Top Attractions in Glacier National ParkIn a national park with dozens of points of interest and fun things to do, you may have trouble deciding where to spend your time. Here are the highlights for this destination, as chosen by AAA editors. GEMs are “Great Experiences for Members.”
If you came to take in extraordinary natural features, Glacier National Park won't disappoint. Spectacular things to see abound within the park boundaries.
Going-to-the-Sun Road is a Must-See
Begin with a drive along celebrated Going-to-the-Sun Road , a AAA GEM attraction, one of the top things to do in Glacier National Park and arguably one of the most scenic highways in the country. The 52-mile, east-west road cuts through the heart of the park, ascending the Continental Divide and affording views of deep forests, alpine tundra, waterfalls and lakes. The steep, winding, cliff-hugging (and sometimes intimidating) route has a number of pull-offs from which to take in the scenery and snap photos. Since it's the park's main roadway, it leads to many trails and visitors centers. Points of interest and overlooks to glimpse Heaven's Peak and Jackson Glacier are marked along the highway. Don't miss Bird Woman Falls, which drops from a high valley above the road, and the Weeping Wall, where waterfalls cascade off steep, dramatic cliffs and splash onto the roadside.
Spot Wildlife at Logan Pass
Beginning at the park's western boundary, Going-to-the-Sun Road climbs 6,646-foot Logan Pass , which received its name from the park's first superintendent. In this alpine section, you may spot mountain goats and bighorn sheep grazing on the peaks. The Logan Pass visitor parking area offers limited parking; it is recommended that hikers use the park shuttle. Two major trails begin here.
Hike a Trail from Lake McDonald or Avalanche Creek
The road also follows the shore of the largest of the park's 762 lakes, Lake McDonald , the starting point for many trails leading into the surrounding wooded mountains and to plummeting cascades. You can also rent a boat here or opt for a scenic cruise along its clear blue waters. Rustic Lake McDonald Lodge is a great spot to take a breather. Also along Going-to-the-Sun Road is Avalanche Creek , a rushing stream set in a mossy gorge. It's a fantastic spot from which to hike to an even more scenic lake strewn with waterfalls.
Find a Hidden Lake
Two other lakes of note are Red Eagle Lake , set in a mountainous valley and accessed by trail, and incredibly scenic St. Mary Lake , amid steep mountains on three sides and rolling prairie and forested hills on its eastern shoreline. It's the home base for numerous trails, and Glacier Park Boat Co. departs its shores. Hop on board a boat trip that plies St. Mary's windy waters while a narrator points out glaciers, waterfalls and other picturesque or significant sites.
Explore the Many Glacier Region
On the park's eastern side is the Many Glacier Region . Considered one of Glacier's most scenic areas, it encircles Swiftcurrent Lake and includes craggy, snow-covered peaks, rushing creeks and plummeting waterfalls. From this area, you can backpack through the Belly River Country , which will take you into adjoining Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada in Alberta, Canada. Crooked Two Medicine Valley , the park's southernmost glacial valley, rests amid sharp peaks and clear Two Medicine Lake. Trails for hikers and horseback riders begin in the valley and lead to waterfalls and rushing creeks. Aptly named Granite Park is a rocky valley encircled by snowcapped peaks. Accessed only by trail, Granite Park Chalet offers primitive accommodations.
Hotels and Other Places Worth a Stop
Man-made park features include the Many Glacier Hotel , built in 1915 for the Great Northern Railroad on the shore of Swiftcurrent Lake in the Many Glacier Region. Sperry Chalet sits on an alpine ridge overlooking Lake McDonald and the distant Whitefish Mountains. Reached only by trail, it's surrounded by craggy peaks and cascades. Just southeast of the park, giant Hungry Horse Dam lies in the shadows of the Great Northern Peak.
Just outside the park in the town of Kalispell , you'll find the Conrad Mansion Museum , a Victorian mansion built by the town's founder and reflecting the late 1800s. Also in town is the Hockaday Museum of Art , filled with paintings, writings, photographs and vintage maps. Exhibits explore the history of the park.
Head to Browning for a day trip to visit the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, due east of the park. Peruse the Museum of the Plains Indian and explore the cultural heritage of the Blackfeet, Crow, Northern Cheyenne, Sioux, Assiniboine, Arapaho, Shoshone, Nez Perce, Flathead, Chippewa, and Cree tribes. On display are traditional costumes, art and crafts.
See all the AAA recommended attractions for this destination.
Glacier National Park, MT
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255 Montclair Dr. Kalispell, MT 59901