Kevin and Carol Bennett
Kevin and Carol Bennett

Montana

Local Facts
Population: More then 70 species of mammals and over 260 species of birds
Preserves over 1,000,000 acres of National Forest lands.
Over 700 miles of maintained trails.

Majestic landscapes set among pristine waters, abundant wildlife sanctuaries, and breath-taking mountainscapes set the backdrop for one of the most beautiful places in the Rocky Mountains. Glacier invites you to explore a spectacular region preserved with a natural charm all its own. A visit to the park will allow you to experience the fascinating history, exquisite beauty and rich culture that Glacier has to offer. Travelers, ready for a captivating adventure may choose from three scenic routes, collectively known as the Glacier Loop Tour. This global treasure, sculpted over millions of years by the harsh forces of nature has retained its soft beauty now emanating from this picturesque paradise will welcome and delight you throughout your stay.

Lake McDonald is the largest (10 miles long) and deepest (464 feet) body of water in the park. Stretching northeast for some 10 miles from near the west entrance to the park, Lake McDonald has a natural beauty with dense forest sloping down to the crystal clear lake.

Celebrating 100 Years
During the summer of 2010, Glacier National Park celebrated their 100th Year Anniversary of when President Taft signed a bill to establish this area as the 10th National Park in the United States. Ever since 1911, when the park drew 4,000 visitors and tourists would ride the train to Glacier and travel by horseback to stay at chalets in the high country, people have been inspired and recognize the value of the spectacular scenic beauty. Glacier’s 1,600 square miles offer visitors a variety of activities, including biking, backpacking, camping, fishing, boating, and horseback riding. The spectacular glaciated landscape is a hikers paradise containing 700 miles of maintained trails that lead deep into one of the largest intact ecosystems in the lower 48 states. Visitors to the park traveling on the “Going-to-the-Sun” road marvel at how such a road could have been built. At 50-miles long, the final section of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, over Logan Pass, was completed in 1932 after 11 years of work. The road is considered an engineering feat and is a National Historic Landmark. It is one of the most scenic roads in North America. The construction of the road forever changed the way visitors would experience Glacier National Park. Future visitors would drive over sections of the park that previously had taken days of horseback riding to see.

For animal lovers, wildlife abounds here, and black bear, elk, moose, and white-tail deer. Explore the rustic wilderness or just enjoy the pine covered hills surrounding the crystal blue water of Bowman Lake. Tour an area home to a vast Native American culture brimming with tradition and discover two native reservations occupied by the Confederated Salish and the Kootenai Tribes filled with natural beauty all their own. The park contains over 350 structures listed on the National Register of Historic Sites and six National Historic Landmarks.

Newest Gateway to Glacier

This is a wonderful scenic route to take if you’re headed east on I-90. Just travel eastbound on I-90 until you reach the Kingston Exit #43. Follow Forest Road 9 until you reach Pritchard. At Pritchard, turn right at the sign that says Murray/ Thompson Falls/Thompson Pass. Follow this road over the pass and you’ll come to Hwy 200. Take a right onto Hwy 200 and travel to Plains, Montana. At Plains, take a left onto Hwy 28 and follow it until it turns into Hwy 93. Follow 93 to Kalispell, Montana. In Kalispell, get onto Hwy 2 and follow it through Columbia Falls to West Glacier.

You can take an easy 1-mile hike to Rivet Lake from the top of Thompson Pass. Or for the more adventurous, there’s also a 2.8 mile hike from the Thompson Pass trailhead into Blossom Lake.

For another scenic drive before you get to Glacier, take the Silver Loop Tour. Past Thompson Pass lies the town of Thompson Falls. From there, follow the Clark Fork River for a scenic backroads tour to St. Regis, Montana. At St. Regis, head back west on I-90 and stop at the 10,000 Dollar Saloon for a unique old-time shopping experience. The loop continues west through Wallace, Kellogg, and Kingston.

ROUTE A:
Of the three routes heading to Glacier, this is the fastest. This loop takes you through Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, Kellogg and Wallace, and is known for its spectacular mountain peaks and the 52-mile high Going-To-The-Sun Road.

Directions to Route A1:
Travel east on I-90 through Coeur d’Alene, Kellogg, and Wallace, and drive over Lookout Pass into Montana. Exit at St. Regis. Take Hwy 135 along the St. Regis River until you reach the junction with Hwy 200. For a shorter route, turn left and go through Paradise until you reach Plains. From Plains, follow Hwy 28 north until it turns into Hwy 93 and proceed to Kalispell, Montana. From Kalispell, take Hwy 2 through the towns of Columbia Falls, Hungry Horse and Coram. Next is the town of West Glacier, the gateway to Glacier National Park.

Directions to Route A2:
Upon reaching the junction of Hwy 135 and Hwy200, take a right onto Hwy 200 and follow it past the National Bison Range and through the Mission Mountain Valley. Take a left onto Hwy 93 and follow the remaining directions for Route A1.

ROUTE B:
This drive takes travelers through the scenic wilderness of the north, and offers a lengthier sub-route past Lake Koocanusa.

Directions to Route B1:
From Coeur d’Alene, drive north on Hwy 95 through Sandpoint, Naples, and Bonners Ferry. At the junction of Hwy 2, turn east (right) toward Moyie Springs. Don’t miss this opportunity to see the spectacular Moyie Falls and Dam. Continue on Hwy 2 along the Kootenai River through Troy and Libby, Montana. Go through Kalispell and on to Glacier National Park.

Directions to Route B2:
Follow the directions of Route B1 until reaching Libby, Montana. At Libby, head north towards Rexford on State Route 37. Libby Dam and Lake Koocanusa offer beautiful scenic views on the way up to Rexford. Once you pass Rexford, continue east to the junction of Hwy 93 and then head southeast through Eureka. Go through the Stillwater State Forest and on to Whitefish, Montana. After Whitefish, take Hwy 2 to Columbia Falls and on to Glacier National Park.

ROUTE C:
Follow Hwy 95 from Coeur d’Alene up to Sandpoint. Drive through Sandpoint and go east on Hwy 200, which is a State Scenic Byway along the north shore of Lake Pend Oreille. The clear blue water of the Lake and the green pine forest of the surrounding mountains provide excellent photo opportunities.

Just before you cross the border into Montana, you’ll see the Cabinet Gorge Dam. Just east of the town of Heron, Montana is the turn-off for State Route 56, through Troy and Libby. This Route takes you through the Cabinet Mountains, past the grove of ancient cedars at the Ross Creek Scenic Area, and to Hwy 2. As you wind through the spectacular beauty of the two National Forests on the way to Kalispell, Hwy 2 offers many campsites, lakes, and recreation areas along the way. Gorgeous scenic views and historical sights lie along this route.

From Kalispell, continue on Hwy 2 to Glacier National Park.

Returning from Glacier
You can reverse any of the previously listed routes, or retrace your tracks through Columbia Falls and continue northwest through Whitefish and the Stillwater State Forest on Hwy 2 to Eureka. At Eureka, take State Route 37 towards Rexford. You’ll pass Lake Koocanusa and the Libby Dam on the right. Once you reach Libby, rejoin Hwy 2 going west. Follow the Kootenai River all the way to Bonners Ferry back into Idaho.

 

Print Email