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Family trip to Glacier NP area

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  • Family trip to Glacier NP area

    We're planning a trip out to Glacier NP area this coming summer. Looking for tips for things that are 'must see/do' as well as 'must NOT do' or "don't be a sucker for...".

    Travel party will be my family (wife + boys 6 & 4), in-laws (both pushing 70 y/o), and bro-in-law and his two boys (11 & 8), so we'll be a fairly large group to keep herded together. My wife and I are planning to use this as a scouting trip so we can go back with just our family to do the trip 'right'.

    At this point, all we know is that we're thinking of staying somewhere near Glacier NP - don't know if that means camping or hotel'ing it.

    Timeframe would probably be later in the summer right before school starts back unless I discover that is the absolute WORST time to visit the area.

    Tips/pointers from those more well traveled?

    CJ

  • #2
    Jammer bus!

    You need to ride the jammer bus on the Going to the Sun Road. It is an awesome ride. The views along the route are so amazing that I would not drive it myself. The drivers are great tour guides too.
    Your large group may need to be split over two buses, but itís a great thing to do.

    Better hurry to make your reservations, as places around Glacier fill up months in advance.

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    • #3
      I would stay in the Park in one of the Lodges on the west side there is more to do than on the east side. I would ride the Jammer bus in the evening there is less traffic and the site with the sun setting is just great.

      If you are going to camp I would stay at Apgar. There are some nice roads you can travel without going the Road To The Sun. There is a nice restaurant in Apgar Village.

      One trip I would highly recommend is to go to Pole Bridge Mercantile and get one to their bear claws it's a very scenic drive but the road can be very washboard.

      There is also a free, I believe, bus shuttle that will drop you off wherever and then pick you up.

      As was stated make your reservations VERY early. Last year the Park saw the largest crowd in it's history.
      "I like beer, do you like beer, I like beer a lot."

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      • #4
        Best hike was Iceberg lake (not hard, but long...maybe too long with the younger kids and grandparents if it's not a normal activity)

        Easy hike that was worth the drive and stop was running eagle falls.

        We camped and didn't have too much trouble getting the first come, first serve campsites. Might have to split campsites with that group size. They're mostly pretty small sites and not a ton of privacy.

        Biggest caution; don't leave any snacks in your car. It doesn't matter that they're sealed in bags. There are tons of fluffy little rodents that, while cute, will somehow find your pregnant wife's unopened chocolate pretzels in the back seat and scatter them all over the car from your trunk to under the gas pedal. They don't leave droppings, so they've got that going for them.

        Edit: I dropped some gold nuggets into your PM box.
        -skunked

        Warning: all posts should be assumed to contain sarcasm and misinformation unless stated otherwise. The opinions shared are not necessarily those of the poster.

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        • #5
          Stay at Many Glacier Hotel if you get the chance. It's a fascinating place. I'll second Iceberg lake. Had my first and only grizzly encounter about 500 yds into the trail from the trail head. They're a lot bigger at 20yds than in the movies


          Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
          "I don't hate trout fishing, just the people who trout fish."
          -Our friend Nam, but secretly Ret

          "Stop Whining"

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          • #6
            If you do go the camping route, this site will be your best friend for planning when you need to show up where to get a spot:

            https://home.nps.gov/applications/gl...s/cgstatus.cfm
            -skunked

            Warning: all posts should be assumed to contain sarcasm and misinformation unless stated otherwise. The opinions shared are not necessarily those of the poster.

            Comment


            • #7
              Glacier NP is wonderful!

              My family spent about a week in that area last summer. We stayed in White Fish which is really a great location. Near the park and other adventures and a really interesting town with great lodging, restaurants, shops, etc... My son worked at St. Mary's many years ago and I love that area and lodge as well. It is near some good fishing too. But, you are a long way from a town. As other said, the "sun" road is one of the most scenic drives I have ever traveled. But, it is crowded and will take a half day to go both ways. Also, my family enjoyed hiking on the many trails and taking a white water raft trip. Did not do any fishing in the area, but I saw of lot of folks on the streams and rivers. There are some great outfitters right before you get to the west entrance of the park. I am going to attempt to attach a few images..
              stream near St. Mary's
              Glacier Lake
              Family on "sun" road.
              Last edited by raptor; 09-16-18, 05:52 PM.

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              • #8
                Great tips, folks. Keep them coming if you have them.

                Early planning looks like we may airline it to Minneapolis and then the whole group take the train from there out to MT. So that should be interesting.

                Still not sure about lodging, but based on what I've seen here, we'll be sure to get that finalized sooner rather than later.

                Thanks again,
                CJ

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                • #9
                  Things are coming together. We're booked in a cabin at the West Glacier KOA Jun 10 - 13. Relatively short time there considering how long it takes to get there, but this will be a scouting trip on the in-laws dime for when we want to go back ourselves.

                  Now to more detailed planning stage..

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by cjones View Post
                    Things are coming together. We're booked in a cabin at the West Glacier KOA Jun 10 - 13. Relatively short time there considering how long it takes to get there, but this will be a scouting trip on the in-laws dime for when we want to go back ourselves.

                    Now to more detailed planning stage..
                    Hmm. Your first post said you were planning to go the end of summer just before school starts. If you'd mentioned June, I suspect you'd have gotten a pretty standard warning about runoff clogging the streams, and the strong possibility of snow messing with your trip, even if you're not fishing. A quick google produced this link, showing the Going to the Sun Road (yes, an awesome ride) opened fully on June 28 last year.

                    https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/news/media17-29.htm

                    I've only been in that area in August, but in general, in the northern Rockies, if fishing, I'd plan a trip in June only if that was the only time I could go, and I'd expect to be flexible in terms of any and all planned activities. Sounds like fishing isn't on the agenda (and Glacier's not usually a prime destination for that), and you should be able to do some hiking somewhere (maybe just lower elevations, weather depending) but be cautious of using others' experience that's based later in the summer; for instance, bears will be in different places, seeking different food in June vs. August.

                    Are you doing the train? That'd be interesting, I bet. Have fun. Beautiful place.
                    Last edited by Upstream; 01-26-18, 05:22 PM.

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                    • #11
                      I'd imagine June will be a lot of snow and ice (glaciers) on some good trails and gtts road might be closed.
                      -skunked

                      Warning: all posts should be assumed to contain sarcasm and misinformation unless stated otherwise. The opinions shared are not necessarily those of the poster.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Upstream View Post
                        Hmm. Your first post said you were planning to go the end of summer just before school starts. If you'd mentioned June, I suspect you'd have gotten a pretty standard warning about runoff clogging the streams, and the strong possibility of snow messing with your trip, even if you're not fishing. A quick google produced this link, showing the Going to the Sun Road (yes, an awesome ride) opened fully on June 28 last year.

                        https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/news/media17-29.htm

                        I've only been in that area in August, but in general, in the northern Rockies, if fishing, I'd plan a trip in June only if that was the only time I could go, and I'd expect to be flexible in terms of any and all planned activities. Sounds like fishing isn't on the agenda (and Glacier's not usually a prime destination for that), and you should be able to do some hiking somewhere (maybe just lower elevations, weather depending) but be cautious of using others' experience that's based later in the summer; for instance, bears will be in different places, seeking different food in June vs. August.

                        Are you doing the train? That'd be interesting, I bet. Have fun. Beautiful place.
                        Originally posted by I_got_skunked View Post
                        I'd imagine June will be a lot of snow and ice (glaciers) on some good trails and gtts road might be closed.

                        Unfortunately, we are constrained by the schedule of the other travelers on this trip. Our original plan was last week of July but that got changed due my bil's work schedule. We're Delta'ing up to Minneapolis where we'll meet up with the rest of the group and take Amtrak out to Whitefish. It's also much shorter amount of time on-site than I had hoped, but at this point I'm just happy that we're getting to go at all.

                        Sorry to hear that fishing will be severely sub-par that time of the year, but it should still be a memorable trip and give us intel for WHEN we go back on our own in the future.

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                        • #13
                          You will love the trip along the "High Line".
                          "I like beer, do you like beer, I like beer a lot."

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                          • #14
                            Two Medicine on the eastern side of the park is beautiful, and usually not as crowded. Good/great fishing from shore in Two Medicine Lake. Canoe rentals are available. If you're flyfishing from shore, a sinking line or at least a sink-tip is recommended

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                            • #15
                              Tell your brother in law to get a new job. I haven't been there in years (decades actually) but you won't be able to drive more than a few miles of "Going to the Sun" or access the high country. https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/hours.htm

                              The Rockies generally are experiencing a scary low snow pack this winter, but not Montana. The Glacier area currently appears to be about 120% of normal. http://mtpr.org/post/montana-snowpac...y-across-state

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