Dubbed as the Crown of the Continent, the Glacier National Park on the fringe of United States-Canada border sprawls over a million acres land. With the two Rocky Mountain sub-ranges, this pristine park is home to a huge array of flora and fauna from over a thousand species, making it an abode of biodiversity. There are the number of waterfalls, more than 130 lakes, mountain peaks and the plethora of trail systems meandering through the nook and corner of the park. So, when you are considering the top tourist attractions in Glacier National Park, here is a quick guide that will help you making the best out of this park –
Let's explore Glacier National Park points of interest and 15 best things to do in Glacier National Park:
1. Drive through Going-to-the-Sun Road
Take a bus or a rented car, or set out exploring in your own RV van –the 52 mile stretch of Going-To-The-Sun Road through the Continental Divide within Logan Pass will be etched in your memory. The points of interest in Glacier National Park are many –Bighorn Sheep and Mountain Goats, the Jackson Glacier from the overlook and so on. Bicycling can be enjoyed through Apgar Turnoff-Sprague Creek Campground and Logan Creek-Logan Pass. Picnic areas, food options and campsites can be found at Rising Sun, Avalanche, Apgar Village etc. Visitor Centers at Apgar, Logan Pass and St Mary will help you in gathering route information.
2. Hiking to Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park
For avid hikers, the roundtrip 7.6 mile Grinnell Glacier trek will be one of the tourist attractions in Glacier National Park. You can start the hike from trailhead or minimize the distance by crossing Lake Josephine and Swiftcurrent Lake with shuttle boats. The Salamander Glacier and Alpine meadows laden with wildflowers are the highlights. As you reach the snow-swathed glacier after crossing some Grizzly Bear habitats, the spectacular views of the Mt Gould, Upper Grinnell Lake, Gem Glacier and Garden Wall can be enjoyed.
3. Explore falls of Glacier National Park
While considering the places to visit in Glacier National Park, never miss out the falls like the Virginia Falls with the 260 feet cascade, which can be reached by one of the oldest and easiest 3.6 mile trek. From Rising Sun picnic site, you can opt for the misty Bering Falls or the St Mary Falls from the St Mary Lake. Other attractions include the two-tiered Running Eagle Falls, the many-tiered Silver Staircase Falls, the bird and bear-infested trek to Apikuni Falls and the easy kid-friendly trek to Red Rock Falls where moose, deer and even bear sightings are common.
4. Garden Wall of Highline Trail and Trail of the Cedars
The Garden Wall of the 7.6 mile Highline Trail is one of the tourist attractions in Glacier National Park, thanks to the abundance of flowering shrubs and plants during summer in this steep alpine region. The Highline Trail runs from Logan Pass to the Granite Park Chalet followed by Fifty Mountain Campground. The U-shaped valley can be seen throughout the trek.
Going-To-The-Sun Road takes you to Trail of the Cedars through the 0.60-mile path including some boardwalk sections. The towering Cedar trees are the characteristic features as you take the loops or the elevated trail to Avalanche Lake. The waterfall cascading through vibrant rock creates the channeled stream.
5. Visit Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
Visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park is one of the best things to do in Glacier National Park to get bemused with the diverse topography and biodiversity. Maritime, Prairie and the Alpine landscape is prevalent here with the geographical feature of a tri-ocean divide. The park stands as the emblem of unity between the two nations with the Glacier and the Waterton Lakes, three oceans, canyon belts, forest belts, Rockies and the deep glacial-trough lakes. Grizzly Bears, migrating Elks, Bighorn Sheep, Coyotes and Mountain Goats can be seen here.
6. Nature and wildlife by lakes of Glacier National Park
Lakes like Red Eagle Lake, Bullhead Lake by the Redrock Falls, the turquoise Cracker Lake, Two Medicine Lake and St Mary Lake are the points of interest in Glacier National Park. The bear infested 9.6-mile Iceberg Lake Trail will take you to the iceberg-filled emerald lake surrounded by towering cliffs. Kayaking, boating and canoeing are fun at Bowman Lake while sighting Mountain Lions, Moose and Bears on the way.
Hiking and boating at Avalanche Lake and Lake McDonald; sighting Deer, Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, Moose, Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep on the way to Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine will also be wonderful. Enjoy rustic camping by Kintla Lake and sighting moose by Fishercap Lake.
7. Traverse through Glacier National Park Passes
The Logan Pass is among the popular places to visit in Glacier National Park, for its visitor center, a route through Garden Wall, snowfall on Big Drift and the hiking trips that help in sighting Mountain Goats. The Piegan Pass trail passes through wildflower-laden meadows, dense forest, Cataract Creek and the two falls namely Feather Plume Falls and Morning Eagle Falls. A little further from the Piegan Pass, you will find the Siyeh Pass that will let you explore the Baring Creek and Sunrift Gorge. One of the most diverse is the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail that is divided into 1st section (Fishercap Lake, Red Rock Lake and falls), 2nd section (Bullhead Lake) and 3rd section (Swiftcurrent Headwall, Pass and Mountain Summit).
8. Wildlife at Great Bear Wilderness
Hiking through the 300+ miles of trails of the Great Bear Wilderness is one of the best things to do in Glacier National Park to get enchanted with the rugged ridges, rolling alpine meadows, thick forests and open grassy areas. The trek offers sightings of Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, Mountain Goats, Bighorn Sheep, Mountain Lion, Wolverine, Elk, Grey Wolf, Lynx, Moose and Deer. The trails to the interior are not maintained and require bushwalking.
9. Hikes and adventures at Glacier National Park rivers
The 3.4 mile McDonald Creek Trail can be accessed by either the Snyder Creek Trailhead or by crossing the Sacred Dancing Cascades. Walk along the creek side and you can spot the migrating Harlequin Ducks and Beavers. Whitewater rafting in McDonald Creek is among the popular tourist attractions in Glacier National Park. Surrounded by the snow-capped mountains, the Camas Creek hike will lead you to the exposed grass field after passing Fish Creek Campground –it is famous for bear sightings.
10. Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing at Glacier National Park
The ranger-led snowshoeing tours during June through September are the points of interest in Glacier National Park. The 2-hour tour in Apgar Area will let you enjoy the snow, discovering flora and fauna and track wildlife signs.
Mostly unmarked, the ski trails of Glacier National Park include Apgar-West Glacier, North Fork, Lake McDonald-Avalanche, Marias Pass, Two Medicine and St Mary. Permits are needed to ski in the designated areas and you should have to take the weather conditions on an account.
11. Exploring Middle Fork Flathead River
The “Wild and Scenic River” –Middle Fork Flathead River is one of the popular places to visit in Glacier National Park for its Class III rapids that make whitewater rafting, kayaking and paddling adventurous. Mountain Goats and Grizzly Bears are often seen on the banks while bears especially search for the fishes like Cutthroat and Bull Touts in the stream. Take an inflatable or hard-shell kayaks and inflatable whitewater kayaks and embrace the wilderness!
12. Overlooks of the Glacier National Park
Among the tourist attractions in Glacier National Park, the Jackson Glacier Overlook is the most popular for its easy access with a short hike from the trailhead of Gunsight Pass. From the 10052 feet Jackson Peak, you can have the panoramic view of the Jackson Glacier, which is the fifth largest in the park.
From the Walton Ranger Station, the 4.7-mile Scalplock Lookout Trail will take you to the lookout at 3079 feet elevation from where you can have the view of the Great Bear Wilderness, Great Northern Mountain and also Salvage Mountain, Mount Jackson, Mount Stimson and Mount Saint Nicholas from the upper deck.
13. Set out for Loop Trails of Glacier National Park
The Belly River is one of the pristine places to visit in Glacier National Park and the misty waterfalls and Elizabeth Lake are the highlights of its lollipop loop spanning 22.9 miles. From the Granite Park Chalet, the 4.2-mile loop trail of Granite Park is blessed with an abundant undergrowth of flora, especially wildflowers. The 1.8-mile roundtrip Johns Lake Loop starting from the eponymous trailhead will take you through hemlock and red cedar forests which are best for sighting Moose. Enjoy viewing Apgar Mountains, Belton Hills and Lake McDonald from the bridge over McDonald Creek.
14. Mountaineering on Glacier National Park mountains
If you are considering adventurous things to do in Glacier National Park, opt for climbing the Swiftcurrent Mountain (8436 feet) or Clements Mountain (8760 feet). From the base, it takes a switchback to reach the peak and enjoy the vista of the panoramic Continental Divide, around nine lakes, four glaciers and forty-eight lakes. The easy climb to 9125 feet Reynold Mountain with only 2500 feet elevation gain and the Clements Mountain along the west ridge are added bonanza for your one-day mountaineering-hiking.
15. Boat tours at Glacial National Park
Boating is another point of interest in Glacier National Park for learning about Blackfeet history and exploring Twin Falls with Two Medicine Valley tour. Exploring Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine with the Many Glacier Tour will be enjoyable. The 1-hour Lake McDonald tour takes you to the journey of exploring the west side of the park. Utilize photographic opportunities while embarking the boat tour of St Mary Lake that lets you enjoy the vista of the valley, Sexton Glacier, vibrant mountains, small islands and the ruins of a private cabin of Louis Hill.