Day 1 You'll See:
- Museum of the Plains Indian
- Saint Mary Visitor Center
- Going to the Sun Road
- Logan Pass
- Lake McDonald Lodge
Day 2 You'll See:
- Lake McDonald
- Apgar Visitor Center
- Big Creek Education Center
- Camp at Logging Creek
Day 3 You'll See:
- Swiftcurrent Lake
- Swiftcurrent Trailhead
- Many Glacier Horse Stable
Rocky Mountain views, lakeside campsites, and some of the absolute most gorgeous subalpine sites in all of America await on your exciting 3-Day Glacier National Park Adventure! Grab your group, grab your sense of adventure, and let's go!
**One of the most important things to know while planning this trip is that it is highly seasonal, meaning that for a large portion of the year many roads, campsites, lodges, and visitors centers are closed, especially if the inclement weather is expected. Check the conditions before planning, then let us double and triple check!
Museum of the Plains Indian
Before your group heads into the park make a quick pit stop to get more culturally acclimated with your surroundings at the Museum of the Plains Indian. This history museum in North Browning helps 'promote the development of contemporary Native American arts of the United States'. The rich diversity of the Northern Plains Indians (Blackfeet, Crow, Sioux, North Cheyenne, Arapaho, Assiniboine, Crue, Flathead, Chippewa, Nex Perce) are explored through various creative exhibits, art, and architecture throughout.
Saint Mary Visitor Center
Known as the 'east side transit hub', the Saint Mary Visitor Center is an excellent place to stop on your way into the park, the spot offering park information, cultural information, a bookstore and gift shop, and perhaps most importantly, a free hop-on-hop-off shuttle running from here to Logan's Pass and Apgar along Going to the Sun Road. Open late May to early October, this center will show you interactive exhibits on American Indian Tribes, a short film diving further into the heritage called Land of Many Journeys. Depending on the day you can opt-in for Native American Speaks or ranger-led activities as well. Don't forget to fill up on water, use the restroom, and pick up any maps you need before you go! (Use WiFi if you need to before you go, as well).
Going to the Sun Road
This is one of the most iconic attractions within the park, 50 miles (or two hours of driving) of pure Montana countryside bliss. You have two choices of exploring this road, given that it is open and clear during your visit. 1. Take the aforementioned free shuttle to Logan Pass, or 2. Take your motorcoach so you don't have to double back before the day is over. This 'engineering marvel' of a road has no gas stops but has food and lodging choices at Rising Sun and Apgar. Try to stop at Jackson Glacier Overlook for the best photos, Logan Pass for the highest point along the road (6,646 ft), and perhaps at any of the 5 campsites along the way, commonly filled with Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goats.
Once at Logan Pass you will be able to take in some of the most awe-inspiring views in the park. With Reynolds Mountain and Clements Mountain towering over the sweeping fields of wildflowers all about, it is truly an unmissable site. See yellow glacier lilies, alpine plants, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and possibly even a grizzly bear throughout all the meadows while here, all great for the perfect nature photo opp, even more so in the early morning light. Hike Hidden Lake Trail or Highline trail before you leave, and remember that since this is one of the most popular, if not THE most popular, stop in the park, parking spots will be thin and crowds will be thick.
Lake McDonald Lodge - May-Sept
Just about 45 minutes away you will find your lodging for the night, Lake McDonald Lodge. This spot has it all; excellent lakeside views, tasty dining options, outdoor recreation options, and, of course, a comfortable place to rest your head. The lodge itself was built here in 1913, the historic 3-story splendor holding 82 rooms, plus a row of cabins. Choose between Russell's Fireside Dining Room, Luckes Lounge, or Jammer Joe's Grill and Pizzeria for dinner, the latter of which provides all you can eat buffets and make your own pizzas. If you have time in the morning, or even tonight, depending on how your day went, opt in for a ranger-led program, boat tour, or horseback riding adventure.
Wake up and get some Folgers in your cup, today is going to be a busy day! If you didn't get a chance to do some lakeside exploring last night, or if you want to do some more, head out after breakfast. Hiking, boating, horseback riding, and various ranger-led programs can be found throughout this 'west side hub of activity', as well as astounding sights to just sit and enjoy. Plants, animals, chalets, trails, and a U shaped valley caused by glacial carving dot the landscape, all picture-perfect lakeside sights. Oh, did we mention the massive lake itself, measuring up to 10.5 miles squared and almost 500 feet deep?
Apgar Visitor Center
The only difference between this visitor center and the first, Saint Mary's, is essentially just its location. Also on Going to the Sun Road, Apgar Visitor Center will provide your group with restrooms, gift shops, parking, shuttle service, ranger-led programs, and various exhibits and displays on local plants and animals. Grab some maps, grab some water, and grab a couple souvenirs!
Big Creek Outdoor Education Center
This stop will provide your group with important Glacier National Park history, more amazing sights, and of course, yet another learning opportunity. This well-known outdoor center is also the historic Flathead National Forest Ranger Station, a spot once used for fire crews and rangers (1927). Just 20 minutes from West Glacier, on North Folk, the center today serves as a learning center complete with bunks, a dining hall, classrooms, and a 20 ft teepee, all running on generators. Discover Youth Science Adventure Camps, Discovery School, Adult Field Courses, or set up your own custom program or retreat while here.
Camp at Logging Creek
If your group is well prepared and feeling adventurous, plan on camping at Logging Creek. This spot is for serious campers, with no bathrooms, no power outlets, and desolate privacy. That being said, it is also one of the most natural, beautiful, and rewarding spots to camp in the entire park.
If you are not, however, in the mood for backcountry camping, head to nearby Polebridge Ranch Cabins. Here you will still be immersed in nature, with plenty of wildlife nearby, still be unplugged from the world, yet you will have a comfortable spot to rest your head well above the ground.
On your last morning head to the Many Glacier region of the park, on the east side, and see another of the most beautiful and well-known lake spots in the area. The largest hotel in the park, scenic boat tours, outdoor recreation activities, and of course, hiking options are all available here. The lake itself lies at 4,878 feet above sea level, and the surrounding mountain peaks rise 3,000 feet. Enjoy the views of Grinnell Glacier, Mount Gould, Grinnell Point, and Mount Wilbur.
Sweet smelling pine trees, aspen forest landscape, and local members of the community (moose, bear, sheep) will greet you along the path of the Swiftcurrent Trailhead, the entire hike stretching 2.9 mild miles.
*Before or after hiking the trail go to Many Glacier Hotel for a quick meal or boxed lunch!
Many Glacier Horse Stable
If your group has time before heading home try to stop at the Many Glacier Horse Stable, 'The Only Horseback Ride Inside Glacier National Park'. These guided horseback tours connect your group to the ways of the past, show them sites unreachable by vehicle or foot, and teach them the importance of the more unspoiled, natural side of the park.