Let me start this by saying I could write 100 posts on Glacier National Park, and I would still have more to say about this wonderful place. Glacier is hands down my favorite place on this planet and nothing will ever change my mind. Go ahead and try, but you will be wasting your time.
Here are the top 6 places of interest (in my opinion) you need to visit on your first visit to Glacier National Park.
6. Cattle Baron Supper Club
When heading to the Many Glacier side of GNP, you will pass briefly through Babb. Where the road forks to head to the park or continue to Babb, there is a place you MUST stop and have dinner: Cattle Baron Supper Club. Is it a little pricey? Sure is. Is it worth it? SURE IS. Vegetarians, skip to number 5, sorry. This is probably the best steak I have had in my life, and your girl here loves a good steak. I even took a picture of the food before I ate, and that is something I NEVER do. Definitely check this place out when you visit Glacier National Park.
5. Avalanche Lake Trail
This is the most liked trail in the park, per AllTrails, and for a very good reason. Most of the time, hikes to a point of interest can become monotonous. However, on the Avalanche Lake Trail, there is constantly small points of interest for you to relax, catch your breathe, and enjoy the views. AllTrails gives the hike a moderate rating, but I would rate is somewhere between easy and moderate. We hiked this trail in the morning, around 10:00am, but I would suggest hiking this trail in the afternoon. As you can see from my picture of the lake, the sun’s positioning is just not ideal in the morning. My parents went during the afternoon when they visited GNP, and their pictures had much better light quality. Also, prepare to circle and circle and circle the parking lot for quite a while to find parking.
4. Baring Falls | St. Mary Falls | Virginia Falls
I grouped these three together because you can visit all three falls in one hike! We started at the Sun Point parking area. First stop is Baring Falls. The hike to Baring is very short and sweet. After that, you head towards St. Mary Falls along St. Mary Lake. After a good little hike, (nothing too strenuous!) you make it to St. Mary Falls. Once you cross a bridge, take a few photos, and eat a little snack, it is time to head to your last destination. After a little uphill hiking (again, nothing too strenuous!), you make it to Virginia Falls. Personally, I think if you make it to St. Mary Falls and want to head back, that would be worth the hike. St. Mary’s is for sure the best out of the three waterfalls. There are several different starting points for these waterfalls, but I feel this is the most efficient way to see all three in one hike. For some reason, I do not have a picture of Virginia Falls, but pictures of the other two falls are below.
3. Boat Ride | Hike to Twin Falls
On our last full day, we headed down to the Two Medicine section of Glacier National Park. We were curious and asked how much boat tours cost. We were surprised they were only $13(ish) dollars. We had not taken a boat ride yet, so why not!? The boat ride included a ride across the lake and a short, easy hike to Twin Falls. The hike was nice and we learned a lot of facts and history about the Two Medicine area of Glacier National Park. There are several different boat/hike combination tours throughout the park. However, I suggest this one because there were no crowds and it was one of the least expensive tours.
2. Ptarmigan Falls Trail
Ptarmigan Falls is a stop along the trail to Ptarmigan Tunnel. Unfortunately, the trail to the tunnel was still closed due to snow and there were bears on the way to Ptarmigan Lake, so this is as far as we could go. Even though the waterfall is a little lackluster (you can not really see it from afar, only from the top of the falls), the hike itself gives you some AMAZING views of the park. The first section of the trail is steep and a little rough, but once you are finished with this first section, the hike is a breeze. Once to the top of the falls, there are plenty of areas to rest and enjoy the sound of the waterfall. This is definitely a must do hike when at Glacier National Park.
1. Polebridge | Bowman Lake
Mark my word, I will live here one day. The only thing stopping me is that my body does not like to function when it is less than 40 degrees Fahrenheit, and it gets COLD in northern Montana in the winter. This teeny, tiny town in Glacier is the most magical place I have ever seen. There is not much here other than a bakery, restaurant, and a few places to stay. We stayed at the North Fork Hostel & Square Peg Ranch. I LOVED this hostel, and it is completely different than any other place I have ever stayed. It is important that you research this hostel ahead of time though because it is not for everyone. There are outhouses and limited times during the day when there is electricity. Back to Polebridge, it is a rough ride to get here. There were small sedans that were driving to and from Polebridge/Bowman Lake, so it is possible for almost any car to make the drive, slowly. We drove to Bowman Lake and spent a bit wandering around. It is a very peaceful lake and we only saw a handful of people around the lake/camping area. Back in town, we checked into the hostel and headed to eat dinner at Northern Lights Saloon & Cafe. The next morning, before leaving Glacier and heading to Yellowstone, we stopped at the Polebridge Mercantile & Bakery. Even if you only make it to Polebridge for a day visit, go to the Mercantile & Bakery and buy something sweet! This is definitely the best kept secret of Glacier!
Hope you make it Glacier National Park soon! Let me know if you visit any of these points of interest!