National Parks

The Best 3 Day Itinerary for Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park
Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. credit: NPS

Glacier National Park is the crown of the continent protecting one million acres of the Rocky Mountains along the Canadian Border in Montana. With a short summer season, there is a lot to see, from the summertime wildflowers, mountain goats, glaciers along with its many lakes. Visitors can hike to the glaciers and waterfalls during their stay then spend the night in a historic lodge. Here is the best 3 day itinerary for Glacier National Park.

Table of Contents

Glacier At a Glance 

Year Established: 1910
Located: Montana
Size: over 1 million acres
Top Features: Going To The Sun Road


To make the best use of your time, plan ahead and secure reservations for lodging, camping and activities, like guided boat cruises or the famed red bus tours. In addition, vehicle permits are required to enter the park if you are staying outside of the park.

3 Day Itinerary for Glacier National Park

With one million acres, there is a lot of ground to cover in Glacier National Park. It offers two main entrances, one of the east and one of the west. The park is bisected by a scenic bypass, the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Since the park is located on the northern border of Montana, its alpine region is snow-bound for much of the year. The road opens for the summer season in late June and sometimes it is early July.

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Explore Glacier National Park in the northwest corner of Montana.
Glacier National Park along the Canadian Border is a Top 10 National Park, offering glaciers, waterfalls and animals sightings for the whole family. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Day 1 St. Mary Lake and Rising Sun 

Starting on the east, many visitors to Glacier National Park find more lodging availablity on this side, versus the west side of the park. This was the case for my trip.

First up on any national park adventure, a trip through the visitor center for maps, interpretive information along with Junior Ranger booklets.

This area is anchored by St. Mary Lake and the Rising Sun area.

Rising Sun is “where the mountains met the prairies” offers a good place for a hot meal along with lodging. It offers some signature hikes in the area along with waterfall viewing.

St. Mary Visitor Center 

Located near the St. Mary’s entrance, it features interpretive information on the American Indian Nations. Open daily from late May to early October. 

Top Activities on the East Side of Glacier

On your first day in Glacier National Park, pick an activity of two. The Red Bus Tours are exceptional so well worth the effort to secure a reservation. Hiking is another top activity in the park.

Hiking Trails in Glacier National Park

With over 700 miles of hiking trails in Glacier National Park, hikers has lots of options. There is 110 miles of the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail. The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail traverses through Glacier National Park for 52 miles. 

In the St. Mary and Rising Sun area, there are several top hikes, especially waterfall hikes.

St. Mary Falls—A 0.8 mile hike (one-way) with a 260-foot elevation loss.

Sun Point Nature Trail—A 1.6 mile trail and mostly level 

Beaver Pond Loop—A 3.1 mile trail that gains 150 feet

Baring Falls—A .3-mile trail that drops 250 feet. 

Hidden Valley Overlook—A 1.4 mile trail that gains 460 feet 

Virginia Falls—A 1.6 mile hike with a 260-foot elevation loss followed by a 285-foot gain.

Red Bus Tours

One of the iconic sites of Glacier National Park is the Red Jammer, the restored White Motor Company touring buses from the 1930s. The Ford Motor Company rebuilt the buses putting them on modern van chassis and converted each to use propane.

Glacier National Park offers a fleet of 33 red buses. Each bus offers a roll-top viewing roof and seats 16 passengers, with four on each row of bench seats. It is one of the top things to do on a 3 day itinerary for Glacier National Park. 

Each side of the park features its own Red Bus Tours along with a tour that bisects the park. The Eastern Alpine Tour runs from Many Glacier Hotel and Swiftcurrent Lodge to Logan Pass. The Three Valleys Tour travels through the St. Mary Valley, Two Medicine Valley and Many Glacier Valley with the Old North Trail route following a similar route. The Crown of the Continent rides the Going-to-the-Sun Road from the east to the west side.

All tours require reservations in advance.

Boats in Glacier National Park
The Desmet sails along Lake McDonald. Credit: Catherine Parker

Guided Boat Tours in Glacier

Guided boat tours in Glacier National Park are a popular activity during the summer months. St. Mary Lake offers a boat cruise, they are also offers at Many Glacier and Swiftcurrent lakes on the east side. Two Medicine in the southeast portion of the park also offers a guided boat tour. It is one of the top things to do on a 3 day itinerary for Glacier National Park.

Each tour is operated on an antique wood boat and many tours feature park rangers. Reservations are required for this excurision.

Where to Eat on the East Side of Glacier

Rising Sun

Two Dog Flats Grill serves with American favorites like build-your-own burgers, soups, sandwiches and salads. Open daily at 4 p.m. for dinner during the season.

St. Mary Village

SnowGoose Grille serves grab-and-go breakfasts. Followed by a full lunch and dinner menu with a focus on local tastes. In addition, it offers a full bar and wine list.

Curly Bear Cafe offers a menu of burgers and sandwiches, perfect for a picnic. It also serves several varieties of locally made ice cream with flavors like huckleberry and more.

Glacier Perk is a coffee bar with barista made coffee.

Picnicking on the East Side 

Picnic tables are available at Avalanche Creek, Rising Sun and the Sun Point Nature Trail.

Where to Sleep on the East Side 

Rising Sun Motor Inn 

Built in 1940 and renovated in 2015, the Rising Sun Motel is West of St. Mary Visitor Center. It offers 72 motor lodge rooms along with cabins. Guests will find a restaurant and a general store in the complex.

Open seasonally from mid-June to mid-September. Reservations required.

Campgrounds on the East Side of the Park

Rising Sun Campground 

  • Summer only 
  • First-come, first-served 
  • 84 sites with 10 sites with a 25-foot RV limit
  • Potable water with flush toilets and sinks
  • Shower are nearby in village

St. Mary Campground 

  • Primitive Camping from Fall through Winter, Full service in Summer
  • Reservations Recommended in Summer
  • 1490 sites with a 40-foot RV limit
  • Potable water with flush toilets and sinks
  • Showers are nearby

Details for Vehicle Permits into Glacier National Park 

To enter Glacier National Park a 3-day vehicle permit is required. This permit is in addition for the park’s 7 day entrance fee. It must be secured in advance via From the east side of the park, permits are required from St. Mary at Rising Sun checkpoint starting in July 1, 2023 to September 10, 2023.  Two Medicine and Many Glacier entrances all require one-day vehicle passes as well from July 1 to September 10, 2023 to enter from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Note: It is a different one day vehicle pass for each entrance.

On the west side of the park, permits will be required from May 26, 2023 until September 10, 2023. North Fork entrance require a one-day vehicle permit from May 26, 2023 until September 10, 2023 to enter from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

It will take at least 2 hours without stopping to drive the entire length of Going-to-the-Sun Road with summer construction delays and traffic.

Vehicles and vehicles combinations (RVs and travel trailers) must be under 21-feet (6.4m) in length. The speed limit is 40 mph on the lower sections and a 25 mph speed limit on the alpine section.

Glacier National Park
See one of the 26 glaciers in Glacier National Park on the east side. Credit: Catherine Parker

Day 2 Many Glacier Valley

Hidden away off its own entrance, Many Glacier Valley offers many of the activities available on the east and west entrances though there are less people in this area.

I recommend the Many Glacier park entrance. It will require its own 1 day vehicle permit if you plan to day trip. Visitors with lodging or camping reservations don’t require a vehicle permit.

This area is anchored by the historic Many Glacier Hotel along with Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. The location of several popular hiking including Grinnell Lake and Grinnell Glacier.

Many Glacier Hiking Trails

Grinnell Glacier and Swiftcurrent Pass are the main trailheads.

Swiftcurrent Nature Trail—A 2.5 mile loop around Swiftcurrent Lake and partially accessible

Bedrock Falls—A 1.8 mile hike with 200-foot gain

Grinnell Lake Trail—A 4.6 mile hike with a 40-foot gain

Grinnell Glacier Viewpoint—A 5.3 mile hike with a 1,600-foot gain that passes Lake Josephine

Ptarmigan Falls—A 2.7 mile hike with a 700-foot gain

Iceberg Lake—A 4.8 mile hike with a 1200-foot gain

Many Glacier Boat Cruises

There is a boat cruise at Many Glacier that glides along the water of Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. Reservations are required and the Glacier Park Boat Company offers several departures a day during the summer.

Horseback Riding in Glacier National Park

For another way to see the Crown of the Continent, visitors can take a horseback ride in Glacier National Park. There is a corral at Many Glacier and it offers one and two-hours horseback riding trips. Reservations are required along with age and weight restrictions.

Stay at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn for family comfort.
Swiftcurrent Motor Inn features a restaurant with a kids menu along with a camp store and laundromat. Credit: Catherine Parker

Where to Eat in Many Glacier Valley

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn & Cabins

Nell’s at Swiftcurrent Restaurant serves up American breakfast favorites, like eggs dishes and cereal. The lunch and dinner menus feature pizzas, burgers, wraps, and salads. Open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. with hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the summer.

Many Glacier Hotel

Heidi’s Snack Shop brews up coffe drinks along with grab-n-go items like baked goods, snacks and sandwiches.  Open daily during the season.

Ptarmigan Dining Room starts the day with a continental or deluxe breakfast buffet. It also features a lunch and dinner menu with local favorites like salmon and braised short ribs. Open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. with hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the season. Reservations not accepted.

The Swiss Lounge, located next the Ptarmigan Dining Room, features a menu with salads, sandwiches and burgers along with cocktails, wine or micro-brews from its full bar. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the season.

Picnicking in Many Glacier and Swiftcurrent 

Picnickers will find picnic tables at Swiftcurrent Lake. This area offers vault toilets as well. The Swiftcurrent area offers a camp store as well.

Tour a historic hotel as one of the things to do in Glacier National Park with kids.
Many Glacier Hotel’s interior is just as impressive as the exterior with the massive timbers hauled in by horse from the train station. Photo Credit: Catherine Parker

Where to Stay in Many Glacier 

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn

As the family-friendly option, the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn is located within a mile of Many Glacier Hotel. I stayed here on my visit in the motel rooms. They were clean and comfortable.

It features 95 cabins, some of which are historic, along with motel rooms. The Swiftcurrent features a family-friendly restaurant and stocked camp store.

Open seasonally from early June until mid-September. Reservations required.

Many Glacier Hotel

It is the largest lodge inside Glacier National Park and an historic property. Built in 1914 and 1915 by Great Northern Railway,  visitors will find rough-hewn logs and soaring ceilings inside of its central lobby. Park of National Park Service Parkitecture, it is worth the effort just to see the hotel.

The Many Glacier Hotel features 205 guest rooms, two suites and seven family rooms. All rooms feature a private bathroom. There is a full service restuarant on-site.

Open seasonal from early June until mid-September. Reservations required.

Camping in Many Glacier 

Many Glacier Campground 

  • Summer only 
  • Reservations Recommended 
  • 109 sites with 13 sites with a 35-foot RV limit
  • Potable water with flush toilets, sinks and showers
  • Dump station
Logan Pass Visitor Center is one of the things to do in Glacier National Park with kids.
A stop at Logan Pass Visitor Center along Going-to-the-Sun Road tops my list in Glacier National Park. Credit: Catherine Parker

Day 3 Going-to-the Sun Road McDonald Lake & Apgar

After spending a couple of days on the east side of the park take the Going-to-the-Sun Road to visit the west side of the park. It is one of the top things to do on a 3 day itinerary for Glacier National Park. Get an early start and get to Logan Pass before the crowds. Then spend the afternoon in the Lake McDonald Area.

Going-to-the-Sun Road

One of the top things to do in Glacier National Park is driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road Scenic Drive. The scenic byway travels 50 miles (80 km) from the St Mary entrance on the east to the west entrance close to Apgar area. Completed in 1932, this scenic drive provided better access into the wilderness that has previously been limited to the edges of the park. Many of the top features in Glacier Naitonal Park are along the Going-to-the Sun road.

Top Sites along Going to the Sun Road

Jackson Glacier

The Jackson Glacier is visible from the Going-to-the-Sun overlook, 5 miles east of Logan Pass. Several additional glaciers are visible on the east side of Glacier. The remaining glaciers are also on the eastern face of the mountains. 

The easiest way to see glaciers in the U.S., consider an Alaskan cruise that includes a visit to a tidewater glacier. In the lower 48 , Washington’s North Cascades National Park and Grand Teton National Park offers glaciers.

Logan Pass

As the highest point along the Going-to-Sun Road at 6,646 feet (2,025 m), it is surrounded by peaks, along with a wildflower-laden meadow. Visitors can see Clements Mountain and Reynolds Mountain. This area features a seasonal visitor center along with hiking trails.

Logan Pass Visitor Center

This is your destination for restrooms, a water fountain and bottle fillers. It offers a book store along with an interpretive area. Ranger-led activities meet at the Logan Pass Visitor Center.

Visitors will find the trail to the Hidden Lake Overlook, the opportunity to mountain goats (a symbol of Glacier National Park) along with summertime wildflowers.

Open daily when the road clears in the summer until end of September. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Home of the popular Logan Pass Star Parties.

ProTip: The Logan Pass parking lot fills up quickly and stays filled during the day.

Hiking Trails around Logan Pass

Hikers will be surrounded by wildflowers on the hike to the Hidden Lake Overlook. Mountain goats are also known to be found in this area of the park.

Hidden Lake Overlook—A one-way 1.4-mile hike with a 460-foot elevation gain.

Hidden Lake Nature Trail—A 2.6-mile hike, one-way with a 460-foot elevation gain, followed by a 780 foot drop to the lake.

Highline Trail—A 7.2-mile hike with 624-foot elevation gain and a 253-foot loss.

Visitors will pass the Weeping Wall, a rock face with melting snow run-off glistening in the sun. The Garden Wall area is also visible, a rock face with planting clinging to its sides.

The red tour buses are things to do in glacier national park with kids.
The Rubies of the Rockies glide along the Going-to-the-Sun Road as the Jammer finds all the best views. Credit: Catherine Parker

Lake McDonald Valley

This area is one of the most popular areas in the park. In fact, the west side of the park is more congested than the east. Exploring the Lake McDonald Valley is one of the top places to see on a 3 day itinerary for Glacier National Park.

Carved by glaciers, Lake McDonald is 10-miles long (16 km) and 500-feet deep (152 m)  and that makes it the largest lake in the park. Located on the west side of the park and close to the Apgar Visitor Center, it is a hub of activity during the summer. It is also the location of the Lake McDonald Lodge.

Lake McDonald Lodge

Along the shore of Lake McDonald, the Lake McDonald Lodge was built in 1913. It is a classic Swiss chalet and a popular place to visit. Inside the three-story lodge visitors will find  historic furnishings and log-style design elements. It is one of the classic  historic lodges of the National Park Service.

Visitors can walk through and and find a place to eat inside the lodge. Outside, there is a patio with rocking chairs overlooking the lake that is popular place for a quick break.

Apgar Visitor Center

Located in at 1929 log cabin, the Apgar Visitor Center is 2 miles east of the West Glacier Entrance. Rangers offer tips and maps along with the National Park Service Junior Ranger booklet for kids. This is also the spot that the Ranger Led programs meet.

Visitors will find one of the largest parking lots in Glacier located at Apgar. It is also one of the main stops for the free Glacier National Park West Side shuttle.

Open daily from mid-May to mid-September and weekends only in the spring from mid-April to mid-May and in the fall from mid-September until mid-October.

Take a hike along the Trail of Cedars as one of the things to do in Glacier National Park with kids.
Looking for a hike for the whole family, try Trails of the Cedars in the Lake McDonald Valley.  Credit: Catherine Parker

Best Hiking Trails in Lake McDonald

Hiking is one of the top things to do on a 3 day Glacier National Park itinerary.

Trail of the Cedars—A 0.7 mile accessible trail

Apgar Bike Path—A 1.5 mile trail and level

Fish Creek to Apgar Trail—A 2.9 mile trail that gains 25 feet.

Lake MacDonald West Shore Trail—Totalling 6.3 miles and mostly level

Avalanche LakeA 2.3 mile trail  and gains 500 feet

Guided day hikes along with multi-day hikes are available from authorized NPS concessionaires. Reservations are recommended.

Red Bus Tours

For west side tours, the buses depart from Apgar Visitor Center, Village Inn at Apgar and Lake McDonald Lodge along with locations outside Glacier National Park.

The West Side tours include Huckleberry Mountain, Western Alpine, the Mountain Majesty and the Crown of the Continent. Reservations are required for this in-demand activity. Tours range from 4 to 8 hours and are round-trip tours.

Boat Cruises at Lake McDonald

Guided boat tours in Glacier National Park are a popular activity during the summer months. Lake McDonald offers a guided boat cruise.

Advance reservations and tickets are required. Boats are available for rent as well for visitors who want to kayak.

Horseback Riding. Where to see Redwoods in California with kids.
Glacier National Park offers horseback riding.  Credit: Catherine Parker

Guided Horseback Riding on the West Side

For another way to see the Crown of the Continent, visitors can take a horseback ride in Glacier National Park from Lake McDonald and Apgar. Find rides from 1 hour to all day. All day horse back rides to Sperry Chalet also available.

Glacier’s Free Shuttle Bus

Glacier National Park offers a free shuttle between St Mary Visitor Center and Apgar Visitor Center. From the east side of the park, it runs from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. It runs daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. from the west side of the park. From the east side of the park, it runs from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Shuttles depart every 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the stop. It is a first-come, first-served service and reservations aren’t accepted.

Since the route has vehicle restrictions, transfers are required to travel to Logan Pass. Passengers will disembark from the NPS bus and travel to Logan Pass in a smaller Sprinter van. The NPS advises shuttle riders to know that latest shuttle departures times of the day, especially when crossing the entire park.

Where to Eat on the West Side

Apgar Village

Eddie’s Cafe and Mercantile has served classics since 1946. Find breakfast, lunch and dinner along with its Huckleberry ice cream. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the season.

Lake McDonald Lodge

Jammer Joe’s Grill & Pizzeria serves a lunch buffet. Also find soups, salads, sandwiches and create-your-own pizza. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. during the season.

Lucke’s Lounge serves a bar menu with appetizers, burgers, sandwiches and salads. It offers full bar along with regional wines and micro-brews. Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the season.

Russell’s Fireside Dining Room serves a breakfast buffet along with continental options. Find a lunch and dinner menu infused with local flavors, like elk burgers. Open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. with hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner during the season.

Picnicking near Lake McDonald

Picnic areas with tables are located at Apgar Village, Sprague Creek, Avalanche Creek and Fish Creek. Visitors will find general stores located Eddie’s Mercantile in at Apgar Village and Lake McDonald’s Lodge campstore. Picniking is a must for a 3 day itinerary for Glacier National Park.

Where to Stay on the West Side of Glacier

Staying in a lodge  is one of the best things to do on a 3 Day Itinerary of Glacier National Park.

Lake McDonald Lodge

A classic three-store Swiss chalet along the shore of Lake McDonald, it was built in 1913 and features a lodge rooms. The interiors are decorated with historic furnishings.

The Lake McDonald Lodge features cabins, a hostel-style dormitory and Cobb House, a collection of suites. It is located 10 miles inside Glacier’s west entrance,

Open seasonal from early May until late September. Reservations required.

Motel Lake McDonald

Motel Lake MacDonald is along the shores of the largest lake in Glacier. It offers basic motel rooms with one or two double beds with private bathrooms.

Open seasonal from early June until mid-September. Reservations required.

Apgar Village Lodge and Cabins

Just inside the West Entrance  Apgar Village features motel rooms and equipped cabins for budget travelers. Each cabin is unique and some off equipped kitchens with refrigerators, ranges and coffee makers. Motel rooms feature one or two queen beds.

Open seasonal from mid May until early October. Reservations required.

Village Inn Motel

Village Inn motel was built in 1956 and features units equipped with basic kitchens. Also find family units that accommodate five or six people.

Open seasonal from mid May until late September. Reservations required.

Camping on the West Side of Glacier

Avalanche Campground 
  • Summer only 
  • First-come, first-served 
  • 87 sites with 50 sites with a 26-foot RV limit
  • Potable water with flush toilets and sinks
Fish Creek Campground 
  • Summer only 
  • Reservations recommended
  • 178 sites with 18 sites with a 35-foot RV limit
  • Potable water with flush toilets, sinks and showers 
Avalanche Campground 
  • Summer only 
  • First-come, first-served 
  • 87 sites with 50 sites with a 26-foot RV limit
  • Potable water with flush toilets and sinks
Sprague Creek Campground
  • Summer only 
  • First-come, first-served 
  • 25 sites, no RVs
  • Potable water with flush toilets, sinks and showers

Wildlife Viewing in Glacier National Park

  • Bears—Grizzly and black 
  • Beaver
  • Big horn sheep 
  • Elk
  • Lynx
  • Mountain goats—the park symbol
  • Mountain lions
  • Wolverines 

Bears in Glacier 

Glacier National Park is home to the largest grizzly bear population in the continental U.S. Though encounters are rare, Park Rangers offer some guidelines to reduce bear encounters:

  • Remain observant. 
  • Hike in groups.
  • Keep campsites clean.
  • Make noise while hiking by wearing bear bells and talking.
  • Don’t approach bears or let bears approach you. 
  • If a bear notices you, you are too close. Back away slowly and if attacked, fight back. Don’t play dead.

Wildflowers in Glacier National Park

Finding wildflowers is one of the top things to do on a 3 day itinerary for Glacier National Park, It features nearly 1,000 wildflower species in Glacier National Park, like the Trillium, Glacier lilies or Beargrass. With a short season, usually growing and blooming in the summer only, plants have adapted to survive, like the Butterwort that eats insects.

Most wildflowers bloom in the summer in Glacier National Park. Find more flowers at the lower elevations. 

Night Sky Viewing in Glacier National Park 

With dark skies overhead, Glacier National Park is an International Dark Skies Park. It offers night sky programming during the summer, especially the popular Logan Pass Star Parties. Check in at the visitor centers for more information on seasonal ranger programing.  

Kids in Glacier National Park

The Junior Ranger Program is the go-to program for families to learn more about the Mountains National Park. It’s free and takes about two hours to complete. My kids love the badges that the Rangers present them after completing their booklet. 

Pick up a booklet at any visitor center then complete the age-appropriate activities. Return for a souvenir badge and certificate.  It is one of the top things to do with kids on a 3 day itinerary for Glacier National Park. 

History of Glacier National Park

European trappers arrived in the late 1800s after the Louis and Clark Expedition of 1804 to 1806. Interest in preserving the area came early, before the formation of the National Park Service in 1916. 

George Bird Grinnell hired a guide for a hunting trip in 1885. Soon after he and railroad president Louis Hill proposed the area be protected a national park. The Boone and Crockett Club helped secure the national park status in 1910 by President William Howard Taft. 

The Great Northern Railway

In 1891, the Great Northern Railway crossed the Continental Divide at Marias Pass, just south of Glacier National Park. Shortly after in 1910, the area was dedication a national park. 

The Great Northern Railway started construction on lodges and chalets to promote tourism and train travel to the area. Nine chalets were constructed and only three remain, Belton, Sperry and Granite Park. Great Northern Railway built several lodges, all utilizing design cues from Swiss architecture, including Many Glacier Hotel and Glacier Park Lodge.

Since it shares a border with Parks Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park, the two countries agreed to manage the land in collaboration. Created in 1932 this area became the first international peace park in the world. 

Additionally, Glacier National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a Biosphere Reserve. It is also an International Dark Skies Park, offering dark skies for night sky viewing along with light mitigation.

Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park

Weather in Glacier National Park

Winter: Highs 30s F (single digits C), Lows teens (-single digits C)

Spring: Highs 50s F ( teens C), Lows 30s (single digits C) 

Summer: Highs 70s F (20s C), Lows 40s (single digits C) 

Fall—Highs 40s F (single digits C), Lows 20s (-single digits C)

Precipitation average between one and three inches year-round. Snow can fall at anytime of the year. On average, temperatures are 10 to 15F degrees cooler at higher elevations. 


The summer months are the best and easiest time to visit Northern Montana. The seaonal Going-to-the-Sun road opens for the season in late June or Early July. The summer offers wildflowers and animal viewing as well. The campgrounds and the lodges are all open as well.


For fall color trips, the fall comes early and doesn’t stay around long. Trees begin to change colors in mid-September and the leaves last until mid-October. The lodges close for the season beginning in September though lodging is available outside of the park.

In addition to Aspen, find Western Larch trees that turn a golden color.  Wildlife is more active during the fall as well as it’s a popular mating season. 


Spring will include snow in most areas. Visitors to Glacier will also have to pick one side or the other. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed from mid-October until late June. The lodges are generally not open and only primiative camping is available on the edge of the park.


The park remains open year-round for winter recreation, like snowshoeing. 

Gateway Towns

It’s always best to load up on essentials before heading into a national park. Gas is not for sale in Glacier National Park so top off your tank before heading into the park. 

West Glacier 

Find a host of lodging just outside of the west entrance of Glacier National Park, like the historic Belton Chalet along with RV parks. West Glacier offers an assortment of dining along activities including golf and outdoor outfitters. 

St. Mary

Located on the eastern side of the Glacier National Park, find lodging, RV parks along with gas stations and small grocery store. St. Mary is the smaller of the two main gateway towns. 

Located in Northern Montana, Glacier National Park offers alpine meadows in the Rocky Moutains along with over a hundred lakes and spectacular hiking. VIsitors can stay in historic lodges and cruise on historic boats. Here are the best things to do in Glacier on a 3 Day itinerary of Glacier National Park #NationalParks


Catherine Parker has a passion for travel and seen all 50 U.S. States. As a former flight attendant with one of the largest airlines, there isn't a North American airport that she hasn't landed in at least once. Since clipping her professional wings after 9/11, she combines her love of the open road with visiting architectural and cultural icons. She is based out of Central Texas dividing her time between writing and restoring a pair of 100-year-old houses. She shares her life with her three kids and her husband.

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