– Big Bend Glacier National Park –
Big bend is a section in one of the best National Parks in the world, the Glacier NationalParks which is located in the Going to the Sun Road in the US. we shall discuss this interesting park and everything to know about it including the Big Bend Glacier National Park.
In Glacier National Park, there are a plethora of entertaining activities to do! It had long been on our wish list, but we were still unsure what to expect.
However, we can confidently state that it is much beyond our wildest expectations! Hiking, lakes, sunsets, and wildlife.
It was all spectacular.
In a heartbeat, this park surged into our top five national parks.
Even though half of the park was closed for the 2020 season, we had plenty to do during the three days we were there.
We shall list Everything you need to know about visiting Glacier National Park, as well as the greatest activities to do while you’re there..
Where is Glacier National Park?
Glacier National Park is near the Canadian border in Montana’s northwest corner.
Kalispell is 32 miles away, Whitefish is 25 miles away, and Missoula is 137 miles away.
The first thing you should know is that Glacier National Park is an enormous 1500 square miles.
It has the Goat Haunt, The North Fork, Two Medicine, Many Glacier, St. Mary Valley, Logan Pass, and Lake McDonald Valley are among the park’s seven designated locations.
As a result, because it is so spread out, you should absolutely plan your travel itinerary by area.
We’ve included a map that you may add to Google Maps below, as well as trail maps for each location.
Before you go, make sure you read up on the park’s history, since it is fascinating.
They established the park in 1910 as the United States’ tenth national park.
The Canadian and American sides of the park established waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, the world’s first international peace park, in 1932.
Therefore both Canadian and American flags fly at the same altitude throughout the park!
15 Things to do in Glacier National Park
1. Hidden Lake Hike
Make the Hidden Lake trek your priority if you only have a limited amount of time in Glacier National Park.
We met mountain goats and witnessed a spectacular sunset on this hike, making it the finest first day in the park after a long journey!
This climb begins at Logan Pass and is a fantastic value-for-money hike! The trail is only 2.7 miles round trip with 540 feet of elevation gain and is mostly boardwalk.
You have the option of going down to the lake once you reach the viewing deck.
We couldn’t go down because they roped it off due to bear activity when we were there.
However, many people claim that the view from above is the greatest!
2. St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls Hike
The climb to St. Mary and Virginia Falls is completely unexpected and awe-inspiring!
It’s another easy/moderate hike with spectacular views.
Continue on to Virginia Falls after passing through St. Mary’s Falls.
It’s just another one. 8 kilometers with a huge payoff! Virginia Falls was so gorgeous and strong that it felt like they had teleported us to Iceland.
3. Bowman Lake
Bowman Lake is a local favorite and a true hidden gem.
It’s in the park’s North Fork section, which is the least visited part of the park (there are 7 areas total).
While the journey there is dusty and bumpy, it is worthwhile.
You’ll pass through locations that transport you back in time to early settlements before arriving in the town of Polebridge.
Make a point of stopping by and looking around!
Pro tip: Bowman Lake has restricted parking, so once they fill the lot, the route from Polebridge is closed.
To see if the road is open, check the Recreational Activity Board at the Apgar Visitor Center or online here.
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4. Drive Going-To-The-Sun road
The Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park’s most famous picturesque route.
Not only is it the major road for accessing all of the hikes in West Glacier, but there are many pullouts to take in the scenery.
5. Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Creek
The Walk of the Cedars is an ADA-accessible loop trail that is both easy and fun for the whole family.
There are many different trees with explanatory posts along the flat boardwalk.
Avalanche Creek was our favorite part of the trail! Avalanche Creek lies about halfway around the loop, and the water is so clear and blue that it’s quite breathtaking.
6. Avalanche Lake Hike
The Avalanche Lake Climb is a moderate 4-mile round trip with 500 feet of elevation gain that begins at the same location as the Trail of the Cedars hike.
This hike appeared to be very spectacular, with beautiful glacial flow cascading down the slopes.
Unfortunately, after our Highline Loop Hike (below), we arrived in the middle of the day and passed because of the crowds and heat.
We would have gone for it if we hadn’t been so tired!
7. Highline Loop Hike and Grinnel Glacier Overlook
The Highline Loop Adventure is a one-of-a-kind hike!
It runs parallel to the Going-to-the-Sun Road, right along the mountainside.
It truly made us feel as if we were within a 3D image or wearing a virtual reality headset, the sensation is difficult to convey!
Along this walk lies the lovely Granite Park Chalet, which was established in 1914 and is such a unique backcountry lodging.
The Grinnel Glacier Overlook is one of the coolest sights to see on this trip, but you’ll have to work for it because it adds roughly 1.6 miles and a lot of elevation to the journey.
In typical years, you can begin your hike at Logan Pass and end it at The Loop, with a shuttle service returning you to your car.
Unfortunately, shuttles will not be available in 2020, therefore you will have to walk the entire 11.8 miles backward.
However, there are still a few choices for hiking this trail in 2020.
Begin your hike at Logan Pass and continue for 3.6 miles to Haystack Butte.
This makes for a lovely 7.2-mile round-trip hike, which is what we elected to do due to time constraints.
Begin your hike at Logan Pass and make your way to the Chalet and Grinnel Glacier Overlook before reversing your journey (around 16 miles total).
This climb is achievable in a day, but they must well equip you.
We strongly advise against completing the climb and then attempting to hitchhike back to your car for health reasons!
8. Big Bend and Paradise Meadow
Big Bend was our favorite stop on the journey to the sun!
It’s weirdly unmarked, but it’s directly next to the Weeping Wall and has a wide turnoff area.
It has the most beautiful purple flowers and mountain vistas.
You can get a beautiful perspective of the road if you go up a bit on the mountainside, and you can wander in Paradise Meadow if you cross the roadway.
Please take care not to step on any of the lovely flowers.
9. Lake McDonald
When I think of Glacier National Park, the first thing that comes to me is Lake McDonald.
It’s the park’s largest lake and a popular kayaking destination.
Kayaking is not available for the 2020 season, however, Glacier Outfitters on the southwest side of the lake will hire kayaks in the future.
This lake is particularly well-known for its sunrise and sunset, making it a photographer’s dream.
The Apgar Area provided our best vantage point for this.
That the boats aren’t running this season means the water is more tranquil for photographs!
10. Jackson Glacier
Just above Logan Pass, on the Going-to-the-Sun road, there is a brief turnoff to Jackson Glacier.
It’s one of the few (if not the only?) glaciers visible from a roadside pull-off.
Unfortunately, only 26 of the 100+ glaciers that existed when the park was established in 1910 survive, so take in the scenery!
11. Rising Sun
Rising Sun is a lovely part of the park, and it will be the farthest east you may go in 2020.
Rising Sun is a beautiful pit station along the Going-to-the-Sun road, located just off St. Mary Lake.
This town has a General Store that blew us away! We aren’t the kind to buy souvenirs, yet we wanted to buy everything in the store.
The food and snack variety was excellent, and the prices were not at all inflated we couldn’t believe it.
Also, if you’re shopping for Huckleberry Finn merchandise, they offer it all!
12. Wild Goose Island
The Wild Goose Island pull-off is extremely gorgeous!
This position offers picture-perfect views of St. Mary Lake, the surrounding peaks, and, of course, the cute “Wild Goose” island.
13. Polebridge Mercantile
Polebridge Mercantile is a historical general store and bakery in the town of Polebridge.
It’s been operating for almost a century and is a must-see in the park’s North Fork section.
Plus, sample huckleberries if you’re in Montana.
Seriously, it’s like a rite of passage.
Polebridge Mercantile is well-known for its Huckleberry Bear Claws.
And believe me when I say that the taste lives up to the reputation!
Make a point of stopping here on your way to Bowman Lake (you won’t miss it).
14. Explore Whitefish
Whitefish is a charming hamlet located 40 minutes from West Glacier.
You have the option of establishing a base in this town or simply visiting.
Here you’ll find gorgeous stores, delectable eateries, and fantastic coffee shops!
15. Wandering Gringo Burritos
Wandering Gringo, a Mexican food truck, is located right outside the park in West Glacier.
The burritos here are the PERFECT post-hike food, and it’s great not to have to drive all the way to Kalispell for a hot, fairly priced lunch.
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Is Glacier National Park Open?
The park’s west half is currently open, while the east side is not.
We do not expect many Glacier and Two Medicine to open in 2020, according to the park.
You can enter the park by the West Entrance and drive down the Going-to-the-Sun Road until you reach the Rising Sun area when you must turn around.
The east entrance is currently closed and inaccessible.
Also, except for Fish Creek Campground, all campgrounds are closed this season, and the shuttle service is not available.
The National Park Service has a map that shows which areas are open, and you can see the most up-to-date information here.
When in the park, follow social distance norms and wear a mask.
We must all play a role in preventing the spread of the disease and keeping each other safe.
Despite this, the park is theoretically open year-round in normal years, except for periodic snow-related road closures.
You may always check the road condition and get the most up-to-date information by visiting this page.
Camping in Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park camping is a real delight!
We conducted our customary vehicle camping here and had a fantastic time.
However, because it is a national park, you cannot park anywhere.
You must camp at an official campground within the park’s limits.
Outside of the park, though, you can use the iOverlander app to locate free camping locations.
However, there are 13 lovely campgrounds within the park, many of which are very reasonable ($10-$23 per night)! Some are reserved through recreation.gov (which also has an app), while others are first-come, first-served.
We spent all three nights at the Fish Creek campground, which is the only one open for 2020.
Spots fill up quickly, so I recommend refreshing recreation.gov several times and hoping for a cancellation.
Visit the official park site here for full information about camping in Glacier, and this is if you’re interested in backcountry camping.
Best Time to go to Glacier National Park
Summer is the busiest season, which lasts from May through September.
Most roads, treks, ranger stations, and other attractions are open and accessible throughout this time.
If you don’t mind the visitor centers, campgrounds, and other facilities being closed, spring or fall may be good reasons to visit.
The park will maintain this page up to date with current conditions, so check before you go.
Glacier National Park Entrance Fee
A seven-day admission costs $35 from May to October and $25 from November to April.
You can also use your America the Beautiful pass, which grants you access to all national parks for a year.
It costs $80 and is well worth it if you plan to visit three or more parks over the year.
where you can get one.
Animals in Glacier National Park
There are a variety of species in Glacier, but the most common are Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, Mountain Goats, and Mountain Lions.
Before you travel, make sure you keep a safe distance from these animals and that you know what to do if you come across them.
Bear spray should always be carried and you should always be wary of bears.
Here are some bear safety suggestions from the park.
Things to know before visiting Glacier National Park
In the park, cell coverage is spotty.
Only around the Apgar Area did we find a signal.
So plan and make sure you have downloaded offline maps.
Trails sometimes close unexpectedly due to bears, etc., so always verify before you go by contacting or visiting a ranger station.
The Apgar Visitor Center’s Recreational Activity Dashboard (RAD) is an excellent place to find out about the weather, what’s open, parking availability, and road closures, among other things.
You can also look it up on the internet.
Parking lots fill up really quickly.
To guarantee a parking spot, arrive at the hike’s parking lot no later than 7:15 a.m. After 4 p.m., though, is also a nice time.
At the Loop, Avalanche, and Logan Pass, this is extremely important.
Bear spray, mosquito spray, and sunscreen are all must-haves!
Inside the park, there is no gas. If you’re in a pinch, there’s a petrol station right outside the west door.
The Glacier park is really fun when you go prepared but be ready and prepare to avoid you missing out there and avoiding the dangers the park comes with.
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