25 to 27 July 2021
I have been wanting to take our family to Glacier National Park ever since I made a solo visit ten years ago. We had to alter some of our plans in this summer after Covid lockdowns. Accommodations were hard to get and considerably more expensive. We stayed in Kalispell which had more economical options and all the services we could want, but it is further from West Glacier than Whitefish and Columbia Falls. The town of Whitefish is a tourist hot spot for dining and shopping. At another time, Whitefish would definitely be the preferred place to stay and the Lodge at Whitefish Lake would have been ideal.
During my first visit I got to take the Lady of the Lake boat tour from the lodge’s marina but we were unable to make a reservation. Instead we rented kayaks at Whitefish Lake State Park for a more active way to enjoy it. The cool clear water was a nice way to enjoy the outdoors on a hot and steamy day.
Access to Glacier was restricted from 7 AM to 5 PM due to the crowds, so we had to institute Plan B. Each day we spent doing activities outside the park and each evening we went at 5 PM, which wasn’t ideal, but worked well for us. During unusually hot weather, the evening provided cooler temperatures and summer sunlight until 9:30 PM. The only real negative was we did not have enough daylight to do one of the 10-mile, 6 hour hikes we had planned. Lake MacDonald was the perfect place to watch the sunset on our way out of the park each night.
Being in the park at dusk improved our chances to see wildlife. We saw mountain goats, bear and elk.
Mountain Goats, Deer and Bear
We enjoyed the St. Mary’s Falls Trail and Hidden Lake Trail, which are both popular and not too strenuous. Our favorite was the Highline Trail. We did not have time to do the entire hike but the section we did from Logan’s Pass was spectacular and could be a little scary for people afraid of heights. Not having the time to complete it was my only regret.
St. Mary’s Falls Trail and the Going to the Sun Road