I’m back with another trip! I’ve been so lucky this summer to go to some pretty amazing places- definitely a perk of not working. My parents planned a trip to Glacier National Park and they had a hotel room with and extra bed at one of their stops and they invited me to tag along. Fortunately, I was able to use United miles and get a direct flight from Chicago to Kalispell, MT (perk of big city living). I had four full days to spend in Glacier with my parents who had driven out from Michigan. We spent most of our time based out of St. Mary on the east side of Glacier NP. The park is HUGE and I definitely did not even come close to seeing even half of it. My dad was stoked to go on a national park trip again; they haven’t been to a NP in over 10 years. He had all of our hikes pretty much planned out and he wanted to cover some major miles. After our Machu Picchu trip, I caught the hiking bug so I was excited for these hikes too!
Day 1 Hiking: Iceberg Lake Hike out of Many Glacier
We hiked up to this lake with a ranger and some other hikers which was nice in terms of scaring any grizzly bears away but I really prefer hiking solo so that I can go at my own (quicker) pace. This hike was about 10 miles but the elevation gain was not substantial. In general, Glacier NP only gets up to around 8000 feet which is minimal compared to Peru and even the Rockies in Colorado. We carried backpacks each day with lunches, rain gear, some warmer layers, and plenty of h20.
After we finished this hike, we heard that there were 2 moose in a lake about 0.5 mile away so we decided to walk over to check it out. We found them!
Day 2: Hike to Ptarmigan Tunnel out of Many Glacier (approx 10 miles)
Half of this hike was on the trail that we used on the first day before cutting off and leading us on a steep climb up to Ptarmigan Tunnel. Apparently we just missed seeing a grizzly bear on this trail. Unfortunately, we got to the top and it was all fogged in so we weren’t able to see anything! The tunnel was cool to see and I’m not sure how anyone engineered/constructed it.
After this hike, we decided to do a 3 mile hike to Red Rocks which was an easy trail with a pretty lake for viewing. We also tried to spot our moose friends again but they weren’t to be found.
Day 3: Highline Trail out of Logan Pass (approx 13 miles)
This hike was the most beautiful of all the hikes we did. The wildflowers, the mountains, the animals, this trail had it all. We started this hike with a ranger but the pace was too slow so we ended up breaking off from the group. Our original intention was to hike the 6.5 miles to the chalet and then hike 4 miles from the chalet to the road and then take a bus back to our car. However, this whole time my dad had been having really bad foot/heel pain from ill fitting hiking boots which was exacerbated when going downhill. The four miles to finish the hike were all downhill and he just didn’t think he could walk downhill for that long. So, we decided to go back the way we came (hence why we did 13 miles instead of 9). The hike was gorgeous but I will be honest, I was pooped by mile 11. My mom and I had beer and goldfish in the car and that’s all I thought about during those last few miles. This hike had a few good climbs but overall was not too difficult. We were able to get a great view of a mountain goat on the hike back which was cool!
During this hike, my left achilles tendon also started aching. At first I thought it was just rubbing on my hiking boot wrong but then I realized it more of an “internal” problem. I’m not sure if the hiking made my already tight calves even tighter or if hiking all of these miles so close together was too much for me. Since our trip, my achilles hasn’t quite been normal and gets especially achey when running. 😦
Day 4: 6 mile lake hike from Logan Pass
We decide to switch out our hikes for our last day. All of us had something aching (achilles for me) so we ended up doing a fairly easy 6 mile hike instead of another 10 miler. On this hike, we saw a mountain goat, mountain sheep in the distance, and a cute little marmot. When we got down to the lake, the fog once again rolled in which created an erie feel. After this hike, we drove to west Glacier and walked around Apgar Village, saw Lake McDonald, and then went and checked into our hotel in Whitefish. Whitefish is a super cute town and has a ski hill that I wouldn’t mind checking out in the winter. I flew out back to Chicago the next day.
Overall, this was a super fun trip and I would definitely go back. There is so much more to see! My parents are super frugal so we ate most of our meals in the hotel room (hello packaged tuna and easy mac) but this definitely kept the cost of the trip down. I think I spent $20 the entire time…all on coffee (note- I don’t drink instant coffee if there is an alternative lol). It was also nice to take a trip where the only clothes I packed were hiking clothes and I left my make-up at home. I of course got my hiking fix too.