Glacier National Park - The Crown of the Continent

St. Mary Lake

What is it about Glacier National Park that is so intriguing?  As B&B owners we will often hear, “Where can I see the glaciers”?  Is it all about the glaciers?  Of course not.  It will still be called Glacier National Park even after the last glacier has melted away.  The park is about what the glaciers have created as they grew and then melted.  The landscape in Glacier is one of rugged mountains, beautiful lakes, amazing forests, and wildlife.

We are grateful to those who saw the beauty in this area of the country and had the forethought to set the land aside as a National Park.  Because of this act, we are able to travel within the park and take in the majestic views and marvel at the grandeur of it all.

Glacier National Park is also known as the Crown of the Continent.  Once you have visited, you will understand why we call it that.  Located at the northernmost part of the Rocky Mountains in the USA the mountains show their ruggedness.  The lakes shine like jewels in the crown, and the wildflowers adorn the hillsides all spring and summer long.

“Glacier”, as it is called around here, is for the outdoor enthusiast, as well as those who are happier viewing it from their car, the shuttle, or a Jammer.  The Going to the Sun Road is an engineering marvel that allows visitors to travel from the east at St. Mary’s to the west at West Glacier (or west to east), cross over the continental divide at Logan Pass, and to pull over to see the mountains, the lakes, and the wildlife.  

For those who like to step out into mother nature, there are hiking trails and campgrounds throughout the park.  There are plenty of one day hikes that will allow you to experience this spectacular part of our country.  There is plenty of wildlife to see, so keep an eye out for bighorn sheep, mountain goats, bears (both Grizzly and Black), deer, and moose.  Don’t forget to ask your Bed and Breakfast host if you can borrow some bear spray, just in case.

Winter brings a beauty and serenity to the park.  The Going to the Sun Road is closed to traffic north and east of Lake McDonald Lodge.  Bring your skis and cross country ski on the road past the lodge.  Snowshoeing is also popular on the road or out of Apgar.  Tours are given on most weekends.

Access to the Going to the Sun Road is also limited in Spring.  It is a great time to park at lake McDonald Lodge and then hike or bike up the road.  Some of the trails may still have snow on them, so be aware that your plans may have to change.  Late in Spring, the road opens up to the Avalanche Creek trailhead.  This is a popular early hike to one of most beautiful spots in the park. There is a time before the road opens to traffic when bicyclists can ride all the way to Logan Pass.  There may be walls of snow around them, but it is a ride like no other.  It is a steep climb, but well worth it.

On the eastern side of Glacier National Park is the entrance to the Many Glacier area.  Pass Lake Sherburne as you come to the infamous Many Glacier Hotel.  The hotel sits on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake with a view of Grinnell Point. This is the starting point to many hiking trails in the area.  Popular hikes are to Red Rock Falls, Iceberg Lake, Apikuni Falls, and Cracker Lake.  Watch for wildlife such as bears, elk, and moose.

Glacier National Park is definitely worth a visit if you anywhere in the vicinity.  Ask your B&B host to suggest the best way for you to see the park, based on your individual needs.  There is something for everyone to enjoy, no matter their abilities or the amount of time they have to visit.