Glacier in One Day
It's hard to beat the Going-to-the-Sun Road for a one-day trip in Glacier National Park. This itinerary takes you from west to east—if you're starting from St. Mary, take the tour backward. First, however, call the Glacier Park Boat Company (406/257–2426) to make a reservation for the St. Mary Lake or Lake McDonald boat tour, depending on where you end up. Then drive up Going-to-the-Sun Road to Avalanche Creek Campground, and take a 30-minute stroll along the fragrant Trail of the Cedars. Afterward, continue driving up—you can see views of waterfalls and wildlife to the left and an awe-inspiring, precipitous drop to the right. At the summit, Logan Pass, your arduous climb is rewarded with a gorgeous view of immense peaks, sometimes complemented by a herd of mountain goats. Stop in at the Logan Pass Visitor Center, then take the 1.5-mile Hidden Lake Nature Trail up to prime wildlife-viewing spots. Picnic at the overlook above Hidden Lake. In the afternoon, continue driving east over the mountains. Stop at the Jackson Glacier Overlook to view one of the park's largest glaciers. Continue down; eventually the forest thins, the vistas grow broader, and a gradual transition to the high plains begins. When you reach Rising Sun Campground, take the one-hour St. Mary Lake boat tour to St. Mary Falls. If you'd rather hike, the 1.2-mile Sun Point Nature Trail also leads to the falls. (Take the boat tour if you're driving from east to west.) The Going-to-the-Sun Road is generally closed from mid-September to mid-June.