12 Aug
2014
Posted in: travel
By    1 Comment

Take a Trip: Glacier National Park

Fog over Logan Pass in the morning - Glacier National Park

I felt my cares wash away looking over Logan Pass inside Glacier National Park, located in northwest Montana. The rugged peaks, dotted with what remains of the diminishing glaciers, give way to lush green meadows, vibrant blue lakes and rock-bottom rivers. My everyday worries and to-do items were pushed to the farthest reaches of my thoughts thanks to the natural beauty that surrounded me.

Canyon Creek meandering through Many Glacier - Glacier National Park

National parks are a favorite vacation destination for my family. We’ve viewed some impressive vistas, but the landscapes of Glacier National Park rate as the best to date. For bucket list makers, this park is not to be missed and should be visited sooner rather than later. Researchers believe the 25 remaining glaciers in Glacier National Park may be gone as soon as 2030 due to global warming.

Clear, blue water of St. Mary Lake - Glacier National Park

The water in the park is breathtakingly blue and clear. Each lake and stream seemingly begs to have bare feet placed in its chilly depths. Several places we couldn’t resist and stripped out of shoes and socks to rest our hiking-weary feet in glacier-fed water.

Blue water flowing through the narrows at Avalanche Creek - Glacier National Park

Hiking is an activity we enjoy on vacation. Glacier National Park has hundreds of miles of trails for all levels of abilities. We hiked 17 total miles over two days to view several lakes and waterfalls. Visitors should be prepared for crowds at popular trails. Trails tend to have some uphill gain. The views along and at the end of each trail were definitely worth the effort.

Three large waterfalls feeding Avalanche Lake - Glacier National Park

The Avalanche Lake Trail is 3-miles round-trip and ascends 500-feet to my personal favorite spot. Three waterfalls roar in the distant peaks running toward the picturesque lake. The lake is peaceful even with the “crowd” of fellow tourists (about 30 individuals were there with us). Hidden Lake Trail at Logan Pass is a 1.5 mile (one-way), uphill trail leading to an overlook of Hidden Lake. The trail does continue another 1.5 miles to the lake, but that section was closed during our visit due to frequent grizzly bear sightings. We watched numerous hoary marmots, Columbian ground squirrels and mountain goats on the trail and at the overlook. Both these trails should be done in the morning to ensure parking is available.

Hidden Lake Overlook at Logan Pass - Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is known for wildlife, and we were not disappointed. We saw mountain goats on several occasions, a few extremely up-close. The park is home to 250-300 grizzly bears and twice that many black bears. We encountered nine bears — four grizzly bears and five black bears, at five different locations in the park. A park ranger gave us the impression we saw more bears than most visitors will encounter. One of the grizzly bears crossed our path about 50 feet in front of us while hiking, which I hope to never replicate. Bear spray is a must-have accessory while hiking in the park as well as being careful with food storage.

Red jammer bus on Going-to-the-Sun Road - Glacier National Park

I’m not sure this was a highlight for me with my aversion to heights, but the Going-to-the-Sun Road is truly a marvel of engineering. The 50-mile roadway is a National Historic Landmark and National Civil Engineering Landmark which crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. The road was completed in the 1930s. The road is carved into the rocky mountainside and rock outcroppings hang over the highway surface at some areas. I still can’t fathom how the builders looked up at those mountains and thought a road was completely feasible.

Blue cascading water of St. Mary Falls - Glacier National Park

We hope to head back in the future and complete some longer hikes at my new favorite national park. We’re not quite to the point where all-four kiddos can do 14 miles in one day, but we’re getting closer.

Meadow of wildflowers at Logan Pass - Glacier National Park

 

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1 Comment

  • We went through Glacier about 14 years ago. It was beautiful. I fell in love with Whitefish. If it was closer, I think we’ve vacation there often.

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