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Author Topic: Glacier National Park  (Read 3570 times)
stever
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« on: August 01, 2012, 10:38:45 PM »
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Taking a family trip to Glacier in 2 weeks and staying in St Mary's.  Not going to be able to get away for serious hikes - driving and taking boat trips on the lakes.  Any recommendations?
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #1 on: August 02, 2012, 02:02:10 AM »
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Taking a family trip to Glacier in 2 weeks and staying in St Mary's.  Not going to be able to get away for serious hikes - driving and taking boat trips on the lakes.  Any recommendations?

Driving across Going to the Sun Road is spectacular.  But since the road is in a state of constant repair, be sure to check for road closures/times.

At the top of the Road at Logan Pass, there is an easy-to-moderate hike from the visitor center up to Hidden Lake which has a awesome view.

Photographically speaking (if you have the time), Two Medicine Lake is a good sunrise locale as is Lake Saint Mary.  If you make it up to the northwest corner of the Park, Bowman Lake is a good sunset location.  BTW, on the way to Bowman Lake, the Polebridge Mercantile has very delectable home baked goodies.

Be sure to check with rangers regarding bear activity and heed any warning signs at trails.

Weather can range from warm and dry to cold and wet, all in the same day, so take appropriate outdoor wear.

If you are driving to/from GNP, there is no problem with luggage.  But if you fly in, that final leg will be on a regional jet and carry-on space is limited.

Hope this is helpful,

Paul
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 02:07:06 PM by Paul Sumi » Logged

NashvilleMike
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2012, 12:45:06 PM »
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Lots of good options.

1) The Wild Goose Island overlook (near Rising Sun, right off GTTS road) - a very popular sunrise/sunset photo spot; you won't be alone, but one of the great views for sure. Don't miss this one.

2) Logan Pass is amazing, but the parking lot fills up quick.  Reasonable hike up to Hidden Lake from there. Lots of chances to see mountain goats here. The highline trail starts across the road from the parking lot, and is long and at points, quite scary (drop off off the cliff, long way down, right on the edge), but even though you're not likely to do that, at least walk the beginning part of it - great views until you get to the sketchy stuff, where you can turn around.

3) Swing over to the Many Glacier area - really nice shot at the end of Lake Sherburne and the whole area around Switftcurrent Lake is stunning.

4) Two Medicine lake area is nice.

5) If you have the time, as the other poster mentioned, Bowman Lake is amazing. I haven't been back there in a lotta years, but back in the early 90's, the road to get there was essentially semi-graded rocks - brutal hell on cars. I don't know if they've improved it since then. Gorgeous late afternoon/early evening spot with a soft, mellow light that you won't ever forget. It's a bit of a haul though - the aforementioned road is off a north/south running route that intersects with the (rough) terminus of GTTS on the western side. May not be something you've got the time (or the vehicle) for.

6) Bears are to Glacier as summer heat is to Death Valley. Take the warnings seriously, and get bear spray if you're doing any, even short, hiking.

7) Construction this year is on the western half of GTTS road only, so if you're only dealing with up and back to Logan Pass, you won't run into any.

In general, and relatively speaking, I have a personal preference for the eastern half of Glacier. However, if you choose to hop over the hill to the western side, Avalanche Lake is worth the reasonable hike for sure, and if by any chance you can end up introducing yourself to Glacier by driving the GTTS run from west to east, that's the most "amazing" way - with each successive turnout being better than the previous, even when you thought the last one couldn't be topped, until you get to Logan Pass, which to me is just staggering in beauty.

-m


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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2012, 01:37:54 PM »
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5) If you have the time, as the other poster mentioned, Bowman Lake is amazing. I haven't been back there in a lotta years, but back in the early 90's, the road to get there was essentially semi-graded rocks - brutal hell on cars. I don't know if they've improved it since then. Gorgeous late afternoon/early evening spot with a soft, mellow light that you won't ever forget. It's a bit of a haul though - the aforementioned road is off a north/south running route that intersects with the (rough) terminus of GTTS on the western side. May not be something you've got the time (or the vehicle) for.

The road up to Polebridge and Bowman Lake is better than when you last drove it (I was there about this time of the year in 2010 and 2011).  However, I'd still take a sturdy high clearance vehicle (4WD preferable) because it is graded dirt with rocks and potholes.

And it is a LONG way from the more popular (and populated) parts of the park (about 10 miles from the Canadian border).  May be too out of the way for a family vacation, but so worth it for a photography trip.

As always, check with locals for any information on road conditions, etc.

Paul
« Last Edit: August 02, 2012, 02:23:21 PM by Paul Sumi » Logged

stever
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« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2012, 10:03:05 PM »
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thanks, very helpful
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bretedge
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« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2012, 11:15:56 AM »
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Be sure to visit Avalanche Gorge.  Easy access, amazing "slot canyon" with glacier meltwater rushing through it.

The drive to Polebridge is very scenic and you are likely to find something to photograph along the way.

Bowman Lake is outstanding with dramatic views of sharp pointed peaks.  The road isn't too bad at all despite being dirt.  Just take it easy.

Two Medicine Lake provides views comparable to Bowman Lake and there are a few nice waterfalls in the area that are pretty easy to access.

Swiftcurrent Lake affords an impressive and iconic view at sunrise.

St. Mary and Virginia Falls are both easy hikes to beautiful waterfalls.  Busy trail but still worth it.

Logan Pass has been mentioned several times and for good reason.  Go there.

You've got some great recommendations in this thread.  Have a great time!
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francois
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« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2012, 06:48:18 AM »
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Be sure to visit Avalanche Gorge.  Easy access, amazing "slot canyon" with glacier meltwater rushing through it.


Another vote for Avalanche Gorge!
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Francois
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« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2012, 07:51:48 AM »
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Get up and out early and you won't have to worry so much about crowds/parking.  I generally leave 60 minutes before first light.
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dreed
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« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2012, 08:11:11 AM »
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Bowman Lake is outstanding with dramatic views of sharp pointed peaks.  The road isn't too bad at all despite being dirt.  Just take it easy.

Just remember that if you can feel the corrugations then you're not driving fast enough.

But it is often necessary to slow down for corners, etc.

OH! I do not recommend driving north to Bowman lake along "Inner North Fork Road". It winds through a lot of terrain where it is often one car wide and when I drove on it, I did not get the impression that it was maintained - meaning that logs and other things can fall and jut out into the road.
« Last Edit: August 16, 2012, 08:14:03 AM by dreed » Logged
stever
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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2012, 05:53:20 PM »
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thanks again

didn't really get to hike (as anticipated), but encountered some very cooperative goats near the road just below the summit, grizzlies on the hill above the road by Many Glacier Lodge (unfortunatley too far away for good images), and a reasonably cooperative black bear by the road on the way back from Waterton.

the morning boat ride at Waterton was nice with fairly decent light (evening would probably have been better, but too late to get back across the boarder) as was the morning boat on St Mary lake.  also took the boat on Lake McDonald, but this was not nearly as scenic

Hidden Lake trail was closed for bears but wildflowers in bloom and generally beautiful at Logan Pass.

Need to go back again when i can do some hiking
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francois
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« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2012, 01:51:59 AM »
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Thanks for reporting. Glad you enjoyed your trip in Glacier NP, it's a wonderful place.
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Francois
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