been trying to get an international peace flag like the one they have at the border also. No luck yet.
    Onward,
    Kim B

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