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Glacier national Park itinerary ideas.

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Glacier national Park itinerary ideas.

Hello,

I am looking for help with an itinerary for a Glacier National Park. We have never been. It’s a little bit of a late minute trip - I know I might have a problem finding reservations( hoping to get in on any cancellations) but any ideas would be very helpful. I will be traveling with my husband and our three children ages 18, 14, and 3. We will be leaving from Yellowstone National Park on Wednesday, June 27 and driving up to glacier. We have about four days to explore the park until we fly home from Spokane on Monday. My first question would be should we drive to the east end of glacier or the west end from Yellowstone? And should we add Waterton to the itinerary? Also can you cross into Canada with only an enhanced drivers license or do you need a passport.? A coworker of mine has suggested that the views from Waterton area are magnificent. Also as far as hikes go, what would be the best family hikes with the 3 year old?

Thanks!

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1. Re: Glacier national Park itinerary ideas.

Since you're heading to Spokane after your stay in Glacier, I would probably start on the east side and end in the west, to avoid backtracking. However, your order might be determined by what lodging you can find.

You do need passports to cross into Canada. Visiting Waterton is a personal choice - yes, there are magnificent views, but there are also magnificent views in GNP to enjoy. This year, a lot of Wateron will be inaccessible while they deal with the aftermath of the fires there last year. You can still visit the townsite, see the view down the lake, and take a boat tour, but scenic drives and some hikes are closed. With only 4 days, you'll find enough to do in GNP to keep you busy.

Here are some resources for researching hikes in GNP - a few will let you sort by length or difficulty, which might be helpful:

https:/…hikingthetrails.htm

enjoyyourparks.com/GlacierNationalPark.html

http://www.hikinginglacier.com/

https://www.hike734.com/hiking/

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Spokane
Spokane
Washington
Canada
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Kalispell, Montana
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2. Re: Glacier national Park itinerary ideas.

Start on the east and drive west to save time and back tracking. Where in Yellowstone are you leaving from? Its 380 miles and about 8.5 realistic driving hours between West Yellowstone and St Mary/Rising Sun where you should really work at getting lodging for 3 nights...add time for a sit down lunch and restroom stops. Its centrally located for the east side.

.....

This year I would not waste your very short time in Glacier to visit Waterton Lakes. You do need a passport or the new Pass-card also issued by the Passport Bureau. But enhanced DL does not work. The best views right now in WL are from the Prince of Wales hotel and if you take a boat tour there. http://www.watertoncruise.com/cruise.php

https:/…ouvert-open

https:/…

.....

East Glacier Park in spite of its name, is not a good choice to use as home base....its too far south and a repetitive drive back and forth over a super scenic but very slow and curvy road...if its all you can get at this late date...then ok but expect longer drives. 1 night for the days drive up, 1 night for Many Glacier valley, 1 night for Two Medicine Valley.

Many Glacier highlights: The two lake boat tour/ranger led hike, perhaps to Grinnell Lake. The Glacier trail will most likely not be open all the way at end June. glacierparkboats.com/tour/many-glacier/

Visit Fishercap Lake to see the moose. Its a short walk from a trailhead from the far end of the Swiftcurrent parking lot. You can walk the nature trail around Swiftcurrent Lake. The 10 mile round trip Iceberg lake trail will probably also still be snow impacted at end June.

Two Medicine highlights: Spectacular drive down and back on the 89/49...scenery once you get there is gorgeous. Boat tour/ranger led hike. glacierparkboats.com/tour/two-medicine/

Trick/Running Eagle Falls trail...super easy and the falls will truly be "trick" or two level at end June.

.........

Move to the west side for a night. Use the entire day for the Going to the Sun Road if its open (we are keeping fingers crossed it will be), all its stops and a hike to St Mary/Virginia Falls on the east side and Trail of the Cedars/Avalanche Lake on the west side. If its open, Logan Pass hikes will not be fully accessible at end June. We have had some warm days, now its much cooler again with rain in the valleys and snow again at Logan Summit over some nights.

But I know its going to be very difficult to find lodging...plus park hotels are $$ for what you get. Spend the entire day in Glacier but then move out west about 30 miles and stay in Whitefish (a really fun small resort town with a lot of merits on its own) or Kalispell's north end near the Big Box Stores when the nicest new hotels are located. Either one puts you closer to Spokane for the days drive over there.

Use the scenic #2 all the way across to Sandpoint, Id, a nice little lake resort town...stop for lunch or coffee there and a walk about to stretch your legs. Then continue on the #2 and stay in Coeur d'Alene. Idaho or near the airport for you flight the next day from Spokane. C'A is a very neat little lake resort town....vibrant, scenic with lots of hotels and cafes. Its 40 miles and about an hour to the airport. You can spend more time easily in CdA if your flight leaves later in the day.

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3. Re: Glacier national Park itinerary ideas.

To help you find Lodging...work from this list, grab anything in EGP village as a plan B... but keep trying for cancellations at St Mary/Rising Sun if at all possible. LODGING CHOICES FOR THECORE OF THE EAST SIDE of GNP where most of the hiking/best scenery is located.

At RISING SUN, an IN-PARK motorlodge and rustic cabins just inside the East Gate.

In ST.MARY just BARELY OUTSIDE the East Gate: St. Mary Lodge complex, its Great Bear annex (the only one with TV, AC and fairly good WiFi), new cabins, two basic 50's style motels and now some very very small "tiny houses". Also Glacier Trailhead Cabins, The Cottages at Glacier, Johnson’s and the new cabins at the KOA. The Red Eagle motel says it renovated 12 rooms for 2018. SM may not be inside the park boundary...but it may as well be, it abuts it.

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

In MANY GLACIER VALLEY inside the park: Many Glacier Lodge and the Swiftcurrent motel and rustic cabins. If stunning room views matter to you, at the lodge, choose a Lakeside Balcony room.

MG can be a bit remote from other east-side attractions and can get more boring because its also not huge...early in the season, hiking choices are fewer. The 14 miles from Babb to MG is also very rough and rutted...something that some visitors would not want to drive 2x/day to visit other areas from there.

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

In BABB, 15 miles east of Many Glacier Valley: Thronson's, a basic but clean, recently upgraded older motel. 4 miles north of Babb Is Paul Ranch Montana with its alpacas. Also in the Babb area, the Park Cabins * The road from Babb to MG is rough and rutted...you may not want to drive that 2x/day if you are hiking and enjoying other things on multiple days in MG.

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

IN A PINCH LODGING IN EAST GLACIER PARK VILLAGE:

Lodging in EAST GLACIER PARK VILLAGE. Its OUTSIDE the park on the south end of the east side...Ideal for visiting Two Medicine Valley but NOT as a home base for exploring the east side highlights which are much further north.

EGP is 13 miles from Two Medicine Valley, 40 miles from St Mary and 65 miles from Many Glacier. The 89/49 route between them all is stunningly gorgeous but also narrow, curvy and has free ranging cattle on it in spots. Those are drives you don't want to have to drive 2x/day if you can help it ...and not after dark.

Glacier Park Lodge with its famous tree lined atrium lobby. Mountain Pine Motel, Sears Motel, Jacobson's Cabins, Whistling Swan, Travelers Rest Lodge and cabins, The Brown House and Lone Elk Lodge and condo. Glacier Park Circle R cabins and new motel addition. Also a unique hikers cabin/hostel facility, the Backpacker's Inn, behind Serrano's Restaurant and run by the same. *read recent reviews/look at visitor's photos...some are very small and more rustic than you may like.

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

IF you decide on an overnight in Waterton Lakes:

In WATERTON LAKES NP: Check recent reviews before booking.

Prince of Wales Hotel, the Historic Classic and Northland Lodge, a nice B&B type lodge.

Aspen Village Inn Rooms range from cottages with full kitchens to deluxe suites.

Crandell Mountain Lodge a quaint place. Rooms with fireplaces, country decor, and lots of character!

Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort, open in Winter too.

Waterton Glacier Suites...open all year with 4 star dining, spa and mountain views.

Bear Mountain Motel, basic in the village

Bayshore Inn Resort and Spa., lakeside rooms best.

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

WEST SIDE, INSIDE the park: In Apgar = *Village Inn in Apgar has the best views, all rooms face the lake right on the beach! There is also the Motel Lake McDonald, or the Apgar Village Lodge and cabins right in Apgar.

Also Lake McDonald lodge, its cabins & motel located 9 miles north of Apgar along the east side of the lake.

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

In and near WEST GLACIER village or JUST OUTSIDE the park: West Glacier Motel, Vista Motel, Glacier Guides Lodge, Glacier Highlands and the Historic Belton Chalet. The Great Northern Resort and rafting, SilverWolf deluxe log chalets, Great Bear Inn. Mountain Cleft Wilderness Retreat, a VRBO home. Glacier Outdoor Center cabins and rafting. Cabins at the KOA campground. San-Suz-Ed campground and 8 B&B rooms.

10 miles east of the west gate on the #2, Glacier Wilderness Resort. Its just as close as other bedroom villages but is more remote.

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

In and around CORUM and HUNGRY HORSE, 9 MILES AWAY from the west gate: Mini Golden Motel, the historic Tamarack Lodge, Lake Five Resort, Evergreen Motel, Crooked Tree, Glacier B&B and Log Cabins. Hungry Horse Motel. Glacier Park Inn B&B. Glacier's Mountain Resort cabins. Abbott Valley Homestead cabins.

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

Near COLUMBIA FALLS, 20 minutes or a bit more depending on the particular lodging to Glacier's West Gate: Brand new Cedar Creek Lodge. Reclusive Moose Cabins, Western Inn, its cabins and tepees.

North Fork Resort Cabins (between CF and Whitefish), Meadow Lake Resort and golf club, Meadow Lake View B&B, Glacier Travel Inn.

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

Lodging in and near WHITEFISH, a unique and fun resort town...30 - 35 miles away from western gate of Glacier NP

The Lodge on Whitefish Lake for a splurge...the only hotel on the lake. Grouse Mountain Lodge, New Hampton Inn & Suites, Best Western Rocky Mountain Lodge, Chalet Motel, Big Mountain Lodge in town, Cheap Sleep Motel, Pine Lodge, The new Firebrand Hotel, The Garden Wall Inn B&B, Bailey's Bed and Bale, Duck Inn B&B, The Hidden Moose Lodge, Whitefish Downtown Suites, and the Haymoon Ranch for seclusion and larger groups. Good Medicine Lodge B&B. Also the great Whitefish Bike retreat. Whitefish TLC B&B for adults. A brand new Marriott Town Place.

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

KALISPELL a basic service town, 32 -40 miles away from West Glacier

Near the big box stores, Costco and restaurants on the north end of town on the 93 (great tax free shopping): Holiday Inn and Suites. Homewood Suites and the new Marriott Springhill Suites.

Near the hospital: America's Best Inn. Near downtown: Red Lion, Hampton Inn, Kalispell Grand Hotel.

Just south of downtown: Hilton Garden Inn, Super 8.

On the way leaving town on the #2...Hampton Inn. There is a La Quinta on the east side of town, very oddly locates...its overlooking a huge ugly recycling pile of junk. Other motels...check recent reviews very carefully before booking.

Edited: 11 June 2018, 01:55
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