The rocks are red, teal, and purple. The water is a crystal clear, clean, no-smell-shade of blue that you’d only picture in a Magical Fairy Tale forest.
This Park is seriously enormous. Before going myself, I thought, “oh sure, it’s big..not going to be anything like our little parks here in PA..” But even though I thought that I would be prepared, I most definitely was NOT. This park is huge! Try staying in the park and driving 1-2 hours + to each and every trail head or point of interest.. and then don’t forget that same distance back to where you call “home.” There are over 700 miles of trails at GNP.. yeah, you get it now.. This place is enormous.
A stop at the cherry groves for a fresh basket of cherries before entering the park property will get the senses going.
I mean look at that scenery! With my pink sweatshirt, I am practically blending in with the wild flowers on the trail. This area was marked with frequent grizzly bear crossing caution signs. Yikes! Always have bear spray on hand and remember to keep talking and making noise to make your presence known. Another tip for this popular Two Medicine Lake hike, which is over towards the East side of the park– consider taking the boat across and then hiking back to the parking area. We did the reverse of that, thinking that we would have time to quickly hike up to Twin Falls while waiting for our return boat. The joke was on us as we missed the next three boats back – the first one because we were not punctual and then the two to follow were filled with people holding round trip tickets, which get to board before one way ticket holders. We finally returned about 2.5+ hours later on the last boat of the day. We hiked roughly 8 miles that day doing one way in and the additional ~2 miles roundtrip to Twin Falls.
I love variety. GNP kept any mundane feelings at bay since every single hike we did was completely different scenery than the last. Trail of the Cedars was our first hike in GNP, and much more of a “beginners” hike. I will forever remember that cedar smell meshed with the flowing Caribbean blue colored water running beside the trail as we hiked up to Avalanche Lake.
There are two Main Lodges at GNP. One is in Many Glacier (pictured above) and the other is the Lake McDonald Lodge on the West side of the park. I would definitely consider staying in one of them on a return trip. Complete with expected lodge style motif, they are very cute. Good places to stop in and check out the lobby, use the restroom, or book a ride on the Going to the Sun Road.
There are a few options of which red bus tour you can take around the park. We choose the one that went to Logan Pass along the Going to the Sun Road. When we left Lake McDonald Lodge, it was about 58-60 degrees. Then we climbed several thousand feet as we wound around the mountain, eventually arriving at Logan Pass. When we reached Logan Pass, the ground was covered in snow; the temperature had dropped significantly – down to about 40 degrees (it was July!). The red buses are equipped for hot or cold weather. The roof canvases can be opened or closed, and there are complimentary wool blankets to drape across your lap. Along the way, you can definitely feel the elevation change, as you wind up the road close to the edge the entire time. There are more waterfalls to be seen along the way. The views are outstanding.
All in all, we didn’t see nearly as much wildlife as we thought that we would. We at least saw the Big Horn Sheep family, a mountain goat, a black bear – which I’m glad was not while we were on a trail..some deer, and a badger. There are more eyes watching you here than you see eyes. Glacier National Park definitely proves in all it’s might that bigger IS better.