Before I made my way to Glacier National Park, the oooh’s and ahhh’s and expressed envy from those whom I told about my travels made it clear that I was in for a treat.
Since first setting foot in a national park in 2009, I have yet to find one I didn’t love. But my affection has always been for something different as it is already my experience that all the parks have something uniquely beautiful to offer. Glacier National Park is no exception. The hiking, over 700 miles of it, takes you through waterfalls and cliffs, lush forests and vast plains. The wildlife is everywhere, so it’s always great to be prepared. The diversity of the park, even if just from East to West is so great that it almost feels like you are in two different parks. No photograph can ever do it justice. This was an undiscovered park for me and I was lucky enough to meet some awesome people along the way to show me all the wonderful it had to offer.
With Glacier National Park, I have a total of 9 national parks visited on my list!
When in comes to falling in love with Glacier, I believe it must’ve been around the time my girlfriend Nicole and I, set out on a horseback ride with Swan Mountain Outfitters, through the trails of West Glacier’s forests and meadows. We were nervous about the 2-hour ride, but the serenity of the trails and the gorgeous views put us at ease fairly quickly. Plus, we were both paired with great horses and by the end of the first hour I was feeling really comfortable and relax riding Copenhagen, my buddy. Horseback riding was so much fun, complimented only by the Mexican food truck parked right outside the outfitters center when we exited!
I definitely felt a tug at my heart-strings when we went on a hike through the park with Dre, from Glacier Guides. We met Dre early in the morning and ignored the threat of rain to venture into the woods, past rumbling creeks and beautiful waterfalls. Dre is so full of knowledge and has tons of stories to share that it made the 4.5 mile hike seem like a breeze. We sat on a log near along avalanche lake and had our lunch, and I couldn’t wait to get back there with my kids. By the time we made our way back the crowds were just arriving, and we high-fived each other at having had the chance to enjoy the experience before then.
My girl, Nicole, looking sexy and badass.
Watch out! These little critters will eat your lunch! Please, do not feed the animals in the park.
Dre, doing her thing. Best guide ever.
After our hike, and despite the weather, we continued our day with Glacier Guides for a fun afternoon riding the rapids!
By the time we made our way to East Glacier towards the end of our road trip, the weather was full-on rainy and windy, but the thing about traveling with friends and people you love is that it doesn’t damper things at all. We still enjoyed driving through this side of the park, which is flatter and less lush than the West side, but still beautiful. And we even got to see a few big horn sheep!
We still had so much fun despite the wind and rain!
Where we stayed
We started our road trip with a stay in the historic Lake McDonald Lodge, built in 1913 and located right on the edge of Lake McDonald, the largest lake in Glacier National Park. It’s proximity to the Going-to-the-Sun road makes this a popular destination for hikers and bikers as well. The large wood burning fireplace in the main lobby, as well as the wonderful food at the in-house restaurant and their super cozy rooms made staying inside on a chilly cold day delightful. Summer is an incredibly busy time for them as they are a seasonal resort, but I think I prefer the cooler season for how cozy and non-crowded it is. I recommend taking a boat ride on Lake McDonald on a sunny day. The views are like no other.
Closer to Flathead Lake, we stayed in the more contemporary Meadow Lake Resort, which caters to mostly to those who enjoy the golfing in the summer and skiing in the winter. It’s about 19 miles or so outside of Glacier National Park, with easy access to all the nearby Columbia Falls has to offer. It has a wonderful in-house spa, bar, and restaurant as well.
To see more of my adventures to Glacier National Park, check out my video on YouTube! Thanks to Nicole of Glacier Country Tourism for going on this impromptu girlfriends road trip! We had such a blast! (Nicole, I would travel with you anywhere!).
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