Before making our way to Glacier National Park, we stopped through in Bozeman, Montana. While looking for our overnight Walmart, we happened upon Montana Ale Works and decided to make a stop for dinner. It was packed, but we snagged a spot at the bar. They had great food (their burger was awesome) and a surprisingly large beer selection (unfortunately, we also learned that Montana beer isn’t great). Brandon ordered what he claimed was “the best beer in the state” and wasn’t impressed. Sorry Montana; you do other things great, but it isn’t beer.
Saturday, August 26
Before heading up to Glacier National Park, we stopped at Yellowstone Motorsports. While our bike itself was running fine, Brandon had noticed that it was running more loudly than usual. They didn’t have all the parts that we needed and indicated that we should call ahead and pre-order the rest of our parts at a shop up in Calgary.
Sunday, August 27
Brandon and I aren’t morning people. While my mornings are productive, I prefer them to be slow and include tea. Brandon prefers to stay in bed until noon. My ability to wake up and function before 9am means I am our early morning driver. The inability to bend my knee complicated driving and forced Brandon into this role.
This is just a preface to say that we got up early that morning. We arrived at the Apgar Visitor Center in West Glacier at 7:00 AM. The visitor center wasn’t open yet. The parking lot was fairly empty. This was STILL not early enough to snag a seat on the express bus that takes you directly up to Logan Pass. We managed to catch the secondary express bus, which skipped the first group of stops, but we still didn’t get to start our hike until around 10:00.
There’s about a 20 minute drive between the last two bus stops from the west (The Loop and Logan Pass). When you hike the entirety of Highline Trail, you are literally hiking from Logan Pass to The Loop bus stop. Now, imagine that you have 6 fresh stitches in your knee and your significant other tells you that you are doing a 14-mile hike that ends back to the bus stop you just came from. I wasn’t exactly thrilled. While it’s definitely a stunning hike, being the person that every other hiker passed isn’t fun.
I figured that the worst of our Glacier bus-riding experience was behind us, but it’s almost impossible to catch a bus at The Loop because they fill up at Logan Pass. Everyone has transfer to larger buses at Avalanche Creek. Despite this there was somehow a line and a 40-minute wait.
A note to RV drivers:
If you want to get to the opposite side of the park, you’ll need to drive all the way around. The Going-to-the-Sun road has vehicle size restrictions.
Monday, August 28
We stayed at Johnson’s of St. Mary’s Campground while we were in East Glacier. Honestly, it was a treat. We had a full hookup, pull through site, and it was within walking distance of the east entrance at St. Mary Visitor Center.
After our long hike the previous day, we decided to give my knee a break and did the short Hidden Lake hike. This hike is an out-and-back hike at Logan Pass. The bus ride to get to Logan Pass seemed much quicker and significantly less crowded on this side of the park.
We stopped in at the adjacent Johnson’s Restaurant before heading in for the night. I’m usually skeptical of any place that calls itself “World Famous,” but their food was surprisingly good. Their burgers were served on their delicious homemade bread (we even managed to snag a fresh loaf of it) and their “Johnson’s Famous Huckleberry Ice Cream Pie” was delicious, colorful, and stacked high with whipped cream.
Tuesday, August 29
On our last day in Glacier National Park, we drove into Many Glacier to hike to the Ptarmigan Tunnel. Brandon has heard that bears frequented the area, but to his dismay, we only saw plenty of Long Horn Sheep. They were grazing along the switchbacks on Ptarmigan Wall while heading up to the Tunnel.
Glacier National Park Roundup
Where we slept:
- Bozeman, MT Walmart Supercenter // We had no issues with this location, but it’s near some loud railroad tracks
- Glacier Campground in West Glacier // Quaint, small roads, heavily wooded and secluded, and clean bathrooms!
- Johnson’s of St. Mary’s Campground in East Glacier // A little dated, but within walking distance of the National Park Entrance. Plus, a delicious restaurant on campus.
Where we ate:
- Montana Ale Works in Bozeman, MT // Lots of local Montana beer (if you’re into that)!
- Johnson’s Restaurant in East Glacier // Please ask if they have any bread loaves for purchase
Where we hiked:
- Highline Trail // Do the extra climb to the Garden Wall
- Hidden Lake // Not very exciting, but worthwhile if you’re into lakes and easy hikes
- Ptarmigan Tunnel // They drilled a tunnel for walking through the mountain