Crown of the Continent

I could not imagine a more beautiful place in the world other than Glacier National Park.  Actually, I could.  Going backpacking into Glacier National Park and off the main highway, that is probably more beautiful than what I have experienced on my previous visits.  However, since I am a wee bit scared I may be eaten by a grizzly bear, I’m not so certain I will ever do any backpacking in Glacier National Park.  That and my general dislike for sleeping where there is no accessible toilet.  However, I can imagine it would be a wonderful adventure, if it weren’t for the whole grizzly bear thing.  And yes, this is a legitimate fear.  After seeing a very large grizzly bear on the side of the road one day, they are not a creature I would ever want to be up against!

On our summer adventure Clay and I trekked out to Glacier National Park.  We both love the mountains and couldn’t wait to go hiking together and see the beautiful sites!  And, it was just as gorgeous as I remember.  We could have spent days hiking different trails in the park.  However, we made the most of the approximately 12 hours we had in the park.  Our first stop after entering the park from the West Entrance was Lake McDonald Lodge to view Lake McDonald and get our toes wet!

Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald looking to the East – 8.18.14

Lake McDonald's Clear Water

The water in Lake McDonald is clear and the rocks are beautiful! – 8.18.14

The clear water was nice and icy on our toes!

Our next stop was the Trail of the Cedars Nature Trail.  An easy trail with some gorgeous views!

Avalanche Creek, Glacier National Park

Avalanche Creek along the Trail of the Cedars Nature Trail – 8.18.14

The highest (also halfway) point of the park is Logan Pass.  It was a lovely sunny day for a trek up the mountain.  Although, 7,000+ feet makes for a strenuous hike when you are used to being below sea level!  It was also a nice and gusty 55 degrees, something I would consider a bit too cold for the 95+ weather we had been having that August in South Carolina.  This was also the first time I can remember visiting Logan Pass and it not being completely covered in snow.  It is even lovelier when it has so much color!

Logan Pass

Logan Pass – 8.18.14

Before we hit the mountain to head up the Hidden Lake Trail there were creatures abounding. We saw chipmunks, squirrels, tailless squirrels, and prairie dogs. On the trail we saw mountain goats and even a marmot!  I thought this little guy (or gal!) below was adorable.  I caught him (or her!) munching on some leaves!

Logan Pass Squirrel

Squirrel at Logan Pass – 8.18.14

We finally made it up to Hidden Lake.  I had been experimenting all day with the color accent feature on my camera.  I loved how all of these came out!  Black and white photos with a pop of green, they turned out better than expected.

Logan Pass Hidden Lake Trail

Logan Pass Hidden Lake Trail – 8.18.14

Logan Pass Hidden Lake

Logan Pass Hidden Lake Trail – 8.18.14

Logan Pass Hidden Lake

Logan Pass Hidden Lake Trail – 8.18.14

The area below was a view on our way back down the mountain.  I couldn’t get over how beautiful the mountain landscape was along with the shimmering water.

Logan Pass Hidden Lake Trail

Logan Pass Hidden Lake Trail – 8.18.14

The Official Flower of Glacier National Park is the Paintbrush.  Apparently it only blooms every few years?  Because the mountainside was always covered in snow the previous years I had visited, I don’t remember seeing all the beautiful flowers we saw on this day.  I especially loved these!  I only found out they were the official flower of the park after I took the photo.

Paintbrush - The Official Flower of Glacier National Park

Paintbrush – The Official Flower of Glacier National Park – 8.18.14

The next day we decided to head up to the Many Glacier Entrance to Glacier National Park.  There was a spectacular trail I had heard about that we wanted to hit up on our last day in the park.  Because this entrance was further north than the main entrance on the east side (only about 5 miles from Canada!) it would be the only trail we would get to hike on our last day in the park.  Having never been down this entrance before, we were soon to discover, it is a hidden treasure!  If you ever head up to Glacier National Park, you must visit the Many Glacier Entrance.  It is well worth the extra drive and time.

The mountains alongside the road were gorgeous, but in a different way than what we had seen along Going to the Sun Road. (See the following picture for an example.)  The road also meandured alongside Swiftcurrent Creek and Lake Sherburne which made the drive that much more spectacular.

Many Glacier Road Views

Along the road from the Many Glacier Entrance – 8.19.14

The trail we had chosen that took us through the Many Glacier Entrance was the Swiftcurrent Nature Trail.  The short version of this trail takes you to Redrock Falls.  This was a lot less traveled trail than most of the others I had been on in the past at Glacier.  We even came within 15 minutes of running into a momma grizzly and her cub!  Thank goodness for friendly hikers warning us!

On the trail to Redrock Falls you get a glimpse of the falls across Bullhead Lake.  This was the lake the momma grizzly and her cub had swam across only 15 minutes prior!

Swiftcurrent Nature Trail Bulkhead Lake

Swiftcurrent Nature Trail – Bulkhead Lake – 8.19.14

Redrock Falls was well worth the possible bear run in, however, next time we will take bear spray and bells!  I could of sat at this waterfall for hours if we weren’t so short on time that day.

Redrock Falls in Glacier National Park

Redrock Falls – 8.19.14

The views heading back to the trailhead were gorgeous as well!

Swiftcurrent Nature Trail

Swiftcurrent Nature Trail – 8.19.14

After our amazing hike out to Redrock Falls we went back out the Many Glacier Entrance and then drove down to the Saint Mary Entrance we had exited from the previous day.  We then took Going to the Sun Road back through the park so we could make our flight out of Kalispell to Portland.

Glacier National Park Saint Mary Entrance

Saint Mary Entrance – 8.19.14

I snapped this shot of the waterfall (only 4 feet from my passenger side of the car!) as we were heading back through the park on day 2 in Glacier.

Glacier National Park Waterfall on Going to the Sun Road

Waterfall along Going to the Sun Road – 8.19.14

My final shot I’m sharing shows the winding Going to the Sun Road as it follows along the mountainside.  We saw views like this one for 2 days and unfortunately, the photos I have shared do not give them justice.  If you ever have the chance to visit Montana and Glacier National Park don’t hesitate!  It is currently one of my favorite places to visit, and I can’t wait to go back again!

Going to the Sun Road in Glacier National Park

Going to the Sun Road – 8.19.14

I hope you enjoyed my few (yes, this is just a few of the many snapshots I took) shots of Glacier National Park!  What is your favorite national park to visit?  What makes it your favorite?

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One thought on “Crown of the Continent

  1. Pingback: It’s the First Day of Winter! | Slightly Askew

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