9 Adventurous Issues to do Close to Glacier Nationwide Park, Montana

Glacier Nationwide Park is without doubt one of the hottest parks within the Nationwide Park Service, but these guests who aren’t fortunate sufficient to attain both a resort reservation contained in the park and/or automobile reservations to drive Going-to-the-Solar Street may discover themselves annoyed with restricted entry to the park. However don’t despair, even when your time inside the park is restricted, there are many enjoyable and adventurous issues to do close to Glacier Nationwide Park. In any case, magnificence and nature don’t cease on the park borders!

After I visited Montana final fall, I solely spent someday exploring the park, however then loved per week doing different actions close to Glacier Nationwide Park. Visiting GNP could be an train in persistence coping with full parking heaps, bumper-to-bumper visitors, ready in strains, and crowded mountaineering trails — by no means what individuals are on the lookout for in an “outdoorsy” trip. (See my suggestions for visiting Glacier Nationwide Park in September!)

Don’t fret! Go to Glacier, tick the field, stamp the passport, purchase the t-shirt, see the highlights and scenic drives…then transfer on to all of the issues to do outdoors of Glacier Nationwide Park.

The place to Keep Close to Glacier nationwide Park

Be aware: My journey to northwest Montana was sponsored by Glacier Nation Tourism, however all opinions are my very own. I additionally visited Glacier Nationwide Park as a visitor of Pursuit Glacier Park Assortment to evaluation these resorts. This submit incorporates affiliate hyperlinks. In case you click on a hyperlink and make a purchase order, I’ll obtain a small fee.

Logan Pass in Glacier National Park

Earlier than we get to all of the issues to do round Glacier Nationwide Park, let’s first determine the place to remain close to Glacier Nationwide Park, particularly since getting reservations inside the park requires some critical advance planning and many driving to get from one part of the park to the opposite.

If you’ll be visiting lots of the points of interest and actions close to Glacier Nationwide Park, you can be higher off staying west of the park, in West Glacier or the encompassing areas, as lots of the issues to do close to Glacier Nationwide Park are higher accessed from the areas west of the park.

Belton Chalet, West Glacier

Belton Chalet front

The Belton Chalet sits simply outdoors of the West Glacier park entrance, inside a brief stroll to West Glacier Village and the buying, eating places, and actions supplied there. It’s the first of the enduring lodges constructed by the Nice Northern Railroad as an effort to carry tourism to the world, opening its doorways in the summertime of 1910.

This Swiss-style chalet affords 25 rooms and suites within the lodge, together with two, three-bedroom cabins, that are excellent for households. With its location and measurement, rooms e book up quick so it’s best to attempt to make your reservation once they open up 13 months prematurely. The comfy rooms function queen beds and small loos, with a captivating decor becoming for this historic property.

On-site, you may as well benefit from the foyer hearth, downstairs recreation room with video games, together with shuffleboard and ping pong, and replenish on a scrumptious dinner on the Belton Chalet Faucet Room. It is a excellent alternative for exploring Glacier Nationwide Park and the Flathead Lake River and Nationwide Forest.

Whitefish & Kalispell

There are many different choices west of the park, together with glamping resorts like Below Canvas, however if you’re on the lookout for an extended keep after spending a few days within the park, I’d suggest sticking to one of many bigger cities, which additionally provide extra facilities and companies. Grouse Mountain Lodge is a well-liked alternative, providing spectacular mountain views, recreation choices, and trendy lodge lodging, all inside placing distance of the charming ski-town of Whitefish.

Staying in Kalispell to the southwest of Glacier will present extra finances choices as there are a variety of chain resorts simply outdoors of the downtown. Plus, whereas there are nice eating places and breweries on the town, the world by the freeway and resorts additionally has superstores, chain eating places, and quick meals/quick informal choices. After I visited, I stayed on the Homewood Suites by Hilton in Kalispell, which was fairly handy and good.

Seek for different choices:

Issues to do Close to Glacier Nationwide Park

After visiting Glacier Nationwide Park, some individuals like to move north throughout the border into neighboring Waterton Lakes Nationwide Park in Canada to remain on the Prince of Wales Lodge, or they head as much as the Canadian Rockies to see Banff and Jasper. Nonetheless, there are many issues to do close to Glacier Nationwide Park proper in Montana – no passport required!

Listed here are a couple of of the issues to do outdoors of Glacier Nationwide Park that offers you that outside trip and journey you might be looking for.

Llama trekking

Llama trekking in Montana with woman walking across bridge and llama in the water

Drive an hour south of West Glacier for probably the most distinctive outside experiences you’ll ever have — trekking with llamas. In any case, who needs to go for an everyday hike when you may go on a hike with llamas? Swan Mountain Outfitters will introduce you to your llama for the journey and knowledgeable information will take you into the Flathead Nationwide Forest to take pleasure in a picnic lunch by a waterfall.

You don’t want to fret a couple of factor on this family-friendly trek because the information packs the lunch and the llamas carry it for you. Or, you may go for a shorter, adults-only afternoon trek with wine. The llamas are so awkwardly cute that it’s inconceivable to not smile. Extremely suggest this exercise for anybody that wants a great psychological well being break.

Kayaking or paddleboarding

Two canoes on river with greenery
Picture courtesy of Glacier Nation Tourism

There are a lot of rivers and lakes to take pleasure in in Northwest Montana outdoors of the well-known ones in Glacier Nationwide Park (e.g. Lake McDonald, St. Mary Lake, Avalanche Lake or Hidden Lake.) You’ll be able to take pleasure in kayaking or paddle boarding on Whitefish Lake, fly fishing on Flathead River, and boating on the immense Flathead Lake.

One of many extra distinctive and enjoyable methods to get out on the water is to paddle the Clearwater River Canoe Path. Situated on the shore of Seeley Lake and surrounded by Lolo Nationwide Forest, Tamaracks Resort offers tools rental and a shuttle service to take pleasure in a lazy, three-hour scenic float down the Clearwater River Path. Alongside the best way, you may even see wildlife alongside the river together with turtles, fish, birds, and perhaps even a moose. 

Sundown Cruise on Flathead Lake

Couple sitting on the back of the boat on Flathead Lake
Picture courtesy of Glacier Nation Tourism

Flathead Lake is the most important freshwater lake in Montana, and in the entire Western U.S. by floor space, if you happen to exclude Alaska. It’s over 27 miles lengthy and 15 miles extensive on the widest level. It averages 164 toes in depth, however it could possibly stand up to 370 toes deep. Additionally it is one of many clearest lakes in the US. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes, together with the Montana Division of Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, who handle the lake work exhausting to make sure it stays clear and clear by inspecting all watercraft for invasive species.

With a large number of coves carved into an irregular shoreline and a number of islands within the lake, it’s best to discover Flathead Lake by boat. Flathead Lake Charters affords half or full-day fishing charters, the place you may fish for lake trout, pike, yellow perch, whitefish, rainbow trout, bass, kokanee salmon, and a few bull trout. In case you don’t wish to go fishing, Uncover Flathead Lake affords non-public scenic boat excursions of lots of the lovely coves alongside the lake, with a cease on Wildhorse Island for a hike.

Nonetheless, a night sundown cruise to observe the colourful glow on the Mission Mountains as you discover the shoreline and cliffside views of Rocky Level and the Flathead River is a visit spotlight when visiting Glacier Nation. Carry your personal drinks and snacks and sit again and absorb the pure magnificence.

When you are exploring Flathead Lake, you’ll want to spend a while within the darling little city of Huge Fork. This charming, artsy city feels prefer it may very well be in a Hallmark film, with cute boutiques, galleries, and cafes.

Hike Via the Cedars

Tamara looking up at trees in Ross Creek Cedars Scenic area

Couldn’t get a parking spot on the trailhead for the Path of the Cedars in Glacier Nationwide Park? That’s okay. You’ll be able to stroll by way of an enormous cedar grove at Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Space in Libby, Montana. It’s a lengthy drive to get there however one of many enjoyable issues to do outdoors of Glacier Nationwide Park is to take a scenic drive by way of lovely Montana anyway (plus you may go to some waterfalls alongside the best way).

Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Space is a grove of western pink cedars with an interpretive strolling path a couple of mile lengthy. A few of the timber are as much as 400 years previous and attain eight toes in diameter. The scenic space is off of Freeway 56, up a four-mile lengthy entry street that winds up and round to the parking zone.

The path takes about one hour to discover if you happen to cease and browse the intepretative indicators that explains the world’s ecology and historical past.

Chase Waterfalls

Kootenai Falls in montana

There are a lot of waterfalls in Glacier Nationwide Park, corresponding to Virginia Falls and Saint Mary Falls, however you may as well discover lovely waterfalls throughout Northwest Montana. Columbia Mountain Path, which isn’t removed from the park, has three waterfalls alongside the path.

Additionally, about two-and-a-half hours from the park, in your option to Ross Creek Cedar Path, you’ll discover Kootenai Falls, one of many largest free-flowing waterfalls within the Northwest. The falls space is a sacred web site to the Kootenai individuals and it was as soon as a spot the place tribal members communed with religious forces. Right this moment, you may observe strolling trails all the way down to the river’s edge and alongside the falls.

It is a pretty spot for a picnic or you may cease within the city of Libby for lunch at Cupboard Mountain Brewery first. There’s extra to do than simply benefit from the waterfalls although. A pleasant, pretty straightforward hike, with lovely views will carry you to the Kootenai Suspension Bridge. This bouncy however sturdy bridge affords a distinct perspective of the quickly flowing river and brings you to different lovely overlooks alongside the other financial institution.

Zipline and Journey Course

Woman on zip line image courtesy of GCT
Picture courtesy of Glacier Nation Tourism

In case you are on the lookout for journey a bit of nearer to Glacier Nationwide Park, the Glacier Highline is the proper spot to carry the household. This journey park affords over 50 totally different highline and ropes course actions. There are ziplines, a treetop journey course, mountain climbing wall, Tarzan swing, and even an inflatable impediment course and waterslide.

Whitefish Mountain Resort additionally affords ziplining, an alpine slide, a treetop journey course, and even tubing in the summertime! For these not fairly so thrill-seeking, the resort affords scenic chair raise rides and mountaineering trails to take pleasure in, all just one hour from Glacier Nationwide Park.

Whitewater Rafting

rafting on the Flathead River
Picture courtesy of Pursuit Glacier Park Assortment

In case you are on the lookout for thrills, attempt white water rafting alongside Class II – III rapids on the Flathead River. The Glacier Raft Firm affords half, full, and multi-day rafting journeys on the scenic Center and North Fork of the Flathead River. These areas are inside the Flathead Wild and Scenic River designation and are collectively managed by Glacier Nationwide Park and the Flathead Nationwide Forest. 

In case you aren’t positive if you’re prepared for the joys of the rapids, there are additionally scenic float choices that allow you to glide alongside and recognize the gorgeous surroundings with out drumming up your adrenaline. Glacier Raft Firm is conveniently situated proper in West Glacier Village, however different rafting corporations additionally function close by together with Glacier Guides, Montana Raft Firm, and Nice Northern Resort. Simply needless to say reservations are required and later within the season, the water could also be too low or sluggish for rafting.

See Wildlife

Bison on Bison Range in Montana

Many individuals go to Glacier Nationwide Park hoping to see wildlife (simply hopefully no shut encounters with grizzly bears), which is why you need to at all times be ready with bear spray and recreate responsibly. Nonetheless, if you happen to depart Glacier Nationwide Park with out recognizing any wild creatures, don’t fear. The Park isn’t a zoo and the wild animals wander all through the state. You might simply encounter a bear trying out the picnic space of a city park (true story — occurred to us in Huge Fork however fortunately it was only a black bear.)

I’d be stunned if you happen to spent any size of time close to Glacier Nationwide Park and didn’t encounter at the very least some deer or elk alongside your drives, which is why you at all times want to remain alert, particularly when driving at evening.

Nonetheless, in order for you a close to assure of spying wildlife, drive two hours south of Glacier Nationwide Park to go to the Bison Vary. The Bison Vary, which has been restored to federal belief possession for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes (CSKT), is residence to 350 grownup bison. The Bison Vary is a pay-to-enter, fee-use space that encompasses a customer heart and a 24-mile scenic loop.

Guests ought to plan on taking a couple of hours to drive the one-way loop, however you probably have much less time, you may drive a decrease part of the loop earlier than turning again when it switches to one-way solely. Along with bison, there are additionally elk, white-tail and mule deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep and black bear, together with over 200 species of birds within the reserve.

Go Mountain Biking

Mountain biker going downhill image courtesy of GCT
Picture courtesy of Glacier Nation Tourism

There are a lot of biking trails close to Glacier Nationwide Park, together with the ten.5 mile paved Gateway-to-Glacier Path that runs from Hungry Horse to West Glacier and the Whitefish path for starting and intermediate mountain bikers. Glacier Information affords bike leases for these wishing to bike Going-to-the-Solar Street, together with e-bikes, and even offers guided biking journeys.

For one thing more difficult, Whitefish Mountain Resort affords downhill mountain biking with two lifts and over 25 miles of downhill trails from newbie to skilled.

With so many issues to do close to Glacier Nationwide Park, you’ll not get bored. Simply pack your bug spray, solar display screen, mountaineering boots, comfortable garments, water bottle and purchase some bear spray and prepare for journey.

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