We visited Glacier National Park on our 2019 trip along with Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks. If you drive from Santa Barbara, you would drive from Yellowstone to Glacier (about 6.5 hours). Since we flew in to Bozeman, we started at Yellowstone and drove to Glacier from Grand Teton which made the trip 9 hours. We stayed in Timber Wolf Lodge in Hungry Horse through Air BNB (I was wary of camping in a place where is can snow in August). After 4 days in the park, we drove back to Bozeman (5 hours) and flew back to Santa Barbara. If you choose to drive, it is around 20 hours driving back to Santa Barbara. See my Yellowstone post for more information on the flying plan and the Grand Teton post for more information on the driving plan.
|These people had the same overall plan.|
Day 1: After entering the West Glacier entrance, we enjoyed the Apgar Visitors Center as well as the Apgar Nature Center where most of the ranger talks happen. We walked along Lake McDonald toward Fish Creek and circled back to the Visitor Center. We also drove the Going to the Sun Road from West Glacier along Lake McDonald (there are also some short trails near John's Lake). (It was raining this day so we didn't attempt more.)
Day 2: We drove the Going to the Sun Road from West Glacier to walk the Trail of the Cedars (.8 miles) then continued up the road taking in the lookouts and the Weeping Wall to Logan Pass where we hiked to the Hidden Lake Trail (about 5.5 miles), seeing mountain goats (but not big horned sheep). It is quite a hike (1300 foot elevation gain with many steps), but we did it with some complaining (ages 6 and 9).
|Trail of the Cedars|
|Going to the Sun Road|
Day 3: We drove the Going to the Sun Road from West Glacier heading to all the way to the St. Mary's Visitor Center. We stopped for both the Sun Point Nature Trail and the trail to St. Mary's Falls. We got thoroughly drenched in a rainstorm on the second trail, but saw a moose swimming. Rather than return the way we came, we drove on the perimeter of the park (89/49/2) through the Flathead National Forest. We got our closest view of a bear here!
|St Mary's Falls|
Day 4: After completing the junior ranger requirements and getting the Scout badge (see National Park comments), we headed back to the Trail of the Cedars which is also the starting point for the trail to Avalanche Lake (4.5 miles) where the kids waded and we wished we had picnicked.
Glacier National Park is huge and the different entrances lead to more remote parts. We stuck to the main parts near the Going to the Sun Road because those are the parts written about most.
Other Glacier ideas: The Going to the Sun Road: Lake McDonald Lodge and boating, Beaver Pond Trail 3.4, West John’s Lake Loop 2.4m; Medicine Valley: Running Eagle Falls .6m, Appistoki Falls 1.2m; Many Glacier: Swift Current Nature Trail 2m, Apikuni Falls 2.5 m; Waterton Lakes: Blakiston Falls 1.6m, Rainbow Falls 1.4m, Cameron Lake 2.2m
National Parks with Kids https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/047018406X/