Glacier National Park itinerary - how to see the best of Glacier NP in 1 to 5 days

Glacier National Park Itinerary Ideas from 1 to 5 Days

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Traveling to Glacier National Park and wondering what are the main highlights, how much time you need to visit the park, and what’s the best itinerary to follow? In this post, you can find our experience-based suggestions and Glacier National Park itinerary ideas for one to five days.

Our guest writer Jessica from Bring The Kids spends a lot of time in Glacier National Park with her family and knows the park really well. In this article, she shares suggested itineraries for 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 days in Glacier National Park.

You can also find some practical information for visiting the park, learn how much time you need in Glacier NP, what kind of weather to expect, and what to know about the wildlife… And of course, we also cover the best hikes in Glacier National Park. Find out!

To make your travel planning easier, I also included detailed maps for each itinerary, indicating all the places mentioned in this article. Of course, you don’t have to follow these itineraries precisely, but it gives you a good idea of the main things to do in Glacier National Park and the time you need to see them.

Before we continue with the Glacier NP itinerary suggestions, we share some information and things to consider when planning your trip to Glacier NP. I encourage you to read this first!

Glacier NP Itinerary and Travel Tips – Overview:

How many days do you need in Glacier National Park?

While you can see some of the main landmarks on Glacier NP in just a day or two, I suggest staying for at least 3 to 5 days to really make a Glacier National Park trip worth it.

You need to consider that if you’re driving there, Glacier NP is really far from just about anything. It’s located in northern Montana and the closest airport is in Kalispell, MT. In fact, the park borders Canada and is actually linked to Waterton National Park there. It’s closer to drive here from Calgary (6 hours drive) than from Seattle (10 hours drive).

I’m saying this not to discourage you from visiting, but to encourage you to spend more time in Glacier National Park. You won’t be disappointed!  In fact, I wholeheartedly believe that Glacier is one of the most spectacular of all the National Parks in the United States. It’s well worth the far trip and your precious vacation time.

Avalanche Lake in Glacier NP Montana
Avalanche Lake

Best time to visit Glacier NP

Please note that these Glacier NP itinerary suggestions are valid for the summer months only – roughly from mid-June to mid-September.

The main thoroughfare, The Going To The Sun Road, is only open for a few months in the summer, so plan your trip accordingly. Please check the official website for more information on when the road is open. To give you an idea, at the moment of writing, the entire Going To The Sun Road is only expected to open on June 22.

You can visit the park even if the road is not open. In that case, it’s probably best to base yourself on the west side and explore that part of the park, based on what’s open at the time of your visit.

Because it is so cold here, very little of Glacier NP is open in spring, autumn, or winter. But it’s also the time when you can have the most amazing natural wonders all to yourself. Please check the official website for more practical information if planning to visit Glacier NP in the low season.

Meadow near the Pole Bridge Area in Glacier National Park Montana
Pole Bridge area in summer

What to consider before you take a trip to Glacier National Park 

Like all the best National Parks, Glacier is very popular and can get very crowded in summer.  That means that you need to book your accommodation at least several months in advance.

Both sides of the park have lodging and camping options, but there is much more choice at the Western Entrance. Here you can find the best deals for hotels near Glacier NP.

If you are thinking of camping in Glacier NP, you should know that most areas inside the park have several first-come, first-served campground options. This means that you must arrive early in the morning and it also helps to have a good backup plan in case the campgrounds are full.

Glacier National Park borders Canada and is at a pretty high elevation, so plan for really cold temperatures, even in summer. In July when we visited, there were a few days when all my kids were wearing their winter down jackets and we even got snow at Logan Pass. That being said, we’ve also had scorching hot weather on other trips where we were jumping into every possible body of water. 

So when visiting Glacier National Park, you really have to be prepared for all kinds of weather!

Glacier National Park itinerary and practical tips for your trip
You can find snow even in the summer

What is the best way to see Glacier National Park?

The best way to see Glacier is by driving + hiking. Unlike other parks like Yellowstone or Arches where you can see a lot of the park just by driving, that isn’t the case here, so you’ll have to walk. But it sure is easier to get to the hiking trails if you have your own car and are not reliant on the shuttle bus availability and schedule.

Alternatively, you can opt to take Glacier’s shuttle, but I would only advise this option if you have at least several days to spend in the park.

Make sure that you have sturdy hiking shoes that are well broken in before your trip and are in good enough shape to hike several miles a day to get maximum enjoyment.  

If you’re coming from a much lower altitude, remember to take it easy the first few days and to drink lots of water to avoid altitude sickness. Pack a good reusable water bottle and fill it up on every occasion.

Hiking along Lake Josephine towards Grinnell Glacier
Hiking along Lake Josephine towards Grinnell Glacier

What are the main areas of Glacier National Park?

When you are considering driving through Glacier National Park, your one real option is the Going To The Sun Road.  Only open for a few months a year, this is the main way to connect the East and West Entrances of the park where a majority of the sites and amenities are.  

The East Entrance is made popular by St Mary Lake and the Western Entrance is right next to Lake McDonald

The other main areas of Glacier NP are Many Glacier and Two Medicine on the East side, as well as Pole Bridge on the northwestern side.     

Going to the Sun Road is not to be missed in Glacier National Park
Going to the Sun Road – West Glacier

Where to stay in or near Glacier National Park

In our itineraries below, we have specific suggestions for the best accommodations that suit that specific itinerary best.

If you want to stay inside the park and can get a reservation, Lake McDonald Lodge is the best option on the western side, and St. Mary Lodge – on the eastern side.

Alternatively, you can compare hotels and Airbnbs in the area using the map below.


Do I need to be worried about bears in Glacier National Park?

Bears are very active in and around Glacier National Park.  While you are out hiking and camping, it’s important to exercise caution.  I always carry bear spray with me and make sure that it’s easily accessible in the water bottle holder of my backpack, in case of an emergency.  

We also make sure that we are making enough noise so that animals know we are coming and we don’t startle them.  Truthfully, with 5 kids we make plenty of noise everywhere we go. We’ve never encountered a bear while we are out hiking in Glacier NP, but we’ve met many people hiking just a little ahead or behind us who have seen bears.

On our last trip to Glacier NP, we saw 11 bears from the car and one bear walked through our campground during dinner time. So you always have to be alert and aware.  

Black bear in the wild
Black bear

Glacier NP entrance fee and passes

Just as most American National Parks, Glacier also offers several ticket options. You can get a 7-day pass for 35 USD per vehicle/family or a yearly pass for 70 USD.

Alternatively, get America the Beautiful annual pass. It is by far the best option if you are visiting several National Parks in the same year.

TIP: If you are looking for ideas for other great National Parks to visit not too far from Glacier, please check our suggestions for Yellowstone itinerary, as well as things to do in Grand Teton NP in one day.

Glacier National Park itinerary for 1 to 5 days

Without further ado, here are our itinerary suggestions for visiting Glacier National Park:

1 Day in Glacier National Park

If you only have one day in Glacier National Park, you are going to need to pack as much in as you possibly can.  Expect this to be a VERY LONG DAY with lots of time in transit, so that you can see as much of the park as possible.

The best way to do one day in Glacier is to start at the East Entrance and work your way over the Going To The Sun Road towards the West Entrance. However, accommodation options are really limited on that side of the park. You could also stay on the west side; it just means you’ll have to do a bit more driving in the morning.

During the summer months, Going To The Sun Road is packed and parking is very limited up at the top of Logan Pass. It’s horrible to get all the way up there to then find out that you can’t find a place to park. To avoid this, I recommend starting your day in Glacier NP very early. 

Logan Pass

Plan on starting your day at no later than 7 am.  While you will see lots of beautiful sights along the Going To The Sun Road, your goal is to make it to the top of Logan Pass first.

I suggest to try and limit your stops and just drive to Logan Pass. Afterwards, you will come back and see a few things along the road, but trust me on this one – start at the top first.

Once you get up to the top of Logan Pass, head into the visitors center and learn a bit about the local plants and animals, as well as the park history.

Mountain goats in Glacier National Park
Mountain goats near Logan Pass

Hidden Lake Overlook

From there, you have a couple of options. The best thing to do is to head west on the trail up the mountain to the Hidden Lake Overlook for a 2.7-mile round trip hike. Along the way, you’ll find spectacular views, a few small waterfalls, plenty of wildflowers and almost always some mountain goats.

Hidden Lake view from the Hidden Lake Overlook in Glacier National Park
Hidden Lake view from the Hidden Lake Overlook

St Mary Falls

After you are done at Logan Pass, head back east (yes, where you came from) to the pullout for St Mary Falls. It’s located about 6.5 miles back down the mountain. Parking can occasionally fill up here as well, but it’s not nearly as crazy as Logan Pass, which is why we recommend visiting them in this order. 

From here, you can take a short 1.7-mile hike to see St Mary Falls.  The highlight of this hike is a raging double waterfall.  Sadly, due to fires in recent years, a good portion of this hike is through former burn areas.  Luckily, this usually means good wildflower spotting along the trail. 

St Mary’s Falls in Glacier National Park
St Mary’s Falls

Going To The Sun Road

Next in your whirlwind day, you’ll keep heading west over Going To The Sun Road. As you cross over the summit of Logan Pass, you’ll have jaw-dropping views of the west side of Glacier National Park.  

From the road, you’ll see several waterfalls that have observation pullouts near them. Plan on pulling out at several of these and taking in the views.

Once you get down into the valley, you won’t be able to see as much because you’ll be surrounded by vegetation.  

Going to the Sun Road is a must in every Glacier National Park itinerary
Going To The Sun Road

Avalanche Lake and Trail of the Cedars

As you head west, 15.5 miles from Logan Pass, you will reach the pullout for Avalanche Lake and Trail of the Cedars.

Trail of the Cedars is a scenic trail that’s mostly on a boardwalk and is suitable for anyone, including wheelchairs and strollers.  Along this 1 mile hike, you’ll be surrounded by giant cedars, with some as tall as 100 feet.

The trail crosses over Avalanche Creek with great views of the gorge above and then loops around in the direction of the Avalanche Creek campground.

Avalanche Lake should be in every Glacier NP itinerary
Avalanche Lake

Lake McDonald

Finish off your day at Glacier NP watching the sunset over Lake McDonald. This is something you should do at least once, no matter how long your Glacier vacation is.

Accommodation. Stay in West Glacier. Or, if you can get a reservation, at the Lake McDonald Lodge, which is one of the best places to stay in Glacier National Park!

Lake McDonald sunset - must see in Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald at sunset

Below you can see the map indicating all the places mentioned in this one day Glacier NP itinerary.

How to Use This Map: Use your computer mouse (or fingers) to zoom in or out. Click on the icons to get more information about each place. Click the arrow on the left top corner for the index. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view the saved map on your smartphone or PC, open Google Maps, click the menu button, and go to ‘Your Places’/’Maps’.


2 Days in Glacier National Park

If you have two days in Glacier National Park, plan on spending one day on each side of the park. Below is our suggested itinerary for the best way to see Glacier NP in two days.

Day 1:  East Glacier

Start your day by heading up to Logan Pass and hiking to the Hidden Lake Overlook, as described in the one day itinerary above. After you finish your hike, walk north of the visitors center and cross the Going To The Sun Road and stroll around looking for bighorn sheep. There are a few small herds that hang out in this area right at the top of the summit. 

Head back down east and hike to St. Marys Falls and Virginia Falls.  The trail is almost 1.5 miles to St Mary’s Falls and then an additional mile to Virginia Falls.   

Travel all the way over to the west side of the park, watch the sunset over Lake McDonald. and stay the night there.

Accommodation. If you are booking long in advance, try Lake McDonald Lodge, if you are camping – Avalanche Creek Campground (first come, first served). Alternatively, you’ll find a somewhat bigger choice of accommodation at West Glacier or Coram, just outside the park.


Day 2: West Glacier

Start your day with a hike through the Trail of the Cedars and then on up to Avalanche Lake.  The trail is about 4.5 miles and a good portion of it is right along Avalanche Creek, which makes the scenery absolutely amazing.  This trail is very well-traveled, so the earlier you come here, the less crowded it will be.  

Next, head towards John’s Lake Loop where you’ll get some great river and waterfall/cascade views. It’s an easy short hike – perfect for families with kids as well.

Finish off your day by heading into the town of West Glacier for any- and everything huckleberry (pies, shakes, ice cream, candy…they’ve got it all!)

Accommodation. Same as the previous night.

Avalanche Creek - Glacier National Park
Avalanche Creek

Here is a map indicating things to do in Glacier NP in two days.


3 Days in Glacier National Park

Spending three days in Glacier National Park will give you time to get a bit off the beaten path and discover some of the hidden gems that make this park so spectacular.

If you have three days in Glacier NP, I suggest you follow our 2-day itinerary as described above, but start with West Glacier first. Below is our suggested three-day Glacier NP itinerary.

Day 1:  West Glacier

John’s Lake Loop, Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake. Watch the sunset over Lake McDonald. See the second day in the 2-day itinerary for more details.

Accommodation. Stay in West Glacier or at Lake McDonald Lodge.

Day 2: East Glacier

Start out early in the day so you can make it up to Logan Pass and still find parking. You should try to start your day by 7 am.  

Hike to Hidden Lake Overlook. Alternatively, if you want more challenge, you can hike all the way down to Hidden Lake (5.5 miles round trip).

Head east to Rising Sun and take a boat ride out on Saint Mary Lake.  The boat will dock at the end of the lake so you can quickly hike up to St Mary’s Falls and Baring Falls, and/or Virginia Falls.

Accommodation. Stay 2 nights at the east side of Glacier NP. Keep in mind, that accommodation options at this side of the park are very limited. St. Mary Lodge has the best location, if you can get a room. Alternatively, you can also try East Glacier.


Day 3: Many Glacier

Many Glacier is also located at the east side of Glacier NP, but getting there will take some time. Count about 45 minutes driving time from St. Mary or 1,5 hrs from East Glacier.  Once you turn off the highway towards Many Glacier, the road is often very bad with lots of ruts and potholes. 4×4 hasn’t been necessary when we traveled there, but you’ll have to drive really slow here.

From Many Glacier, the two best hikes you can choose from are Iceberg Lake (9.7 miles RT) and Grinnell Glacier (7.6 miles RT).

Iceberg is the more strenuous of the two hikes. The hike to Grinnell Glacier can be significantly shortened by taking the ferry across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. The Hike to Grinnell Glacier is alongside water most of the time, so make sure to take bug spray as the mosquitoes can get really bad.  

Once you get back, head in the general store at the Many Glacier base area and grab some Huckleberry soft serve ice cream.  

Swiftcurrent Lake - Glacier National Park
Swiftcurrent Lake

Below you can see the map, indicating things to do in Glacier National Park in three days.


4 Days in Glacier National Park

If you have 4 days to spend in Glacier National Park, you can see so many of the different parts of the park and understand what makes this park so amazing. Since Glacier is so spread out, 4 days is really the minimum that you need in order to see all four major areas.  

3 days of this itinerary are the same as the three-day Glacier NP itinerary described above, but I suggest a bit different order. Find out!

Day 1:  West Glacier

John’s Lake Loop, Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake. Lake McDonald. See the second day in the 2-day itinerary for more details.

Accommodation. Stay in West Glacier or at Lake McDonald Lodge.

Day 2: East Glacier

Logan Pass, Hike Hidden Lake Overlook or all the way down to Hidden Lake for more of a challenge. St Mary’s Falls by either hiking or taking the boat from Rising Sun. Baring Falls. See the second day in the 3-day itinerary above for more info.

Accommodation. Stay in St. Mary or East Glacier for 3 nights. There are campgrounds available on this side of the park as well.

Day 3: Two Medicine Lake

Hike to Aster Falls for a simple easy hike to see the waterfalls (3 miles roundtrip).

Rent a boat at Two Medicine Lake and paddle around.  Canoes, rowboats, and small motorboats are all available to rent.  

End your day at Two Medicine with huckleberry ice cream at the general store.  

Day 4: Many Glacier

At Many Glacier, consider hiking up to Iceberg Lake or to Grinnell Glacier and Grinnell Lake.  Both of these hikes will take a good portion of your day. 

If you have extra time or are looking for a break from hiking, rent boats at Swiftcurrent Lake and paddle around.  Canoes, kayaks, and rowboats are all available to rent.

Grinnell Lake in Many Glacier area in Glacier NP Montana
Grinnell Lake – Many Glacier

Below you can find a map indicating what to see and do in Glacier in four days.


5 Days in Glacier National Park

If you have five days in Glacier National Park, you can see all the major areas mentioned above. In addition, you also have time to tackle one of the most spectacular hikes in the park – the Highline trail.

Now, I’ll be honest – this trail is not for the faint of heart.  It’s narrow and is carved into the edge of a cliff for the first half mile or so. If you have a fear of heights like I do, it will feel like ten miles.  It scared me to death, but my kids and husband have all declared it one of the coolest hikes that they’ve ever done.

Since most of these places have already been described above, here is just a short itinerary on how you could spend five days in Glacier National Park.

Day 1: Many Glacier

Iceberg Lake or Grinnell Glacier/Grinnell Lake.

Accommodation. Stay in the East Glacier area for 3 nights. Try St. Mary or East Glacier. There are several campgrounds available on this side of the park as well.

Day 2: Two Medicine

Hike to Aster Falls or up to No Name Lake. Paddle around Two Medicine Lake on a rented boat or take a guided boat tour across the lake.  

Day 3: East Glacier

Head up the Going To The Sun Road to Logan Pass (leave early or plan on taking the shuttle) and hike to Hidden Lake or the Hidden Lake Overlook Trail. Hike to St Mary’s Falls and Virginia Falls. See 2-day itinerary for more information.

Day 4: The Highline Trail

Pack up early from East Glacier and head towards Logan Pass by 7 am. Park at Logan Pass or continue down the west side to the parking area for The Loop. Take the free shuttle back up to the pass and hike the Highline Trail.

The hike ends at the Loop, so it’s easy if your car is already there. Otherwise, you’ll have to take the shuttle back to Logan Pass.

As I mentioned above, this trail is not for the faint of heart, as the cliffside trail drops off over 100 feet.  However, despite the crazy path, this trail will undoubtedly give you some of the best views in all of Glacier National Park. The trail is highly traveled and is over 13 miles long, ending down at The Loop pullout in West Glacier.

After a long day of hiking, spend the night in West Glacier.

Accommodation. Stay in West Glacier or at Lake McDonald Lodge for 2 nights.

Day 5: West Glacier

Hike Trail of Cedars to Avalanche Lake and John’s Lake Loop. Head over to Lake McDonald Lodge and rent a paddleboard to paddle around the lake for a couple of hours. Watch the sunset from Lake McDonald Lodge over the lake.  

The Highline Trail is one of the best hikes in Glacier NP
The Highline Trail

Below you can see the map of this suggested 5-day Glacier National Park itinerary.


Glacier NP itinerary – a final word

So, these are our itinerary suggestions for how to see the best of Glacier National Park in 1 to 5 days. As you can tell, there is really a lot to see and do in Glacier National Park.

Obviously, there is so much more to this park than I have covered in this post. But after several trips to Glacier NP with our family, these are the areas and hikes that we keep being drawn to do over and over again.

If you can stay in Glacier longer, do it! The park is really big and every area has so much to offer. The more time you have, the more you can experience, and you can also take more time to really enjoy each place. Rent a boat, watch a sunset, and enjoy your vacation in Glacier NP!

READ ALSO: Yellowstone & Grand Teton Itinerary



How many days do you need in Glacier National Park?

While you can see the main landmarks on Glacier National Park in just one or two days, 3 days is really the minimum in order to explore several of the nicest areas. We recommend staying for 3 to 5 days to really make a Glacier National Park trip worth it.

What is the best time to visit Glacier National Park?

The best time to visit Glacier National Park is in summer, between July and mid-September. That’s when the main road through the park – Going-to-the-Sun Road – is reliably open and you can explore the park to the fullest.

What should you not miss in Glacier National Park?

When visiting Glacier National Park, don’t miss the Going-to-the-Sun Road and Logan Pass. Also Hidden Lake Overlook and Lake McDonald are must-see. Swiftcurrent Lake at Many Glacier is also very nice and easy to visit without having to hike.


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Glacier National Park itinerary
Things to do in Glacier NP in one to five days

Image credits: Jessica from Bring The Kids + Pixabay & Unsplash


  1. Thank you for this great guide to the park. I have taken copious notes. Our whole family is planning to go, and we all have different hiking abilities. I had planned to skip the Highline Trail, until someone suggested hiking just a mile or two, then turning around! I can do that, if it means getting to see the sights. Can’t wait to see Glacier! Best wishes.

    1. Author

      Glad you found this useful, Sue. Have a wonderful trip to Glacier NP!

  2. Hi Jurga, right now it’s the beginning of Feb 2021 and my friends are deciding between visiting in July and staying in a vacation rental just outside the park or going in August and camping inside. Is it worth waiting an extra month, so that we can camp and avoid wait times to enter the park each day? We plan on staying 5 days. Thanks!

    1. Author

      Hi Nick, I really don’t know. I guess it’s all about what you prefer – camping or accommodation. It’s going to be busy either way – Glacier NP is only fully accessible for a few months in the summer, so both – July and August – will be crowded.
      Also, it’s a big park and so no matter where you stay, you’ll have quite some driving to do if you want to visit other sides of the park. So I don’t think that it makes that much difference unless that accommodation would be very far away and camping very centrally located. Maybe you’re better off looking for 2 different locations to stay in the areas you want to see. That could save you quite some driving.
      Good luck!

  3. Hello, we are spending 6 nights at Glacier National Park in September, and just found out the part of Going to the Sun Road will be closed, and the entire east side of the park will be closed. Is six nights too long to spend on the west side? We have 2 nights just outside the park, and 4 nights at Lake MacDonald Lodge. We are interested mostly in hiking, relaxing, etc.

    1. Author

      Hi Ursula, sorry to hear that about the closures. It’s just a special year and in Glacier, many places indeed close early already anyway…
      It’s hard for me to say how much time you need as everyone travels differently. Many people just tick boxes and move on, while others enjoy a quieter vacation and like to explore deeper. And Lake MacDonald looks like a fab place for that. Also, in the mountains, so much depends on the weather.
      If you have the time and it’s all booked already, why not just go with the flow and make the best of it. I’m sure that the staff at the lodge will have plenty of suggestions for you.
      Have a wonderful trip.

    2. Ursula, be sure to check the website. I read that GTTSR will be open most of the way from the west entrance to within 5 miles of St. Mary.

  4. My wife uses a mobility scooter to get around. When she was younger she and her mom drove the Going to the Sun Road. She wants to visit it again. Your 1-5 day itineraries involve a lot of walking or hiking. She cannot do that. What can we see from the car and how can we see the best areas by driving?

    Thank you,

    Jon Bjornson

    1. Author

      Hi Edward, there seem to be quite some places that are accessible for wheelchairs and scooters along the Going to the Sun Road. From what I understand, the park shuttle is also accessible.
      You can find all the details for wheelchair-accessible sights on the official website of the National Park Service.
      Hope this helps. Have a great trip!

  5. This is so much great information. Thank you! I will be going to Montana for 2 months beginnng next month. I’m currently booked for 10 days in Whitefish and the remainder in Bozeman. Do you think that’s enough time in Whitefish or should I stay longer? My schedule is very flexible. Also wondering if I should book some time in Big Sky to have closer access to Yellowstone? Would really appreciate your thoughts!

    1. Author

      Hi Jennifer, this sounds like an amazing trip and more than enough time to explore the area! I haven’t been to Whitefish, but heard great things about it (mostly about winter). I’m sure you’ll find plenty of beautiful hikes and nice activities to keep you busy there.
      As for Bozeman/ Big Sky, if you have so much time in that area, why not stay closer to Yellowstone for at least a week (you can find some suggestions in this guide – where to stay in and near Yellowstone). It’s a huge park and driving distances/ times take longer than you’d think. So the closer you are, the easier it will be to explore.
      We have lots of articles and info for visiting Yellowstone. Check it out for more information!
      Have a great trip.

  6. Enjoyed your post and review of the more popular hikes in GNP very much. We’ve visited four times in the last 10 years and have enjoyed many of the aforementioned hikes. One hike I would definitely put at the top of the list is Highline Trail at Logan Pass. While the entire trail is nearly 15 miles long and challenging in parts, most hikers will be able to enjoy fabulous scenery within the first mile or two from the Logan Pass access. This portion along the Garden Wall is something every visitor should experience. Just walk as far as you’re comfortable, then turn around and go back to Logan.
    Please be advised some things will be different this year due to ‘rona. Boat and bus tours, camping and bus shuttles may not be available this year. In addition, major road construction is planned in the Many Glacier area that could lead to significant delays. Check the park’s website for the latest updates.

    1. Author

      Thank you for sharing your favorite hike in Glacier NP and for the link to the current situation updates.
      Enjoy the summer!

  7. We are flying into Montana on the 28th of June and Staying in Columbia Falls. With the park only partially opening on June 8th we aren’t exactly sure what trails are open yet. I’ve been checking out the glacier national park website but find it confusing to navigate. Have you recently ventured into the park since the June 8th opening. I’m curious if you can shed some insight into what trails are accessible and open that you have suggested for the three day glacier tour. Thank you in advance for any help you may be able to offer.

    1. Author

      Hi Candice, I really do not know any more than the official information. The best you can do is check this website for the most up-to-date info about what’s open or not. There is a link to a map that shows what’s open at the moment, but keep in mind that it will probably change in the next few weeks.
      So I’d say not worry about it too much now and just check how the situation is when you get there.
      Enjoy your trip!

  8. Hi! This is a great article! Thanks. We plan to spend 2 nights at Many Glacier Hotel since we were told this is the best area of the park. We will be arriving from Whitefish. Do you suggest we drive early in the morning the first day directly to the East side of the Park or do we drive from the West side and drive Going to the sun road until we get to Many Glacier? We do not have accommodations on the West side of the park so we will need to be back at Many Glacier Hotel when we finish our hikes every day. The day we check out we are going to Flathead Lake area. Thanks.

    1. Author

      Hi Andrea, I really don’t know. Why don’t you just wait and decide on the day itself? If the weather is really nice, then maybe you want to drive the Going To The Sun Road without postponing it. (assuming that the road will be open then)
      When I look at the map, it seems to me that it could be a really nice drive from Whitefish via Lake McDonald, and via the Going To The Sun Road to St Mary and from there to Many Glacier. A long drive with lots to see along the way – seems perfect to me.
      And then the next day, you can quietly enjoy the area around your hotel before having to drive again the day after. I know I’d rather have a quieter day in between all the driving. But, once again, see how the weather is and decide when you are there.

  9. Thanks for the great post! Our trip of two couples is coming up in July and all your information was so helpful! Very, very well done!

    1. Author

      Hi Catherine, thanks for your feedback and glad to hear you found this useful. Fingers crossed the National Parks open up by the summer and you can enjoy your Glacier NP vacation!

  10. Do we really need sturdy hiking shoes for Glacier NP? Aren’t simple sneakers sufficient?

    1. Author

      Hi Julie, it’s really your choice and, of course, it depends on what you’re planning to do and which hikes you’ll do. We always pack sturdy hiking shoes for any hiking trips, but I’ve seen people hiking the most challenging trails with sneakers or even flip-flops… But in some cases, it might be really dangerous… So if you ask my opinion, I would say, pack good hiking boots if you are planning to do any longer hikes.

  11. Thanks for the tips for Glacier NP – very useful, just as your Yellowstone itinerary. Do you think it’s easy enough to drive from Yellowstone to Glacier NP in one go?

    1. Author

      Hi Chloe, it is doable if you start at the west or north side of Yellowstone and stay on the east side of Glacier NP. The drive (without any stops) would be about 6 hours, so definitely doable in a day if you don’t mind sitting in the car that long.
      If you are driving to the western side of Glacier NP, that would add an additional hour to your drive. So also doable.
      Just one tip – for both parks, you really have to book your accommodations asap! In the above article, we have some suggestions on where to stay for visiting Glacier NP and here you can find some suggestions for where to stay near Yellowstone.
      Enjoy your trip!

  12. This is wonderful information, but how/where might I find suggested itineraries for seniors whose maximum hike would be 1 -2 miles?

    1. Author

      Hi Debby, sorry, but I can’t help you much there. You’d have to research Glacier NP easy hikes and see which ones are doable for you. I think that most stops along the Going to the Sun Road should be ok and you don’t have to walk far to enjoy it. In fact, you don’t even have to drive if you join the park shuttle bus. There are quite some things in this itinerary that don’t require much walking either, so you just have to pick the places that interest you most and suit your interests and physical ability.

    2. At Logan Pass, just walk around on the paved trail around the visitor center; still great views. At Many Glacier, hike towards Redrock Lakes; even if you do not go all the way, it is beautiful. Also, take the boat trip and do the short hike to Grinnell Lake, or even just stay on the boat! At Two Medicine, take the boat ride. If you can, do the hike to Upper Two Med; if not, do the hike to Twin Falls. I think you can take a boat ride on St Mary Lake and walk a shorter distance to the falls, but I am not sure. One of the best short hikes uses the shuttle. Park at Sun Point and hike to the trail that goes to St Mary Falls, but do not go to the falls; instead, turn right and do the short climb to the road and take the shuttle back to Sun Point. If you go to Polebridge, be sure to stop and get food at the Merc. Drive on to Bowman Lake and walk a short way along the shore trail. As you can see, I think the boat rides are one of the best things a non walker can do to see the park, in addition to driving the road across the park.

  13. Thank you for the comprehensive blog on GNP. I just wanted to ask if someone to go in the first week of May, would a majority of places be open?
    Else what do you suggest – any other national park during that time ?

    1. Author

      Hi Rushil, May is not the best time to visit Glacier National Park, because most of the roads will still be closed (more info here). The same counts for Yellowstone that just slowly starts to reopen in May (more info here).
      If you are looking for a nice area to visit in May, you better look into Utah and Arizona: Grand Canyon, Sedona area, also Moab with Arches NP and Canyonlands NP are excellent choices during that time of the year. Also Bryce and Zion National Parks are great in May.
      Hope this helps. Enjoy your trip.

  14. I plan on going for about 4 days 3 nights, out of all the places you mentioned are there absolute most places you were recommend out of all 5 days?

    1. Author

      Hi Steve, the way these itineraries are made, we already listed the best places for every duration of the trip. So take a look at the 4-day suggested itinerary and see if it appeals to you or if you’d rather change something (just keep in mind driving distances between different areas).
      Enjoy your trip!

  15. This is an incredible post. I have taken copious notes and so look forward to the trip and following your recommendations. I will write back later after the trip for any updates and potential edits for you. Thanks!!!!

    1. Author

      Thank you, Steve. It would be great to hear any tips or observations you have after your trip. I’m sure it would help other readers tremendously.
      Enjoy your time in Glacier NP!

  16. your post are very comprehensive and enjoyable to read you do such a great job of pointing out all the small details that add to the trip I have a question if you get the time I have a fear of heights that affects my driving can the shuttle be utilized effectively to see most things on your four day itinerary ? thanks for the info and happy travelling

    1. Author

      Hi Harry, yes, from what I see, you should be able to see most of those places by taking the shuttle as well. Here you can find a map with all the shuttle stops – it should help you plan your time in the park.
      Hope this helps.

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