Late Season Visit to Glacier National Park

September 29, 2010

The western part of Glacier National Park is dominated by Lake McDonald.

Little did we know that much of Glacier National Park shuts down by mid-September.  Most campgrounds were closed by September 19th. This was the final weekend for staying at the Lake McDonald Lodge and the Glacier Park Lodge at East Glacier.  The Going-to-the-Sun Road was closed between Avalanche and Logan Pass on September 19th for construction, so we had to access the park from two different entrances, about 90 miles apart. 

Still, we counted ourselves lucky to have so much of the park in uncrowded circumstances. We divided our time — half of Day 1 in West Glacier, and the morning of Day 2 in the park by St. Mary’s.  The weather was too blustery for our planned hikes, so we just enjoyed the scenery and short trails close to the road. 

Shoreline of Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

Looking across Lake McDonald to fire-ravaged slopes and distant peaks

We could drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road as far as Avalanche Creek.

Deeply crevassed bark of fir tree on Trail of the Cedars nature trail

These tree roots reminded me of pigs' hooves!!

My husband fishing off the dock at Lake McDonald (no luck)

A few early touches of fall colors on the shore of Lake McDonald

Pebbly shore of Lake McDonald

A peek at the magnificent lobby of the Lake McDonald Lodge

The drive between West and East Glacier and the St. Mary’s entrance was stunningly beautiful.    We took it at a leisurely pace, twice (there and back).   Not a bad compromise for the forced inaccessibility of the Going-to-the-Sun traverse across the park.  We stayed in an inexpensive motel (aah, the showers! the bed!) in East Glacier instead of the more expensive National Park Lodge.  We felt we were able to appreciate a lot of Glacier National Park’s scenery and other offerings even on such a short visit.

Along Hwy 2 between West and East Glacier

Look at the amazing array of colors in the ditch of Hwy 2

Peek at the lobby of the Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier. It would be open one more day before closing for the winter.

Andy Goldsworthy-like sculpture on the lawn at the Glacier Park Lodge

3 Responses to “Late Season Visit to Glacier National Park”

  1. Lynne Says:

    We were at Glacier a month ago, so it is fun to see the beautiful fall colors arriving now. Love the dramatic photo of Lake McDonald! But George shouldn’t be too disappointed: there were a dozen of us there for a week, and no one caught a fish that was big enough to keep.

  2. jswesner Says:

    Fabulous pebble beach!!! I am so jealous you were able to squeeze in a trip before the snow fell.


  3. […] Glacier National Park in Montana on National Public Lands Day.  (You can revisit those blog posts here and here and […]


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