When I started planning this trip several years ago the first pin I dropped on the map was Glacier. Like Montana, it has always had a certain mystique for me. I was not disappointed. What I discovered was an a natural beauty reminiscent of the Alps but on a more intimate scale.
There are five entrances to Glacier – two of those now require tickets to enter due to the popularity of the famous ‘Road to the Sun’ drive that leads from West Glacier to East. I was unable to secure a ticket and I later learned that even if I did I would have to board Jake in order to do the drive. The tickets allowed you to enter the gates between 6AM and 5PM. However, you could go early and that is what I decided to do – especially with the opes of some good pictures in the morning light.
It started to rain the second morning of our visit. I decided to drive to the eastern portals of Two Medicine and Many Glacier that day – no tickets were required for these.
The drive itself on Route 2 through the lower section of the park affords some great views. As the rain let up mid-morning we arrived at Two Medicine area. Sinopah Mountain dominates this scenery. We spent some time hiking around before heading out.
From there we drove north past the Eastern entrance to Many Glaciers. The way is a little rougher going as part of the road is not paved. We arrived in time to eat our lunch by the waterfall and enjoy the scenery.
West Glacier and Road to the Sun
The next morning we got up a ‘0-dark-30’ and headed into the park via the Bear Creek Campground road. Although this proved not to be necessary – I didn’t want to take a chance and it was a bit of an adventure. It was pretty cool watching the early morning dawn as we drove in.
We drove up Lake McDonald to find the road blocked off near Avalanche. Apparently they needed to prepare their on-going snow plowing operations before letting people drive up the pass. I guess at some point everyone needs to turn around and come back down. Sounded like a mess.
I knew the road was not completely open but what I did not know was that there was a strict no-pet policy on Road to the Sun as I learned reading all the disclaimers on the closed gate! A bit disappointed – but feeling I escaped a potential mess – we instead enjoyed the views on Lake McDonald and the Apgar Visitor Center area.
While we did not get to see quite everything we hoped, I left satisfied my long dream of visiting the park was a success and I will return to visit again and once again try the Road to the Sun!