Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is dubbed the Crown of the Continent. The park is stunningly beautiful with hiking trails to waterfalls, lakes, and yes…glaciers too. All of the trails have sublime views complete with an overabundance of wildflowers. The famous Going to the Sun Road is an amazing day trip, one we won’t soon forget.
Going to the Sun Road
We had a beautifully clear, warm day to enjoy our journey. Going to the Sun Road is a full day trip if you want to experience the whole road. While only 48 miles in total length, the road speeds will require at least 1.5 hours of driving. That doesn’t include the many stops you’ll want to make, nor the traffic you’ll undoubtedly encounter. That’s OK, the road is worth an entire day of riding, walking, exploring, photographing, and enjoying sublime views.
There are several noteworthy places along the road including the picturesque ride along Lake McDonald, The Loop (a major switchback with sweeping mountain and canyon views), the Weeping Wall, glacier overlooks, Logan Pass (and Visitor Center), several waterfalls, a couple tunnels, and a long ride along Saint Mary Lake on the east side. There are a bunch of stop-worthy pullouts and please use them, we saw a lot of people stopped on the road, back up traffic a long way.
Each turn of the head is an invitation to stop and snap a photo as the mountains are awe-inspiring. It also dawned on me that this place is incredibly green for the western US, just so much rain and snow to invigorate all that grows here. Of course there are also quite a few trailheads right off the road to allow you to get away from the blacktop and up close with nature.
Interestingly, the road was the first to be named a National Historic Landmark, National Historic Place, and Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.The highest point on the road is Logan Pass at a modest 6,646 feet. Construction was started in 1921 and completed 11 years later. Snow on the road can be as deep as 80 feet at Logan Pass during wet winters.
Continental Divide on Steroids!
Almost everyone has heard of the Continental Divide where on either side of it, rivers flow in opposite directions to either the Pacific Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico. One interesting fact about Glacier National Park is that there is one mountain, Triple Divide Peak, that is a hydrological apex. It’s unique in its place in the geographic record books. Aside from one other mountain in Mongolia, it is the only mountain where snowmelt drains to 3 different oceans! On one side, the rivers drain to the Gulf of Mexico through the Mississippi River Basin, another side drains to the Pacific, and the north side drains to the Arctic!