Glacier National Park offers a wealth of pristine forests, alpine meadows, spectacular lakes, and glacially carved peaks and valleys. The park is a haven for adventurous visitors who seek wilderness and solitude.

Visitors can also step back in time through historic chalets, lodges, and along the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. Our list of Glacier must dos and travel tips was crafted by helpful park-goers and offers useful advice for your visit to the park!


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top travel tips


tip from visitor:

“Plan early and have backup hikes because of snow and bear activity.”

With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier provides outstanding opportunities for hikers of all abilities. From short hikes to extended backpacking trips to wheelchair accessible trails, there is something in the park for everyone.

2. camp in the backcountry

tip from visitor:

“If your backpacking itinerary wasn’t what you wanted, then keep track of  What’s available tonight?‘ to plan which alternative route to request when you arrive.”

With over 60 designated backcountry campgrounds throughout the park, Glacier is a backpacker’s paradise. To camp in the backcountry, a backcountry use permit is required for all overnight camping.

Visit one of the park’s backcountry permit locations the day before or the day of a desired trip start date to obtain a permit. Approximately half of all sites in a backcountry campground are set aside for walk-in campers.

Advance reservations can also be made for backcountry campsites via starting March 15 for groups of 1-8, and March 1 for groups of 9-12 campers.


tip from visitor:

“If you want to avoid strong headwind, the best times to kayak or paddle board are early in the morning before the winds pick up, or later in the day when they’ve calmed down.”

Nothing caps off a beautiful summer day in the park quite like floating on Glacier’s pristine waters. Kayak, canoe or paddle board on one of the many lakes in the park.

On the west side, rentals are available in Apgar Village to use on Lake McDonald. On the east side, Two Medicine has rentals available to use on Two Medicine Lake.

4. stay at a historic lodge or

backcountry chalet

tip from visitor:

“Book your lodging way in advance and try to stay a night or two in each area. We absolutely loved Many Glacier for its access to so many great hikes.”

When Glacier National Park was established in 1910, several new visitor accommodations started springing up throughout the park. Glacier’s nickname, “America’s Switzerland”, attributed to the Swiss-style construction of these lodges and chalets.

Today, Granite Park Chalet is one of two backcountry chalets remaining in Glacier National Park. Thanks to generous donations to the Glacier Conservancy, Sperry Chalet is being rebuilt after suffering from extensive damage from the 2017 Sprague Fire.

Belton Chalet is located just outside the park boundary in West Glacier. In Two Medicine, the log building that is now the Two Medicine Camp Store was once Two Medicine Chalet’s dining hall.

Historic lodges in the park include Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier, Lake McDonald Lodge, and Many Glacier Hotel.

5. Drive or bike going-to-the-sun road

tip from visitor:

“If you’re going to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road, either go before 8 in the morning or wait until 4-5 in the afternoon.”

The experience of riding the Going-to-the-Sun Road in spring, when it is open for bikers and hikers but closed to vehicles, is quickly becoming a bucket list item for cyclists from around the world.

Glacier’s spring scenery rivals the best rides in Europe while for the hardcore athlete, the ride would rank among the top 20 toughest climbs in the Tour de France.

For those less inclined to bike the Going-to-the-Sun road, you can enjoy traveling the road from the comfort of your own vehicle. Without stopping, it takes at least 2 hours to drive the full 50 miles of Going-to-the-Sun Road. The highest point along the road is Logan Pass at 6,646 feet.

6. take a bus or boat tour

tip from visitor:

“Take a Red Bus tour first, get a broad overview [of the park] and then take advantage of the other experiences offered.”

Red Bus Tour

Sit back, relax and enjoy the scenery of Glacier National Park from the comfort of an interpretive bus tour. Red Bus Tours take you through the park and across the Going-to-the-Sun Road in vintage 1930s buses driven by knowledgeable guides.

Sun Tours provide valuable insight into Glacier’s natural beauty and the cultural relevance to the Blackfeet. Guides are lifetime residents of the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and have extensive knowledge of tribal history, culture and lifestyle.


Guided Boat Tour

Glacier Park Boat Co. offers several boat tours with guided commentary on the lakes in Many Glacier, Two Medicine, Rising Sun and Lake McDonald.

Optional guided hikes are offered on some cruises at Many Glacier, Two Medicine and Rising Sun. For more information and to make reservations, contact Glacier Park Boat Co.

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