Since we had a flight voucher from a canceled 2020 trip, we were excited to venture to Glacier National Park this summer. We flew into Seattle and drove to Spokane, the half way point, to spend the night. The next morning was a beautiful drive into Montana to the outskirts of Glacier National Park.
We stayed about 30 minutes outside of Glacier National Park. When we arrived, we stopped at the Apgar Village Shop to talk to a ranger about good hiking options with kids. We also took care of another vacation essential: letting the kids pick out a souvenir at the gift shop. Both of our kids picked stuffed animals (no surprise there). They were happy to have their stuffed animals along as we drove on the Going to the Sun Road.
The skies were foggy and overcast due to forest fires out west. You can see the grey sky in many of our pictures. The park ranger recommended hikes to see waterfalls up close instead of other trails.
We stopped at Lake McDonald on the Going to the Sun Road. It was easy to find a pull-out and park on this part of the park (that’s not always the case at Glacier NP). We were struck by the striking shades of blue and gray. Our son commented that it looked like Wisconsin with all of the trees. Sure, Montana is like Wisconsin, but with incredible mountains and glaciers!
We kept driving up to Logan Pass (6648 feet elevation), which had very crowded parking lots, and oohed and ahhed along the way as we climbed higher and higher. I may have also been leaning toward the middle of the car when we were close to the edge of the road.
We parked at Sun Point and hiked a half mile to Baring Falls. There were a lot of hikers on this trail, so we didn’t really see much wildlife.
Much to Daddy O’s dismay, our daughter and I sang songs from Girl Scouts for much of our hike. It was a fun way to pass the time. The hike from Baring Falls to Saint Mary Falls took some time. Our kids were happy to sit down and take a break at the falls. They even met a squirrel like animal while they were resting (see below).
All in all, we hiked for four miles in about three hours. The kids will tell you that it felt like much longer! As with all of our hikes, we packed snacks and water bottles, so that helped keep us going. We had also packed peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the car, which was great, as we couldn’t find parking at lodges that might have had dining halls along the Going to the Sun Road.
For our second day at Glacier National Park, we encountered rain and fog. The clouds blanketed the mountains in a dreamy way. We tried to find parking for the Trail of the Cedars, but struck out. Instead, we climbed on giant rocks at Red Rock Lake. Daddy O. bravely drove the Going to the Sun Road. At the top it was 42 degrees and foggy. He literally drove through a cloud!! We drove all the way through Glacier and curved around to the entrance at Two Medicine, a more rural, less visited part of the park.
In the cold and rain, we opted for a short hike to Running Eagle Falls. This is a sacred site of the Pikuni people, named after Running Eagle, a woman warrior and well-respected tribal leader.
From there, we circled around the southeast end of Glacier and drove by the Lewis and Clark National Forest and the Flathead National Forest. It was a gorgeous drive.
We ended our day at our VRBO, glad to have a comfortable home-like place where we could throw in some frozen pizzas and relax after a long day exploring.
Our trip to Glacier National Park certainly did not disappoint. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever experienced, and I’m so glad we traveled here as a family.