First Time to Glacier Park Questions!

Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 09:51 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 122
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
First Time to Glacier Park Questions!

Will be visiting Glacier Park for the first time next summer -- probably SIX nites (+ a definite 2 nites in Waterton). Had some questions:

Where would you base your stays and for how long? Husband and I like easy hikes around 3-4 mi. roundtrip, and plan to see GTTS Road both ways.

Read somewhere that the road around Two Medicine can be "challenging". How bad is it?

I've read some of the lodges have breakfast buffets; does anyone know the cost?

How is the Glacier Motel at Apgar? Is Lake McDonald a much preferred area on that side of the park to stay?

How much easy hiking (3-4 miles round trip) is between West Glacier and East Glacier?

Thanks for any help!


TravelinVic is offline  
Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 10:05 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,514
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi TravelinVic---I just got back from Glacier. We spent a week at a friend's cabin, but still felt the need for a night over at Many Glacier to do the hikes there and at Two Medicine. For someone without the cabin connection, I would suggest 3 nights each at the east and west ends. My choice on the east side would be the Many Glacier Hotel, but nearby Swiftcurrent Motor Inn is less expensive and I think might have cabins. No lake view, though. Glacier Park Lodge looked very nice but is not as close to the trailheads.

We did not find the road into Two Medicine at all "challenging". There were a few bumps and dips, but nothing serious or axle-breaking.

On the west side, I'd spring for Lake McDonald Lodge, mainly because I like the historic old lodges. The place in Apgar looks pretty basic, but I'm not sure we saw the whole thing--apparently there is a part right on the lake that is nicer. Lake McDonald is nice for the water-based activities; I think they have kayak rentals there. We enjoyed swimming in the lake before the weather turned cold.

The breakfast buffet at Many Glacier was $13.70 for adults. We opted to bring granola and buy yogurt and tea, coffee, etc. downstairs in the little store/deli they have.

Easy hikes off Going to the Sun Road: Avalanche Lake and Hidden Lake overlook come to mind. The hikes we did were mostly longer than that. You could check the park guide for more suggestions.
enzian is offline  
Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 01:11 PM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,960
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Most of the best hikes leave from the east side--especially from the Many Glacier area. For any trail, it doesn't matter how long it is. Just go as far and long as you want and turn around and come back.

One easy, short trail we did was close to Rising Sun and was the St Mary and Virginia Falls trail. There aren't many signs and most people think they have seen it all and don't go far enough. Go all the way until you see a really tall water fall. There is a sign once you get there so you will know it's the destination. It was very busy at St Mary Falls but by the time we got to Virginia Falls, we had it all to ourselves.

It would help you a lot to buy a book about day hikes in Glacier NP.

Connie is offline  
Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 03:18 PM
  #4  
AlJ
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 158
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We really liked the area at Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. Several trail heads there. Its about a mile from Many Glacier Hotel. Here's a link to some pictures from around there.

http://www.alandsuejohnson.com/weste...ftcurrent.html

You can go up from the index page to see our other Glacier info if you want.

Lake McDonald was nice and had a good restaurant. I don't know about Apgar. In truth, I far preferred the east side of the park.

If you're talking about the road I think you are "around Two Medicine" it was narrow and you should pay attention. It was also a beautiful drive.
AlJ is offline  
Old Sep 3rd, 2008, 04:18 PM
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 122
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thanks everyone, so far, for all the info -- MUCH appreciated.

AIJ - When you say preferred "East side" do you mean strictly Many Glacier/St. Mary area or also the area called "East Glacier" further South?

One important question I forgot to ask, if anyone can help me. If our flight gets in late (causing us to be driving in the dark), is there any difficulty in getting from Kalispell to Lake McDonald? THANKS AGAIN!
TravelinVic is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2008, 12:19 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,960
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I wouldn't stay in East Glacier because it is so far away from the GTS road and Many Glacier, which is where you will spend all your time. It is a neat lodge to visit though.
Connie is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2008, 01:01 PM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,514
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
"East side" refers to all areas on the east side of the park---Many Glacier, St. Mary, and East Glacier. But as Connie says, you don't want to stay in East Glacier if your interest is in hiking and driving the Going to the Sun Road---it's too far.

The road from the Kalispell airport to the park is a good highway and would be fine in the dark. But there are several turns to get from Hwy. 93 to Hwy. 2 and then left into West Glacier, so have a good map and watch for them. Also watch carefully for wildlife.
enzian is offline  
Old Sep 4th, 2008, 01:38 PM
  #8  
AlJ
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 158
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
We liked the Many Glacier / Swiftcurrent Area. We only passed through East Glacier but I wasn't all that impressed.

If I get to go back, hopefully I'll get to stay at Swiftcurrent again. Its just very pretty there and there's several trailheads there.
AlJ is offline  
Old Sep 7th, 2008, 09:43 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,023
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Assuming you are renting a car at the airport, you will exit on highway 2. Turn left out of the airport. Simply follow hiway 2, which is well marked until you see a LARGE sign for the entrance to Glacier Park. Distance is approx. 30 miles.
No problem at all driving. Be aware af deer darting across road
John is offline  
Old Sep 8th, 2008, 04:57 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 442
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
When traveling the GTTS Rd don't forget they will be working on the road for next ten years and is subject to delays. If you don't want to drive the road yourself they have started a free shuttle service. Info on this and hikes can be found at www.nps.gov/glac.

Some hikes I would not miss are Hidden Lake which leaves from behind Logan Pass Visitor Center. You are almost guaranteed of see closeup looks at mountain goats on this trail. A group of bighorn sheep can also sometimes be seen. On the other side if Highline Trail. A great one for wildflowers. If you are inclined could park your car early at Logan Pass walk the Highline Trail to Granite Chalet, about 7 miles of moderate hiking with not much elevation change and then drop down on The Loop Trail down to the GTTS Rd and take the free shuttle back to your car. If you are staying in Many Glacier instead of hiking down The Loop Trail can go over the ridge & down into Many Glacier. There is a commercial shuttle service which could take you back to your car the next day.

In Many Glacier take the ranger led tours (or on your own) to either Avalanche Lake, Grinnell Lake or Grinnell Glacier.
Photodog is offline  
Old Oct 26th, 2008, 08:45 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 45
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Vic, at the visitors center half way thru GTTSR there is a great hike...across the road. Park the car, see the center then walk to the road and there is the path...you can go as far as you wish...it actually goes 7 miles(which I did in bad boots and almost died) but even 30 minutes is good, there are always mountain goats there and I got the best picture ever right there of bunches of them. Also, even if you don't stay in each hotel you should stop and see them...expecially Glacier Park Lodge(kind of pricey) and of course you must see Prince of Wales at many different times of the day as the sun reflects differently on the lake and can knock your socks off. You can get a snack or dfink there if you don't want to spend alot on a big meal. and don't get scared if it snows in July as it did on me a few years ago. paul
pault14 is offline  
Old Nov 12th, 2008, 07:01 PM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 282
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would definitely recommend visiting the Glacier National Park Chat forum - it's dedicated solely to Glacier and you can get all sorts of info.

Lots of trip reports with pictures as well.

I'd split the time between the Many Glacier area and the West side of the Park. At Many Glacier, the lodge is "fancier" (although nothing is too fancy in a national park) and many rooms have a nice view of the lake. Swiftcurrent motel and cabins are about a mile away. It's not on the lake, but very near trailheads. The motel is very 50's decor, but they're incredibly convenient. The lodge is more formal, but it also tends to get the busloads of tourists on organized tours, which can take a little away from the "being with nature" mentality.

On the West side, the lodge once again is lovely with that great common space, but tends to be crowded with bus tours. I preferred the Village Inn at Apgar. Again, it's an old fashioned, not fancy motel room, but it's on the lake and somehow just seemed more relaxed to me.
Travelkitty is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Original Poster
Forum
Replies
Last Post
mhutch196
United States
10
Feb 1st, 2015 01:37 PM
eveningcrane
United States
8
Aug 7th, 2007 06:03 PM
liz01
United States
9
May 29th, 2007 05:13 AM
Travelkitty
United States
5
Feb 20th, 2007 12:48 PM
freespirit61
United States
8
Aug 4th, 2006 05:09 AM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Do Not Sell My Personal Information


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 05:13 AM.