Glacier is a huge park. We stayed 2 weeks, drove it from side to side and top to bottom, and still didn’t see it all. But we did see a lot of the park. We explored Lake McDonald, drove Going-to-the-Sun Road, visited St. Mary and Waterton (the Canadian part), but I have to say by far my favorite part of the park was Many Glacier.
My adivce: If you only have time to see one part of Glacier National Park, go to Many Glacier!
While much of the west side of the park reminded us of home, Many Glacier on the east side was different. Every direction you looked there was a spectacular view!
Sadly the Many Glacier Hotel was under renovations, so we didn’t get to see it’s famed lobby, but we were treated to a stunning view out the picture windows by the restaurant. The hotel sits right on the edge of a lake looking at the mountains and has a sort of Swiss Chalet look to it. Once renovations are complete it should be a great place to stay.
There are several well rated hikes from Many Glacier, but one kept popping up in the articles I read and the people we talked to. Iceberg Lake. Knowing that its’ 11 miles and 1200’ of gain was going to be a bit of a stretch for us, I hesitated, but I packed lots of snacks and water and we made the 2 hour drive from our campsite on the west side around the bottom of the park to Many Glacier in the east, arriving around noon. The packed parking lot was a sign of the popularity of this area, but we managed to find a spot, laced up our boots, strapped on our packs and headed out eating our PB&Js on the way to fuel up.
The trail climbed quickly getting our hearts pumping and soon we were out of the trees and already being treated to awesome views. All along the trail the scenery is fantastic. There were wildflowers trailside, sweeping views of the valley, and so many different peaks and rock cliffs. That was a good thing because it gave us a good excuse to stop from time to time just to soak it all in. About halfway up we stopped at a waterfall to rest and eat some snacks. As we continued moving on, people coming down told us it was worth the effort. And it was.
Coming upon the lake you see the turquoise water with the floating icebergs and feel the cold wind whipping down the mountainside. The rocky face of the cirque is so close. It is stunning. Every view from the hike, coming up and going down, was so beautiful we could have taken a million postcard perfect pictures! And although we did take lots, the pictures will never do it justice, but it’s the best I can do to convey to you the beauty of this area. You will just have to go to Many Glacier and see it yourself!
This is the longest hike I think we have ever taken and even though we were exhausted at the end and it took a good two days to recuperate we both agree it is also the best hike we have ever taken. It was a good thing I packed all those snacks because we ate them all! I made this trail mix with what I had on hand.
Yvonne’s Trail Mix
Raw whole almonds (or use roasted)
Roasted, salted pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
Mini dark chocolate chips
Mix in a baggie in amounts that make you happy and eat on the way to a spectacular view!