The “Crown of the Continent” and the pride of Flathead Valley
Glacier National Park encompasses over one million acres of stunningly beautiful Montana scenery, including two mountain ranges that are home to bears, moose, mountain goats, deer, bighorn sheep, elk, bobcats, Canadian lynxes, coyote, cougar, eagles, hawks and more.
Every year, over 2 million people visit Glacier to sightsee, picnic, camp, horseback ride, bike and hike through the hundreds of miles of trails that wind around a dozen large lakes and 700 smaller ones.
Less than an hour away from Bigfork is the west entrance to Glacier. It is also the most popular park entrance, thanks to its proximity to the Kalispell airport and the fact that it is one of the stops on Amtrak’s northern route across Montana.
Just inside the park entrance lies the west side visitor center, Apgar Village, which features traveler services, gift shops, a camp store, a restaurant and nearby lodging. While there, visitors can also make reservations for horseback riding or boat rentals.
Many visitors to West Glacier drive their own cars along Going to the Sun Road to take in the sights, however, visitors can also take the free National Park Service Shuttle or a Red Bus tour to see the park and learn more about its history and geography.
Lake McDonald, which is easily accessible from the west entrance, is one of the largest and most scenic lakes in the park. Long ago, Lake McDonald was carved out by a huge glacier, leaving what is now a ten-mile long and 472-foot deep lake. East of the lake lies the Lewis Range, which runs north to south, marking the Continental divide.
Less than five miles further on Going to the Sun road are the trailheads for Trail of the Cedars, which provides an easy, family-friendly trail hike, and Avalanche Creek Trail, which is a short two-mile hike to beautiful Avalanche Lake.
Parking can be limited, so it is recommended that you take the free shuttle to enjoy a hassle-free experience.
As if the scenery wasn’t enough, visitors to Glacier National Park can charter a boat trip, rent kayaks or motorboats, go fishing, golfing, hiking, biking or snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter. Or take an Apgar or Lake McDonald trail ride, and see Glacier from a different perspective.
Those who choose to see Glacier National Park by bike may want to go in early spring, before Going to the Sun Road opens to vehicles and experiences summer congestion.
You can contact West Glacier National Park directly at (406) 888-7800 or visit the Glacier National Park website for more information.