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2 days in Glacier

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Leaving Kooskia ID Sep 4th heading to Glacier. First night staying at Lake McDonald Lodge. Do we eat at the Lodge, or is there a better recommendation? Place to buy next day's lunch? Sep 5th planning to drive GTTS to Many Glacier. Will that take a full day? I'm thinking there are places to stop along the way with short hikes. Our 2nd night is at Many Glacier Hotel. Same questions concerning meals? On Sat the 6th I my husband and I want to a day hike. Grinnell Glacier or Iceberg Lake? Pros and cons of each? I'm looking for scenery; he's looking for wildlife, especially big horn sheep and bears. I read there's an 8:30 ranger led boat ride and hike to Grinnell Glacier that lasts 8 1/2 hours. I was hoping to do it in less time because we're leaving that afternoon to go spend the night at Lodgepole Tipi Village. How long will it take to drive from Many Glacier to St Mary's? Thinking of stopping there for supper at the Park Cafe.

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    I took my daughter there last summer. She married with a 6 year old so she didn't want a long trip. We were in the park for 3 1/2 days. Way too short so I'm going back this year for a week with a friend.

    I think you're spending too much time thinking of food for a two day visit to Glacier. Pick up some supplies en route and eat on the go.

    From St Mary to Many Glacier is about 45 minutes. Remember, St Mary is at the entrance to the park. If you're near Rising Sun area then it's closer to an hour.

    Unless there's traffic due to construction or some other reason, driving the full length of GTTS road without stopping will take around 1 1/2 hours. I wouldn't drive it without stopping to enjoy the scenery at some of the viewpoints.

    If you can get a parking space at Logan Pass stop there for a few hours. On the side of the road with the parking lot at least do the early (if not all) part of Hidden Lake Overlook hike. Great scenery and we saw bighorn sheep in the distance. Some people see them closer.

    After that, cross the road and do at least the first half (or more) mile of the Highline Trail (that's the trail with the cable). Spectacular scenery and we saw a few mountain goats very much up close.

    Many Glacier. If this still goes in September, the Grinnell Glacier boat ride starts at 8:30. Unless you book ahead you're not guaranteed a place on the boat. Sept may not be an issue.

    Grinnell Glacier hike is shorter than Iceberg Lake but more difficult/strenuous due to steepness of the trail and rock/earth steps. I found it tough on the knees whereas Iceberg Lake was quite smooth except for a very early part.

    On Iceberg Lake hike on the way back, we suddenly noticed a grizzly walking beside us and 10 yards above. We took some quick photos and stopped to let him go. Instead he came down onto our trail and stopped right in front of us to sit down in a little stream and cool down. WOW!!!

    For our little trip, the best place for wildlife was Fishercap Lake early and late. It's a very short hike near the start of the Swiftcurrent Pass hike. The trailhead is at the far end of the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn parking lot and takes no more than about 15 minutes. We saw deer in the woods and male and female moose in the lake and beside.

    We hiked about a mile further to Redrock Falls and saw a grizzly on the way back.

    For meals. We had a snack breakfast in the room or on the way. Lunch was always what we had in our backpacks and where ever we were. We had dinner in the restaurant at whichever motel (Swiftcurrent or Rising Sun) we happened to be at.

    Great park!!!!

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    If you're into photography and want sunrises here are two.

    Just west of Rising Sun Motor Inn is Wild Goose Island. They claim it's the most photographed place in the park. I don't believe it but it does make for a great sunrise.

    The other is between Many Glacier Road and Many Glacier Inn.
    The sun comes up behind you and slowly lights up the mountain.

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    1°)Depending your arrival time, you can after checkin in, or drive to Apgar-nice view on the lake, small shops, some small hikes here or better drive to north of Lake Mc Donald and there are some small hikes with small falls here.
    Diner at the lodge is a good option.
    I think the lodge has some pic nic lunch box.
    Or if you drive to Apgar, Eddie's has a small store and last year they sold some smoked trout and salmon which were perfect...

    2°)From Lk Mc Donald lodge to Many Glacier as said Myer take your time .
    If you want some hikes :
    - Avalanche and trail of the cedars are easy and certainly to recommand.Sleeping at LML, you will arrive early at trailhead and so no problem to park...
    Then depending of your interest stop at different point of views and effectively if you can park stop at Logan pass,
    Hidden Lake or more Highline trail are to do.
    Scenery and wildlife.
    Then, if not too late while arriving in MG, Apikuni fall is short BUT steep so depend on your physic condition.But worth the efforts...

    3°)In MG, both Grinel Glacier and Iceberg are on my favorite list with a preference on Grinel Glacier...(if you have hiked Avalanche lake Grinel Glacier gives you a different interest of destination and you'll see also lakes(swiftcurent, Josephine and Grinel).
    For lunch also the MGH could prepare a lunch box.
    Near Swiftcurent motel there is a small store.
    Effectively in the afternoon after the "main hike" you have to hike to Fishercap for wildlife.

    4°)On your way back you can stop at park cafe in St Mary but for me the best could be :
    - Apikuni falls if not hiked at arrival,
    - drive to St Mary and buy a pie at park gril
    - drive to Two medecine and had a lunch there + some small hikes and then drive to destination.

    NB : at MGHotel , the MG restaurant is really very good.
    Erik

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    There will be road construction on the Going to the Sun Road so you should defintiely expect delays. The drive from Lake McDonald to Many Glacier can take about 2 to 2-1/2 hours - without any stops - depending on delays.

    http://www.wfl.fhwa.dot.gov/projects/mt/gtsr/

    I would definitely stop at Logan Pass Visitor's Center to hike Hidden Lake Overlook and part of the Highline Trail. You're almost always guaranteed to see mountain goats at Hidden Lake Overlook. To do so, you'll need to get to Logan Pass by 9:30 or 10AM to ensure a parking spot.

    For two very different waterfalls, stop at the St. Mary Falls Trailhead along the GTTS Road. You'll be able to hike to St. Mary Falls and then go a little further to Virginia Falls - you can actually stand at the base of Virginia Falls.

    http://www.hikinginglacier.com/virginia-falls.htm

    Both Grinnell and Iceberg are spectacular hikes. We've always seen bears along the hillside at the beginning of Iceberg. Grinnell you'll have a good chance to see big horn sheep. If you decide on Grinnell, be sure to purchase your tickets for the boat ride a day or two in advance as that's one of the most popular hikes. We usually start with the ranger led group, but since it moves so slow, we just move on since there's always lots of people on that trail. We always like to get back to the boat dock before the ranger led group because the boat can fill up and you sometimes have to wait for another one.

    http://www.hikinginglacier.com/grinnell-glacier.htm

    Keep in mind that trails in Glacier can close at any time due to bear activity - so always have a back up plan for that day. Check with the ranger station the day before your hike to make sure the trail is open. I would also strongly recommend you carry bear spray on any trail you hike in Glaicer.

    Enjoy, you will love Glacier.

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