Located in Montana and established by President William Howard Taft in 1910, Glacier National Park is the seventh oldest National Park (behind Yellowstone 1872, Yosemite 1890, Rainier 1899, Crater Lake 1902, and Wind Cave 1903) and the 12th largest at 1,013,128 acres. Glacier NP is the 10th most visited of the 58 national parks with an average of 2,965,000 visitors per year.
As the name suggests, much of Glacier National Park was formed by Glaciers, thus having over 130 named glacially formed lakes. The most popular activity in the park is hiking, but cycling Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass from the east or west is an extraordinary bike climbing experience.
THINGS TO DO IN GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
CYCLING IN GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Cycling the best of the Rocky Mountains,
Logan Pass -- Going-to-the-Sun Road -- an epic and all-time US cycling climb.
This extraordinary bike climb is located in the heart of Glacier National Park and just shy of Going-To-The-Sun Mountain, in the Central Montana subrange of the Rocky Mountains. Logan Pass is very windy, but cycling is permitted with the following restrictions per the National Park Service:
For safety and to ease congestion, restrictions are in effect on sections of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, from June 15 through Labor Day:
From Apgar Campground to Sprague Creek Campground bicycles are prohibited, both directions, between 11 am and 4 pm.
From Logan Creek to Logan Pass east-bound (uphill) bicycle traffic is prohibited between 11 am and 4 pm. Start early! It takes about 45 minutes to ride from Sprague Creek to Logan Creek and about three hours from Logan Creek to Logan Pass.
Construction of Going-to-the-Sun Road was completed in 1932, and the road was later designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark. Going-to-the-Sun Road is the only road that traverses Glacier National Park, and it crosses the continental divide at Logan Pass.
Cycling Logan Pass West -- the more scenic of the approaches.
Ride 10.8 miles gaining 3,163’ at 5.4% average grade.
Entering the canyon from the west.
Ride 6.8 miles gaining 1,877’ at 5.2% average grade.
Going-to-the-Sun Road eastern approach from Saint Mary Lake.
HIKING GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Hiking is the most popular recreational activity in the park. Learn more about hikes in the park by visiting the website of Jake Bramante, the first person to hike all 734 miles of the trails in Glacier National Park. Other exceptional hiking resources are: hikinginglacier.com, Bramante’s Top 10 Hikes, and Hiking Glacier’s Top 10 Hikes.
Highline Trail (11.8 miles gaining 1,950’ to 7,280’)
This extraordinary hike begins at Logan Pass and the Continental Divide. Highline Trail is one of the most popular and scenic trails in Glacier National Park. Lock your bike and hike, or take the free park shuttle to access the trailhead. You can watch some cool YouTube video of the hike here. Our research suggests this is generally considered the best hike in the park. Other hikes that begin at Logan Pass and overlap Highline Trail to varying degrees are: Grinnell Glacier Overlook (15.5 miles gaining 2,830’ to 7,510’), and Haystack Pass (7.2 miles / 825’ elevation gain to 7,024’). The Grinnell Glacier Trail hike is 10.3 miles, but you can cut off seven miles by taking boat rides across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine.
Trail of the Cedars: This is a mild and short hike that leads to a footbridge over Avalanche Creek that offers panoramic views of the gorge and Avalanche Lake and also a waterfall that is surrounded by rainbow-colored rocks.
OTHER ACTIVITIES IN GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Lake MacDonald is the largest of many lakes in the park and is the center of many activities, including hiking, boating (Glacier Park Boat Company Tours), horseback riding, ranger presentations, and more.
WHERE TO STAY WHEN VISITING GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Inside the park, Lake McDonald Lodge has excellent accommodations, or the less upscale option is always camping -- it is a national park afterall. Outside of the park, PJAMM has stayed in Whitefish and Kalispell which are close to the western park entrance.
HOW TO GET AROUND IN GLACIER NATIONAL PARK
Get around the park by bike, car, or the free Glacier National Park shuttle service.
West Side Service
Apgar Visitor Center to Logan Pass
Shuttles approximately every 15 to 30 minutes.
Express service to Logan Pass begins at 7:00 am.
Full service to all stops begins at 9:00 am
Last shuttles leave Logan Pass at 7:00 pm
Transfers may be required at Avalanche Creek.
East Side Service
St. Mary Visitor Center to Logan Pass
Shuttles approximately every 40 minutes.
Service begins at 7:00 am.
Last shuttles leave Logan Pass at 7:00 pm
Beware that during peak season and mid-day, shuttles may be too crowded to board, leaving you waiting for the next shuttle. Try and use the shuttle early in the day -- that has been our most efficient strategy at national parks offering shuttle services.