If you ask me, any visit to Glacier National Park is memorable. But my most recent trip to the park was extra memorable. Why? Well, a few reasons really. It was early June, the weather was perfect and I was in the Crown of the Continent with five of my favorites: Kristin, Jade, Spencer, Kent and Caanan. It was literally one of my favorite trips to the park.
Glacier National Park’s Many Glacier Valley.
Now, as I’m sure you all can image, I have been to Glacier National Park 7,457 times (or some outrageous number similar to that). Maybe you’re wondering, “Tia, do you ever get bored of going to the same old park over and over?” To which I would respond, “Actually, no. That’s one thing I love about Glacier National Park. No matter how many times I visit, it touches me to the very core and somehow makes everything seem right in the world. Call me a sap, but Glacier National Park has my heart.”
Phew, now that that’s out of the way, let me show you why this most recent visit was one for the record books…
First things first, we started the trip with a helicopter tour over the park with Glacier Jet Center. Based out of Glacier Park International Airport, Glacier Jet Center is the crème de la crème of helicopter tours. I kid you not, that helicopter ride was as smooth as a paddle on the calmest of lakes. Plus, Mike (the general manager and pilot) is an utmost professional and a stellar pilot. We spent a perfect hour seeing the park from the sky — an absolutely stunning vantage point.
Admiring our black stallion of a helicopter.
One of my seat buddies, Kent.
Flying over Hungry Horse Reservoir.
The view from above.
A great look at one of the park’s mountain peaks.
Jade documenting our trip.
The view toward the park from the North Fork. One word: incredible.
From the air, you can see peak after peak after peak.
After one of the best hours of my life, we loaded up our rig and made the scenic drive along Highway 2 and into West Glacier. And you know we stopped for the obligatory tourist photo.
Fact: this group is full of hams.
Lake McDonald from Apgar Village.
After dipping our toes in the chilly water at Lake McDonald, we continued east on Highway 2 to our lunch destination, the Izaak Walton Inn. All I’m going to say about that is this: if you have not had lunch or dinner at the Izaak Walton, put it on your agenda.
With full tummies, we cruised along to East Glacier Park. Growing up about two hours south of East Glacier, it has a sweet spot in my heart. We checked into our accommodations for the night at Glacier Park Lodge. When I was a wee little one, we’d come to Glacier Park Lodge nearly every summer and stay the night. To this blond-haired girl, it is one of the most special places in the world to me.
The view from the deck at Glacier Park Lodge.
Our shared balcony was the perfect place to greet the morning.
After a good night’s sleep among fresh Rocky Mountain air (I swear to you, there’s something about mountain air that will make you sleep like a well-behaved baby), we filled our tummies with huckleberry pancakes at Glacier Park Lodge and then headed for Two Medicine for a morning boat tour with Glacier Park Boat Company, followed by a quick jaunt to Running Eagle Falls.
Even with the overcast skies, the boat tour was lovely.
Running Eagle Falls was named in honor of Running Eagle, a female Blackfeet warrior who had a vision quest here.
We then continued on to our final destination of Many Glacier, but not before fueling up at the Park Cafe in St. Mary. Trust me on one thing: the pie is as good as ever. After again filling our bellies, we continued to Many Glacier Hotel for an afternoon hike with Glacier Guides. Along the way we saw ridiculous views, fresh bear poo and a few lingering piles of snow.
Oh, hey gorgeous mountain.
Lake Josephine in the park’s Many Glacier Valley.
This is how much we love Glacier National Park.
In case you’re wondering what tough Montana girls wear hiking, our attire includes hot pink workout pants.
After a gorgeous hike, we made our way back to Many Glacier Hotel for dinner.
Soaking up the view from my room.
The Ptarmigan Dining Room at Many Glacier Hotel.
Catching the last light from the deck at Many Glacier Hotel.
Ending the night with a delightful drink, the Huckleberrry Smash.
After a cozy night in one of the park’s most magnificent lodges, we packed up the car and started making the drive to the airport. The biggest disappointment for some of my pals? We hadn’t seen any wildlife. However, I’m happy to tell you that en route to the airport we saw a moose and a bear. My response? That’s Montana for ya.
Waving goodbye to Many Glacier.
“Oh, it’s a moose,” was the direct quote from Spencer’s mouth when he saw this guy.
Don’t worry, when I saw the bear I properly alerted my group by saying, “Bear, bear, bear, BEAR!”
Saying our goodbyes in the only way we know how: a giant group selfie.
Somehow during our week of exploring Montana, the song “Meet Me in Montana” became our jam. So much so that we practiced the words and even recorded a video of our crew “performing” it.
To the #MT6Pack, miss you and your cute faces. Come back soon, okay?
PS: For more from our group’s early summer jaunt through Western Montana’s Glacier Country, check out our time in Missoula, our day in the Seeley-Swan Valley and the fun we had soaking up the great outdoors in Montana’s Flathead Valley.