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  1. #1
    Senior Member KV's Avatar
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    Glacier National Park

    Heading west in a few weeks. Staying near the west entrance to Glacier. Any suggestions, recommendations, must-see sights? We are frequent hikers, not climbers. TIA
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    Senior Member Amicus's Avatar
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    Many great hikes and views around Lake McDonald, near the west entrance. A big forest fire in '17 denuded lots of that area but that adds to the visibility and there are areas that escaped. You can also catch a boat from the Lake McDonald Lodge, which is nice. Here is a link to the NPS Trail Map for that part of Glacier NP - https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvis...kemcdonald.htm.

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    Senior Member KV's Avatar
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    Thanks Amicus. I've got maps, books, etc. Just wondered if any had 1st hand experience. Cancelled the trip last year b/c of fires, so fingers crossed for the next few weeks. Was wondering about firebrand pass, or hiline trail, or perhaps local faves.
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    Senior Member Amicus's Avatar
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    Our experience is first-hand, as we hiked around there for three days last summer, although not on the trails you name. The trails near the Lake offer great views. John's Lake Loop is a "local favorite" that offers a variety of great sights with slight effort. Avalanche Lake is another justly popular destination there, but tends to be crowded. The trails through the recently burned out areas are interesting, but you get no shade and it can be hot. Some of my photos from the Lake McDonald area here: - https://amicus.smugmug.com/Hiking/20...onald-June-29/

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    Senior Member KV's Avatar
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    Thanks Amicus. LOVE that very first photo. And Sacred Dancing Cascade is earmarked, as are the Lake MacDonald area trails.
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    Member TwinMom+1's Avatar
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    Hi Amicus, I posted our 2017 Glacier experience in detail here which was during a wildfire so lots of areas were closed or evacuated:
    https://www.vftt.org/forums/showthre...ht=TwinMom%2B1


    Highly recommend the Logan Pass/Swiftcurrent loop esp taking in the outlook on Swiftcurrent Mtn and the local guy Buck who lives there. We got evacuated out of Waterton, Alberta in an attempt to hike there but was definitely on our list. Also enjoyed Scenic Point hike (6.2 mi RT, think it was 2700' gain). Note the local car service I listed if you need a car spot as the Nat'l Park Service tries to make this hard and two year ago Uber/Lyft were nonexistent there.

    We also stayed at Sperry Chalet, the one that did not burn, which I loved although if you're a camper you may prefer that option. My database is two years old on this but let me know if you'd like other intel.

  7. #7
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    When exactly will you be out there? Going to the Sun road isn't typically fully open until late June or early July.
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    Senior Member KV's Avatar
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    Dave, we will be there end of June. GTTS Road is currently partially open from both sides, with the Logan Pass the closed section. From what I have researched and from others' kind responses and advice I'm pretty sure we can keep ourselves busy and keep the shutters clicking and feed the soul even if it is still closed by the time we get there.
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    Senior Member griffin's Avatar
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    I highly recommend http://www.glacier.nationalparkschat.com for Glacier-related hikes and other info.

    Assuming Going to the Sun is open to Logan pass, the Highline Trail along the Garden Wall is a fantastic hike. It's 14-ish miles as an out-and-back from Logan Pass (get there early) depending on how far you go. We made use of the shuttles - parked at Logan, hiked the Highline Trail to Granite Park Chalet, down Granite PArk Trail to the Sun Road, and took the shuttle back up to Logan. About 11 miles. Awesome scenery. The last mile or so of Granite Park took us through an old burn-out, and it was fascinating to see how the ecosystem was recovering.
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    Senior Member KV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by griffin View Post
    I highly recommend http://www.glacier.nationalparkschat.com for Glacier-related hikes and other info.

    Assuming Going to the Sun is open to Logan pass, the Highline Trail along the Garden Wall is a fantastic hike. It's 14-ish miles as an out-and-back from Logan Pass (get there early) depending on how far you go. We made use of the shuttles - parked at Logan, hiked the Highline Trail to Granite Park Chalet, down Granite PArk Trail to the Sun Road, and took the shuttle back up to Logan. About 11 miles. Awesome scenery. The last mile or so of Granite Park took us through an old burn-out, and it was fascinating to see how the ecosystem was recovering.
    Thanks for the link. I will def check it out.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member Amicus's Avatar
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    Last year, Going to the Sun Road opened on June 22 - four days before we got there. It is well worth waiting for, and the NPS website gives current status.

    We spent the better part of a day driving to and from and hiking around Waterton Lakes National Park, which is simply Glacier NP on the Canadian side (or you could say vice versa). 90% of its trails were still closed from the huge '17 fire, including the incinerated Visitors' Center (but they had a temporary one in the Village). Luckily for us, the Lower Bertha Falls Trail - a four-mile out-and-back to a couple of Falls - had reopened the day before. Eery walking though stands of charred matchsticks that still smelled of smoke, but the views of the Lake and majestic Prince of Wales Hotel, which was spared, were stellar. The Prince of Wales is the neatest edifice by far in either Park and a great place for a lunch, snack or beverage, with its massive windows commanding great views. Some photos of that day here: https://amicus.smugmug.com/Hiking/20...onald-June-29/

  12. #12
    Senior Member ChrisB's Avatar
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    Carry Bear Spray

    Just an FYI...

    We fly fish and bushwhack in Glacier and I would not venture far from the Sun Road without fresh canisters of bear spray.

    I've never needed to use them but bruins are around and occasionally visible (even at Logan Pass!!).

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  13. #13
    Senior Member CaptCaper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KV View Post
    Heading west in a few weeks. Staying near the west entrance to Glacier. Any suggestions, recommendations, must-see sights? We are frequent hikers, not climbers. TIA

    I'be been there 3 times going again this coming September. Bring Bear spray. Each person his/her own jug. Any hike in Glacier is awesome. Virginia Falls is awesome hiking to from St Marys...many falls and cascades along the way. Hidden Lake from Dawson Pass Visitor center is nice easy but scenic. Also doing the Garden wall 11 mile hike from Dawson pass VC down to the shuttle pickup to bring you back is awesome.

    Many Glacier area is nice as Two medicine. My nephew who we turned on to hiking won the National Park Photo Contest on a hike from the Two Medicine trail heads. I will try to attach I like the East Side more then the West. Better trails and access for parking. I stay in St Mary's at GNP's campgrounds. From there access to these sites are easier.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Amicus's Avatar
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    An avalanche on Going-to-the-Sun Road on Memorial Day stranded 8 cyclists for 8 hours. The linked article also says that the earliest predicted opening date is June 22, which was last year's date. Someone also sent me a 4-second clip of an avalanche about 10 yards from a viewing area on GTTS Road, with impressive sound. I gather it is recent, maybe yesterday, but can't figure how to link it.

    https://flatheadbeacon.com/2019/05/2...arks-sun-road/

  15. #15
    Moderator David Metsky's Avatar
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    A fairly quick hike near the park entrance if you're short on time one day is Apgar Lookout, great views of Lake MacDonald and the mountains behind. Grinnell Glacier from Many Glaciers lodge is a spectacular hike with lots of variety. It may have too much snow when you're there, unfortunately. We did a nice loop in the to Upper, Middle, and Lower Quartz lakes from Bowman Lake. It's a bit of a drive but great for solitude. Stop at the Merc for the Bearclaws! Finally we hiked to Siyeh Pass from the east side of Logan Pass. If the shuttles are running and you have time, doing the full hike back down to the road past the pass would be worth it.
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