Great Ideas Glacier National Park & Western Montana

Great Ideas

Enter today for a chance to win monthly prizes in Western Montana’s Glacier Country.

Enter today for a chance to win monthly prizes in Western Montana’s Glacier Country.

Great Ideas

Not sure where to start your adventure in Western Montana's Glacier Country? No worries. Whether you're interested in hiking in the backcountry, sightseeing, shredding through fresh powder at area ski resorts or perusing local culture and attractions, we have plenty of great ideas to get you started.

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Glacier National Park

Bird Woman Falls

An icon in Glacier National Park, Bird Woman Falls is a glistening 492-foot-high waterfall that cascades down the side of Mt. Oberlin. From West Glacier, travel the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Bird Woman Falls Overlook, located on the west side of the Continental Divide.

Trail of the Cedars

This short boardwalk trail (ADA accessible) takes visitors through an old growth cedar forest. It’s also the beginning of the Avalanche Lake Trail (just over two miles long) that leads to Avalanche Lake—one of the most popular day hikes in Glacier National Park. Trail of the Cedars is located about five and a half miles north of Lake McDonald Lodge.

Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road

If your time in Glacier National Park is limited, one must-see attraction is the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This 50-mile long road takes travelers between St. Mary and West Glacier through the heart of the park, crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. There are numerous pullouts along the road, ideal for taking photographs and enjoying the scenery.

See a Glacier

As you’re traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road, pull over at Jackson Glacier Overlook (located east of Logan Pass). The overlook offers the best opportunity to see a glacier from the road.

Many Glacier Valley

Home to incredible mountains, active glaciers, abundant wildlife and miles of hiking trails, Many Glacier is located in the northwest section of Glacier National Park. Trails leave from this valley in numerous directions, with popular hiking destinations including Iceberg Lake, Grinnell Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel.

Crown of the Continent

Home to one of North America’s most dramatic series of high mountain peaks, Glacier National Park is often called the “Crown of the Continent.” Before it received this moniker, American Indians referred to it as “The Backbone of the World.” Glacier is home to high alpine lakes, hundreds of trails, incredible waterfalls, beautiful mountains and ice-capped ridges, making both names as appropriate as ever.

MONTANA GEMS

A Hefty Hereford

Located along Highway 200 at Clearwater Junction, you’ll find a 15-foot high, 18-foot long Hereford steer.

Montana’s Largest Ponderosa Pine

Located between Alberton and Superior on I-90, you’ll find the state’s largest ponderosa pine standing at 194 feet tall and six and a half feet wide.

Golden Mountain Hues

Each autumn, the western larch (or tamarack) sheds its needles in beautiful colors of yellow and gold. The western larch can grow up to 200 feet tall and can reach ages of 400 years old. For ideal tamarack viewing, drive down the Seeley-Swan Valley on Highway 83.

Montana Heroes: Smokejumpers

Missoula is home to the largest smokejumper base in the United States. Each summer, smokejumpers train at the center, where they learn to suppress and fight wildfires in remote mountainous terrain. The on-site visitor center gives tours during the summer season, while tours are available the rest of the year by appointment.

Kerr Dam Overlook

Located just outside Polson, Kerr Dam sits at 204 feet high, making it 54 feet higher than Niagara Falls. A boardwalk takes you above the falls, where beautiful canyon and lake views await.

Bike Through Tunnels and Across Bridges

Located on one of the most breathtaking scenic stretches of railroad in the country, the Hiawatha Rail Trail takes bikers 15 miles through 10 tunnels and across seven high steel trestles. And if you don't have your own bike, not a worry. Bike rentals are available at Lookout Pass.

A Birder’s Paradise

Surveys (U.S. Fish & Wildlife) show that Montana leads the nation with the largest percentage of bird watchers. And it’s no wonder. With locations like the Lee Metcalf Wildlife Refuge in the Bitterroot Valley, Ninepipes Wildlife Refuge in the Mission Valley and Glacier National Park, Western Montana is a stellar destination for birding.

Clearwater River Canoe Trail

Flowing through a dense willow marsh on an isolated portion of the Clearwater River, the canoe trail is three and a half miles long and provides paddlers with opportunities to view birds and other wildlife. The canoe trail is closed to motorized boats and flows into the northern end of Seeley Lake.

Hot Springs

Western Montana is home to numerous natural hot springs, ranging from backcountry pools to developed resorts. For years, travelers and residents have visited the pools for the benefits of their healing waters.

Duck Lake

Located along the Rocky Mountain Front on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation is Duck Lake. Camping is available at the lake and the fishing is some of the best you’ll experience. Plus, the views are spectacular.

Four-Season Fun

Western Montana is a year-round destination, with activities for every season whether it’s cross-country skiing in Glacier National Park, cutting turns at Whitefish Mountain Resort, hitting up a local event in Missoula, spring biking in northwest Montana or snowmobiling in the Bitterroot Valley.

MONTANA CULTURE

Kalispell’s Museums

As the hub of the Flathead Valley, Kalispell is home to great museums like the Hockaday Museum of Art, Central School Museum and the Conrad Mansion Museum–a beautifully preserved historic mansion.

Missoula’s Music, Dining and Museums

Missoula, located at the confluence of the Blackfoot, Bitterroot and Clark Fork rivers, is Montana’s cultural hub. Missoula is home to the Missoula Children’s Theatre, a group that tours schools around the world each year, as well as local performances in Missoula. Additional attractions include the Monte Dolack Gallery, Fort Missoula and Museum of Mountain Flying. It’s also a prime destination for fine dining and live music.

Whitefish Wonders

Located on the shores of Whitefish Lake and at the base of Big Mountain, Whitefish is a year-round destination with abundant outdoor recreation activities. It’s also home to cool coffee houses, boutiques, incredible restaurants, great nightlife and the Alpine Theatre Project— a company that brings Broadway to the Flathead Valley.

American Indian Culture

Montana is home to seven Indian reservations and 12 tribal nations. On the Flathead Indian Reservation and Blackfeet Nation (both within Glacier Country), Indian culture is shared through annual gatherings, like Pow Wows.

SITES TO SEE

The Daly Mansion

Located in Hamilton, the Daly Mansion was the summer home of Montana Copper King and millionaire Marcus Daly. Today, the mansion welcomes guests from around the world for guided tours of the estate.

Blodgett Canyon Overlook

Called the Bitterroot Valley’s version of Yosemite National Park, Blodgett Canyon is home to beautiful vertical cliffs and forested trails, popular among hikers and rock climbers.

The Summit House: Whitefish Mountain Resort

Ride the chair lift or gondola to the top of Big Mountain and head to the Summit House. Sitting at nearly 7,000 feet, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking views of Glacier National Park and the Flathead Valley.

Sunrise at St. Mary Lake

Before dawn, depart St. Mary and travel east on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, making your way to the Sun Point Nature Trail. Take the short hike to the overlook and watch the sun rise.

The Swinging Bridge

Spanning the Kootenai River just below Kootenai Falls is the swinging bridge. A forested trail leads from the parking lot off Highway 2 to the bridge, with beautiful river views along the way. Make your way to the center of the bridge and look upriver to the rushing falls.

Holland Falls

Located a short hike from Holland Lake in the Swan Valley is Holland Falls. The one and a half mile trail takes hikers along the lake and provides beautiful vistas along the way. Once you’ve arrived at the falls, be sure to turn around and look at the Mission Mountains rising in the distance. The view is absolutely incredible.

Bob Marshall Wilderness

Known as the crown jewel of the wilderness system, the Bob Marshall Wilderness Complex is home to three wilderness areas: Bob Marshall, Scapegoat and Great Bear. Known affectionately as “The Bob,” the wilderness is home to rugged peaks, the Chinese Wall (a massive rock wall that runs 22 miles long and reaches 1,000 feet in height) and many types of wildlife. It’s also home to more than 1,000 miles of developed and maintained trails and is an ideal destination for backcountry adventure.

Looking Glass Highway

Located along Glacier National Park’s eastern border is the Looking Glass Highway (Highway 49). Open seasonally, this scenic drive provides breathtaking views of the park and the Blackfeet Nation.

Koo-Koo-Sint Bighorn Sheep Viewing Site

Located near Thompson Falls, this viewing area is one of the best places to watch bighorn sheep in their habitat. Peak viewing months are October, November and December.

National Bison Range

Located a short drive north of Missoula near Moiese, the National Bison Range is home to 300 – 500 head of bison, as well as elk, deer, antelope, black bear and birds. The bison range and visitor center are open year-round, with drives available throughout the year.

Rocky Mountain Front

East of Glacier National Park is the Rocky Mountain Front, an area where the plains meet the rising Rockies. The front is known for its charming small communities, wide-open spaces and large ranches. It also leads the nation in the most golden eagle sightings in a single day.

Discover

Thing to see & do in Western Montana & Glacier National Park

Western Montana's Glacier Country

News from Glacier National Park: Currently 11.5 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open for travel.

Bird Woman Falls

An icon in Glacier National Park, Bird Woman Falls is a glistening 492-foot-high waterfall that cascades down the side of Mt. Oberlin. From West Glacier, travel the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Bird Woman Falls Overlook, located on the west side of the Continental Divide.

Trail of the Cedars

This short boardwalk trail (ADA accessible) takes visitors through an old growth cedar forest. It’s also the beginning of the Avalanche Lake Trail (just over two miles long) that leads to Avalanche Lake—one of the most popular day hikes in Glacier National Park. Trail of the Cedars is located about five and a half miles north of Lake McDonald Lodge.

Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road

If your time in Glacier National Park is limited, one must-see attraction is the Going-to-the-Sun Road. This 50-mile long road takes travelers between St. Mary and West Glacier through the heart of the park, crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. There are numerous pullouts along the road, ideal for taking photographs and enjoying the scenery.

See a Glacier

As you’re traveling the Going-to-the-Sun Road, pull over at Jackson Glacier Overlook (located east of Logan Pass). The overlook offers the best opportunity to see a glacier from the road.

Many Glacier Valley

Home to incredible mountains, active glaciers, abundant wildlife and miles of hiking trails, Many Glacier is located in the northeast section of Glacier National Park. Trails leave from this valley in numerous directions, with popular hiking destinations including Iceberg Lake, Grinnell Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel.

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