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, the 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.
Adventure out with us on our first day in Glacier via the Hidden Lake Trail.
It’s our first full day so we decide to get out early and hike. As we reach Logan Pass, the highest point accessible by car at 6,646 feet high, the warm glow of the morning bounces off the mountains and lakes. The ice is almost done melting, giving way to green grass and fields of wildflowers.
Hidden Lake Trail – 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!
Since the Highline was closed, we decide to take the Hidden Lake Trail. The trail starts behind the Logan Pass Visitor Center, as we were about to hop on the trail, we notice a grizzly bear and her cub to the left, not even 200 feet from us.
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 meander in the opposite direction of where we were going so we (me, reluctantly) continue on.
Hiking Tip: Early mornings and dusk are the best times to see wildlife.
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.
We reach the overlook and enjoyed the impressive views of the shimmering Hidden Lake along with a few friendly marmots.
On the way back, the rumor on the trail was that the bear was making her way back in our direction. We partner up with a group of people -safety in numbers- as we head back. We reach a part on the trail where one side has a steep hill and the other side has a few trees with a shelf that drop off to a parallel open area.
We hear shouts from the hikers to the left of us on the ridge of the hill, “The bear! The bear!” They are 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.
As I turn my head, a young guy and I spot her brown hump 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.
Talking among the group about what just happened, made the walk back go by quickly. Adrenaline was pumping and excitement levels were high. What a way to start our time at Glacier… hiking through the snow with a grizzly bear!
TIP: If you are driving yourself and not taking the shuttle, arrive early to get a parking spot.
Next, we continue through the park via the Going-to-the-Sun Road. If you have never experienced it, 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.
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, Trail of the Cedars Nature Trail. The hike starts with a short boardwalk stroll along a narrow gorge contoured with bright green moss and glossy stones.
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.
Total Miles Driven: 3,931, Average Gas Price per Gallon: $2.56
Thanks for following along! Do you have any questions for us about our epic 80 day summer road trip?
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