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Old 06-26-2013, 07:46 AM
 
8,210 posts, read 12,452,648 times
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If I can get away and plane tickets aren't out of sight I would like to see Glacier Natl Park, 3rd/4th week of July.
I've done a little reading and find the mentions of the different areas a little confusing. Plus there is the west side east side thing. I also get the impression that there is no where to stay in the park other than the lodges which are booked a year in advance? Not a criticism but I'm not sure how to plan a trip.

If I had 4 days, starting in Kalispell where I would fly in an out of....could you suggest a...loop route? With hotels to check? Or do people leave the airport, drive to the east side for a couple of nights, then back to the west side for a couple of nights driving in and out of the park to the same hotel on that side?
I find the hotel thing can be problematic, I might find flight staring a specific day, but then before booking have to call around make sure I have a place to stay, and lose the flight if it takes too long
.
Other than knowing I want do the Going to the Sun Rd (honestly the name of the road is why I think I'm going vs. somewhere else) which I hope I can drive without having a nervous breakdown, I am a bird watcher, wildlife enthusiast.
I'm not in very good shape, mostly a car trip, and then there's Grizzlies, scared of Grizzlies

I went to Yellowstone a few years ago and got some great tips (particular one about rental cars) so appreciate any help.

Thanks!
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Old 06-26-2013, 10:31 PM
 
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You can easily stay in Kalispell, but I recommend Columbia Falls, closer to Glacier Park. You don't see a lot driving at Glacier, but it is still fun. Glacier is really more for hiking, if you want to see animals. Definitely, do a boat tour at Lake McDonald. I also think, if you are nervous, you can take the fun Red Bus tours around Glacier Park, old fashioned buses that go all over, and will do the driving for you, and give you lots of information. Many people get on the bus, get off to go hiking, get back on another one to go back to where they started.

If you go Going to the Sun road, you can stay in East Glacier, or take a short jaunt, and stay in Browning, or even Cut Bank. I suggest going to the Plains Indian Museum, but, I like things like that...Or you can do it in a day, and get back to Kalispell, going the other way, which is also a very nice drive.

I will tell you more, because I will be there next week, for a week. We are planning on going to Many Glacier, we are staying in Cut Bank, and going to Waterton the next day.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:05 PM
 
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Giesela,
You might be able to still find a room through the central reservations system. Google Izaak Walton Inn and go from there. If you are near Amtrak, Izaak Walton Inn is a whistlestop. It is a funky fun place to stay. I typed in July 18th and there were rooms and cabins available.

I have nothing against Columbia Falls but I am picky about accomodations. We prefer to stay in Kalispell at the Hilton Garden Inn to be specific. The adjacent restaurant is reliably good.

If you are worried about driving going to the sun, take the tour bus. You can be free to take all the pictures you want that way.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:15 PM
 
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If you stay in Kalispell, holiday Inn express, free breakfast, and dinner. But, the Super Eight in Columbia Falls is great, I stay there quite a bit for work.
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Old 06-26-2013, 11:53 PM
 
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
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A couple of years ago we stayed at the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex MT. It is basically equidistant to the East and West side entrances. You have to get up early to hit either side by car, but the Inn is a great place to go back to! We rented a converted caboose/cabin for a week the summer after we moved here and it was awesome! A little spendy, but worth it. You can also stay in a room in the Inn, which we did in the winter and that was awesome too.

The nice thing about that place is that it gave us the ability to hit the East side (Many Glaciers + some) and then also hit the West side for some other hikes. One day it rained pretty much all day so we stayed at the lodge, played games in the basement, watched trains from the back porch and just relaxed. Great atmosphere especially for train lovers.

The Red Jammer Tours will also pick up folks and give them driving tours if you wish. We havn't done that yet but someday we might.

The key is if you want to hike, or make it to Logan Pass and get parking- YOU HAVE TO LEAVE EARLY! Like get your rear up at 0 dark thirty and start driving. The other cool thing about Essex is found just down the road to the East- an overpass to a river access site is commonly called Goat Lick. Every time we went there we saw mountain goats just lazing underneath the bridge with the young ones. I think they are protected from golden eagles by being under the road so it's almost a nursery of sorts. Pretty cool to see the young ones frolicking about on the rocks. Even young they are sure footed!

Seriously look up Izaak Walton- it's a really cool place to stay. Secluded, nice restaurant, things to do and a good launch point for both sides of the park.

Oh and by the way- there are some awesome non-strenuous walks on both sides. On the east there is Medicine Falls which is just phenomenal, Many Glacier has a few short hikes and incredible scenery, the west has a good nature trail from Apgar and if you really want a treat go to Polebridge and head up the lake in the park for a nice picnic along the shore.

Last edited by Threerun; 06-27-2013 at 12:02 AM..
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Old 06-27-2013, 09:17 AM
 
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Giesela,
Also the Prince of Wales hotel on the Canadian side in Waterton Park is lovely. It may be difficult to get a room on short notice but perhaps possible.
I am familiar with both facilities recommended by Jasper (HIEx and Sup8) and found them each to need major power washing and then thorough carpet cleaning. Both properties show obvious signs of neglect. There is a bed & breakfast in Kalispell that someone told me about but I do not recall the name.

It may be cost effective to fly into Missoula and rent a car rather than Kalispell.
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Old 06-29-2013, 06:22 AM
 
8,210 posts, read 12,452,648 times
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Thanks for all the tips, love the internet and the folks who share and help.

I got my DeLorme Montana Atlas and Gazetteer in the mail yesterday and am trying to orient myself and locate the mentioned names.

It did occur to me to try to find out......I know one of the reasons I'm considering a summer while school is out national parks are slammed summer trip is...Going to the Sun Road doesn't open till mid June.
I guess I was assuming it would close fairly soon.

So I just decided to check and see that (1) it is often open all the way after school is back in (till Sept 22) and (2) there is construction this year making part of the road inaccessible?

I'm wondering if I should rethink this and either wait to go in Sept and go somewhere more off the beaten path now or wait till 2014 and construction is done.

What would you do?
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Old 06-29-2013, 06:32 AM
 
Location: Spots Wyoming
18,696 posts, read 38,041,886 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giesela View Post
- snip-

I got my DeLorme Montana Atlas and Gazetteer in the mail yesterday and am trying to orient myself and locate the mentioned names.

- snip -
Around here, when people say that last night they spent reading "The Good Book"..... They were talking about The Gazetteer.
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Old 06-29-2013, 04:38 PM
 
18,847 posts, read 33,484,555 times
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Glacier is nice off season.
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