A Local’s Guide to Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is a magical place that offers something for everyone. Nestled in the Rocky Mountains of Montana, this stunning national park was carved by ancient glaciers and offers breathtaking views, abundant wildlife, and a wide range of outdoor activities. Escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and experience the magnificence of Glacier like a local with this guide.

When to Visit Glacier National Park

The best time to visit Glacier National Park is during the summer months of  June to September. When the weather is warm and the snow has melted, you’ll have easy access to the park’s many hiking trails and scenic viewpoints. Temperatures are in the comfortable 70s during the day and dip down to the 40s at night. Wildflowers are in full bloom during this time, adding pops of purple and yellow to the beautiful landscape.

How to Get to Glacier National Park

There are a few different ways to get to Glacier National Park. The easiest way is to fly to the nearest major airport in Kalispell, Montana. Then you can rent a car and drive to the park, which is about a 45-minute drive away. Or you can set out on an unforgettable road trip to The Great American West from wherever you call home. No matter the route, the drive to the park is beautiful, with scenic views of the Rocky Mountains.

Best Things to do in Glacier National Park

From floating down the river to watching a western rodeo, do as the locals do to get a true feeling for this incredible destination.

Float Down the Flathead River

The Flathead River is a peaceful and scenic waterway that flows through Glacier. Grab an inner tube, paddleboard, or kayak, and a cooler and float downstream, taking in the stunning views of the surrounding mountains. There are plenty of access points between the Columbia Falls and Hungry Horse areas.

Raft on Whitewater Rapids

If you’re looking for a more thrilling water adventure, consider whitewater rafting on one of the many rivers in the area. There are several great rafting outfitters to find the right rapids, gear, and guides for first-timers as well as experienced rafters.

Swim at the Hungry Horse Reservoir

Cool off in the crystal clear waters beneath the endless blue sky surrounded by picturesque Rocky Mountain peaks. The Hungry Horse is the perfect place to cool off on a hot summer day and it’s not far from Under Canvas Glacier. There are also plenty of opportunities for fishing for trout and whitefish, boating, and other water sports.

Visit the Columbia Falls Farmers Market

The Columbia Falls Community Market is the place to be on Thursday nights from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. from mid-May through September. The town comes alive with live music, a beer garden, vendors, and more.

Go to a Blue Moon Rodeo

Rodeos are a Montana tradition. For the past 150 years, it’s played an important part in the local culture. Visitors from all over come to witness top-notch riders battle it out for the winning title. Enjoy live music, food and drink, and plenty of entertainment.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

Whether you’re looking for a short, easy hike or a challenging trek, with over 700 miles of hiking trails, you’ll find it here. Check out our favorite hikes in Glacier including some of the paths less traveled.

Rockwell Falls

The double cascade waterfall hike is an easy 6.6-mile trek through pine forests, grassy meadows, and along the lake shore. It’s a prime place to spot moose and other wildlife foraging for grasses and wild berries. Reward yourself with a refreshing dip in the swimming hole at the bottom of the falls.

Apgar Lookout

This moderate, 4.5-mile round-trip hike offers incredible vistas of the surrounding mountains and Lake McDonald. The trail can be steep in places, but it is well-marked and well-maintained.

Iceberg Lake

Hike through fragrant alpine forests and meadows on this 9.6-mile round-trip hike. It’s a long, challenging hike, but it is well worth the effort! Look for the chunks of ice that float in the lake all summer long, giving the lake its name.

Redrock Falls

Enjoy a peaceful and easy 2.5-mile round trip hike through dense forests and along a babbling brook en route to a spectacular set of waterfalls. It’s the perfect option for most hikers and families with children. Wade in the natural pool, picnic, and snap photos at this oasis in the woods.

Where to Eat in and Around Glacier National Park

No matter what you’re in the mood for, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your cravings near Glacier National Park.

Inside the Park

Several restaurants serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, and pick-me-up snacks and drinks near the lodge areas of the park. Check out Eddie’s Cafe, Russell’s Fireside Dining Room, Jammer Joe’s Grill & Pizzeria, and Lucke’s Lounge, to name just a few. You can also pack a picnic lunch with Grab N Go options from Under Canvas.

Outside the Park

Some of the best restaurants near Glacier National Park are in the nearby towns of West Glacier and Whitefish.

Wandering Gringo Café

Savor scratch-made Mexican eats at this easygoing, bright orange food truck in Columbia Falls. The “burritos the size of your head” are a beloved local favorite.

Josephine’s Speakeasy

Find the perfect pairing at Josephine’s homesteader log cabin, just seven miles from Glacier National Park in Coram. This hidden gem serves up craft cocktails with distilled spirits made in the barn outside paired with handcrafted small plates.

Glacier Highland Café 

Enjoy homestyle cooking in West Glacier from morning until evening. Do not miss the huckleberry pancakes for breakfast – a true Montana treat!

Bonsai Brewing Project 

Sip small-batch beers, eat casual fare, and listen to live music at this local microbrewery in Whitefish. Meet plenty of friendly doggos enjoying the fresh air at the picnic tables outside. It’s part of the vibe here.

Tupelo Grille

Treat your tastebuds to New Orleans-style fare in the heart of downtown Whitefish. This upscale restaurant serves up some of the finest Southern cuisine in the state from fresh seafood to jambalaya and grilled steaks.

Where to Stay Near Glacier National Park

Located just a short drive from the west entrance to Glacier National Park, Under Canvas Glacier offers travelers a one-of-kind, upscale glamping experience in Montana’s “Big Sky Country.” Under Canvas is the perfect place to stay in comfort and style, whether you’re looking for a relaxing getaway or an adventure-filled escape.

Book Your Glacier Stay!

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