Last week, we spend a few days playing in and around Whitefish and Glacier National Park. Why, you may ask? Because it’s summer in Western Montana and that means we need to get out and play, play, play!
And with the long Fourth of July weekend coming up, it seems appropriate to let you in on some of the fun places to visit if you’re going to be around Whitefish and Glacier National Park…
*Adrenaline thrills in Whitefish:
Walk in the Treetops at Whitefish Mountain Resort
Try out the new zip line and alpine slide at Whitefish Mountain Resort
! We could hear the screams of excitement from our platform at Walk in the Treetops.
*Wet and wild:
Glacier Raft Company in West Glacier
The folks at Glacier Raft Company
know how to have a good time on and off the river! With knowledgable guides, they make any rafter feel at ease on the river. Dustin guided our boat and was awesome!
In Glacier National Park, there are so many things to do that it’s hard to decide where to start! You can take a guided hike with Glacier Guides
, take a boat cruise with Glacier Park Boat Company
, tour the historic lodges in the park on a red jammer
or catch one of the park’s interpretive programs with a ranger.
Loading the boat at Swiftcurrent Lake
Mountain Goats in the Park
It’s official! The Going-to-the-Sun Road is open for the season. And it’s completely spectacular! Waterfalls were gushing, the Weeping Wall was flowing strong, baby goats and their mamas were right below Logan Pass, Ranger Doug was at the Logan Pass Visitor Center and construction waits were minimal. All said, a great opening day across the road!
If you’re lucky enough to travel to Glacier National Park, one of the best ways to explore the serpentine Going to the Sun Road (the only road in the Park) is to hop a Red Bus tour. Of course, if you’ve got nerves of steel, you can drive the steep and winding Sun Road yourself (no RVs allowed). However, a more relaxing way to enjoy jaw-dropping views of lakes, waterfalls, dense forests, hanging valleys, alpine tundra, and the soaring, glacier-studded peaks of the Lewis and Livingstone mountain ranges–and learn about the park’s fascinating history, geology and its plants and animals–is to take a Red Bus tour.
The 25-foot-long, open air buses are themselves pieces of history. Constructed from 1936 to 1939 by the White Motor Company of Cleveland, Ohio, the Reds feature canvass rollback tops, roll down windows and a door for every row of seats. The drivers, called “Jammers,” are full of fascinating facts and will point out interesting sights like swirls of 1.6 billion year old fossilized blue green and a sheer wall that weeps water all year long. Tours of one hour to a full day are available June through September. For more information or to book a Red Bus Tour, go to www.glacierparkinc.com or call 406-892-2525.
by Bobbie Hasselbring
I started my trip in Missoula and really enjoyed the hospitality and friendliness of the folks there. Being from Southern California, it’s a real pleasure to get away from the traffic jams and hustle and bustle and replace it with the more sane pace of life enjoyed in Montana. Some other places I really liked in the region were Garnet ghost town, Flathead Lake, the Miracle of America Museum (Polson), Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River. The Visitor Center at the National Bison Range and surrounding park is another treasure for wildlife viewing. And don’t miss a drive up to Eureka past Libby Dam and Lake Koocanusa up into Yaak Country. With so many miles of unspoiled countryside, it’s hard to go wrong anywhere in Western Montana.
by Ken Freund
One of my favorite things to do in the Seeley-Swan Valley is to rent a canoe and paddle the Clearwater Canoe Trail. This quiet stretch of river is closed to motorized boats, making it a great place to get away and enjoy a quiet slice of Western Montana. The paddle takes about two hours, depending on how fast you go, and empties into the northern end of Seeley Lake. If you want, you can bring your own canoe or kayak or you can rent one in Seeley. Seeley Sport Rentals (www.seeleysportrentals.com) will handle pick-up and drop-off.
PS-Keep your eyes peeled for its wildlife viewing opportunities, including deer, a variety of birds and turtles sunning themselves on logs. For more, visit http://visitmt.com/categories/moreinfo.asp?IDRRecordID=4091&siteid=1.
I may be partial (being a Montanan and all) but there’s something about summers in Missoula that I can’t get enough of!
A few days ago, I hiked up to the “M” on Mount Sentinel–Missoula’s most prominent landmark. Once you’ve done the hike, it’s easy to see why it’s one of Montana’s most visited trails. It’s an easy hike that allows for each person to take it at their own pace. Plus, there’s room on the trail to stop and rest and to pass people coming up or down the mountain. And, an added bonus–the view is beautiful!
For more on hiking Mount Sentinel, visit http://www.missoulian.com/specials/hikebike/MS-mtrail.html.