Nicole’s Travels: Planning A Week in Glacier National Park


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If you know me, you know I love spending time outside. I love to spend time hiking, biking or running outside whenever I get the chance. When my husband and I were trapped inside our apartment for three days straight as the temperatures plunged into the negative 30’s this January, we were dreaming of an outdoorsy vacation. So we took the opportunity to book a trip to Glacier National Park. 

Day 1-3 Two Medicine Lake and East Glacier

We flew into Kalispell and since we arrived so late we stayed the night there. The next morning we stopped at REI to pick up some backpacking meals, camping fuel, bear spray, and a few other things we couldn’t fly with. We also stopped at Wal Mart to buy all of our groceries for the week. Because I’m an OCD planner, I had made a list of what meals we would eat on which days so we knew exactly what to get. 

Our first three nights would be spent at Red Eagle Campground which is a campground on the Blackfeet Reservation just outside of the Two Medicine area near East Glacier. The road through Glacier was still closed due to snow so we drove South around the park and made a few stops at Goat Lick Overlook and a waterfall. Spoiler alert – I love waterfalls and I made my husband pull over at every possible waterfall. 


A roadside waterfall on our way to Two Medicine and our first view of Two Medicine Lake.

A roadside waterfall on our way to Two Medicine and our first view of Two Medicine Lake.

We did a few hikes in the two Medicine area. We hiked up half of the Scenic Overlook, and Running Eagle Falls.


Our short hike to Running Eagle Falls.

Our short hike to Running Eagle Falls.

The next day we did a 9 mile hike up Aster Park and to (you guessed it) another waterfall – Rockwell Falls. 


View from the top of the Aster Park Trail and Rockwell Falls.

View from the top of the Aster Park Trail and Rockwell Falls.

Part of the reason we were going to Glacier was to run in the Vacation Races Glacier Half Marathon. On Saturday we woke up at 2:30 am (!) and made our way to the race shuttles for the 6am start time. The race itself was really tough. I didn’t train adequately and the first 5 miles were up a mountain. The views, however, were stunning. At times I stopped to take a few photos. I would highly recommend this race for anyone who wants to run a half marathon with the most gorgeous views I’ve ever seen. 


Running the Glacier Half Marathon

Running the Glacier Half Marathon

After an afternoon nap we headed back to Two Medicine for a boat tour and easy guided hike to another waterfall! This time the destination was twin falls. Our nap gave us renewed energy so we also hiked to Paradise point in an attempt to see some wildlife – all we saw were a few squirrels and birds. 


Post-Race hike and boat tour to Twin Falls at Two Medicine.

Post-Race hike and boat tour to Twin Falls at Two Medicine.

Day 4-5 Many Glacier and St. Mary Lake


View of Swiftcurrent Lake from Many Glacier Lodge

View of Swiftcurrent Lake from Many Glacier Lodge

After we packed up camp at Red Eagle Campground we drove to Many Glacier. On the drive we saw a black bear, some bison, a few moose, and many cows. Ask me about the cow game if I haven’t told you about it before.


Driving on the really bumpy road to into Many Glacier

Driving on the really bumpy road to into Many Glacier

We arrived at Many Glacier lodge and it was pouring rain. We waited out the rain in the lodge and then hopped on the boat tour across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine.


Lake Josephine (you can see the Salamander Glacier in the mountains) and Grinnell Lake.

Lake Josephine (you can see the Salamander Glacier in the mountains) and Grinnell Lake.

Then we went on a guided hike to Grinnell Lake. Unfortunately Grinnell Glacier was inaccessible due to dangerous trail conditions. The guided hike was really fun and the view from the Lake was incredible. Definitely my favorite waterfall of the entire trip! We also took a quick detour to Hidden Falls. 


Waiting for the boat at Lake Josephine and Grinnell Lake.

Waiting for the boat at Lake Josephine and Grinnell Lake.

We set up camp at St. Mary Lake and called it a night. The next day we drove back to Many Glacier for a hike to Iceberg Lake. This 10 mile hike was gorgeous. We hiked through alpine meadows, waterfalls, forests and even some snow to get to a secluded lake.


Stunning views on our hike to Iceberg Lake.

Stunning views on our hike to Iceberg Lake.

The lake is in a bowl so it is shaded most of the year preventing the snow from melting. The snow slides into the lake making it look like there’s icebergs in the lake. We would have loved to stay at the lake for awhile but it started to rain pretty hard and I was getting cold and hungry so we kept moving and had a delicious lunch at Nell’s. 


Iceberg Lake

Iceberg Lake

We drove back to St. Mary and explored a few spots there like Sun Point and Wild Goose Island overlook before we headed back to our campsite for an early night.


Gorgeous views of St. Mary Lake

Gorgeous views of St. Mary Lake


Wild Goose Island overlook at St. Mary Lake

Wild Goose Island overlook at St. Mary Lake

Day 6-7 Going to the Sun Road and Lake McDonald

We woke up early to pack up camp and eat breakfast before heading up Going to the Sun Road – the main road through Glacier – which had just opened two days prior. The views up the road were unworldly. Beautiful cascading waterfalls, snow-capped mountains, and glacial fed lakes and streams filled our views.


Hike to Bearhat Mountain from Logan Pass Visitor Center

Hike to Bearhat Mountain from Logan Pass Visitor Center

We arrived at Logan Pass (the continental divide) around 6:30am. We wanted to do the hike to Hidden Lake before it got crowded. Though this hike was only a few miles it took us about three hours because the entire hike was up a snow/ice covered hill which made it very tricky.


Hiking through ice and snow to get to Bearhat Mountain/Hidden Lake.

Hiking through ice and snow to get to Bearhat Mountain/Hidden Lake.


Bearhat Mountain and hidden lake surrounded by fog-filled valleys.

Bearhat Mountain and hidden lake surrounded by fog-filled valleys.

I definitely fell a couple times! The end goal was worth it – hidden lake and Bearhat mountain were stunning. Fog filled the valleys surrounding the mountain and we saw a Grizzly bear. 


Bearhat Mountain and Logan Pass Continental Divide

Bearhat Mountain and Logan Pass Continental Divide

The drive to the west side of Glacier was amazing. I can’t even describe it. I made my husband pull over at a few scenic overlooks to take more photos of waterfalls. We had a sunroof on our rental car and at times we had to close it to prevent some roadside waterfalls from getting us wet! 


Going to the Sun Road views

Going to the Sun Road views

We stopped at the Trail of the Cedars to do a hike to Avalanche Lake. When we got to the lake I took off my shoes and waded into the ice cold lake. Five stunning waterfalls spilled down the mountainside into the lake. 


Waterfalls on Going to the Sun Road and at Avalanche Lake

Waterfalls on Going to the Sun Road and at Avalanche Lake

We set up our camp in Fish Creek Campground which is on Lake McDonald – the largest lake in Glacier. We spent the evening eating Ice Cream in Apgar and playing cards next to the beach. 

Our last day in Glacier was really relaxed. My feet were exhausted from all the hiking so we spent the afternoon kayaking on Lake McDonald. We kayaked past a Bald Eagle and its nest and afterwards enjoyed more ice cream on the beach. 


Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald

The next morning we woke up to some thunderstorms and quickly packed up camp before it started hailing. We made our way back to Kalispell to catch our flight. 


Many Glacier Lodge and Swiftcurrent Lake

Many Glacier Lodge and Swiftcurrent Lake

Overall, we had so much fun. Despite the fact that it rained almost every day, we were prepared for the cold and our tent stood up to the weather. I think if we could go again we would go in August or September instead since many of the trails were still inaccessible due to ice and snow. We would also spend another day in Many Glacier. If you are planning a trip to Glacier let me know! Would love to give you some more details and extra tips! Happy travels!

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