Glacier National Park, Montana
On Monday, June 27th we arrived at the Moose Creek RV Resort which is located only 3 miles from the west entrance to Glacier NP. The RV park is small and quaint and has a nice cafe on site.
For the peak visitor season of 2022 Glacier is one of seven national parks that require vehicle reservations to enter the park in busy hours, usually 6am to 4pm. I was able to get one of the limited advance reservations for Yosemite but not for Glacier. The only other way to get a reservation is to compete for a spot using recreation.gov where you must have an account. You must be ready at the exact second of 8am 24 hours before the day you would like to enter. Your internet or cell speed better be fast. We tried Tuesday and Wednesday at 8am and we weren't successful until Thursday. The reservations are good for 3 days. We were able to hike without the reservation our first visit to the park by entering a less busy spot called Two Medicine Lake. The second visit we entered after 4 PM.
The other national parks that require vehicle reservations in 2022 are: Yosemite (CA), Rocky Mountain (CO), Haleakala (HI), Acadia (ME), Arches (UT) and Shenandoah (VA).
Glacier NP is famous for the Going to the Sun Road, an engineering marvel thought to be one of the most scenic roads in the US. It is the only road through the Park and it runs 50 miles from West Glacier to St Mary on the eastern side. It is extremely difficult to remove snow from the road since many areas of the road are carved into the mountainside. In 2022 the road was not completely open to vehicles until July 13th.
On June 27 we drove the Jeep 60 miles to the south east entrance of Glacier at Two Medicine Lake where no reservation is required. We hiked 2 miles and reached the Aster Park Viewpoint, passing Aster Falls on the way. After the hike we stopped at the Summit Mountain Lodge for dinner.
For a small time period during spring into early summer, before the 50 mile Going to the Sun road is fully opened to vehicles, hikers and bikers have the unique opportunity to enjoy a portion of this National Historic Landmark vehicle free. As the plow crews make their way up to Logan Pass, the plowed (but not perfect) sections behind them are available for hikers and bikers. During our visit the portion of road between Avalanche Creek and the Weeping Wall was available car free. On Thursday, June 30th we biked this 12.5 mile (one way) amazing stretch of roadway. We had a 15 minute rest break while two bears moseyed along the road.
The ReLive video of our bike ride:
Hike #2 on Saturday, July 2nd. We used our reservation to enter the park at 1PM. We hiked 4.4 miles round trip on the Sperry trail with a small part of the very steep Mt Brown lookout trail thrown in for fun (not!). We had great views of Lake McDonald. The white perennial flowers are called Bear-grass ~ "The plant was first called beargrass by members of the Lewis and Clark expedition, 19th century explorers of western America".
Boats, kayaks and paddle boards are available to rent near beautiful Lake McDonald.
Other things we did during our 8 days at the Moose Creek RV Park - we walked miles on the back roads behind the RV park and near Lake Five, biked the 10.5 mile (one way) "Gateway to Glacier" paved trail, and drove 20 miles to Whitefish, MT where we shopped and had dinner.