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Spirobulldog - My Glacier NP Suggestions for You

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I think if you skip the boat rides (except for one), which don't really add much to your trip, you can get a lot done in 4.5 days.

Your interests may be different from mine but scenery and wildlife are there.

This is a plan that might satisfy you.

I'm not sure if you live close to sea level so I would start with Iceberg Lake since it's easier (longer but only slightly steep near the start) than Grinnell Glacier.

On the second day take the 8:30 shuttle from the Many Glacier Hotel. This is a shuttle that goes on two lakes with a short hike between. From there do the Grinnell Glacier hike (you could go on the ranger-led hike).

On each day I would add the following to the above. Day 1 hike along the Swiftcurrent Pass trail as far as you feel like going. You can stop at Redrock Falls and then on the way back (quite close to the trailhead) veer to Fishercap Lake. There always seems to be moose and or deer there.

Keep your eyes open in the area as there could be bears around.

On Day 2 after the main hike drive over to the Apikuni Falls trailhead for a relatively short but fairly steep (that's why I put this in day 2) hike. After this you could go for a quick walk to Fishercap Lake for more wildlife.

For Day 3 I would get up pretty early and drive over to Logan Pass. You want to get there by 9:00 - 9:30 to make sure you get parking.

You can do Hidden Lake and as much of Highline as you want. While nobody would consider Hidden Lake difficult, I found the many wooden stairs a bit of a surprise. We do get older.

We stopped after a mile or so of Highline and went over to St May and Virginia Falls. We could have gone further on Highline.

I'm not sure what else you have planned but on Day 4 you could either spend some time on GTTS Road and/or go to Two Medicine for part of the day before going to Waterton Lakes. Or skip Two Medicine. You could go to Waterton Lakes earlier and hikes Bear's Hump. I would be interested in your opinion.

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    We really want to do most if not all the boat cruise/tours.
    For sure want to do Swift Current, Two Medicine, and St. Mary Lake. Will probably skip Lake McDonald boat though.
    A couple of them you connect with other boats, take short hikes, etc. They look very good to me.

    Stopping at all of the Lodges is a priority for me too. We have Tea @ Prince of Wales, Stay at Many Glacier. Glacier Park Lodge, Lake McDonald, Izaak Walton Inn, Belton Chalet-I plan on having a meal in each of these. Perhaps a bit unusual, I know.

    I don't want to do Highline unless I do the entire thing and would really even prefer to spend the night at Granite and hike on to Many Glacier over the pass. I'll just go back and do it again sometime later most likely. I would also like to hike to Sperry Chalet too.

    I do live at low altitude. Altitude has ever bothered me yet(knock on wood). Glacier isn't that high anyway. I don't consider 6000-8000 feet much at all. I do get a little short of breath at 11,000 or so though. I usually do try to do the easier stuff the first day, if possible. I have seriously contemplated hiking Longs Peak in The Rocky's and Mount Whitney. Since both of these are above 14,000, I have been a little hesitant as I think I would need to really acclimate at these altitudes.

    On this trip, just my wife and I are going. I can talk her in to one long hike, but that would be it. So, I am leaning towards Iceberg Lake, most likely anyway.

    I do have Apkuni in as a possibility, if we have time for that.

    I plan on doing one of the Red Bus tours from Glacier Park Lodge to Two Medicine area. This tour also includes the boat tour to Two Medicine. We liked the short Yellow Bus Tour we took in Yellowstone to Lake Butte. I wouldn't want to do an all day tour on one of these, just 3 or 4 hours.

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    I would be interested in your opinion of Apikuni Falls. I've seen it rated easy (probably because it's short) and also strenuous (probably because there's a lot of elevation change in a short distance.

    Some of the things you're doing don't appear to fit your profile.

    A Red Bus tour was being loaded at Rising Sun when we were there. I also saw that tour a few times along the way.

    These people were the kind who go to the park, take a tour along GTTS Road and go home to tell people what they saw.

    They got on the bus directly from their tour bus. I saw them twice at different viewpoints. About half the people didn't even get off the bus to walk around the viewpoint area and read the descriptions. What they could see from the bus was all that they wanted. Ok if that's what you want.

    -- - -
    Grinnell Glacier hike has parts that are quite steep. For me it's the stairs (in this case earth and rock and on the Hidden Lake hike man-made wooden stairs) that are tougher.

    As they're quite steep you may feel the elevation even though it's not too high.

    - - - -
    The Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine boat ride has a short hike in between the lakes. The intention of this ride is to either start either the Grinnell Glacier or Grinnell Lake hike.

    I think the boat ride was about 15 minutes on each lake.

    - - - -
    If you do the Hidden Lake hike it means you have a parking space at Logan Pass. Prime parking. The famouse cable on the Highline trail is about 1/4 mile from the start. We also saw a male, female and baby mountain goats at the start and they went over to the start of the cable to pose (that's what it looked like). Great scenery there.

    So, if you do the Hidden Lake hike and don't want to do Highline, just spend a half hour doing the start. The hidden lake trailhead is at the parking lot and the Highline trailhead is right there but across the road.

    - - - -
    I don't know where wildlife fits in to your priorities.
    We saw moose and deer at Fishercap Lake, a grizzly between Fishercap Lake and Redrock Falls (scary as we were alone and it was getting dim), a grizzly on the shore of Lake Josephine, a grizzly right beside us on the return from Iceberg Lake, a grizzly several itmes up the hill neat the junction of Many Glacier Road and the turnoff to Many Glacier Hotel (this cwas a bit too far up the hill). We also saw a big horn near the start of the Hidden Lake hike but too far away.

    Scenery-wise, this is probably the most spectacular of the parks I've been too. Maybe because the mountains are closer to us and go straight up.

    - - - - -
    As far as elevation, the highest I've hiked was Mt Washburn in Yellowstone. Starts at 8,800 and goes to about 10,400. That was more than enough for me. No oxygen. I spent the whole hike sucking for oxygen.

    - - - - -
    I thought the setting of the Prince of Wales hotel with the mountains behind to be spectacular. Aside from that I really like a national park to be about scenery, wildlife and waterfalls.

    - - - - -
    About waterfalls. I liked Lower Calf Creek Falls (shape, view and distance), Yellowstone Lower Falls. I wasn't too excited about most of the falls in Yosemite because of the distance and stringy shape.

    I like Virginia Falls at Glacier. St Mary Falls was ok but the crowd was too large and there's a bridge there.

    You'll have a great time there.

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    You must go back to Yosemite about the first of June or end of May. The waterfalls are going full blast then. Plus, there is fewer people there. It starts really getting busier towards the end of June. I don't see how you can't be blown away by Bridal Veil, Yosemite Falls, Nevada, and Vernal. I don't think Upper/Lower at Yellowstone even come close. Perhaps the only thing that I have seen equal is Niagra. I do think Columbia River Gorge has amazing waterfalls. Narada Falls at Mount Rainier is a good one. Burney Falls in California is a very good one too. McWay Falls has the prettiest setting of any waterfall ever.

    My style generally matters who I am with. I did a little more adventurous stuff with my daughter when she was younger. My wife likes to do two or three 2-3 mile hikes a day, but she is game for one longer one normally. My nephew has been with me a few times and I will ramp it up a bit more if I'm with him.

    Even though boat rides or horse riding is kind of a lazy way to go, we usually find those to be pretty scenic too.

    We are just doing a short Red Bus Tour. We did the Sunset Lake Butte Tour in Yellowstone and it was only a few hours too.

    I like to see Wildlife, but I always figure it's a crap shoot. Of course, there are places that are the hot spots, but it's really luck as much as anything, IMOP.

    Here are the things I am for sure doing
    Tea @ Prince of Wales
    St. Mary Boat Tour with a short hike to Baring Falls
    Drive Going to the Sun Road
    Hidden Lake Trail
    Iceberg Lake Trail
    Red Jammer Bus Tour from Glacier Park Lodge to Two Medicine
    includes Boat tour there too
    Swift Current Lake Tour--this is on 2 boats

    Most of the boat tours are only an hour or so long.
    We generally eat a light breakfast, a picnic lunch, and then fairly heavy/nice at dinner.

    I guess everyone see scenery differently. Alaska is the most scenic place I've been. I would put Yosemite not far behind though. I really like the alpine lakes in Rocky Mountain National parks. Mount Rainier was amazingly scenic. Crater Lake is shockingly beautiful. I think Glacier will be very nice as well.

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    For Yosemite the waterfalls were really roaring when I was there. It was late June but a very snowy winter. I found that it was difficult to get close to the falls. From far they were quite stringy.

    Vernal Falls was nice.

    For wildlife Fishercap Lake that's about a 15 minute walk from the end of the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn parking lot is the closest thing to a sure thing. Especially early or late. We stopped there three or four times in two days and saw moose and deer there every time. Also saw a grizzly near there on the way to Redrock Falls.

    The Swiftcurrent Lake tour is on two lakes with a few hundred yards between. If you take the 8:30 AM boat that's the start of the ranger-led Grinnell Glacier hike.

    I was there with my daughter in August. We skipped breakfast (had some stuff in the room), snacked on the trail for lunch and then ate dinner in the restaurant.

    Sometimes (such as Lower Calf Creek Falls) you have to do a whole hike to get the prize at the end. However, Grinnell Glacier, Iceberg Lake, Highline, etc were scenic from the start.

    As I wrote above, if you're going on the Hidden Lake hike, spend an extra 30-45 minutes and do a bit of Highline.

    You can see my photos from the August trip to Glacier at:

    I didn't get to Two Medicine or anywhere more than half a mile west of Logan Pass. Next summer.

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    My wife and I are going the last week of July. You were going in August?
    I've never done Banff/Jasper. My parents did several years ago and enjoyed it. I've been reading some about it lately. I really want to go back to Mount Rainier and San Juan Islands too. My daughter really wants to go back to Yellowstone and then over to Mount Rushmore/Black Hills next year. I don't know how many more trips she will go with us, so I'll probably do that. I'm tinkering with ideas for 2014, so I can get my lodging booked here in a couple of months. Probably just go one or two spots for 5 or 6 days each.

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    I'm going in early Aug and spending a good amount of time there.

    I was in Banff (only Banff) a few years ago with my wife. Then we flew to Victoria and Vancouver.

    I can redo some of Banff quite efficiently as I've been. We'll be in Banff / Jasper for only 2 days. My guess is we'll be in Jasper by mid-afternoon of the first day.

    Interested in going up Mt Norqueay very early for bears and a few other things. Moraine Lake, Johnston Falls and maybe Peyto Lake. Then onto Jasper for the rest of the day and the next.

    We sleep in Calgary and fly home the next morning.

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