Glacier National Park: A 3-Day Travel Guide

Hidden leg with the mountain peaks in the clouds on our hidden lake overlook hike and Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park trip

Glacier National Park is in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, a wilderness area of peaks and valleys. It goes up to the Canadian border. In Canada, it is called Waterton Lakes National Park of Canada. Together they are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. We were here 3 days and drove the Going to the Sun Road twice, Hiked to the Hidden Lake Overlook, and explored Waterton Lakes in Canada.

The drive to Glacier was a 2-day trip so we spent the night in Spokane Washington at the home of some friends. We had a nice afternoon, dinner, and evening with them.

To use this map click on the icon in the upper left corner to pull down the menu and select points of interest from there.

The campground

The next afternoon we arrived in West Glacier, Montana, and checked into the West Glacier RV Park. It is on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. We stayed here for 4 nights in a full hookup site. It is a very nice park with a lot of room between sites and only 1 mile from the West Entrance to Glacier National Park. This was the 7th stop on a 9-stop road trip that started in the Sierra National Forest in California and ends Grand Teton NP in Wyoming. Go here for the start of this From the Sierras to the Rockies

Our Campsite in West glacier Montana at glacier national Parkand Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park trip
trees and clouds reflected in the river with pine trees are the banks on our hidden lake overlook hike and Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park trip

Red Buss Tours

On the 1st day, we took our time driving to Logan Pass and back. The park is beautiful with gorgeous lakes, streams, and majestic mountain views everywhere you look. When driving the Going to the Sun Road remember that there are size limits for vehicles. You can find these here. After driving this road I can see why some people opt for The Red Bus tours to explore the park. You can find information on the Red Bus Tours here.

The red bus tours in glacier national Park and Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park trip

If you’re ever driving along this scenic route, be prepared for an exhilarating experience that demands your full attention. The views are simply breathtaking, but the winding road requires your complete focus.

Logan Pass

During our trip, we made a stop at the Logan Pass Visitors Center to embark on the Hidden Lake hike, a popular activity in the area. To secure a parking spot, we arrived early and were greeted with the sight of ice on the boardwalk portions of the trail, despite it being August. This moderate hike takes you through alpine meadows, rocky terrain, and breathtaking views of mountains and valleys.

The trail is well-maintained and offers plenty of opportunities to rest and take in the stunning scenery. The highlight of the hike is, of course, Hidden Lake, a crystal-clear body of water that seems to be hidden away in the mountains. The cool, fresh air and the peaceful sound of nature make it a perfect spot to unwind and take in the beauty of Glacier National Park. Overall, the Glacier National Park Hidden Lake hike is a challenging but rewarding adventure that is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Logan Pass Visitors Center with the US and Canadian flags flying with mountains in the background at glacier national Park on our hidden lake overlook hike

Hike to Hidden Lake

hikers on the trail the hidden lake overlook with mountain in the background on our hidden lake overlook hike

Although we were excited to visit Glacier National Park Hidden Lake during our trip, our plans were thwarted by park rangers who stopped us at the Hidden Lake Overlook. Due to bear activity on the trail, they wouldn’t let us go down to the lake. However, we made the most of the situation and stayed at the overlook for some time, taking in the magnificent views. Since we had arrived early, we encountered more people on the way down than on the way up. Despite not being able to reach the lake itself, this was still a standout experience of our visit to the park, and we would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a memorable and thrilling adventure amidst the natural beauty of the great outdoors.This is the start of the hike to the hidden lake overlook.

hikers on the boardwalk trail with a cloudy sky  in Glacier National Park hiking to the hidden lake overlook

This is the view from the Hidden Lake Overlook

Hidden lake and Bearhat shrouded in clouds with trees in the foreground  in Glacier National Park, hidden lake overlook

To see the photographic equipment I use for landscape photos click here

On day 2 we took our 2nd drive over the Going to the Sun Road all the way through the park and then heading north on Hwy 89 on our way to Canada. We wanted to experience both sides of this great National Park and explore Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada

sign at Canadian border Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Back when travel restrictions due to Covid-19 weren’t yet in place, entering Canada was a breeze, requiring only a passport and ID. However, with the pandemic still ongoing, protocols and requirements have since changed, as we discovered on a subsequent trip. If you’re planning to head to Canada now, it’s best to do some online research beforehand to ensure that you have all the necessary documents and comply with current guidelines. On this trip, we traveled 165 miles from our campsite in West Glacier to The Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park of Canada.

Middle Waterton Lake in Canada, surrounded by mountains and trees at Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
lake with mountains, clouds and sky reflected at Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Prince of Wales Hotel

hotel with mountains and clouds in the background at Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada offers stunning views of Waterton Lake and surrounding areas. The Prince of Wales Hotel provides comfortable accommodations with a gift shop and restaurant. Its location offers magnificent views. On the way back, we chose the Glacier highway over Going to the Sun Road to see additional park scenery.

We like to relax when we travel so we spent 1 day just checking out the RV park. We also did some shopping in West Glacier.

On the third day of our exploration, we ventured from Red Rock Point to Lake McDonald. We were amazed by the numerous pools that dotted the streams, and the cascading rapids were a breathtaking sight. It was a peaceful and awe-inspiring experience and I’m so glad we did the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

lake surrounded by mountains and trees  in Glacier National Park
creek flowing over boulders with trees on the bank in Glacier National Park

In conclusion, Glacier National Park is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking a true outdoor adventure. With its stunning mountains, crystal clear lakes, and abundance of wildlife, this national park is a true natural wonder. Hike Hidden Lake Trail or enjoy views from Prince of Wales Hotel; Glacier National Park offers something for everyone. Enjoy stunning natural beauty and unforgettable experiences. A visit to Glacier National Park is sure to leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

The next leg of the trip was truly an experience in “Yellowstone National Park: A Fun Filled 8 Days”

Lorna’s Tips and Lessons

One of the scariest hikes I’ve done was here. The hike to Hidden Lake, covered with ice, wasn’t all that difficult. It was one of the slowest hikes I’ve ever done.  I knew I would fall, break something, and need someone to carry me out.. I now keep a pair of shoe spikes in my backpack.

Leave a Comment