The day after Ironman Coeur D’Alene, we packed up the rental car and headed Northeast for about 4-5 hours to Glacier National Park in northern Montana. The drive through northern Idaho and Montana was great, but nothing like what we saw when we arrived at Glacier. There is a spectacular road that basically traverses the park called Going-to-the-Sun Road. Lucky for us, this road was just opened about a week prior after plowing all of the winter snowfall for the year. This road is an incredible scenic drive and has some of the most dramatic mountain views I have ever seen. The road is only open for 3-4 months out of the year.
Below is some of what we saw along the way over the next 3 days.
Most of the park sits in the 7000-8000 foot range. Not too bad in terms of hiking, but we were a little fatigued in the first few days after the Ironman just walking up gentle inclines. But who cares, we weren’t in any hurry. The thing I found so interesting about this place is how dramatically different it is from one side of the park to the other.
First, on the western side you have dense evergreen forest like you seen in the Pacific Northwest.
Next, you can drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road from the Western side to the Northeastern side. On the way, you cross over the Continental Divide(Logan Pass ~8000ft), where you still have significant amounts of snow on the ground. This is only about 30-45 minutes away. Quite a bit colder and at least a foot or two of snow on the ground. This area is much like the Colorado Rockies.
Once you get down to the other side to a place called St. Mary, you can go to two other parts of Glacier National Park. If you drive south about 30-45 minutes towards Two Medicine, the climate and the scenery change to that of the open prairies of Montana. Just amazing…open…vastness(and lots of wildlife).
However, if you drive north 30-45 minutes, towards Many Glacier, the climate and scenery change back from prairies to that of the Colorado Rockies.
We spent almost three days at Glacier driving and hiking all over the place. The first day and a half it seemed to rain quite a bit, but I really didn’t mind at all. It was fascinating to see how fast the clouds would roll in, dump some rain and wind, and then clear right up in 30 minutes. This would repeat itself over and over, rain, wind, sun, etc. I guess this was the last stand of spring as the rains were finally giving way to the summer sun and warmer temperatures. In the days after we left, I heard that the skies were clear and that the Northern Lights were really starting to fire up. We’ll have to make a special trip back some day.
Next stop, Yellowstone!
Thanks for Reading!