15 hours. That's how long it took us to get from Denver to Glacier National Park. Thank goodness for THE MOST WONDERFUL fiancé, because let me tell you: that drive is brutal. 4am wake up calls + driving + hiking = no joke kids. However, we had a *marvelous* time, didn't see a bear, and survived the middle of nowhere Montana. I've included our itinerary below; let us know if there are any stops you would suggest!
History of Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park was established in 1910, making it the 10th park in the national parks system. Aptly named, the park’s majestic landscape was carved over time by numerous glaciers. The first peoples were thought to have settled in the area around 10,000 years ago, early ancestors of the Blackfeet tribe which controlled the land through the 18th and 19th centuries.
Getting There: If you’re like us, and choose to drive from Denver - get an early start! It is ~927 miles and took us almost 15 hours! You can also fly into the area; the most convenient airport (Glacier Park International Airport) is right outside of Whitefish and has the airport code FCA.
Transportation: We highly recommend having a car to explore Glacier National. It allows you to freedom to explore on your own schedule. The only downside is trying to find parking at the peak times - you may be circling lots for a little bit. The other option is to utilize the park’s free hop on/hop off shuttle system that provides service between the Apgar Visitor Center and St Mary Visitor Center, along the Going-the-Sun road. Shuttles run every 15min, but keep in mind they may be busy/full so you may have to wait for another bus. Shuttles typically run from 9am to 7pm.
Fee: There is a fee to enter the park. You can either pay a one time fee or buy the national parks annual pass like we do!
What to Bring: At a bare minimum, be sure to pack a sun hat, plenty of water, sunscreen, bug spray, and lastly, bring a sled (or skiis/snowshoes) if you plan on hiking Hidden Lake before August! If you are out on the trails, be sure to have bear bells/bear spray to avoid surprising bears as well as fea/tick protection for some of the heavily forested trails.
Wildlife Information: We were lucky to see goats, elk, and deer at the park. The rangers told us that dawn and dusk provide the best chance at seeing wildlife.
Where to Stay
Mid-Range: The Lodge at Whitefish Lake
Not Afraid to Get Dirty: pack a tent and camp out at numerous campsites!
What to Do / Itinerary
Day 1 -
Drive from Denver to Montana (stops at Cheyenne, Billings, Bozeman, and Missoula for gas)
Sunset at Lake McDonald
Day 3 -
Explore Polebridge and the lakes near it
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