Glacier National Park

If you know us at all, you know that we have had a love affair with Glacier National Park since our first visit in 2011.  We love this park so much that this marks our ninth visit.  We had actually not planned to come here this year, but we were so close that we couldn’t resist the draw.  Every other time we have been to Glacier has been in the spring or summer, so we were excited to see what fall had to offer.  It did not disappoint!  The bright yellow trees were spectacular and the light crowds were the icing on the cake.  If you ever consider a visit here this time of year, though, know that it is not a “shoulder season.” Mid-October is firmly the off season.  The few campgrounds that are still open are only open partially and only on primitive status (meaning no hosts, no water, no dump stations, pit toilets only) and all the hotels/motels, stores, and restaurants in the park are shuttered.  For us it was great, but if you are looking for amenities, there are none!  Even the visitor center is only open on Saturdays and Sundays this time of year.

This was a quick visit for us.  We only had three full days in GNP, and one of those days was spent traveling into a nearby town to get the oil changed in the truck.  You read that right…we took the truck in to get the oil changed instead of doing it ourselves.  It gave Jeff hives to take it in to someone else, but changing it ourselves on the road is difficult.  Finding a place that will allow you to do it is a real struggle, and we just weren’t able to find a good option in the area.  We didn’t want to put on too many more miles before it was changed, so into the dealership it went.  We did make the most of the day, though, by exploring the area around our campground in Apgar Village before and after the appointment. We also drove the Camas Road in an effort to see wildlife. We failed on the wildlife front, but did enjoy some beautiful mountain views! Anyway, that ate up most of one of our days in the park (and wouldn’t you know it was the day with the best weather), so we were down to two days.

Our top priority was to drive Going to the Sun Road.  We have driven it once before, and rode a shuttle across it once, but because it has rarely been open for the season yet when we have been here, coupled with size restrictions that eliminated us from driving it when we had the Alaskan truck camper, it had been a really long time since we had been across.  We were finally within size restrictions and it was fully open for this visit, so off we went!  The weather wasn’t the best.  Clouds were low, and when we got to the top at Logan Pass, it was completely socked in and raining and snowing.  We did get a few peeks through the clouds and the sun made brief appearances, so it was still an amazing and worthy journey for the day.  We both agree that in all our travels, Going to the Sun Road is definitely among the most scenic and amazing drives we have ever taken.  We made lots of stops along the way and walked the short Trail of the Cedars, which is one of our favorite places!  It is a walk through the easternmost rainforest in the United States, and while it is a tiny area, the giant trees, dripping water, and muted light give it a fairy-tale like feel.  If you are ever in Glacier, DO NOT miss it!

Our one other remaining day had less than great weather also, so we opted to drive into the community of Polebridge.  Technically, Polebridge is not in the park; it is located in the remote North Fork area, one mile from the park boundry.  It is completely off-grid, and the road getting there is mostly gravel/dirt, so it feels like you have accomplished something when you arrive!  The hub of the community – The Mercantile – bakes up some of the best sandwiches and pastries you will ever taste; their huckleberry bear claws are amazing!  We always enjoy getting some treats, lounging in the area while we enjoy our purchases, and then walking around a bit to see what they have changed since our last visit.

This is the first time we have ever come to Glacier National Park and not done a ton of hiking.  It almost feels like cheating!  Or maybe like we didn’t even really visit!  It is a shame to not get on some of the over 700 miles of trails this place has to offer, but we knew it was to be a short visit and we are ready to get to some new places and explore some new things!  We won’t reveal our next stop, though…

Watch to see why Glacier will always be one of our favorite parks!

Until next time!

3 thoughts on “Glacier National Park”

  1. That Trail of the Cedars does look pretty special, just in the one image!

    Nine times in GNP? Do they give you something cool for your 10th visit?

    No mention of Huckleberry Ice Cream. Did you get some, or not?

      1. Pretty sure if you show them the documentation, the 10th visit will be free!

        Tell them you read it on the internet, so it must be true!

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