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Trip Report: Whitefish and Glacier National Park

Trip Report: Whitefish and Glacier National Park

Old Jul 29th, 2011, 12:43 PM
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Trip Report: Whitefish and Glacier National Park

I spent 8 days solo in mid July. The first four nights were at the Grouse Mountain Lodge in Whitefish. Overall, I would stay there again. There were undergoing a management change and there were a few fairly minor challenges but only one major one worth mentioning: a very poorly informed concierge. She gave me 1 piece of wrong information (that you need to reserve a spot in advance for the Ranger-lead hikes in Glacier - not at all true) and 1 piece of bad information (that you don't have to call too many days in advance for the red bus tour in Glacier - not true - they book very quickly). Something did not seem right so I checked on both of these items on my own.

The rooms were large, clean and comfortable. I ate twice at Tupelo and loved it! I ate once at the lodge and thought is was decent, but not nearly as delicious as Tupelo.

I then spent a few nights in West Glacier at the Glacier Guides Lodge - loved it and would highly recommend it. New, small (but large rooms!) with a very personal touch since the manager lives there. He always had suggestions and looked out for the guests. Great food down the hill at the Belton Chalet. In fact I ate there at the bar all three nights!

I took a chance and was able to get a last minute reservation for my final night at Lake MacDonald Lodge. Loved it there too. Yes the rooms are tiny and very dates, but I spent all my time sitting outside.

For siteseeing:

Drove down to the National Bison Range which I highly recommend. It did take 2 hours to get there, but it was worth it for the scenery and of course the wildlife viewing. Many cars just zipped through and missed alot. You really need to pull over and just sit and watch (bring binoculars). You'll see a lot more that way.

I have mixed feelings about the Red Bus tour in Glacier. I did the full 8 hour one and appreciated getting to see many areas I would not otherwise have made it to (eg Many Glacier). However, because some in the bus were cold (and not prepared for being cold) we had the roof closed for half the day. So if you go, please be prepared so as not to spoil the views for others. Of the many many other red buses we saw that day, we were the only one with the closed roof. The other thing about the bus is that their website promotes how they use clean energy - propane. Well the truth (as our driver told us) is that they also have a regular gas tank and the driver can choose which one. On that day he was using regular gas.

I enjoyed 3 of the shorter ranger lead hikes and loved them. Two of the hikes were population and there were 20 to 30 people (St. Mary Falls and Avalanche), while the other had just 3 people (Oxbow Stroll). I recommend them - it's great to be out there with people who really know the park.
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Old Jul 29th, 2011, 12:46 PM
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Should have proof-read! The Lake MacDonald Lodge room was "dated" not "dates". The hikes were "popular" not "population".
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Old Jul 29th, 2011, 01:57 PM
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Thanks for the report! I know someone going soon; i'll pass along the Red Bus advice!
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Old Sep 30th, 2011, 06:20 AM
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hlsam,

Thanks for the report. I might be going solo as well.

I'm interested in a detailed breakdown of your 8 days. Doe that include travel days that are basically lost? Were they lost?

Thanks.
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Old Sep 30th, 2011, 08:06 AM
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Thank you, that's good information.
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Old Sep 30th, 2011, 03:57 PM
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Myer - Technically I had 7 full days if I don't count the travel days. I spent my first day in Whitefish biking around with someone I knew who was also out there visiting family. Spent day 2 by heading down to Bison National Range. Attempted to visit Symmes Hot Springs only to pull up and see a trailer sitting on the front lawn and a place in great disrepair so I turned around and left. The remainder of my stay was spending half days in the park doing ranger lead hikes and one scenic float.
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Old Oct 1st, 2011, 10:13 AM
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hlsam,
Thanks. I had my fill of bison at Yellowstone and I won't be biking.

So, a few days less will do.

No I have to somehow build a dual purpose trip.

My adult daughter may or may not come with me. If she comes it will be a shorter trip. We'll only konw in several months. However, I don't want to wait until then for lodging.

I'll have to figure this out.
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