Road Trip Part IV: Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park was one of my favorite stops during our road trip. Located in northern Montana just below the Canadian border, Glacier National Park has 25 active glaciers, several glacially-carved lakes, and one scenic byway through the park: Going-to-the-Sun road. We entered through the west entrance of the park at West Glacier, checked into our hotel room at Apgar Village, then without delay started our drive up Going-to-the-Sun road. 

It was the early season at Glacier so there weren’t many people or vehicles around. In fact, the middle section of Going-to-the-Sun road was still closed to vehicles due to snow when we were there. We drove until we reached the road block and parked the car. Them with bear spray at hand, we started our trek by foot down the closed section of the road.

Walking down Going-to-the-Sun road was pure magic. The road was glistening from the last rainfall and the fog dipped deep below the mountain tops. Apart from our footsteps and camera shutters, all we heard was the peaceful sound of nature. McDonald Creek flows adjacent to Going-to-the-Sun road and you could get some great views of the water and the mountains behind it. 

After a few hours of walking, we drove back to Apgar Village just in time for sunset. Our hotel in Apgar is located at the foot of Lake McDonald, and our balcony faced this iconic view of the lake at Glacier. The light was soft and the skies were decorated with pastel clouds. We enjoyed the view while eating snacks and attempting to skip rocks along the shore. Waking up to this view of Lake McDonald was a great treat too.

The next day we drove to the east end of the park before heading to our next road trip destination. We had to loop around below the park from the west to the east end and it took a few hours (due to the road closure of Going-to-the-Sun road). But fortunately we got some excellent views along the way.

Besides Lake McDonald, I had one other ‘must-see’ place in mind at the park. This was Wild Goose Island, a tiny island in the middle of Saint Mary Lake, made somewhat famous for being in the opening credits of The Shining. To our luck, the road to the viewpoint of the island was open and we were able to take in this wonderful scene.

I really enjoyed Glacier National Park although our stay was brief. Because there were few people there at the time, I felt we had the park all to ourselves. I hope to visit again at a time when the park is fully open to get the full Glacier experience.