Top 12 Tips For Visiting Glacier National Park
Get there early. Parking lots for the most popular hikes, like Avalanche Lake, fill fast. Many cars drive Going-to-the-Sun Road before sunrise.
1
Strategize with the parking dashboard. It shows what camps are open, which parking lots and camps are full, and what time lots filled yesterday.
2
Park only in places that are clearly parking spots! If people park their cars in narrow nooks and crannies that aren't parking spots, they get fined.
3
Leave no trace. Many hikes require you to pack out your trash. You can stage nice photos with the colorful rocks, but don't take any.
4
Be aware of dangers. Drowning is the #1 cause of death in Glacier. Pack bear spray and store food in a bear-safe manner.
5
Plan ahead and have backup plans. If inclement weather strikes, or if a parking lot to a hike is full, have a plan B to avoid disappointment.
6
Plan your visit during the right month. Most of Going-to-the-Sun Road isn't open until June or July due to snow. Then often it closes by October.
7
Note that the famous Lake McDonald is open year-round, even during winter!
Take your Glacier welcome sign picture in the West side of the park at the Camas Creek entrance. It is way less crowded than the main West entrance!
8
Make sure you have a reliable car. Going-to-the-Sun Road is a steep drive. AWD or 4WD is useful for remote lakes like Bowman Lake.
9
Note that vehicles over 21 feet long or over 8 feet wide are prohibited from driving a good portion of Going-to-the-Sun Road.
The road to Bowman Lake was rough but doable for an AWD vehicle. A Kia Optima behind us made it but struggled compared us.
I highly recommend avoiding Highway 486, the road from Camus Creek entrance to the town of Columbia Falls. The road has severe washboarding.
10
Stay near the park if you can afford to. It will save driving time and make catching sunrise or sunset so much easier!
11
Pack in layers. The park can be cold even in the summer, especially if the weather changes.
12
For more info about Glacier, see the linked Jumprope and visit my blog!
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