Glacier National Park - Celebrating Americas National Parks
My Trip To Glacier National Park
In 2007 I had the amazing opportunity to spend three months traveling
around the United States - it was my own Great American Road Trip!
My brother and I loaded up the car with camping gear and headed west. I decided that we should try to visit every National Park we came across along our route across the northern states, and one of my favorites was Montana's Glacier National Park. We arrived at the end of June, and the park's main traffic artery, Going-to-the-sun Road, had just opened for the season. We camped at a remote campsite near a beautiful lake and spent about a week exploring the park.
Map of Glacier National Park
Glacier Nation Park Facts:
- Part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, which encompasses land in both The United States and Canada - you actually need a passport to see the whole park!
- Often called "The Crown Of The Continent".
- The only area in the lower 48 states that still contains all of its natural predators, among them endangered bears, gray wolves and mountain lions.
- The park contains 13 campgrounds as sell as designated back-country campsites
- Open all year-round, but park facilities are closed from October through May, so be prepared!
- Logan Pass is the highest point along Going-to-the-sub Road, at 6,646 feet (2,026 meters).
- There are 2 lodges and 5 hotel/motels inside the park, plus two back-country hike-in chalets.
- Designated a World Heritage Site in 1995
- Became America's 10th National Park in 1910
Some of the sights in Glacier National ParkClick thumbnail to view full-size
Glacier National Park Highlights Video
When I visited Glacier National Park in 2007, the park's shuttle service had just opened for business. The shuttle provides free transportation along Going-to-the-sun Road from the eastern side of the park to the western side. The shuttles run regularly and stop at various destinations along the way. And since there are no gas stations inside the park, using these environmentally-friendly shuttles is an ideal way to travel inside the park.
Going-to-the-sun Road was built in the 1940s and hugs the mountainside, with dramatic drop-offs and narrow lanes. Driving it is not for those afraid of heights, and the shuttle provides a fantastic means of traveling within the park. And even if the heights don't bother you, the hour-long wait for a parking spot in the small lot at Logan Pass certainly will!
Red Bus Tours
Take a Red Bus Tour!
If you want a more interactive alternative to the free shuttle, for a fee you can join a Red Bus Tour in a vintage open-top red bus from all of the lodges on both sides of the international border. The bus tours travel along Going-To-The-Sun Road and feature entertaining and informed drivers/tour guides.
A Narrarted Tour of Going-to-the-Sun Road
Camping at Glacier National Park
There are 13 campgrounds inside the park, and 8 have flush toilet facilities.
Since I'm not a fan of crowds and enjoy a campsite with
plenty of space between me and the next camper, I decided to camp at the
"primitive" Bowman Lake campground. It's a good 45 minute drive from
park entrance, most of along unpaved or partially paved roads. It has
no flush toilets or showers, but there are clean pit toilets at the
campground. Reservations are not accepted, so it's a first-com,
If that doesn't suit you there are plenty of other campgrounds in the park, with about a total of 1,000 campsites. The non-primitive sites are more expensive and accept reservations, so at least you'll be able to plan your trip in advance (advance planning when I travel is something else I don't like!)
Some more images from Glacier National ParkClick thumbnail to view full-size
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Maps in the public domain, courtesy of the National Parks Service.
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