Lake Mcdonald Waves

21 Breathtaking Things to do In Glacier National Park

As someone who revels in the splendor of the natural world, I often find myself searching for destinations that offer more than just a cursory escape from the humdrum of daily life. I seek out those rare places where the vibrancy of life and the serenity of nature converge to create an experience that’s as enthralling as it is rejuvenating. Glacier National Park is one such haven that captures the essence of wanderlust with its diverse array of activities and attractions. Whether you’re looking to embark on heart-pumping Glacier National Park activities or simply unwind amidst the park’s sweeping vistas, every corner of this lush wilderness invites an epic adventure.

From traversing the breathtaking landscape along the historic Going-to-the-Sun Road, spotting wildlife in their native terrain, to hiking to remote alpine lakes that mirror the Montana sky, Glacier National Park attractions deliver unforgettable encounters with raw beauty. I have wheeled my way down scenic byways, paused at overlooks that command silence with their grandeur, and discovered as much about the deep solitude of the wilderness as I have about myself. Let’s dive into the experiences that await in this stunning locale, where every view is a postcard and every activity, a memory in the making.

Key Takeaways

  • The park is an adventure-seeker’s paradise with extensive hiking trails and Glacier National Park activities for all levels.
  • Driving the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road offers some of the most remarkable Glacier National Park attractions and views.
  • Embrace the raw beauty of the wilderness and witness native wildlife in their natural habitat.
  • Capture the essence of Glacier’s natural wonder through photography, especially near the visually arresting Polebridge Mercantile and Bowman Lake.
  • Water-based activities like rafting trips and scenic floats provide unique perspectives on the park’s majesty.
  • Take advantage of visitor centers for the latest information, orientation, and unique souvenir treasures.
  • Glacier National Park unfolds a world of family-friendly activities that allow for intimate connection with nature.

List of Things to Do in Glacier National Park

Things to Do: Going-to-the-Sun Road

Going To The Sun Road Is The Best Things To Do In Glacier National Park

En route to the heart of Glacier National Park, the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road unfolds as a masterpiece of scenic drives and ranks high among Glacier National Park attractions. Tracing the contours of rugged mountains, it weaves an unforgettable journey replete with arresting Glacier National Park photography spots that demand a pause and a shutter click. Every twist and turn of this narrow path is an invitation to embrace both the terrifying proximity to the edge and the majestic views it affords, creating an experience that perfectly melds the thrill of the drive with the park’s raw beauty.1

Visitor Tips

  • Secure Your Spot: Ensure you have a vehicle reservation during the summer months when traffic to this crown jewel of Glacier can peak.
  • Check Before You Trek: Visit the official park website frequently for the most current information on road opening dates, as they are subject to change based on snow removal schedules.
  • Close Encounters: Be prepared for some close driving next to the rocky mountainside. The road’s tight curves and slender width make for an exhilarating experience.
  • Don’t Miss the Weeping Wall: One of the unique features of this drive is the chance to witness waterfalls like Weeping Wall, which may splash its chilly waters onto the road.
  • Snow in Summer: Even in the heat of August, snowfields can linger, presenting a stunning contrast against the summer green and wildflowers.
  • Capture the Moment: Frequent pullouts pepper the route, allowing you to capture the grandeur; prime your camera for some of the most spectacular photography opportunities in Glacier National Park.

Remember, adventurers and photographers, when traversing Going-to-the-Sun Road, patience is as essential as your camera. With its popularity, traffic can slow, yet this provides more moments to savor the jaw-dropping vistas that define Glacier National Park.

Grinnell Glacier Hike

Grinell Glacier Hike Is An Amazing Thing To Do In Glacier National Park

My anticipation heightened with each step on the Grinnell Glacier Hike, a path that promises an immersive journey into Glacier National Park’s emblematic wilderness. Known as one of the most rewarding Glacier National Park hiking trails, this venture is not for the faint-hearted; it’s a demanding trail that offers substantial rewards. My resolve was tested across this 7-mile trek, but the prize was views of glacial blue lakes, the awe-inspiring glacier itself, and the spectacle of icebergs serenely afloat in the icy waters.

I embraced this adventure experience, preparing myself for the ascent with steadfast spirit and ample supplies. Part of the hike’s appeal is its family-friendly potential, woven into the fabric of Glacier National Park adventure experiences. It’s a trail that invites seasoned hikers and enthusiastic families alike to discover its splendor, with options to alleviate part of the journey with a scenic boat ride across enchanting waters.1

Visitor Tips

  • Start Early: Begin your hike at dawn to enjoy the tranquility and mitigate potential afternoon congestion on the trails.
  • Stay Informed: Always check trail status before your hike; temporary closures due to grizzly bear activity are not uncommon.
  • Bring Bear Spray: This is bear country, and being prepared is paramount. Carry bear spray and know how to use it.
  • Consider a Guide: For newcomers, guided hikes provide insight and added security through the terrain’s challenges.
  • Proper Footwear: Rugged, waterproof hiking boots are a must to navigate the trail’s variable and often wet conditions.
  • Hydration is Key: Replenish fluids regularly. Mountain streams may be clear, but use water filtration systems to avoid contamination.

When I reached the trek’s apex, the Grinnell Glacier lay before me in silent grandeur, a testament to the enduring wonder of nature’s artistry. My journey, woven deeply with the fabric of this park’s soul, stood out as a vivid highlight among countless Glacier National Park activities.

Boat Tours on Swiftcurrent Lake

Swiftcurrent Lake Boat Tours What To Do In Glacier

Amidst the splendor of Glacier National Park attractions, I found myself on a serene boat tour of Swiftcurrent Lake. The tranquility of the water, combined with the stunning natural backdrop that Glacier offers, provided a well-earned respite after a day full of discovery. Surrounded by the majestic peaks, each stroke of the oar seemed to echo through the vastness, creating a rhythm that was as soothing as the scenery was majestic.1

Visitor Tips

  • Bask in the Beauty: Embark on a boat tour and witness the stunning Many Glacier Hotel from a unique perspective.
  • Family-Friendly Fare: Dine at nearby accommodations that offer a variety of kid-friendly menu options.
  • Sweet Treats: Don’t miss the chance to indulge in delectable vanilla or huckleberry ice cream from the local convenience store.
  • Relaxing End to the Day: Schedule your boat tour for the late afternoon to conclude your day of exploration with a relaxing and memorable experience.

These boat tours not only allowed for an exceptional vantage point of the prolific landscapes but also offered a chance to share this moment with family, solidifying it as a highlight among our Glacier National Park family-friendly activities. It’s these placid moments on the water that, I believe, can truly encapsulate the essence of Glacier’s profound beauty.

Stargazing at Logan Pass

Watching The Night Sky At Logan Pass Is A Great Thing To Do.

As night falls over Glacier National Park, the skies above Logan Pass transform into a canvas painted with constellations, planets, and the ethereal glow of the Milky Way. Far removed from the glare of city lights, Logan Pass offers me and fellow stargazers a sanctuary of darkness that is perfect for a night under the stars. The elevation not only unfolds a celestial theater but also wraps us in the cool arms of the Montana night, a perfect complementary chill to the visual feast above.1

Visitor Tips

  • Plan for the Chill: Even during the summer months, the high elevation of Logan Pass can bring about a sharp drop in temperature at night. I always make sure to bring warm layers and a blanket to ensure a cozy stargazing experience.
  • Check the Schedule: I take advantage of ranger-led astronomy programs that are occasionally offered, providing insightful celestial storytelling and guidance to the constellations, and always check the schedule in advance.
  • Bring Comfort: Besides warm clothing, a comfortable chair or blanket can make the experience more enjoyable as we gaze up into the infinite expanse.
  • Let Your Eyes Adjust: It often takes about 20-30 minutes for my eyes to fully adjust to the darkness, allowing for the best stargazing experience. I give myself that window before fully engaging in the activity.
  • Mind the Weather: Clear nights are ideal for stargazing, so it’s wise to check the weather forecast before heading out.
  • Preserve Night Vision: I use a red flashlight or headlamp to keep my eyesight adjusted to the dark, which helps in spotting more delicate celestial objects.

I find that the tranquility of Glacier National Park at night greatly enhances the adventure experiences the park is renowned for. Stargazing at Logan Pass isn’t just one of the many engaging Glacier National Park activities; it’s a soulful journey into the cosmos, right from the heart of Montana’s wilderness.

Wildlife Watching in Many Glacier

Mountain Goat In Glacier National Park

My journey through Glacier National Park led me to the Many Glacier area, a wildlife enthusiast’s dream. As I ventured through this stunning locale, my senses were alight with the possibility of encountering grizzly bears, moose, and mountain goats, living freely within this bountiful expanse. Many Glacier’s natural habitat teems with life, offering numerous opportunities for wildlife viewing, which ranks as one of the most awe-inspiring things to do in Glacier National Park.1

Visitor Tips

  • Engage in early-morning or dusk hikes, as these times are typically replete with wildlife activity and cooler temperatures.
  • Keep a pair of binoculars handy for safe and respectful observing, maintaining the necessary distance from wildlife.
  • Participate in ranger-led wildlife spotting tours to gain expert insights and potentially spot creatures you may overlook on your own.
  • Avoid hiking alone and always carry bear spray, acquainting yourself with its proper usage before setting out.
  • Adhere to park regulations at all times, not only for your safety but out of respect for the natural ecosystem of Glacier National Park.
  • For photographers looking to capture the essence of Glacier National Park wildlife viewing, exercise patience and use a zoom lens to honor the wildlife’s space.

Hiking the Highline Trail

Flowers Along Highline Trail

My trek through Glacier National Park brought me to the Highline Trail, a path where the alpine environment unfurls in wild splendor. This iconic hike, sought after by seasoned hikers, skirts precipitous cliff faces, secured with safety cables for added peace of mind. I was compelled by the promise of panoramic vistas that would stretch my perception of Glacier’s vast magnificence. The raw beauty of the terrain beckoned, a call to which my adventurous spirit responded with an eager step.1

Visitor Tips

  • Embark on this journey equipped with sturdy hiking boots, as the terrain is as challenging as it is beautiful.
  • Stay vigilant and hold onto the provided safety cables when navigating the trail’s more exposed sections.
  • Water and snacks are essential; the length of the hike demands sustenance to keep energy high from start to finish.
  • A camera is your silent witness to the majesty you’ll encounter, so keep it handy but secure on the trail.
  • The unpredictability of mountain weather means layers are your best friend—prepare for swift changes to stay comfortable.
  • While trekking poles are not a necessity, they can provide a welcome aid on the varied and sometimes steep terrain.
  • Early mornings are golden hours, offering quieter trails and the chance to experience the wilderness with a sense of solitude.

As I traversed the Highline Trail, my eyes soaked in every contour of Glacier National Park’s rugged topography. Each lookout point painted a picture more striking than the last, with the park’s alpine meadows and distant peaks acting as the color palette for nature’s masterpiece. This trail exemplified the ultimate Glacier National Park hiking trails and was indeed among the best Glacier National Park adventure experiences I’ve had, imbuing my soul with a sense of achievement that only a hike of this caliber could provide.1

Picnicking at Lake McDonald

Lake Mcdonald From Shore

At the heart of Glacier National Park, I find myself drawn to the tranquil shores of Lake McDonald. The tapestry of multi-hued pebbles lining its edge, the tranquil lapping of the water, and the inviting shade of towering pines create a perfect tableau for a family-friendly picnic. The warmth of the sun complements the cool touch of the lake, beckoning for a spontaneous swim or a lazy afternoon floating on an inner tube. For me, it’s these simple pleasures that make Lake McDonald an idyllic picnic location and a highlight among the array of Glacier National Park attractions.1

Visitor Tips

  • Arrive early to secure a spot along the shoreline; the beauty of Lake McDonald draws many like-minded nature enthusiasts.
  • Water temperatures can be brisk, even in summer – perfect for a refreshing dip if you’re feeling adventurous.
  • Consider water shoes to comfortably navigate the pebbly beach and protect against the occasional sharp stone.
  • Pack a waterproof blanket or chairs to sit on, as the beach does not have benches or picnic tables.
  • Remember to carry out what you bring in, keeping the park clean for all visitors and preserving the natural beauty we cherish.
  • For families, bring along beach toys, frisbees, or other simple games that turn the great outdoors into your personal playground.

As someone who regularly seeks out the best Glacier National Park family-friendly activities, the time spent at Lake McDonald reaffirms its status as a must-visit destination within the park. Whether it’s the joy of skipping stones across the glassy surface, the laughter of loved ones echoing off the mountains, or the quiet reflection as the sun dips behind ancient peaks – the moments here are as enriching as they are everlasting.

Iceberg Lake Trail

Icebrug Lake Trail

Traversing the Iceberg Lake Trail in Glacier National Park was nothing short of riveting. This moderate hike weaves its way through sublime, rugged beauty leading adventurers to a world seemingly frozen in time. There, amidst the alpine heights, visitors are graced with the astonishing sight of icebergs floating in the cerulean lake well into the warmth of summer. The contrast is dramatic—a landscape that defies the seasons, blurring the boundary between ice and sky.

Each excursion along this renowned path solidifies its reputation as one of the top Glacier National Park hiking trails. Be it the brush of snow-capped flora against my leg or the arresting panorama that unfolds at the trail’s summit, the hike to Iceberg Lake encapsulates the ultimate Glacier National Park adventure experiences, enchanting with every step.1

Visitor Tips

  • Plan Your Visit: Timing is pivotal—the presence of icebergs can vary, making a reliable sighting a matter of fortuitous timing. Monitoring local forecasts and park updates can hone your planning.
  • Safety in Bear Country: Preparedness for encountering Glacier’s iconic but formidable wildlife is essential. Carrying and knowing how to effectively use bear spray is non-negotiable for safety.
  • Trail Readiness: The varying terrain calls for sturdy, reliable footwear. To fully engage with the journey and revel in the destination, one must traverse the trail secure in step and provisioned with essentials.

As a traveler seeking experiences off the beaten path, the trek to Iceberg Lake more than satisfies my pursuit of the wild, inviting me into the breathtaking theatre of nature where ice and earth converse in silence.


Fishing In National Parks

Amid the many things to do in Glacier National Park, fishing in the many lakes emerges as a favored pursuit, offering solitude surrounded by the park’s sublime natural tableau. Nestled within this treasured reserve, the pristine waters of Hidden Lakes promise a serene haven for anglers eager to cast their lines. Abound with a variety of indigenous fish, these remote lakes present a perfect blend of peaceful angling and picturesque mountain scenery—a true manifestation of Glacier National Park wildlife viewing.1

Visitor Tips

  • Obtain a valid fishing license prior to your excursion, ensuring adherence to Montana state regulations.
  • Familiarize yourself with Glacier National Park’s fishing guidelines to help sustain the park’s aquatic ecosystems.
  • Choose the right gear; lightweight rods and fly fishing equipment are preferred to harmonize with the tranquil environment.
  • Arrive early or later in the day for the best fishing prospects and to enjoy the lakes at their most tranquil moments.
  • Use barbless hooks to protect the fish, easing catch and release practices and maintaining the natural balance of the lakes.
  • Refrain from using live bait – not only is it prohibited, but it also helps preserve the park’s fragile aquatic habitats.
  • Be prepared for all weather conditions; layered clothing and waterproof gear can shield against sudden mountain weather shifts.
  • Practice Leave No Trace principles, disposing of all waste properly to keep Hidden Lakes pristine for wildlife and future visitors alike.

Camping Under the Stars

Camping Under The Stars

One of my favorite ways to experience Glacier National Park is by spending the night under its expansive, starlit sky. The park offers a multitude of camping options, each providing a unique way to commune with nature. From the deep forest canopies to the tranquility of lakeside rests, the campgrounds within Glacier are well-equipped to cater to a range of preferences, ensuring an unforgettable experience for the whole family.1

Visitor Tips

  • Plan Ahead: Reserve your campsite well in advance, particularly if you’re visiting during the busy summer months when Glacier National Park camping options fill up quickly.
  • Choose Wisely: Consider what you want from your camping experience – whether it’s the ease of access to trailheads, the calm of lakeside views, or the seclusion of a forest retreat.
  • LNT Principles: Familiarize yourself with and practice Leave No Trace principles to preserve the pristine condition of the park’s campgrounds for future visitors.
  • Stay Bear Aware: Keep all food items stored in bear-proof containers and maintain a clean campsite to avoid unwanted wildlife encounters.
  • Embrace the Quiet: Glacier’s peace is its charm. Be mindful of noise levels, especially during designated quiet hours, to allow all campers to enjoy the natural ambiance.
  • Family Activities: Engage in family-friendly activities like campfire storytelling, stargazing, and exploring nearby trails to deepen your connection with the great outdoors.
  • Weather Prep: Mountain weather can change rapidly, so bring appropriate gear to stay comfortable in various conditions, from sunny afternoons to cooler nights.

As I tuck myself into my cozy sleeping bag, the vast Montana sky, embroidered with glittering stars, serves as a fitting end to days rich with exploration. The crickets’ lullaby only enhances the tranquil atmosphere, confirming that camping in Glacier National Park is more than just a place to rest—it’s an essential part of the adventure itself.

Photography at Wild Goose Island Lookout

St Mary Lake

My adventures led me to the Wild Goose Island Lookout, a name synonymous with some of the most captivating Glacier National Park photography spots. As the first light of dawn painted the skies over St. Mary Lake, I set up my tripod, the crisp morning air a small price to pay for the ethereal alpine glow that was to grace my lens. This coveted vantage point offered sprawling views of the lake’s shimmering waters embraced by a panorama of mountain peaks that stand as steadfast guardians of the park’s untouched beauty.1

Visitor Tips

  • Arrive Early: Capture the stillness of dawn as the sunrise bathes the mountains in soft, golden hues—an idyllic moment for photographers and nature lovers alike.
  • Camera Settings: To ensure your photos of Wild Goose Island mirror the beauty before your eyes, adjust your camera settings to account for the dynamic lighting as the sun ascends.
  • Multiple Lenses: Bring a variety of lenses to capture the sweeping landscapes and intricate details—the range of topography here will test your artistic prowess.
  • Be Patient: Wait for the perfect moment when the light and landscape align, delivering a composition that truly encapsulates the essence of Glacier’s renowned beauty.
  • Etiquette Matters: Share the space with fellow photographers, respecting the tranquility and opportunity for all to immortalize the scene in their unique way.
  • Include Wildlife: Keep your eyes peeled for the park’s inhabitants, as they can add life and an organic wildness to your Glacier National Park attractions portfolio.

The pulchritude of Wild Goose Island Lookout transcended what I had envisioned, cementing its place as an emblematic Glacier National Park attraction. The images I’ve captured here are more than mere photographs; they’re fragments of time that convey the untamed allure of one of America’s great wildernesses.

Horseback Riding Trails

Horseback Riding

Saddle up for a journey through Glacier National Park that I promise will be etched in your mind forever. Horseback riding here is not just an activity; it’s an intimate passage through the park’s mesmerizing wilderness. There’s something profoundly tranquil about riding along trails that traverse lush valleys, serene forests, and majestic mountaintops. For someone like me who is always seeking to connect with nature on a deeper level, these horseback rides are a fusion of adventure and serenity, offering unparalleled Glacier National Park adventure experiences.1

Visitor Tips

  • For beginners and those without their own horses, I always recommend signing up for guided tours – they’re a wealth of knowledge and a fount of fascinating park history.
  • When preparing for horseback riding in Glacier National Park, it’s wise to wear long pants and sturdy boots – even in the saddle, the varied terrain requires proper attire.
  • Bring along a camera, as the trails offer some of the most scenic vistas, perfect for capturing those Glacier National Park activities that are quintessential of a great adventure.
  • I’ve found it important to stay weather-aware; conditions can change quickly, so having a light waterproof jacket on hand is prudent.
  • Check the trail status in advance, as certain paths may be temporarily closed due to wildlife activity. After all, respecting the park’s natural residents is paramount.
  • Lastly, for the safety of both rider and horse, always follow the trail guides’ instructions and park regulations during your ride.
TrailDifficultyScenery HighlightsTrail Length
Lake McDonald TrailEasyLake McDonald, Cedar Forests3 miles
Many Glacier TrailModerateGrinnell Glacier Viewpoint, Alpine Meadows8 miles
Two Medicine TrailChallengingTwo Medicine Lake, Waterfalls10 miles

Each trail invites riders to a unique slice of this wilderness. The Lake McDonald Trail is perfect for families or those looking for a relaxed ride. Moving up in challenge, Many Glacier presents heart-lifting panoramic views that are well worth the saddle time. Lastly, seasoned riders will be in their element tackling the Two Medicine Trail; the path less traveled that showcases some of Glacier’s most remote and untouched beauty. Every turn and trot feeds the soul and fuels the desire for further exploration among the myriad of Glacier National Park activities available.

Kayaking and Canoeing on Two Medicine Lake

Two Medicine Lake Kayaking

Embarking on a kayaking or canoeing venture at Two Medicine Lake, I am struck by the unsurpassed tranquility of the place—clear waters gently lapping at the sides of my vessel, mountains rising dramatically around me, and the occasional splash of a fish disturbing the serene surface. It’s an immersive Glacier National Park attraction, one that’s as meditative as it is actively engaging. Notably less crowded, Two Medicine proffers family-friendly activities away from the more frequented areas of the park, making it an ideal location for paddlers of all ages to appreciate the quiet majesty of Glacier.1

Visitor Tips

  • Check the weather before you go; calm winds make for an ideal paddling experience.
  • Wildlife abounds in this area, so keep your camera ready and use binoculars to watch from a safe distance.
  • Visit the nearby rental facilities to equip yourself with the necessary gear, including life jackets for each participant.
  • Remember to stay hydrated and bring ample sunscreen—despite the cool waters, the sun at higher altitudes can be intense.
  • Respect the pristine nature by following Leave No Trace principles—pack out whatever you bring in.
  • Consider a morning or late afternoon expedition for calmer waters and fewer companions on the lake.
  • For those inexperienced with kayaking or canoeing, take it slow and stay close to the shoreline as you become accustomed to the rhythm of paddling in this majestic setting.

Two Medicine Lake, with its serene environment and stunning scenery, exemplifies the perfect Glacier National Park family-friendly activity, inviting visitors to quietly explore its waters, while possibly glancing a moose wandering along the banks or hearing the distant cry of an eagle overhead. It’s a gentle yet unforgettable way to experience the park’s natural wonders.

Avalanche Lake Hike

Avalanche Lake In Glacier

Embarking on the Avalanche Lake Hike within Glacier National Park is like stepping into a living postcard. Surrounded by ancient cedars and vibrant underbrush, I find myself on a trail that is accessible and rewarding for hikers of all skill levels, including those seeking family-friendly activities. This well-trodden path, draped with the quiet whispers of nature, leads to an alpine lake whose tranquil waters reflect the grandeur of cascading waterfalls.

Whether you are a seasoned trekker seeking reprieve from the more arduous excursions or a family looking to dip your toes into the joys of hiking amidst Glacier’s natural wonders, the Avalanche Lake trail is an invitation to all. Its relatively short distance belies the richness of the experience, where the intimacy with the wilderness can be just as profound as the more challenging Glacier National Park hiking trails.1

Visitor Tips

  • Bring a good pair of hiking shoes, as the trail can offer diverse terrain despite its family-friendly nature.
  • Don’t forget your camera; the lake, set against the backdrop of mountain peaks, is a spectacle to capture.
  • Pack water and snacks, particularly if you’re hiking with children. The trail may be short, but it’s essential to stay nourished.
  • Arrive early to secure a parking spot and enjoy the tranquility of the lake before the midday crowds arrive.
  • Be wildlife aware; while the trail is popular, it is also home to Glacier’s array of fauna. Make sure to keep an eye out for furry friends and respect their habitat.
  • Lastly, check trail conditions before leaving; the path to Avalanche Lake can sometimes be affected by the weather, and it’s best to be prepared.

The Avalanche Lake Hike, with its ease of access and rich scenic rewards, stands as a cherished memory of mine. It serves both as a gentle sojourn into Glacier National Park’s splendiferous landscape and as proof that the park’s myriad trails offer wonderment and adventure to all travelers, regardless of their quest for exertion.

Exploring the Trail of the Cedars

Trail Of The Cedars

Immersing myself in the enchanting ambience of the ancient forest, I set out to discover the Trail of the Cedars, a quintessential attraction for all seeking Glacier National Park family-friendly activities. With each step on the fully accessible boardwalk, I marvel at the towering cedars that have withstood countless seasons, each tree telling a story of resilience in the face of time.1

Visitor Tips

  • Accessibility is a hallmark of this trail, ensuring that whether you have small children with strollers or require a wheelchair to explore, all can enjoy the splendor of this pristine environment.
  • The loop, though tranquil and less demanding, is ripe with the marvels of nature—perfect for families or individuals in search of leisurely Glacier National Park activities.
  • A highlight of this journey is the waterfall that greets you towards the end—offering a soothing soundtrack to your forest perambulation and a refreshing mist on a warm day.
  • For those of us who carry our cameras like an extension of our being, the Trail of the Cedars does not disappoint. With the light filtering through the verdant canopy, each photograph captures a delicate dance between shadow and luminescence.
  • As you trek, remain hushed and attentive; the forest is a living mosaic of ecosystems where even the subtlest sounds—from the rustling of leaves to the distant call of a bird—add an inimitable layer to the experience.
  • If you find the natural beauty halting your journey with frequent stops for admiration, starting your walk earlier in the day leaves room for unhurried exploration and reflection.

This narrative journey along the Trail of the Cedars is more than a simple walk; it’s a gentle immersion into the heart of the wild, offering a soothing encounter with nature’s majesty and reaffirming its place as a cherished chapter in my ongoing exploration of Glacier National Park’s wonders.

Participate in a Ranger-Led Program

Tour Of The Park

A wondrous aspect of the Glacier National Park attractions is the chance to engage with the park beyond the stunning vistas and trails. Joining a ranger-led program offers me not just a walk in the park, but a deep dive into its rich history, diverse ecology, and the conservational challenges it faces. With programs tailored for all ages, these educational escapades stand out as some of the most enriching Glacier National Park family-friendly activities, perfectly combining enjoyment with enlightenment.1

Visitor Tips

  • Check the park’s schedule ahead of time as some programs are highly sought after and may book up quickly, especially during peak visiting seasons.
  • Expect a range of topics, from fascinating wildlife talks revealing the habits of Glacier’s inhabitants to night walks under Montana’s starlit sky.
  • Dress in layers and wear comfortable footwear as programs can involve a mix of sitting, standing, and walking through varied terrain.
  • Carry water and snacks for longer programs; keeping hydrated and energized is key to maintaining focus and enjoyment.
  • Bring along binoculars and a field guide if you have them, enhancing the experience as you delve into the park’s natural wonders.
  • Don’t hesitate to engage with the ranger; their wealth of knowledge is invaluable and they are there to enhance your Glacier National Park experience.
  • Some programs require advance reservations; it’s best to plan these activities early in your trip to ensure a spot.

Visit the Historic Many Glacier Hotel

Many Glacier Hotel

My journey through the breathtaking Glacier National Park brought me to the threshold of the historic Many Glacier Hotel. Rising elegantly in Swiss chalet style, a step into its welcoming embrace is akin to a voyage through time. Overlooking the placid waters of Swiftcurrent Lake, the hotel serves as a sublime threshold to myriad Glacier National Park attractions ready to be discovered at one’s leisure. The majestic vistas from the hotel alone are perfect companions to morning coffee or an evening repose and serve as constant reminders of the natural grandeur that envelops the retreat.1

Visitor Tips

  • Among the principal Glacier National Park attractions, the hotel provides sumptuous accommodation and dining options that seamlessly blend with the surrounding wilderness.
  • Take advantage of the proximity to iconic Glacier National Park hiking trails that fan out from the hotel grounds, offering adventures for each whim and fitness level.
  • Day visitors and guests alike are encouraged to explore the historical facets of the property and soak in the grandeur that tells tales of the park’s past.
  • Photography enthusiasts will delight in the myriad angles and perspectives the hotel’s architecture and its majestic backdrop present, ensuring a vault of memories captured in pixels.
  • Do consider timing your visit; the hotel’s popularity with visitors to Glacier National Park ensures a bustling milieu in peak seasons.

Backpacking in the North Fork

Bowman Lake In North Fork

My stride takes me deep into the belly of the wild where the North Fork regions of Glacier National Park lie in wait, promising an exclusive immersion into the backcountry. This rugged domain is not for everyone, appealing instead to those like me who cherish raw Glacier National Park adventure experiences that offer solitude as a companion. Here, trails are not just pathways through the landscape but lifelines through an untouched world where preparation and self-sufficiency are not just advised, they’re imperative.1

Visitor Tips

  • Expertise is Key: Since North Fork is off the beaten path with limited access and facilities, make sure you have the necessary backcountry skills to navigate and camp safely.
  • Pack Wisely: The right gear matters. Bring a backpack filled with essentials, keeping it light enough for your trek, but don’t skimp on necessities like food, water filters, and safety equipment.
  • Bear Country Precautions: Carrying bear spray and a bear canister for food is a non-negotiable requirement in this wilderness haven. Always maintain a safe distance from wildlife.
  • Camping Permits: Look into securing the necessary Glacier National Park camping options well in advance, as permits can be limited and are often required for overnight stays.
  • Leave No Trace: Commit to the leaving the pristine environments of the North Fork exactly as you found them. This means packing out all of your waste and minimizing your impact.
  • Weather Awareness: Conditions can change rapidly; be prepared for any eventuality from rainstorms to sudden temperature drops. Layer your clothing and expect the unexpected.
  • Route Planning: With limited trail markers in places, brushing up on your orienteering skills with a map and compass or GPS device can prevent mishaps during your adventure.

For an explorer like me, there’s an unmatched sense of freedom that comes with charting my course across North Fork’s vast silence. It’s where Glacier National Park camping options transcend convenience, turning into essential elements of survival and where every view, sound, and scent is amplified by the sheer wildness. As night cloaks the skies, and I settle in my tent, the day’s journey through these remote expanses remains engraved in my memory, urging me to venture again into the rugged heart of Montana’s untamed beauty.

Sunset Watching at Lake McDonald

Sunset Over Lake Mcdonald

There is a particular moment at Lake McDonald that seems to still the world around me, as the sun dips below the horizon and the sky becomes a canvas of vibrant hues. For anyone seeking the perfect Glacier National Park photography spots, this is the scene that defines tranquility and awe. As a photographer, to align the shutter release with the precise moment when the sky flames with color reflected upon the glassy lake is nothing short of magical—a Glacier National Park attraction that resonates with romantics and nature lovers alike.1

Visitor Tips

  • Arrive before dusk to find an ideal spot; the hues begin well before the sun fully sets, and the crescendo of colors is best enjoyed from start to finish.
  • Bring a tripod to capture long-exposure shots that soak in every tint of the dying light. The stillness of the lake makes for an impeccable mirror of the fiery sky.
  • Scope out the day’s vantage point earlier; Lake McDonald’s various perspectives offer unique compositions for your photography.
  • Stay patient; as the twilight deepens, the reflection intensifies, casting a spellbinding radiance over the water and mountains.
  • Consider bringing a warm blanket and a hot beverage. As the day cools into evening, the peaceful ambiance is an invitation to relax and reflect.
  • Engage with fellow onlookers with quiet camaraderie as you all share in one of the most serene Glacier National Park attractions.
  • Remember to leave no trace of your visit to preserve the natural beauty of Lake McDonald for others to enjoy in the moments to come.

The serene spectacle as day bows to night at Lake McDonald never ceases to impress upon me the wonder of Glacier National Park. It is in these moments, enveloped by the park’s grandeur, that I find a profound connection to the world—a connection I am consistently eager to share through the lens of my camera in one of the most rewarding Glacier National Park photography spots.

Cross-Country Skiing in Winter

White Tail Deer

Gliding through the pristine, snow-clad landscape of Glacier National Park, I find cross-country skiing to be one of the most enthralling Glacier National Park activities available during the winter months. Apgar and St. Mary emerge as two areas offering a range of trails that cater to all skill levels — from novices to experienced enthusiasts seeking Glacier National Park adventure experiences. The serenity of the expansive white terrain provides a stark contrast to the bustling summer days, revealing a quieter side of the park that is equally magnetic.1

Visitor Tips

  • Check Trail Conditions: Prior to venturing out, it’s crucial to assess the latest trail conditions and avalanche risks, ensuring a safe cross-country journey.
  • Select Suitable Gear: Dressing in layers and equipping oneself with the right skiing gear can make all the difference to your adventure experience in the snowy expanse.
  • Start Early: Hitting the trails early in the day allows one to capture the tranquil essence of the park’s winter wonderland at its finest.
  • Respect the Silence: One of the greatest gifts of skiing across Glacier’s winter landscape is the profound silence it offers; maintaining a quiet presence allows me and fellow skiers to revel in the sound of nature’s solitude.
  • Stay on Marked Trails: For the preservation of the natural habitat and personal safety, it’s essential to stick to the marked trails throughout your skiing adventure.
  • Plan for Emergencies: Carrying a basic first aid kit, navigation tools, and an emergency whistle is advisable when immersing oneself in the remote areas of the park.

Rafting on the Flathead River

Flathead River In The Fall

My pulse quickens as I consider the Dual thrills and serenity offered by the Flathead River, a natural masterpiece winding alongside Glacier National Park’s borders. The lively currents provide a canvas for both adrenaline junkies and those seeking the milder joys of a scenic float. With authentic Glacier National Park attractions at every bend of the river, rafting here is a vivid dance with the park’s wild heart.1

Visitor Tips

  • Selecting Your Excursion: Local operators are ready to offer tailored adventures, whether you’re out for a spirited session of navigating the rapids or a peaceful journey amidst nature’s grandeur.
  • Safety Essentials: Be it the thrill of white-water rafting or the calm of a gentle float, safety vests and expert guides are a non-negotiable part of the experience, ensuring that the adventure remains a joyous memory.
  • Match Experience to River Sections: The Flathead River is segmented by class of rapids. Novices may enjoy the Upper Middle Fork’s easier waters, while veterans might seek the challenge of the Lower Middle Fork’s thrilling rapids.
  • Plan for the Weather: The crisp waters can feel invigorating under the Montana sun, but colder days on the river call for wetsuits and a bracing spirit.
  • Booking Ahead: During peak seasons, the allure of these Glacier National Park adventure experiences drives demand high, making advance bookings essential.
  • Preserve the Beauty: The Flathead River’s ecosystem is as precious as it is pristine. I take care to follow leave-no-trace practices, keeping the waters clean for fellow adventurers and the thriving wildlife.
  • Photography Prep: Waterproof cases for cameras or phones allow me to capture the majestic surroundings without risking water damage during my aquatic exploits.

In its rush and roll, the Flathead River carves a corridor of unmatched beauty, offering one of the most iconic Glacier National Park attractions on offer. A rafting voyage here is to dip one’s oar into the vivifying spirit of the wilderness, emerging invigorated, with a wealth of tales awaiting the campfire’s glow.


As my journey through Glacier National Park draws to a close, I am left with a profound appreciation for the boundless beauty and quiet majesty it encompasses. It’s a place where each path leads to another captivating Glacier National Park photography spot, offering a unique tableau etched against the Montana sky. I’ve stood witness to grand glaciers, engaged in enriching ranger programs, and felt the thrill of adventure on the open trails, all while enjoying the Park’s exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities that make this destination genuinely extraordinary.

The memories I’ve collected are as diverse as the landscape itself—from the reflective stillness of Lake McDonald at sunset to the soul-stirring sight of Grinnell Glacier, each moment has added depth to my experience. The thrill of witnessing a grizzly from a safe distance and capturing that perfect shot of Wild Goose Island are treasures that solidify this adventure in my mind, reminders of the park’s indomitable spirit.

In essence, Glacier National Park is a canvas upon which nature has lavishly splashed her finest hues. It’s a place where wilderness speaks both of serenity and raw power, beckoning explorers to return to its welcoming arms. Whether you seek solitude or camaraderie with fellow adventurers, Glacier National Park’s resplendent vistas and soul-enriching activities promise an encounter with the wild that one is unlikely to forget. Indeed, this is a corner of the world where the wild’s call is persistent and alluring, a call to which I, and many others, will surely return.


What activities can I do in Glacier National Park?

Glacier National Park is brimming with activities including scenic drives on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, hiking diverse trails such as Grinnell Glacier and Iceberg Lake, wildlife viewing in Many Glacier, boating on Swiftcurrent Lake, stargazing at Logan Pass, fishing, camping, horseback riding, and engaging in winter sports like cross-country skiing.

Do I need a reservation to drive on the Going-to-the-Sun Road?

Yes, during peak seasons a vehicle reservation is required for the Going-to-the-Sun Road. I recommend checking the park’s website for the most current information regarding reservation openings and road conditions.

What are some family-friendly activities in Glacier National Park?

Families can enjoy boat tours on Swiftcurrent Lake, ranger-led programs, relaxing at Lake McDonald’s shore, the easy Trail of the Cedars, kayaking on Two Medicine Lake, picnicking, and wildlife watching, all of which cater to visitors of all ages.

Where are the best spots for wildlife viewing in the park?

The Many Glacier area is renowned for wildlife viewing, where you might encounter grizzly bears, moose, and mountain goats. It’s important to view animals from a safe distance and to never feed or approach wildlife.

Can I go camping in Glacier National Park?

Yes, the park offers numerous camping options. Campgrounds may be near lakes, forests, or offer mountain views, and advanced reservations are generally recommended, especially in the summer. Always follow Leave No Trace principles to help preserve the park’s beauty.

What are some of the best trails for hiking in Glacier National Park?

Some of the top hiking trails include the challenging Highline Trail, Grinnell Glacier, Iceberg Lake Trail, Avalanche Lake Hike, and the family-accessible Trail of the Cedars. Each trail offers unique views and experiences within the park’s stunning wilderness.

Are there any beginner-friendly hikes in Glacier National Park?

Yes, the Trail of the Cedars is a wheelchair and stroller-friendly loop with a boardwalk path, making it a great beginner hike. Additionally, the hike to Avalanche Lake is also suited for beginners and families due to its moderate difficulty and spectacular scenery.

Where can I find the best photography spots in the park?

Iconic photography locations in Glacier National Park include Wild Goose Island Lookout, the vistas along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and the shores of Lake McDonald, especially during sunset. Bring your camera for sunrise and sunset shots for spectacular lighting of the park’s landscapes.

Is backcountry camping allowed in Glacier National Park?

Backcountry camping is permitted, but it requires a permit and is recommended for experienced backpackers only. The North Fork region is a particularly remote and wild area for backpacking. Always prepare adequately and follow park regulations.

What adventure experiences are available at Glacier National Park?

For those seeking adventure, Glacier National Park offers rafting on the Flathead River, horseback riding on specialized trails, challenging hikes along cliff edges, and backcountry exploring. Winter brings the opportunity for cross-country skiing through the park’s transformed snowy landscape.

Are ranger-led programs available to visitors?

Yes, ranger-led programs are available and cover a variety of topics including wildlife, park history, and geology. These programs often include educational walks and talks ideal for visitors looking to gain deeper insights into Glacier National Park.

Can I go fishing in Glacier National Park?

Fishing is allowed in Glacier National Park’s pristine waters like those found in the Hidden Lakes, and it can be a very serene experience. Ensure you have a valid fishing license and are familiar with the park’s fishing regulations for a sustainable practice.

What options exist for boating in the park?

Boating opportunities include guided boat tours on Swiftcurrent Lake, kayaking and canoeing on Two Medicine Lake, and scenic floats on the Flathead River. Rentals and guided tours are available, providing different ways to experience the park’s waterways.

Is there accessible accommodation within Glacier National Park?

Yes, Glacier National Park houses several lodges, including the historic Many Glacier Hotel. Here, visitors can find comfortable lodging options, meals, and easy trail access. Reservations are typically needed, especially during the primary tourist season.

What should I know before visiting Glacier National Park for the first time?

First-time visitors should be aware of the need for certain reservations, be prepared for varying weather conditions, plan activities according to personal and family abilities, follow safety regulations around wildlife, and ensure they are equipped with the appropriate gear for chosen activities.

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