It’s impossible for us to choose a favorite national park in the US, because they are all so stunning in their own way. But Glacier National Park is definitely one of our favorites! (I know, I know… I tell this about each one, but this time I really mean it… :D)
Montana is a sparsely populated state anyway (no wonder… 8-9 months of winter – are you kidding?! :D), so it’s not hard to feel being out in the wild. But Glacier National Park is especially a place like that: the peace of its crystal clear lakes hidden among the high peaks are burnt into our hearts forever.
Driving along Going-to-the-Sun Road is quite a pretty way to experience this park, but we couldn’t imagine visiting Glacier and not getting into the wild! Though we know that this list is far from complete, but here’s a taste of the most wonderful day hikes: our 3 favorites.
1. Grinnell Glacier Trail
Crystal clear blue lakes, snowcapped peaks, random waterfalls feeding from snowmelt, colorful carpets of wildflowers… oh, and a glacier. All of this is Grinnell Glacier Trail in early July.
This hike just couldn’t disappoint you! No wonder that it’s one of the most popular ones in Glacier. It’s relatively steep, but it’s so scenic all the way that whenever you have a rest stop, you can be sure that you will have a breathtaking panorama.
We read some suggestions before our visit that we better try other trails, because Grinnell Glacier is too busy. And though I agree it’s a busy trail, but we didn’t care about it at all when we were there, because we were fascinated! So I still recommend it with all my heart.
And there’s also one advantage of a busy trail: lower chance to bump into a grizzly bear. 🙂
Trailhead: Many Glacier Area, parking lot after passing Many Glacier Hotel
Length: 6.8 miles round-trip
2. Highline Trail to Granite Park Chalet
Highline Trail is probably the most popular and the busiest trail in Glacier, but it is for a good reason!
Though there’s no lake views, it’s very scenic all the way and its breathtaking panorama views of all the high peaks are hard to beat. We’ve seen millions of wildflowers while doing this trail in July, a lot more than on any other trail.
You also have very high chance to bump into a bunch of mountain goats and marmots on your way.
There’s different options for doing this trail. You can do it as a loop, because there’s a shuttle stop not far from Granite Park Chalet and the shuttle will take you back to the trailhead (Logan Pass Visitor Center).
We chose to hike back to the trailhead on the same route and it was such a good decision! There were hardly any people on the way back by late afternoon (almost everybody takes the shuttle, yepp) and we found that ‘solitude among the high peaks’ feeling.
There’s a very short and very steep detour on this trail which leads to the Grinnell Glacier view where you can look down to the glacier. Stunning!
Trailhead: Logan Pass Area, Logan Pass Visitor Center
Length: 15.2 miles round-trip to Granite Park Chalet and back (11.6 miles taking the “Loop” from Granite Park Chalet towards Going-to-the-Sun Road and go back to the trailhead by shuttle bus)
3. Cracker Lake Trail
If you have ever seen pictures of Cracker Lake, you’ve probably thought that there’s no way it has that color, it looks so unreal… But it does have that color, that special mixture of green and blue we’ve never seen anywhere so far!
The trail takes you through a valley, crosses a charming crystal clear creek and some meadows carpeted with wildflowers. And then comes Cracker Lake.
Unlike Grinnell Glacier or Highline Trail this one is not a busy trail at all, we hardly met anybody.
Trailhead: Many Glacier Area, behind Many Glacier Hotel
Length: 12.2 miles round-trip
Do you have any favorite hike in Glacier? Is Glacier on your list?