TRIP IDEA

A Whole Day in Glacier for a Sightseer

Glacier National Park

Tiny rocky island in the middle of large lake surrounded by trees and mountains
Duration Full Day
Topic(s) Animals, Arts, Music, Native American Heritage, Architecture and Building, Scenic Views, Trails
Activities Cultural Demonstrations, Museum Exhibits, Scenic Driving, Hiking
Type Kid Friendly, Active, Relaxed, Educational, Inspirational
Parks Glacier National Park

If you have one day to take in the highlights of Glacier National Park, drive Going-to-the-Sun Road (GTSR) in its entirety. GTSR is a 50-mile long, two-way road that cuts through the center of the park between the West Entrance and the St. Mary Entrance. Your journey can begin at either location. To return, either retrace your path back over GTSR, or take U.S. Hwy 2 along the south border of the park to create a loop. Along U.S. Hwy 2, you will find scenic views, some restaurants and lodging.

Stop by a visitor center for trip planning information or to catch a free park shuttle (and leave the driving to someone else!). Though they all contain unique exhibits, you do not necessarily need to visit every visitor center.

With a whole day to enjoy, you can take advantage of the many short hikes accessed from trailheads along GTSR. If you get an early start, you could probably fit in a half-day hike (less than 8 miles, 3-5 hours). Or take at least one of the under 2-mile (3.2 km) hikes.

After a long day of travel (and perhaps some dinner), it is time to take a seat...at a campground amphitheater or an auditorium. Attending a ranger evening program is a great way to finish your day in Glacier.

  • Glacier National Park

    Drive Going-to-the-Sun Road

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Scenic Driving
    • Pets: Yes
    • Duration: 3–8 Hours
    • Season: Summer
    • Time of Day: Any Time
    Car drives uphill over triple arched stone bridge

    A drive across this engineering marvel has been a quintessential part of any trip to Glacier since the 1930s.

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    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Museum Exhibits
    • Pets: No
    • Season: Summer
    • Time of Day: Day, Dawn, Dusk
    Flagpoles in front of modern building with exaggerated roofline

    These visitor centers are worth a stop for the information and exhibits provided, as well as their historic architecture.

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  • Glacier National Park

    Take a Half-Day Hike in Glacier

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Hiking
    • Age: 7 and Older
    • Pets: No
    • Duration: 3–5 Hours
    • Season: Spring, Summer, Fall
    • Time of Day: Day, Dawn, Dusk
    Rocky trail along creek in dense mossy forest

    Glacier is a hiker’s paradise. Spend part of your day on one of these 3-5 hour hikes.

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    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Cultural Demonstrations
    • Age: 10 and Older
    • Pets: No
    • Duration: 30–60 Minutes
    • Season: Summer
    • Time of Day: Night, Dusk
    Tribal member addresses crowd seating on benches

    Evening programs are a chance for rangers to help visitors find amazing meaning in specific park resources.

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Last updated: May 7, 2017