Icebergs in August? The Highlights of Glacier National Park
And we are across!
After two days in quaint Waterton National Park Canada, we headed across the border into Montana and Glacier National Park.
The two parks are actually joined meaning you can hike from Canada to the US (hiking with passports? What a weird concept) For you non-Aussie folks, land borders are nothing out of the ordinary, however hiking from one country to another certainly is a novelty for us ocean surrounded people.
As we entered our first US National Park, we opted for the annual pass which is one per vehicle for $80 USD, this gives us access to the national parks across the country without having to pay a daily fee which usually sits around $20-30 USD.
Starting off in the North of the park in Many Glaciers, we hiked the well trafficked trail ‘Iceberg Lake.’
15.4km in & out and a moderate 519m elevation, the hike follows the Ridgeline through the valley, spectacular views across the valley. I seriously never thought I would get to see an iceberg let alone touch one in the middle of summer.
Unbelievably clear water was terribly inviting until you dipped a toe into the freezing water (maybe we should have taken the icebergs as a sign)
Definitely a highlight of the trip so far.
We spent the afternoon reading and drinking beer ($8 US for a six pack in a National Park!)
A breezy wandering around a spectacular lake, which also took us to the Many Glacier Lodge, a beautifully crafted wooden lodge which provided the perfect spot for a beer overlooking the lake.
From the same brewery as yesterday’s red ale, we tried two different Wheat ales. Unfortunately, we won’t get across to Whitefish, Montana where the Great Northern Brewery is as we have loved all their beers thus far.
We headed out of Many Glacier, further south in Glacier - heading towards Logan Pass (the continental divide) and the going to the sun road. We were really looking forward to the drive across the park, along one of the most spectacular drives in the USA, unfortunately the bus is slightly too wide - very few RVs are allowed to drive the road due to their length and width. Luckily, we were able to nab a campsite about halfway along the road and utilized the free shuttle buses which run regularly throughout the park.
Hidden Lake Hike
Seriously All trails is our most used app of the trip, we haven’t been hiking without it this trip. Hidden Lake trail starts behind the Logan Pass visitor center, an easy trail up the hill on a well-maintained boardwalk and heavily trafficked, however if you keep walking past the first look out, the views are incredible and the masses very quickly dissipate. A very steep and rocky downhill decent to the lake, stopped us going much further but we enjoy some leftover chilli from last night’s dinner for lunch with a pretty incredible view.
Best of all, we finally saw a mountain goat - something to check off Brent’s bucket list! They are heavily monitored in Glacier, as it’s a mountain goat research area - which hilariously means these weird looking animals have collars on.
We headed back out of the park for the night, and to research our next hike.
Up bright and early to beat the crowds on the shuttle buses, we headed halfway to Logan Pass, before getting off at the Jackson Glacier Lookout (which was beautiful but nothing as spectacular as Columbian Ice fields in Jasper). Heading downhill we walked through such a different landscape to all our other hikes. A 16km return through shoulder hike shrubs, we saw only 6 other people which was a nice change.
We had a bit of a run in with what we assumed was a bear, when something growled beside us amongst a heap of berry bushes, but luckily didn’t make itself more obvious.
Hands down the best waterfalls we have seen this trip! Cascading right down the hillside as well as being able to sit almost directly under it made for a spectacular lunch spot.
Our return hike was a lot harder, and we had another run in with the wildlife. The two brown outlines heading down the trail towards us at speed, stopped us dead in our tracks. First reaction was it was bears, but thankfully as they stopped about 15m ahead of us, it was a moose and its baby who had been scared by two hikers walking down the trail.
With our wildlife encounters it was an interesting hike, with the waterfall making it all worthwhile.
I thoroughly enjoyed Glacier, and only explored a small section of what this place has to offer.