Glacier National Park and Montana Travel Guide
I’m so excited to share my Glacier National Park & Montana Travel Guide slash trip recap with you all! We had such an incredible time on our trip. I got a ton of questions about where we stayed, what we did, favorite hikes, and more. I did my best to include ALL the details here in this post. If I missed anything, let me know!
I’ll also be publishing a post ASAP about traveling with a baby! This will include tips that were shared with me or that I learned along the way, as well as a detailed list of items to pack for baby!
Let’s dive into the Montana guide first!
where to stay in montana
We spent the first few days of our trip staying at an Airbnb in Bigfork. Our house was about 45 minutes away from Glacier National Park. Overall, the Airbnb was great and worked well for our group! The A/C was broken the first night, which just happened to be a 95 degree day, so that was pretty miserable, haha. But thankfully it got fixed and the rest of our stay was smooth! There was a nice deck with a pretty view and the house was a good size for all of us. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it got the job done! And very affordable when splitting with lots of people.
The Airbnb sleeps 11 people. It has 6 bedrooms, 3 baths, 1 mile from Flathead Lake.
Link to Airbnb in Bigfork – click here
For the second half of the trip we ventured over to my sister-in-law’s dad’s house near Butte, MT. They stayed at his house, while Ethan and I stayed at the Fairmont hotel nearby. We had a great experience at the Fairmont! The rooms were just pretty standard hotel rooms, but they were nice and clean. They also have several pools (both indoor and outdoor, including a big slide that is a hit with the kids AND the dads, lol!), hot springs and a nice restaurant/bar inside. There’s also a golf course + mini golf.
Link to Fairmont Hotel – click here
flights to montana from kansas city
I got several questions about which airlines we took and where we flew into, so figured I’d include it. Of course this may look different depending on when/where you are planning to go.
Leaving from Kansas City:
- Flew there on Delta Airlines. Connected in Salt Lake City (and all of their bathrooms have lactation rooms, mamas!), then landed in Kalispell
- Flew home on United, connected in Denver
- We just went with whatever was cheapest I’m pretty sure!
best hikes in glacier national park
We were only in Glacier for two days, so we barely scratched the surface! I’m sure there are SO many more amazing hikes to hit! But I’ll at least share the highlights of the ones we did / remember! I did a bad job of taking pictures of the trail heads with names because well, traveling with a baby, lol. But my SIL did remember a lot of them! Thank you Sky!
Best hikes/lakes in Glacier (or things wished we would have done):
- Logan Pass – this is a really cool trail at the top of Going-To-The-Sun Road. Sadly it was closed due to grizzly bear activity when we were there. Based on an IG post, it was still closed about a week later for the same reason! So just something to be aware of as a possibility if you make the trip up there.
- Wild Goose Island: really pretty lake area, pretty easy to hike down to from the road. Short and quick, a little bit steep, but I was able to do it even while baby wearing Rhett.
- St. Mary’s Lake: a super gorgeous spot. We had lunch at picnic tables at a park there and then the trail was really quick, easy and flat to walk to the lake.
- Two Medicine Lake: another beautiful destination! We also stopped in the cute little gift shop there to cool off and hang for a bit. They had snacks, ice cream, drinks, coffee, etc. We also did a boat tour on Two Medicine Lake. We saw a baby moose and mule deer while we were on it! We enjoyed this and it was easy to do with the kiddos. The ride was about 45 minutes long.
- Running Eagle Falls: this was another really pretty and easy hike, according to my family. I was actually feeding Rhett in the car while they did it and they were all very pleasantly surprised by how beautiful it was and didn’t realize it would lead to these falls! They said they would highly recommend – it was kid and family friendly.
- McDonald Falls / Upper McDonald Creek Trail – another great family hike, about a mile all along the water, beautiful, rushing, blue water and falls! This was probably our favorite of all of them!
- We did a lot of other little hikes here and there but these were the ones that stood out! You honestly can’t go wrong. Glacier is such a stunning destination and there are SO many lakes and streams and gorgeous mountains to see.
what is the best time of year to visit glacier national park?
We visited Montana at the end of June / beginning of July, which is normally a very pleasant time weather-wise! We were expecting it to be in the 70s when we booked it 6+ months in advance, but it was unseasonably warm when we visited! It was in the mid-90s basically the whole time! Definitely warmer than we anticipated or would have liked, but it was still magical and amazing, nonetheless! From what I’m told, this is still one of the best times to go if you are more of a warm/mild weather fan than snowy like me! It did get a little bit cooler in the mornings and evenings.
how many days do you need in glacier national park?
Like I mentioned before, we were only in Glacier for 2 days. I definitely think we could have spent at least one more day exploring the sights and hiking! But it also depends on your group, how much you all like to hike, if you have young kiddos, etc. I think 3-4 days would be a good amount, along with other activities to fill up your trip.
We had Rhett (5.5 months at the time), my nephew Sawyer (8.5 months at the time) and my niece Sierra, 3.5 years old. We wore both the babies in carriers on all of the hikes. My niece did awesome on all the hikes too and kept up really well! She did get super worn out by the end of the days because she didn’t do a lot of napping, haha – FOMO!
what is the best way to see glacier national park?
I would highly recommend Going-To-The-Sun Road! It was absolutely gorgeous, and a fun drive through the mountains! Lots of beautiful scenery to see along the way. Right now they do require you to buy a pass for your car online in advance. The tickets only cost $2, but they are limited, so there isn’t a guarantee you’ll get one! So try to plan ahead and snag one early if you can – we barely got one!
You also have to have a parking pass for your car to get into Glacier National Park in general, but these are not limited. We think these are maybe $30-40 per car? They also have senior passes which I believe are slightly discounted.
other things to do in glacier / montana
- Ethan and I went horseback riding one day and that was really fun! We did a 2 hour ride at Swan Mountain Outfitters in West Glacier. It was a very mellow ride – no galloping or anything, but we enjoyed it! We saw a group of people horseback riding when we were hiking at McDonald Falls, which would have been a much cooler and more scenic ride than the one we did! So that could also be something to look into. Link to where we did horseback riding here.
- The horseback riding place was attached to the Crown of the Continent Discovery Center. There was a bar inside where we got a few drinks after horseback riding, plus a gift shop with fun little things like huckleberry goodies, shirts, ornaments, souvenirs, etc.
- We ate at Flathead Lake Brewing Co. one night because it was super close to our Airbnb in Bigfork and it was delicious! We sat inside with our big group, but their deck had an awesome view of the lake!
- We also ate at North Fork Pizza one night and it was delicious, especially after a long day of hiking when we were all hangry LOL.
- During the second half of our trip when we were near Butte, the boys golfed at Fairmont Hotel one day and had fun with that!
- We hit the pools at the Fairmont hotel every day during the second half of our trip and that was so fun! Especially getting Rhett more comfortable in the water! 🙂
- Since we were there over the 4th of July, we did a lot of fireworks, bonfires and s’mores, 4-wheeler rides, grilling out, and hanging outside! We also went to the 4th of July parade in Butte. It was a fun, low-key, family trip!
I hope this Glacier National Park and Montana Travel Guide / recap of our trip was helpful for anyone interested in visiting Montana! It is such a beautiful hidden gem and we would highly recommend checking it out if you have the chance and enjoy outdoorsy, adventure-filled vacations! Let me know if you have any questions I didn’t address here!
Thanks for reading,
I loved getting to see all the pictures of you all!!! Looks like you had so much fun!!
Aw thank you Becky! We had an awesome time!
Thanks for this great guide! We are planning on taking a trip to Montana this summer and I’m noticing some air bnb’s/VRBO’s do not have A/C. You mentioned your AC broke down one night and made it pretty miserable! I was wondering if you think A/C is required up in Montana – I didn’t know if it became cooler at night and it would be bearable without it or not! Colorado I know is similar in this way, so I was wondering what your thoughts were.
Hello! I don’t think it would normally be an issue – it was unseasonably warm when we were there! Although it was the middle of summer (4th of July), it is usually only mid-70s during that time, and when we were there it was in the mid-90s!!! But otherwise I think we would’ve been perfectly comfortable overnight without A/C. So it just totally depends on what the weather decides to do when you go, haha!
You could always check and see if the places provide any extra fans / stand-alone A/C units, or worst case scenario, you could run to the store and buy a box fan if needed!