Glacier National Park is hands-down our favorite American national park. We visited this park twice for a total of 8 days and loved every minute of it! If you haven't visited it yet, you should. As simple as that. Here's a sample Glacier National Park itinerary for you. All of the photos were taken by me during our visits. Yes, it really is that stunning.
This Glacier National Park itinerary offers a flexible plan that will take you through the very best the park has to offer in three days and two nights. Is that enough time? Of course not! This park has gorgeous views everywhere you look, so you can easily spend a month here, exploring the trails. But let's be realistic here. Most people visit Glacier as part of a road trip to the Rockies and can't afford to spend more than three or four days at the same place.
And what if you manage to squeeze that fourth day out of your trip plan? Awesome! I've added a fourth bonus day for you!
And... I've put it all into one cool image with lots of eye candy. And when it comes to eye candy, Glacier NP can give you a real sugar rush. See for yourself (and please pin on Pinterest too!) You'll also find a more detailed text-version further down the post, a map and a picture gallery.
More about this Glacier National Park itinerary
This trip plan takes you from the west side of the park, to the east side. Feel free to reverse the directions according to your road trip needs.
The mileage for all trails shown here is for your total return distance. Please, always check with the rangers before going on the trail to make sure there are no closures or usage limitations.
Where to stay during your Glacier Park trip?
You'll be starting your journey at the western entrance to the park so there will be many motels and hotels in the nearby towns. Hungry Horse and Columbia Falls are two small towns very near the park. If you can't find accommodation there, try Whitefish or even Kalispell.
Once you cross the Going To The Sun road, accommodation becomes more expensive, so book in advance if you want to get cheaper rooms. You can stay either at St. Mary's Lodge or at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn at Many Glacier. If budget isn't a problem, you can even stay at the Many Glacier hotel.
And now, finally -
The Glacier National Park itinerary
And here's the text version of the Glacier National Park Itinerary!
Day 1 - Crossing the Going To The Sun Road
Enter the Going To The Sun Road from West Glacier.
Stop to see Mcdonald creek at the Mcdonald Falls trailhead.
Hike Trail of The Cedars (1 mile) If you're a fast hiker, go all the way to Avalanche Lake (4.5 miles)
Get back on the road heading east. Drive slowly and stop en route to take pictures
Stop at Logan Pass Visitor's Center (register for next day's hike)
Hike the first 1-2 miles of the Highline Trail
Optional: Hike to St. Mary's Falls (1.7 miles) or to Virginia Falls (3.6 miles)
Stop at Sunrift Gorge & Wild Goose Island for pictures.
Have dinner at the Snowgoose Grille at St. Mary's Lodge
Join a ranger's evening talk
Day 2 - Hiking The Many Glacier Area
Get an early start! Grab a coffee & pastry at Glacier Perk and head out to Many Glacier.
If you're not an avid hiker follow this itinerary today -
Take the Grinnell Valley Boat Trip & Hike 3½ to 4 hours, easy 2.5-mile (also available as a ranger-lead hike).
Join a horse-riding trek to Josephine Lake or Cracker Flats (2 hours)
Avid hiker? Choose one of these (both are also available as ranger-lead hikes)
The Grinnell Glacier Boat Trip and Hike 8½ hours, strenuous 8-mile (12.9 km)
The Iceberg Lake or similar destination) 6-7 hours, moderate 10-mile (16 km)
Enjoy a hearty dinner at Nell's at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn (Many Glacier)
Get huckleberry ice cream at the store for dessert!
Day 3 From Many Glacier to Two Medicine
Join the ranger-lead Morning Nature Stroll at Swiftcurrent Motor Inn
Drive to Two Medicine Lake and stop at Cassidy Curve for pictures of Lake Sherburne
Take the easy trail to the beautiful Running Eagle Falls (0.6 miles)
Hike to Aster Park (ranger-lead on some days) 4 hours, moderate 3.8-mile
Hike to Appistoki Falls (1.3 miles)
From here, you're on your own! Drive on to your next destination to save on the costs of park accommodation.
Mister, can you spare a day? If you can add a day to your Glacier National Park itinerary, then use that it to visit the Waterton Lakes region, on the other side of the border.
Here's your itinerary for this bonus day -
Grab a coffee and pastries at the store at Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and head out north.
Enter the park and head north to Red Rock Canyon Parkway trail, hike the trail and continue hiking until you reach Blakiston Falls. (1.9 miles)
Visit Cameron Falls for some awesome pictures.
Have lunch at the Wieners of Waterton
Visit Cameron Lakeshore and if you're up for it, take the 1.9 miles long trail.
Drive back to the Many Glacier area
Still feel like walking? If it's not too late, hike to Hidden Falls
Join an evening program with a ranger or enjoy a fancy meal at the Many Glacier hotel (or both!)
Road tripping to Montana?
Thought I'd give a shoutout here to my post about our 37 road tripping tips. That list is based on over a year and a half of road tripping in the US, including an amazing trip driving from California to Alaska and back. And if you're heading west from Glacier National park, check out my posts about places to visit along the Washington State coast and the one about the Oregon Bucket List.
What about you?
Have you visited this awesome park yet? If so, let me know what you liked best about it and share your own tips in a comment! If you haven't visited it yet, would this be something you'd like to do in the future? I love reading your comments (and promise to answer any of them!) and please help me spread the word about Glacier National Park by sharing this post on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.
Speaking of Pinterest, I'm going to wrap up this post with a photo gallery you can pin from -