I was born in Kalispell, Montana and spent every summer of my youth on a lake nearby. One summer, I worked as a maid on the east side of the park (hardest job of my life) and Swiftcurrent quickly became my favorite part of Glacier to explore. The best bet for good weather is late July or early August, and here are five things I would encourage everyone to do while they’re there.
#1 Skip rocks on Lake McDonald. The varied-color of the rocks here make them the prettiest I’ve ever seen…from turquoise green to brick red, from warm gold to cobalt blue.
#2 Pack a lunch and drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Park at Logan Pass (or ride the park bus, because the lot is often full). Don’t bother with Hidden Lake, where 98% of the tourists go. Spend most of the day hiking the Highline Trail. From this trail you can see the whole West side of the park! If you’re really on top of things and can set your alarm on the day reservations open on January 7 (they go that fast), you can reserve a room, spend the night at Granite Park Chalet and return the next day. That’s still on my Someday List.
#3 Take a boat ride on St. Mary Lake. You’ll frequently see this body of water and surrounding mountains on calendars, it’s so picturesque. On the boat ride, you can get close to Sexton Glacier and see the remains of a Great Northern Railway president’s private cabin.
#4 Spend two nights at the historic Many Glacier Lodge. One day, get up early to see how the sunrise turns the mountains pink/red, pack a lunch and hike to Iceberg Lake. It’s long (ten miles) but it’s beautifully graded and is very doable for families. And at the end, there really is a lake with icebergs floating in it!
#5 The next day, rent kayaks and if it’s not too windy, get out on Swiftcurrent Lake. Glorious!
Just remembering all these fine places in Glacier makes me smile. And it’s part of the reason I set ONCE UPON A MONTANA SUMMER there. If you can’t get there to visit soon, perhaps you can do a little “armchair traveling” by dipping into the book when it releases in December. 🙂