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Driving to Logan Pass from Whitefish

Louisiana
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Driving to Logan Pass from Whitefish

We are driving in early from Whitefish - -thinking we need to leave 5:30ish to get to Logan Pass before the parking spots are gone. I keep reading that and we are going mid August. Does this mean we should not stop on our way in and seriously try to hit it to Logan Pass first thing? If so, then I assume it would be best to hike the 2 trails there and then go back west to hit up the areas we missed using the free shuttle.... once we shuttle back to Logan Pass we will see the time and go from there about the east section.....does this make good sense? Or, not?? We will be spending 2 nights in St Mary and the last night in Two Medicine.

Thanks for your opinion!

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Whitefish
Whitefish
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Logan Pass
Logan Pass
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Glacier National Park, MT
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1. Re: Driving to Logan Pass from Whitefish

You will have a shorter drive to Logan Pass from St. Mary, so maybe you should consider going one of those days? What other hikes are you planning along the GTTSR? You could stop for the Trail of the Cedars/Avalanche Lake hike in the morning. Maybe shuttle from there to Logan Pass and back? Though the shuttles on the east side tend to be less crowded, so if you do want to use the shuttle, you might consider driving over to St. Mary (visitor center) and taking it from there.

If you want a guaranteed spot at Logan Pass first thing in the morning, you need to get there early! By 8am some days. However, if you go later in the day - say after 3pm - you'll have a better chance of finding a parking spot. If you aren't planning an all-day hike, then arriving in the afternoon can work, too.

The worst time to arrive is right after the parking lot fills, because everyone is off on a hike, and they won't leave for a few hours. If you don't make it at 8am, I'd stay away until 10 or so, then join the people cruising around looking for an opening (if you have the patience for that).

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Logan Pass
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Trail of the Cedars
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2. Re: Driving to Logan Pass from Whitefish

There is parking at Trail of the Cedars? We can leave our car there to hike and take a shuttle to Logan Pass? I figured we could park for long periods of time only at Logan Pass and had to use a shuttle elsewhere......

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Trail of the Cedars
Trail of the Cedars
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Glacier National Park, MT
Logan Pass
Logan Pass
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3. Re: Driving to Logan Pass from Whitefish

You can park anywhere you can legally find a spot (designated areas, not on vegetation), for pretty much as long as you like (just try to be considerate of other park visitors). There is definitely parking at Trail of the Cedars - not a large lot like at Logan Pass, but a small lot, and then pullouts on either side of the road past the parking area.

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Trail of the Cedars
Trail of the Cedars
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Logan Pass
Logan Pass
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4. Re: Driving to Logan Pass from Whitefish

I actually agree with saving Logan Summit hiking for the second day when you are staying in St Mary. You can make the day you cross over to St Mary on the GTTSR a much more leisurely drive rather than worrying about the logistics of getting back to the west side. Keep in mind only that sunset in mid-August is at about 8:50 PM. You still have a lot of daylight hours to work with.

I recommend breakfast in Whitefish at Loula's or the Buffalo Cafe first...then drive over about 30 miles and enter the park. That will take about 45 minutes normally but less very early in the morning. At Apgar spend time there shopping the Montana House and enjoying the views across the lake from there. After that as an OPTION, make a drive up to Polebridge on the OUTER Northfork road to visit the Famous off-the-grid Mercantile Bakery. You take the Camas Exit road heading west out of Apgar. http://polebridgemerc.com https://www.facebook.com/polebridgemerc

...

OR after Apgar begin your drive over the GTTSR. Park at Avalanche and hike the Trail of the Cedars/Avalanche Lake. ToC is 1 mile...add in the lake and the hike is 6 miles. IF you cannot find parking there it is NOT a tragedy. You will be taking better and more beautiful hikes at Logan Summit, Many Glacier and Two Medicine later. If you do find parking, take the Trail of the Cedars because it is so different and continue on saving time for the east side of the GTTSR.

After Avalanche you begin to climb the Alpine Section of the road...stop at turnouts, enjoy the views and take pictures. There is a nice wide area to stop and park at Big Bend/Haystack about half way up. Sometimes we have a tailgate type picnic there sitting on a barrier block overlooking the valley view and the Bird Woman Falls in the distance. People move in and out of those parking spots all the time because there is not any hiking there...just scenery.

Drive on by Logan Summit and continue over the east side...Do stop at Siyeh Bend to walk up the creek path a ways for scenery, then Sunrift Gorge and finally take the St Mary/Virginia Falls hike and a short stop off at Sun Point for nice views of St Mary Lake and an easy shoreline walk before heading on to St Mary. At the turnout just past the Jackson Glacier Overlook, there is a nice restroom...good to keep in mind.

..................

The next day, drive up to Wild Goose Island overlook and enjoy sunrise...its the best sunrise in the park and the inspiration for Paramount Pictures logo. Sunrise mid-August is around 6:30 but its good to get there a tad before. https://www.timeanddate.com/sun/@5654292?month=8

Its only 6.5 miles from St Mary to Wild Goose Island...and without hardly any traffic at all that early. Then head up to Logan again for your two hikes there. That is another 10 miles up the road. Alternately without Sunrise...you can take the shuttle from St Mary Lodge up and back since you will already have visited the east side highlights the day before.

St. Mary Visitor Center Shuttle Stop: Westbound

First service to Logan Pass and all east side destinations @ 7:00 am

Last service to Logan Pass with time to return @ 6:00 pm

............

The following night, you will end up in East Glacier Park for Two Medicine.

However, I assume you will drive up to Many Glacier early in the morning to visit and hike there. Its about a 40 minute drive up and back. Two Lake Boat Tour/ranger led hike to Grinnell Glacier is the highlight...or the easier walk to Grinnell Lake. Then after that...say by at least 2PM begin your drive down to Two Medicine via the 89/49...an exceptionally pretty drive...but a slow one with free-ranging cattle to look out for. https:/…hikingmanyglacier.htm

glacierparkboats.com/tour/many-glacier/

There is a turn off along that route going west into the Two Medicine Valley for more hiking or a boat tour. Its then 14 miles from Lower TM Lake back to East Glacier Park village where I assume your motel/cabin is located.

glacierparkboats.com/tour/two-medicine/ https:/…hikingtwomedicine.htm

In EGP try to go into the Lodge there to see its very famous huge-tree lined atrium lobby. If you like Mexican food...Serrano's is really popular...it opens at 5...arrive early to get into the first wave of seating.

Before you go, take a look at the following website: It has ad-free, narrated videos of every hike in the park and a great Going to The Sun Road Driving Guide Map with descriptions of every stop on both sides of the road all the way from Apgar to St Mary.

https:/…

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Louisiana
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5. Re: Driving to Logan Pass from Whitefish

Thank you again for the great ideas for our itinerary. And, I’ve already received the 2 maps I ordered from Hike734 😁. I just about have them memorized!

Louisiana
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199 posts
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6. Re: Driving to Logan Pass from Whitefish

Thank you for all of your help and suggestions -- I think I am getting it figured out now. :)

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