back to articles | April 04, 2023 | Moses Mwangi

Categories: Useful Automotive Information

Glacier National Park: The Ultimate Road Trip Guide

Glacier National Park ranks as one of the most beautiful drive regions in the United States. It features majestic views at almost every corner of its environment. The national park promises to provide the best and most memorable road trip possible.


Whether you want to explore beaten paths, scenic drives, or even go hiking, the park has it all. Do you want to have an almost perfect Glacier National Park road trip? Here is the ultimate guide to a successful and memorable trip.

The best way to reach Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is situated in Northwestern Montana. To get to the park, you can fly or drive. If you live in nearby regions, driving is the best option. You can begin driving from major centers like Spokane, Canada, or Missoula. On the other hand, flying is the best option if you stay in faraway regions. The best thing is that Glacier Park International Airport is available for you in Kalispell.

The best time to take your Glacier National Park road trip

Summer is the best time to take your Glacier National Park road trip. The warm weather ensures that all park's facilities and roads will be open for you. During seasons such as winter, you will find that most park services, such as lodges, are unavailable. Glacier National park remains fully open between June and October. During those months, the park can be crowded. If you want to avoid crowds, visit in September.

How to get around the park

The best way to experience Glacier National Park is by vehicle. Driving around will ensure you can dictate your schedule and set your pace. Thus, rent an outdoorsy car, like a camper van, for your road trip. Alternatively, you can explore the park in your dream car. Traveling in your own vehicle gives you a high sense of freedom and opens up the possibility for many adventures along the way. Looking to buy a new car? Get up to 4 offers in a minute.

Also, it would be best to consider starting your days early during the road trip, as parking can be a nightmare during peak seasons. If you start early, you will not need to circle the parking lots as you search for a vacant space.

Where to stay

Glacier National Park has in-park accommodations open from May to September. The park's most popular rooms are Lake McDonald Lodge, Many Glacier Hotel, Granite Park Chalet, Village Inn at Apgar, and Sperry Chalet.

You can also opt to stay on campgrounds. Camping at the park provides an excellent opportunity for adventurous individuals to add fun to their trip. One thing to note is that many campsites in Glacier open from June to September. Also, there are times when the park will close campsites because of bear activity.

These campsites include St Mary, Many Glacier, Fish Creek, and Apgar. Make sure to book six months in advance to get a camping ground.

Where to eat while in Glacier National Park

One primary thing to note is that many restaurants in the park are open during the peak season, that is, summer. Thus, some of the best places to eat in the park are Moose Saloon, Café Kandahar, Eddie's Café & Mercantile, Jammer Joe's Grill & Pizzeria, Two Medicine Grill, & Whistle Stop Restaurant. Note that some places may not open during other seasons, like winter, so park your drinks and food if possible.

Top things to do at the Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is the perfect place to road trip as there are numerous activities you can do. Here are the top things to do at the park:

Drive Going-to-the-Sun Road

If this is your first time at Glacier National Park, this drive should be one of the first things you do. The road comprises a 50-mile scenic drive that cuts through the middle of Glacier National Park. If you plan to visit the park during summer, have entry tickets to go through this road.

Going-to-the-Sun road provides the perfect introduction to the park. Ensure you make stops along the way to enjoy the fantastic scenery. Some of the most remarkable stops to make include:

  • Jackson Glacier Overlook
  • Wild Goose Island
  • Sunrift Gorge

Go hiking

Glacier National Park is the place to be if you are a hiking lover. It boasts short and easy trails where you can have an all-day adventure. Glacier National Park has over 700 miles of marked hiking trails.

Some of the trails to take include:

Avalanche Lake: Avalanche Lake trail has a 4.5-mile hiking trail in the Lake McDonald area. On this trail, you can enjoy watching the western hemlock trees, ancient red cedar, Bearhat Mountain, and Avalanche Lake. This trail can be a terrific way to relax after a drive.

Grinnell Glacier Viewpoint: It consists of an 11-mile trail that starts at the Many Glacier Hotel. This trail has one of the bluest waters available. You can consider dipping your toes in the water and taking a moment to enjoy the fantastic scenery.

Highline trail: It is a 12-mile hiking trail that starts at the Logan Pass Visitor Center. This hike is an incredible addition to your to-do list. It boasts breathtaking vantage and grassy meadows.

Drive to Two Medicine Lake and see the sunrise

Two Medicine Lake is the best place to see the sunrise. It has less traffic compared to Many Glacier. Thus, expect to see the sunrise in a serene environment. The magnificent sky color, still waters, and sunrise provide one of the most breathtaking places to be.

Explore the North Fork Area and West Glacier area

The North Fork Area and the West Glacier Area have a lot of remarkable areas where you can go fishing and camping. On that drive, you can visit Lake McDonald. The lake is one of the popular regions in Glacier National Park. You can enjoy incredible boating activities while taking in the colorful rock scenery. Also, check out Bowman Lake for amazing views and the best camping site.

Take a trip to Waterton

Waterton is a small town an hour from St. Mary's Visitor. It is perched on the scenic Waterton Lake. Take a two-hour boat tour of this town to relish the most amazing scenery. Waterton is one of the must-see sites when you go to Glacier National Park.

To enjoy the boat tour, get your tickets at the marina and ensure you arrive 45 minutes before departure. During the tour, you can see some amazing wildlife.

Explore Many Glacier

Many Glacier is another must-visit area. It is a gorgeous section of Glacier National Park and is the best place to see wildlife, like mountain goats and grizzly bears. In addition, Many Glacier has many hike trails and lakes, including the Iceberg Lake. A hike to the Iceberg Lake can take you through one of the bluest colored lakes in the park, wildflower meadows, and gorgeous mountain range views.

Bottom Line

Glacier National Park is one of the most scenic places you can visit. It has millions of acres filled with incredible lakes, meadows, and wildlife. The best time to plan for your road trip to the national park is during the summer when all roads are open.