The number one thing on our to-do list this trip was to visit Glacier National Park. We had several people tell us that it was a must-see, so every step we made this summer was in that direction. When we left Missoula, we were getting closer, but decided to spend some time in the nearby town of Whitefish first. We stayed in Whitefish Lake State Park, which is nice and conveniently located to town, but the spaces were pretty tight. But we enjoyed our time in the area so much we ended up staying 6 days. Whitefish has a ski resort with trails open for hiking in the summer, a network of in-town hike/bike trails, a great local brewery, a charming historic downtown, and as with all of the other local Montana towns we’ve visited, the locals are super friendly. I only have a few pictures from our time there, but it’s a great little town and definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
After Whitefish we moved closer to Glacier to the SanSuzEd RV Park in West Glacier. Right away we set about exploring Glacier. The only negative was that we kept noticing a distinctive haze in the air. We couldn’t figure it out until we watched the local news and found out that there was a wildfire in Washington. A little disappointing but nothing we couldn’t handle. Our first day exploring we drove the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road, and saw some huge waterfalls and the beautiful Lake McDonald.
After a few days at SanSuzEd, we decided to move into the park into the Apgar campground. It’s first-come-first-served, but we had no problem finding a site that could easily fit us. When we first drove into the campground, I checked my phone and had a full Verizon signal. But as soon as we got set up in our site, I realized I had zero signal! After walking around for the campground a bit, we discovered that the cell phone signals are strong if you near the entrance/exit of each loop, but weaker as you get to the back of the loops. Since we were planning to stay for 6 days, we decided to move spots on our 3rd day and found a great site in loop C with plenty of cell signal. So if you go to this campground and cell phone signal is important to you, check loops B & C first (these seemed to have the biggest/most level sites), and try to get a spot near the front of the loops.
Thanks to an RV group on Facebook, I discovered that John and Jen of OurRVLife.com were going to be in Glacier for a few days, so we made plans to meet them for happy hour on the shores of Lake McDonald. How about this for a happy hour view?
We had a blast hanging out with John and Jen. They are full timers as of 6 weeks ago along with their son Joseph. Check out their blog and say hello to them! They are both great photographers and have some beautiful pictures of their travels so far. We made plans with them to hike the Avalanche Trail, which is one of the most popular trails on the west side of the park. As such, it was very crowded, but after 2 miles you get to the shores of beautiful Avalanche Lake.
We continued our exploring with John & Jen up to Logan Pass, where there was still lots of snow on the ground. We even saw a kid snow boarding!
On the way back to the campground we stopped at a few of of the many overlooks over McDonald Creek.
The next day Deas and did some more exploring by car, and we decided to see what was down a one-way dirt road that we had driven past a couple of times in the previous days. As we starting driving down the road, we quickly came upon a stopped car with a man excitedly pointing into the bushes. We jumped out and were treated to the sight of a mama grizzly bear with two tiny black cubs. She was a safe distance away, but too far away to get a decent picture. So we watched her a few minutes and then continued down the road. Since the road dead ends a mile or so away, we had to drive back by the same spot about 15 minutes later. This time the two little babies were climbing up a tree about 50 feet from the road. We couldn’t see the mama anywhere so I didn’t dare get out of the car, but we enjoyed watching them playing on the tree.
I got a new toy for my camera – a Neutral Density filter which allows me to use a really slow shutter speed, even in middle of the day sun. So I had some fun playing around with that this week.
We made some more new friends in the Apgar campground – Luke and Meghan were camped right across from us and their dog Rose made fast friends with our pups. Meghan is the marketing director for a company called Ticla that makes great tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads, and they are on a several month long trip in their camper. They too are writing a fun blog as part of their travels. We had some fun campfire discussions with them, and we all went to dinner one night at the Northern Lights Saloon in the nearby tiny town of Polebridge.
As we were driving back to the campground that night after dinner, there was a beautiful sunset.
Our first week in Glacier was amazing, but luckily we have another fun week coming up! We’re sticking around several more days because our friends Clark and Lynn from Tales from the Mutiny are joining us here, and we’re really excited to see them. More updates from Glacier to come!
25 thoughts on “Glacier National Park, Part I”
That shot of the bear cubs is so cute. I just bought a neutral density filter myself but haven’t had a chance to try it out. I love the effect. Looking forward to more hiking photos 🙂
I really like the ND filter and knew Glacier would be a great place to use it, but I bought a really strong one (10-stops) and as you can see in the picture it’s really washing out the colors. I had to do a lot of work on the photo to get the trees to look green. So I’ve still got some learning to do! We’ve done a few other hikes besides the Avalanche trail, but nothing worth putting on the blog. But we’re going to be on the east side of the park soon and the hiking over there looks amazing so there will be lots of pictures from over there!
What an awesome find! Those bear cubs are so cute:) We’ve seen lots of cubs in our various visits to Yellowstone but never climbing…very cool!
Your new camera toy did a super job on those rapids. Beautiful photos:) I am now more excited than ever to get to Glacier. We are still aiming for mid August if not before. We did a little detour as we were driving north in Michigan toward the UP. John explains it nicely in the blog. But we aren’t planning many stops except for rest as we move. Looking forward to catching you guys:) Hope all works out.
We also saw the little cubs swimming/playing in the river but they were too far away by then to get a good shot. They are simply adorable – hard to believe how big they will eventually get! Yes I hope it works out for us to meet also! We’re supposed to go to Banff on Saturday for a 8 days before heading back down to Waterton and the east side of Glacier, but we’re keeping an eye on the wildfire in Banff. If anything changes I’ll let you know but hopefully we will be there at the same time.
I didn’t realize there was a fire in Banff. Hope all works out for your visit.
Yes there was one right in the park, but it’s looking like it’s mostly under control now. So unless something crazy happens we should be good to go!
Glad you found the place in Polebridge, that’s a fun spot. When you get to the east side don’t miss hiking the Grinnel Glacier trail. Iceberg Lake is really nice as well
Yes Polebridge is a super cool place! We may have to go again before we leave. Thanks for the tips on the east side – we’re looking forward to exploring that side of the park.
Oh, well, if you are still there you shouldn’t miss the hike to Sperry Chalet. Its a bit long but worth it, great views down to Lake McDonald from the chalet that you can enjoy while having some pie and coffee. The real payoff though is to go on past the chalet for a half mile or so to the top of Lincoln Pass, you’ll get amazing views to the south that you won’t see anywhere else.
Great info – thanks! We’ve only got a couple more days on this side and we’ve got friends here now too, but I will mention this to the group!
Fantastic first week you have had! When is your last day? Maybe we will make another run into the park soon…
We are here until Friday. Let us know if you decide to come back through!
Jennifer, as I decide where to go next, I just look to your blog. I think I will copy your travels. The good news is I won’t have to take pictures since yours are so great, I am currently outside of Jackson, WY camping on the Hoback River.
Ha – well, thanks! Glad to hear you are back with your Airstream!
Twice we have been scheduled to go to Glacier and both times had to cancel due to some family issues. We are hoping to make it next year. Jennifer, your photos are just stunning. Love the image taken with your ND filter.
Thank you so much! And I hope you are able to make it to Glacier next year – it really is a beautiful place.
Beautiful pictures and great information about Glacier. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks! We’ve only explored the west side of the park so far but we’ll be on the east side in a couple of weeks. It’s all beautiful!
Can’t beat that happy hour view. Glad you are having such a great time. Glacier is one of my top National Parks. Next year, come see Acadia NP – one of my other top faves.
We are planning on it, as long as you’ll be there with us!
Jennifer, these are absolutely amazing photos! You are such a great photographer and capture the true essence of this place. I’m so glad to have met you and Deas – will be following your journey from here on out and hope our paths cross again 🙂
Thanks so much Ellen! We’re so happy to have met you and Craig as well!
We so enjoyed our time in Glacier last year – it looks like you are hitting many of the same spots! I LOVE your photos!
We are SO excited to have found your blog. I just happened upon it during my research for our upcoming trip to Glacier. THANKS!!
We will be there in late September and are making our campsite decisions now. We tow an Airstream trailer and blog at JuneBugJourneys.com if you want to check us out.
Happy Trails to you…
Becky and Bob