After staying overnight at the Walmart carpark in Idaho, we entered Montana.
Today we felt like an American traveller. On the road early and parking late. We choose the scenic byway to Glacier National Park but despite being scenic it appears everyone was in a hurry.
Glacier National Park is in northwestern Montana on the border with Canada. This park is around 4000sq kilometres and includes over 130 lakes. Lake McDonald on the western side of the park is the longest lake at 16 kilometres long and 140 meters deep at the deepest point. The ranger told us that the surface temperature of the lake never gets above 10 degrees Celsius. In addition to this the park has hundreds of rivers, waterfalls, and streams.
According to the rangers in the 1950’s 150 glaciers measuring 25 acres in size existed in Glacier National Park. By 2010 only 25 remained and it looks like that by 2030 all glaciers will have disappeared.
Part of Glacier Nat Park is Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada and was the first international Peace Park in the world (1932) and became a World Heritage site in 1995.
We bush camped 5km from the park entrance and the locals warned us to be on the lookout for Black bears, Grizzle Bears, Big Horn sheep, Elk, Moose, Mountain Lions, Wolves and Lynx. So, Clary decided against a campfire tonight. (Due to the many bushfires in the area this was not allowed anyway)
GLACIER NATIONAL PARK WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW.
From 6AM till 3PM you need a vehicle reservation. Scooters and Motorbikes are also regarded as a vehicle. Before 6AM and after 3PM no vehicle reservation required. Security will not let you in even at 2 minutes before 3PM and send you away!! Wish the faceless people were as efficient operating the online booking service.
We arrived at West Glacier at 3PM and due to our difficulty getting onto the website we decided to visit the visitor centre first at Apgar Village. We have been trying to make a reservation at Glacier NP for our scooter, but the website has not been working nor did it accept our Australian mobile number. Last advise we received was to visit the visitor centre at West Glacier, but again no luck as even the rangers could not finalize our reservation. It was good to see that the local Americans had the same issues.
The vehicle reservation system is to reduce congestion on the roads and pull outs inside the park which we understand. BUT I am unable to understand, why a small scooter needs a vehicle permit, this got me lost.
Motorhomes up to 21 Foot are allowed inside the park, our motorhome is 26 Ft hence too long. A few campsites cater for the larger RV’s in the beginning of the park. The campgrounds inside the park require you to book on the same booking site. All campsites, we were told were fully booked and we were told that people book 6 months ahead. Hard to believe as while returning from a daytrip we realized the campsite marked full on the website and at the entrance was not even 50% occupied at 8.15PM that night?
For those without a scooter/bike and a motorhome over 21ft, there is a free National Park Shuttle.
Is the park worth visiting? ABSOLUTELY
A mix of melting glaciers, alpine meadows, carved valleys, spectacular lakes, and the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road.
The best views in Glacier Nat Park are found on the “Going to The Sun Road” and the highlights are The loop, Big Bend, Weeping Wall, and the Logan Pass visitor centre. Driving around Glacier National Park on our scooter was amazing and despite lots of tourist and full carparks with the scooter we always found a spot. Glorious views, incredible scenic drives
We came during sunset and the golden hour was spectacular. Unfortunately for us the bushfires around the park and across the border in Canada did not help the view. Realizing that most campsites were not fully booked despite the rangers and websites telling us different, we tried our luck the following day by turning up without a booking. You guessed it, lots of space?
Glacier National Park is a beautiful scenic wilderness area and home to hundreds of glacier-carved peaks, over 600 lakes, hundreds of rivers, waterfalls, and streams. After we explored Glacier National Park, we headed for Crows Agency where that weekend a large festival took place.
TILL NEXT TIME WHEN WE CROSS MONTANA TO CROWS AGENCY (INDIAN FESTIVAL) and the BEAR TOOTH RANGES.
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