Glacier National Park First Timers

Jan 4th, 2009, 07:21 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2009
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Glacier National Park First Timers

My travel companion and I want to see Glacier National Park in July or
August. We are traveling from Ohio and would like an itinerary for 1 week, places to stay, best hikes, and, should would we only plan on exploring Glacier National Park? Thank you in advance.
mtvernon is offline  
Jan 4th, 2009, 10:21 AM
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Let me make certain I understand your plan -- you leave Ohio, drive out to Glacier NP, spend some time there, and then drive back -- all in the space of seven days. Not recommended, but do-able if you don't mind driving for ten to twelve hours a day for two days. Because that's pretty much the barest minimum amount of time to get from Ohio to GNP. Which leaves a grand total of three full days in the Park. If you're not into long hikes, that also will be enough. If you ARE into alpine hiking, three WEEKS won't be enough.

Here's some starting info on hikes in GNP:

Depening on your interests, stamina, experience, and equipment; several of these will best meet your needs.
PaulRabe is offline  
Jan 4th, 2009, 01:55 PM
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Ohio to GNP is close to 2000 miles. Can one drive that in 24 hours? Seems more like 30 to 35 hours to me.
John is offline  
Jan 4th, 2009, 03:48 PM
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We were planning on flying into Spokane, although we are open to suggestions.
mtvernon is offline  
Jan 4th, 2009, 04:57 PM
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I am assuming that you are new to this site, so sorry if I'm suggesting things you have already done. But I would start by checking out the web sites Paul gave you as well as:

There was a rather long trip report recently by enzian (you can type her name in the search box) titled "Glacier NP Trip Report--mountains, lakes, waterfalls, sheep goats and a bear" that has quite a bit of information on it.

Also look at TravelinVic post titled "First Time to Glacier Park Questions".

It is hard to advise you without more information about what you like to do, etc. Have you stayed in other national parks out west? Generally the accommodations and food aren't what you would find in a city -- it is more the ambience of the place. There is also native american history in that area that might interest you.

We flew into Kalispell. You can also take a train there and then rent a car (saw this on television and it looked interesting). You can also combine it with a trip across the border into Canada to Waterton Park.

maj is offline  
Feb 20th, 2009, 07:38 AM
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The Many Glacier area on the northeast side of the park has lots of trail heads from which to choose. My wife and I stayed in one of the cabins there before our kids were born ( June, 2000 )and we found it to be adequate. It was nothing fancy, but it served us well. It was clean and had a comfortable bed. Remember, you'll be there to see nature, not stay in your room. The cabins have a large kitchen style sink, but no bathroom, so we had to use a community restroom and shower. That may deter some folks. Otherwise there is a lodge there as well, but it's quite expensive if memory serves. Another thing that we especially liked was going on ranger-lead hikes. Highly recommended if and wherever they're available. They are very nice and very informative and they go at a relaxed pace. With the very real possibility of coming across a bear, there's also safety in numbers.
We came to Glacier from the Yellowstone/Grand Teton area. If we would have saw Glacier first, we probably would have spent our entire vacation at Glacier. We spent 5 days in the park and it was not enough time. Paul Schullery said about GNP best when he said " When I have to describe Glacier to someone who hasn't been there... my mouth trips over inadequate adjectives. The magic of it never leaves me, but when I'm not there I'm haunted by the insufficiency of my memory to do it justice" Hope this info helps. Have fun and take lots of pictures.
Timg0104 is offline  
Feb 20th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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We're going there this summer as well and plan a side trip to the National Bison Range Wildlife Refuge. Maybe this would be interesting to you.
longhorn55 is offline  
Feb 20th, 2009, 03:51 PM
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If your dates are flexible that is good, as lodging inside the park is already getting well booked. Do stay inside the park if you can. (Saves time to the trailhead, and the scenery from your balcony can be great.)

If you have a full week, you might want to divide your time between West Glacier area (Apgar or Lake McDonald, 2 nights) and the east side (perhaps with a night at Glacier Park Lodge near Two Medicine) and at least 3 nights at Many Glacier. Four would be better there if you are serious about hiking. The hiking in the Many Glacier area is fantastic! The Highline Trail is another must-do, but you can do this from either side of the park or even on the day you cross from west to east over the Going to the Sun Road (with an early start).

The drive from Spokane is easy and very scenic (We drove from Seattle in a long day, about 10 hours. From Spokane it would be about 5 hours shorter).

If you end up going in late August I'll see you there. . ..

enzian is offline  
Mar 5th, 2009, 02:15 PM
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My husband and I too, are first timers to Glacier----we have hiked most of the other big parks and finally decided to hit Glacier this June. We plan to fly to kalispell and stay 4 nights---I was thinking one or two nights at Lake McDonald Lodge and two nights at St MArys resort and lodge. Or would it be worth it to spend a night/day in whitefish? Never been there and it looks like a cool town. We plan to do lots of hiking but want to see alot too. Thoughts?
karinc is offline  
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