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Photos from Glacier National Park October 2016

Photos from Glacier National Park October 2016

Old Dec 6th, 2016, 12:38 PM
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Photos from Glacier National Park October 2016


We took a fairly last minute, first time trip to Glacier NP the first week of October. The goal was hiking and scenery and we were pleasantly surprised at the amount of wildlife we saw. All in park accommodations were closed at this time of year so we split our week between St Mary and Kalispell. The last possible date for the Going to the Sun Road to be fully open this year was October 16th so we knew we were pushing our luck and almost decided to wait until next year. We had beautiful sunny weather the first few days and were hiking in shorts from Logan Pass. The week did get progressively wetter but we were still able to get out for part of each day. There were temporary closures of the GTTS Rd during our stay and I believe it ended up closing for the season the weekend that we left.

Our favorite parts of the park were on the east side with its spectacular alpine scenery. We also had more wildlife sightings on this side. The east side shuts down tight at the end of the season and because of our late planning, we had one motel to choose from in either the town of St Mary or Babb (we ruled out East Glacier as being too far from most of the hikes we were interested in). We ended up at the Red Eagle Motel in St Mary which is not much to look at (OK it's kind of a dump) but did have a lovely view and was just outside of the east entrance to the park. We ate twice at the Cattle Barron Supper Club, the only restaurant still open for the season in Babb, and out of our picnic supplies the rest of the time. There was also one small grocery store and gas station open in each town. Our best wildlife sightings were a mountain goat near Hidden Lake Overlook, a grizzly sow and cub near Many Glacier and 5 moose at Fishercap Lake. We also saw bighorn sheep from a distance near Many Glacier and more distant goats in other parts of the park including a nanny and kid at the Goat Lick Overlook on Hwy 2 which runs along a valley on the south side of the park.

In Kalispell we stayed at the fairly new Springhill Suites. Part of the reason for staying in Kalispell instead of closer to the park was that we wanted to explore some areas outside of the park like the National Bison Range, Flathead Lake and Whitefish but there were still accommodations open for the season in West Glacier just outside of the west entrance. The west side is more developed and there are a lot more options. We didn't end up doing as much as we would've liked due to the weather the second half of the week but did have a nice day trip to the National Bison Range where we saw pronghorn, elk, white tailed and mule deer and of course, bison. The bison range is mostly a gravel auto loop which climbs and drops about 2000 ft in elevation. You're allowed to get out of the vehicle in designated areas for short hikes but we were thwarted by bison on the trail each time.

The park was very peaceful at this time of year with the parking lot at Logan Pass only one third full mid-day and maybe half a dozen cars at the grizzly sighting. We did run into a few areas were seasonal bridges were already removed but as we stuck with mostly shorter hikes, this didn't affect us much. We didn't make it to the North Fork area of the park but think we would've enjoyed that.
Patty is offline  
Old Dec 6th, 2016, 02:14 PM
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Thanks for the report Patty, Glacier is on my Bucket list, good to know that you could travel that late in the season.

I couldn't get your pictures, just a shutterfly page trying to get me to sign up.
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Old Dec 6th, 2016, 02:43 PM
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Great shots! Man, did you hit the jackpot on the wildlife front!
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Old Dec 6th, 2016, 02:57 PM
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Try copying and pasting. For some reason that's working but clicking directly on the link isn't working for me either. I felt we were very lucky with the weather.

Thanks, Gardyloo! We spoke with some locals who said that the wildlife were more visible due to fewer people being around this late in the season.
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Old May 22nd, 2017, 02:15 PM
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Updating photo link for Nelson pix.sfly.com/iDv1s5zA
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Old May 22nd, 2017, 08:00 PM
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Thanks Patty! I just typed "Wow you hit the jackpot on wildlife sightings", and now see Gardyloo said the same thing. Well, you did! Birds also, great shots of the black-backed woodpecker and ptarmigan.

We'd probably go earlier in the season than you did, and hope to be half as lucky.

Also, I was unaware of the National Bison Range, but will make sure we go there.

Thanks again.
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Old May 23rd, 2017, 06:08 AM
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Nice pictures Patty. Thanks for coming back with the link.
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Old May 23rd, 2017, 09:28 AM
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Thanks, Nelson and emalloy!

It will be a bit of a trek to the bison range. It took us 1.5 hours each way from Kalispell so at least 2 hours from the park. We drove via the east side of Flathead Lake and it was a pretty drive even though it rained the entire way down and back up. At least it let up while we were at the bison range which I was very happy about. We have a tendency to travel in what I call extreme shoulder season and are planning to return to Yellowstone about the same time this fall.
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Old May 23rd, 2017, 06:54 PM
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Awesome photos.
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