The Travelogues of Diane and Dave
Travelogue Index
D & D Home


Chapter 5: Glacier National Park








12) Weds, Drive to West Glacier

Today was another driving day. We had to cover about 158 miles to get to West Glacier. We reluctantly packed up and left the Garver Mt firetower. We hadn't seen anybody for the past 2 days. What a pleasant difference from the zoo like atmosphere at the previous Gem Peak tower.

On our way to West Glacier we went back thru Troy and the Forest Service regional office. This time it wasn't a holiday so we stopped off and visited the offices. We got to meet the office people we had been talking to on the phone so many times. It was really nice to meet such friendly, helpful people who really loved their work!

From Troy we passed thru Libby, where we stopped for lunch, then on thru Kalispell and Columbia Falls to the small town of West Glacier. We had reserved a cabin for the night at the Silver Wolf Resort. Not just any cabin, but a deluxe gourmet cabin. The resort consisted of a small enclave of about 20 deluxe fancy cabins. For supper, we went out to a local pizza joint and brought the pie back to the cabin where we enjoyed a nice relaxing meal on the front porch of our cabin.

Exterior of Silver Wolf cabin

The exterior of our "gourmet" cabin at Silver Wolf Resort.

Interior of Silver Wolf cabin

The interior of our "gourmet" cabin at Silver Wolf Resort .

Day 13) Thurs, Drive thru Glacier Nat. Park to Babb, Hike to Hidden Lake

Today was spent on touristy things in Glacier National Park. We started at the visitor center by Lake McDonald. From there we took the Highway to the Sun up to Logan Pass. We stopped off at the visitor center there also. From the visitor center, we noticed a string of people walking up a hill and over a ridge. After quickly consulting our park map, we realized they were all hiking the trail to Hidden Lake. We thought, why not join them!?

View from "Going to the Sun Highway"

A view from along the "Going to the Sun Highway". You are lookoing back towards the "loop".

It was an easy 1.5 mile walk, one-way. From the ridge there was a beautiful view down into the valley beyond. Nestled down in the valley was Hidden Lake. The trail continued on down to the lake. Most everyone, ourselves included, stopped at the overlook on the ridge. Along the way we spotted some mountain goats up in the hillsides. We saw them again on the way back to the visitor center. After a quick bathroom break, we decided we still had some time to explore around the area so we took off on the Highline Trail.

Logan Pass area

Above is Logan Pass looking towards the visitor center taken from the trail to Hidden Lake.

Hidden Lake

Above is Hidden Lake. The trail continued down to the lake,
but most of us tourists stayed at the viewpoint.

The Highline Trail was about 7.6 miles (one-way). We just walked along it for about a mile or two, to get the flavor. It was a beautiful trail that skirted along the side of the valley. Along the trail we were treated to a visit by a mountain goat. However, instead of being up in the hills, this one was right beside the trail! We got about 30 feet away. It kept its eye on us while munching away on some bushes. Eventually it moved on down the trail in search of greener pastures. This was the closest we'd ever seen a mountain goat!

Shortly after the mountain goat, we turned back to the visitor center. We got back into the car and finished the drive out to the east side of the park. We had a reservation at some cabins again, this time the Trailhead Cabins located in the town of St. Mary. These cabins were not as deluxe as the previous ones, but then their price was more reasonable.

View from Highline Trail

This is a view from the highline trail looking northward.

Day 14) Fri, Dayhike to Grinnell Glacier

The weather today was a little "iffy" when we woke up. We drove out to the Many Glacier hotel thru a foggy misty rain. We were planning to hike to Grinnell Glacier. From the front of the hotel you can catch a boat that will take you to the end of Swiftcurrent Lake. You then walk a short distance over a small hill and then pick up another boat that takes you to the end of Lake Josephine. Doing this knocks about 3.4 miles off the hike, making it about 7 miles round trip. This is how we found ourselves standing on the dock infront of the hotel with about 20 other brave souls that morning in the cold foggy mist wondering if the weather was going to clear up or not. We bought our tickets and got on the boat. By the time we reached the end of the first lake, the overcast was starting to break. By the time we got to the end of the second lake, the weather was looking pretty good. We were glad we had decided to go for it.

Boat on Swiftcurrent Lake

This is the first boat which we boarded at the
dock in front of the Many Glacier Hotel.

Boat on Lake Josephine

This is the second boat on Lake Josephine.
We'll be hiking up in the mts in the distance.
You can see more blue in the sky compared
to the first boat picture.

Mt Goats on trail to GrinnellFrom the dock at the end of Lake Josephine, we started off on the trail to the glacier. The first ½ mile or so was an easy flat walk round to the otherside of the lake. From there, it was all uphill. Fortunately, the grade was gradual. Along the way we got great views back down the valley and we saw some more mountain goats. The official trail ended in a small grove of trees below the glacier. There were outhouses there and some benches to enjoy the view. There was also an unoffical path that continued on up to Upper Grinnell Lake and the base of the glacier. We followed the path right to the shoreline of the lake. That's where we enjoyed our lunch. Most of the other hikers that had come in our boat started hiking over to the actual base of Grinnell Glacier. We decided instead to head back and catch an earlier boat back to the hotel. We were glad we did. While we were back in the hotel shopping for trinkets, the weather got worse and the rain poured down! We felt sorry for the others we had left out at the glacier. They must have gotten soaked. When the downpour ended, we returned to the car and drove back to our cabin for supper.


Along the trail to Grinnell Glacier

This is a view along the trail to Grinnell Glacier. The lake below is Lower Grinnell Lake.

Grinnell Lake and Glacier

This is Upper Grinnell Lake. To the left is Grinell Glacier. The "snow bank" clinging to the side of
the mountain in the center of the photo is Salamander Glacier.

Day 15) Sat, Drive back to Bozeman.

The last day of your vacation is always depressing. The thought of going back to work is never a happy one. Having to drive 301 miles from Glacier National Park back down to Belgrade and the Bozeman airport in the rain didn't make it any better. On the other hand, at least it rained on an unimportant day. We had nothing else planned that day.

We stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in Belgrade for the night. The next day we got an early morning departure back to Baltimore.

The End


Travelogue Index
D & D Home
last revised : February 9, 2006