Budget Travel

Gorgeous Outdoor Adventures in Glacier National Park

This view of Grinnell Lake, in Glacier National Park, Montana, is the reward for a 1.3 mile hike up the Grinnell Glacier Trail. To get to the trailhead, take a boat ride, departing from the Many Glacier Hotel, across Swiftcurrent Lake, then take a short walk to a second boat ride across Lake Josephine. Stepping off the boat dock, you’ll see signs pointing to the trailhead. 

If you’re up for hiking, you can join ranger-led hikes, plan an adventure with Glacier Guides, the park’s concessionaire, or strike out on your own. As a safety precaution, when in the backcountry, carry bear spray and know how to use it.  

Logan Pass is the highest point on Going-to-the Sun Road at 6,646 feet. It’s also a hangout for the magnificent bighorn sheep. Their massive horns can weigh up to 30 pounds. 

Beargrass tends to come out in full force every five to seven years, and 2017 is the year.  Growing two to six feet high, the stout, slender stem gives way to creamy white clusters of tiny flowers. Look for it throughout the park.

Lake McDonald, on Glacier’s west side, is 9.4 miles long and 464 feet deep, making it both the largest and deepest body of water in the park. Boat cruises are offered at Lake McDonald Lodge, and visitors can easily rent canoes, kayaks, or standup paddleboards to get out on the water. 

Glacier National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada, join together at the international boundary between the U.S. and Canada. In 1932, the two parks were officially linked as the world’s first International Peace Park. It’s a pleasant drive from the border to the regal Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton (pack your passport).

Two Medicine Lake catches a crystal clear reflection of the surrounding mountains on a still morning in Glacier. The Two Medicine area is one of the most sacred sites to the Blackfeet Indians, whose tribal land adjoins the park on Glacier’s east side.  

While it can be a thrill to see a grizzly or black bear from a distance, it’s far more common to see deer and elk roaming about in the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. For birders, Glacier is home to some 276 species of birds as well. 

There are many places throughout Glacier where visitors see the remains of forest fires that are part of Glacier’s history. This is nature’s way of keeping the forest healthy, as evidenced by the new growth that rises up from dead trees. 

Book a lakeside room at Many Glacier Lodge if you want to wake up to this glorious view. Built by the Great Northern Railway from 1914 to 1915, the Lodge sits on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake. Rentals for fun on the water are readily available. 

From its beautiful mountain lakes to the heights of the Continental Divide, Glacier National Park, Montana, is one of the crown jewels of America's National Park system. Here, a photo tour of the park's hikes, paddles, wildlife, and more.

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