This year you need a reservation to enter Glacier National Park between the hours of 6am and 5pm. In order to get said reservation you need to be on the computer at 8am. Jef did this for three days in a row before he got one. They would sell out in 90 seconds. When he got one it was like we won the National Park lottery! If you don’t get a reservation, you have to get up really early or sit in line after 5pm. We were really happy we did not have to do either. This reservation does not mean that the park is free. You still have to pay for the fee each day you go. We bought a park pass, which is $80 and will get you into all the National Parks. It has already paid for itself after a trip to Dinosaur National Monument and two trips to Glacier.
I love Going to the Sun Road. This is only the second time that I was able to drive on it. Last year we were in Montana too early and the road was still full of snow and ice. If you are a person that does not like narrow roads on the edges of cliffs and rock faces, you may want to take one of the buses or guided trips. There are also waterfalls and snow pile up on the side of the road. You can’t always stop to take pictures, so Jef and I drive slow and the person in the passenger seat takes pictures. We were lucky this year on the drive up that it was pretty clear. When we drove back down it was smoky.
We wanted to hike Hidden Lake trail up in Logan Pass because you always see mountain goats when you are on that trail. We had a late start and didn’t get to the parking lot until at least 11:30. The parking lot there is notoriously busy, even with the new reservation system, and we waited at least 40 minutes to take a spot when someone left. The Hidden Lake trail is deceptive in that it is only a mile and a half up. People think that means it will be easy and can be done quickly and therefore are not prepared. )The trail map lists it as challenging.) I saw quite a few people that didn’t even bring water with them or young children that they were carrying down. There is only an elevation climb of about 600ft, but there are a lot of stairs and you have spots in which you hike through the snow. It is a cool trail that changes as you hike, but for the most part, it is a boardwalk with steps. As you get higher it turns a bit rocky with some snow or small streams and areas with small trees. You start to see mountain goats at the snow stage.
We were told that there was a grizzly bear at the lake fishing, but we did not have binoculars so we didn’t see it. The trail down to the lake was closed specifically so the grizzlies could fish. There is a spot at the end of the trail with an overlook and some rocks where you can rest. On the way back down two baby goats crossed in front of us with their parents. We also saw three more goats hanging out by a lake and the goat on the snow was still there cooling off.
The next time we went into Glacier, we took the opposite road to Polebridge. Most people go that way in order to go out on the lakes. We wanted to see the views (it was less smoky that way) and look for wildlife. At the end of the road you’ll find Polebridge Mercantile which sells some tasty baked goods. If you want to go beyond the store though, I would suggest a truck or SUV. The road was very rocky and washed out. We only drove to the Ranger Station because the other road was closed. At the store we purchased Huckleberry cinnamon roll, Huckleberry bear claw, Huckleberry brownie, Huckleberry beer, and a Huckleberry soda. Do you sense a theme? The baked goods were delicious. The soda was a bit too sweet, but we had a good time trying everything.
I love Glacier. The mountains are so beautiful. It reminds me a lot of Switzerland, especially up in Logan Pass. We saw a lot of glaciers from the road, but didn’t take pictures due to the smokiness. It’s difficult to take a lot of pictures unless you do it while driving on the road, but there are some things that you have to experience for yourself. I highly recommend a trip to Glacier National Park. The views are unreal.