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Itenerary for 3 day stay Glacier National Park

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Itenerary for 3 day stay Glacier National Park

We are traveling up from Grand Teton National Park with our 14 year old son. Can you suggest an itinerary for our 3-day stay, homebase in whitefish? Interested in a couple of the nicest 3-8 mile hikes. Our vacation is fast approaching, August 5-8 in Glacier NP. Much appreciated!

New York
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1. Re: Itenerary for 3 day stay Glacier National Park

Whitefish is quite a drive to Glacier. You will spend most of your day in the car. And the most beautiful park of the park is on the East side in Many Glacier. That is probably 4 hours from Whitefish. I found the lines waiting to get into the park entrance very long and that was in late June. I can't imagine what they are like in August. I would stay in the park and not have to deal with that. Or at least stay closer to the park in West Glacier or on the east side in St Marys. There are some nice hikes in the woods on the west side of the park before you get to Going to the Sun road, but nothing like the spectacular hikes in Many glacier with all the mountains around you. At the north end of Lake McDonald we did John's lake Loop and Sacred Dancing Cascade and McDonald Falls. That's 3 miles. Then we did Avalanche Lake and Trail of the Cedars - 2 miles one way. At Logan Pass Visitor center (probably a 3 hour drive from Whitefish) hike to Hidden Lake - 1 and 1/2 miles one way.

We did our longer hikes in Many Glacier, but unless you stay on the east side, you won't have time for that. Excellent book on hikes is Glacier Day Hikes by Alan Leftridge and Glacier National Park by becky Lomax.

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2. Re: Itenerary for 3 day stay Glacier National Park

Barbobgyn, Thanks so much for your reply. We will definitely take your advice and get a place in the park. Still need to decide what to do on each day so we will read up on Many Glacier. The hiking book will help.

Have you stayed any place in East Glacier or St. Mary's that you would recommend?

Thanks again!

New York
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3. Re: Itenerary for 3 day stay Glacier National Park

East Glacier is a little far south and probably an hours drive from Many Glacier. I would stay in St Mary's or in Many Glacier (national park lodging). We stayed in St Mary's at Johnson's of St Mary's Campground but in their cabins. They have 3 very cute, new, very nice cabins set up on a hill overlooking the mountains. Refrig and microwave. Very clean. Beds were very comfortable (two queens).

There is also the St Mary's Resort which has alot of options, but pricey. I think we paid about $150 a night for the cabins. The lodging in Many Glacier is old and spartan. But we looked inside the Swiftcurrent motor inn lodging as well as the Many Glacier Lodge rooms and they weren't bad. I'm just not sure how quiet they would be. We loved the cabins because we had no one up against our bedroom wall. I have pics I can email you if you want of the cabins. They were really quite nice. Barb

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4. Re: Itenerary for 3 day stay Glacier National Park

Stay in the park if you can , and on the east side.

St. Mary's resort, Glacier trailside cabins(both outside the park), any glacier park property inside the park (many glacier area) best places to stay for proximity to best hiking.

In many glacier: grinnell glacier, iceberg lake, the lower trails at the back of the valley.

at logan pass: highline(any distance in and out)

hidden lake

at lake macdonald, avalanche lake

if you have to stay on the west side again try for in the park to avoid the enterance lines..

if no glacier park inc properties are available try apgar village lodge, this is private but adjacent to village inn (a glacier property at the end of lake mac donald) lots of other hikes but these are some of the best for not having to work super hard.....

Charlotte, North...
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5. Re: Itenerary for 3 day stay Glacier National Park

I also agree that staying in the park would be preferable & the hiking suggestions are great. Here are my top choices for easy to moderate day hikes:

Iceberg Lake (9 miles)

Grinnell Glacier (about 7 miles)

Bullhead Lake (6.5 miles)

St. Mary/Virginia Falls (3 miles)

Piegan Pass (9 miles)

Hidden Lake Overlook (3 miles)

Highline Trail (up to 11 miles, probably just a good 7 miles to Haystack Butte and back)

Avalanche Lake (4.5 miles)

If I only had three days in the park, I think I would do the Highline Trail one day, Grinnell Glacier one day, and Iceberg Lake another day. If one or more of those are closed, then I would make Avalanche Lake + Hidden Lake Overlook my alternative.

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6. Re: Itenerary for 3 day stay Glacier National Park


Thank you so much for your reply. The cabins at St. Mary's would be perfect for us, but they are unavailable as were all other suitable in-park lodging options. This was a very last minute vacation. We have reserved the Alpine Motel in East Glacier (trip advisor recommendation). I keep checking for last minute cancellations in the park but have not had any luck.

Are you familiar with any of the boat cruise/hikes that are offered in the park. We are trying to decide between the Many Glacier Hotel (Swiftcurrent Lake), the Rising Son (St Mary Lake) or the Two Medicine options?

Thanks again,


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7. Re: Itenerary for 3 day stay Glacier National Park

I just took both of those boat tours. They were both good and both interesting. The 6 PM St Mary one took you around the whole lake with a stop and walk to Baring Falls, I liked seeing all the perspectives of the lake although for photos I would have picked a morning cruise as much of the lake had bad lighting for the best pictures, St Mary Lake needs to be shot in the morning or sunset. The Swiftcurrent lake cruise was more of a commute in that they went straight across Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes and both were just beautiful. Nice shots of Many Glacier hotel too. You might be taking that one anyway if you are going to hike Grinnell Glacier, or if you hike to Lake Josephine I think you will get much of the same perspective as from the boat. We used the Many Glacier one as a commute and the St Mary one more as a cruise. Can't tell you which one to take, we liked them both, they were different. We took the Lake McDonald one just to kill time waiting for our room and didn't like it at all, boring.

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8. Re: Itenerary for 3 day stay Glacier National Park

Just cancelled our room August 7 at Many Glacier.

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9. Re: Itenerary for 3 day stay Glacier National Park

With respect to the Grinell Glacier hike:

1. Understand that while the boat cuts off a few miles, it cuts off none of the elevation gain. It's a wonderful but somewhat taxing hike.

2. There is no destination to go for, but a few miles after the boat ride ends, the trail opens up and goes along a ridge. You can see Grinell Lake below and mountains all around. The hike would be nice just to walk along that open ridge for a while.

3. I can see absolutely no problems walking back by yourself. Other than the first hour or two when we started (around 8-10 in the morning), the trail was actually quite crowded. We were never alone. Also, if you look it up, Glacier has around 2 million visitors per year, and there is a bear attack what, maybe one every 10 years? If you are hiking alone, make noise. If you do that, you'll be safer than on the highway driving to Glacier.

10. Re: Itenerary for 3 day stay Glacier National Park

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