Jun 29th, 2001, 09:24 AM
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I am thinking of flying to missoula and going to glacier nat park in august--has anyone done this? how long would the drive be? any thoughts about glacier park--what to do, where to stay, etc
Jun 29th, 2001, 09:43 AM
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Missoula to Glacier is quite a few hours at least (not sure how many exactly anymore) with many stops for scenic views along the way. Glacier Park accomodations are quite expensive and may not be what you bargained for as a lot of the hotels/motels are now getting older but outside of Glacier, you may want to look up places to stay in Whitefish, Bigfork, Columbia Falls, Kalispell, etc. All have some good places to stay that are quite reasonable. I grew up in Bigfork and visit there on occasion. I still like the Timbers Motel. From Bigfork through Glacier and back (on the Logan Pass) is a very nice day's trip. However, if you are not used to mountain driving, you may find it a bit scary. Most travellers drive slowly and there are lots of turn-outs. Bigfork and Whitefish are both more expensive and touristy than Kalispell and Columbia Falls. But they also have more to offer the tourist. I still prefer Bigfork although it is expensive. You can get wonderful meals at the Bigfork Inn and they have the Bigfork Summer Playhouse which is worth the time to visit. In order to get tickets for a production there, you may want to visit on-line and pre-book as they sell out.

Good luck and have fun. Montana is a beautiful state with friendly people.
Jun 29th, 2001, 10:42 AM
Bob Brown
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We stayed overnight twice at the Timbers Motel in Bigfork. It is nice enough and the town has the attractions described.
Unfortunately, it not what I would call on the door step of Glacier.

I agree with the assessment that accommodations in the park itself are not good value for the dollar.
But, what are your options? Stay outside of the park, perhaps an hour away? Or take the less than great lodges in the park?

It is about 150 miles to the park, but the road is slow on either side of Flathead Lake. I figure it would take you 3 hours because of the road.
On one stretch we drove 2 years ago, the speed limit was 70. But, try and drive it!!!

My favorite walk in Glacier is to take the Highline Trail from Logan Pass.
You can go as far as you like, all the way to Waterton Lake even. But I would try to make past Haystack Butte by about a mile or so. Haystack is a rather large rocky outpost that is to your left as you approach. In years past we have seen mountain sheep (rams), goats, marmots, and so far no bears!

Jun 29th, 2001, 11:20 AM
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If Glacier is what you want to see, you should fly into Kalispell. The drive from Kalispell is probably about 2 hours but it is beautiful. Kalispell isn't a big town, but its still a city. If you have money to spend, I think its is worthwhile to say in Bigfork. You should also spend some time on Flathead Lake. It's big, beautiful, and clear. There are watersports and boat tours in Polson. Have fun.
Jun 29th, 2001, 12:19 PM
Bob Brown
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I agree that Kalispell is much more convenient to Glacier than is Missoula. I have flown there myself. Proximity is not always the whole story!

But, my son is going to Glacier this summer, in just about 10 days, and he chose Missoula for several reasons.
First the air fare was cheaper, second he could get a frequent flier ticket to Missoula as part of the overall purchase of 4 seats whereas Kalispell was blacked out, and third he could get better rental car rates from an agency in Missoula than he could find anywhere in Kalispell/Whitefish.

Jul 20th, 2001, 01:52 PM
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I have to disagree with the posts on the lodges at Glacier National Park. While the rooms are reminiscent of old motor lodges, the common areas and settings are SPECTACULAR. This is not a destination where you hang out in your room and order room service. This is a destination where you chat with other visitors in front of the much-needed walk-in fireplace in July and sip Huckleberry daiquiris. I particularly liked Lake Macdonald Lodge. Yes, you can experience the common areas in the lodges without staying there, but it's just not the same.
Jul 21st, 2001, 01:09 PM
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We, too, stayed in the Whitefish area when travleing to MT and found it was easier to access Glacier NP that way, as well as enjoy the surrounding scenery. However, seeing as that is not an option in this case, I think you'll have a nearly 7 hour drive to the park. I also agree with Judy about the scenery and the park interior. The Lake MacDonald area is enough to take your breath away.
Jul 26th, 2001, 07:08 PM
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We just returned from Glacier last week. What a spectacular trip. We flew into Kalispell got our rental car and took a tour of Whitefish then headed for the park. We stayed one night in one of the cottages at Lake McDonald Lodge, then moved on to Many Glacier for two nights and Prince of Wales for two. The lodges were all built in the early 1900's and have not been modernized to any great extent, but they were clean and the beds were comfortable.
The prices were on the high side, but staying inside the park really contributed to the experience. The food in the lodges was pretty average, but we ate in a couple of restaurants that were very good. In Babb,MT, which is the corner where you turn to go to Many Glacier, is the Cattle Baron Steak House. Absolutely the best steak I have ever had in my life. Mouthwatering! Between Babb and St. Marys, try Two Sisters and the Park Cafe.
We did the boat rides at Lake McDonald and Many Glacier and hiked to Grinnell Lake. We planned on doing the one at Waterton, but ended up driving to British Columbia.
After leaving the park we returned to Kalispell and stayed at the Kalispell Grand Hotel which is a renovated hotel right downtown. Very friendly staff and delicious homebaked cookies in the afternoon and a Continental breakfast in the morning with delicious coffee.
As a South Floridian I walked around the whole trip with my mouth hanging open. Absoulutely a fantastic place to see!
Aug 3rd, 2001, 08:59 AM
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I would have to agree with puckkat. Staying in the Park makes the experience so much more enjoyable. The rates should be a little lower as your are going after the high season www.glacierparkinc.com It's a great time to go - less crowded - cool nights - sunny days.
Sep 13th, 2001, 01:39 PM
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This is obviously too late to help you, but thought I'd add my experience for others who are exploring this thread.
We just got back from Glacier & it was awesome! I would recommend going in early September if you can, because the crowds are GONE.
From St. Mary's (east side of the park) to Missoula is about 4 hours. Obviously a good bit less from the west side.
We heard from a lot of people who've been there often that they like to spend most of their time on the east side. It's drier & sunnier, but also windy. We stayed at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn in the Many Glacier area & did not think it was a good value. All of the in-park lodgings are overpriced, but this one was pretty dumpy. The other issue with Many Glaciers area is that you have very limited choices of restaurants & food shopping. If you just go out to St. Mary's, it's much better. Lodging's still nothing to write home about, but not as much of a ripoff either. We actually stayed in the "Kamping Kabins" at the KOA, which were a good value. Basic accomodation - a bed (BYO bedding), community showers (BYO towel/shampoo/dryer), but very clean & cheap. If you spend any time on the east side, you MUST go to the Park Cafe - excellent, reasonably-priced food, including umpteen varieties of awesome, home-baked pie!
We spent our last night on the west side in Whitefish, which is a very cute little town. We stayed at the Garden Wall Inn, a lovel B&B, & would definitely stay there again.
Can't tell folks what to do without knowing more about their interests, but the hiking is fabulous & very uncrowded.

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