If You Have Only 1 Day

If you have a limited amount of time to spend in Glacier, the best way to experience the park's full beauty is to drive Going-to-the-Sun Road, the 50-mile road that crosses the park between West Glacier and St. Mary. Points of interest are clearly marked and correspond to the map in the park newspaper Points of Interest Along the Going to the Sun Road, available at visitor centers and downloadable from www.nps.gov/glac as a podcast.

Remember that the road gains more than 3,400 feet in 32 miles, and is very narrow in places. Visitors with a fear of heights might consider a guided van tour or using the park's free shuttle.

A short drive from West Glacier is Lake McDonald, the largest body of water in the park. Numerous turnouts along the way present opportunities to photograph panoramic views of the lake with its mountainous backdrop. Sacred Dancing Cascade and Johns Lake are visible by taking a short hike from the roadside through a red cedar and hemlock forest. You'll often see moose and waterfowl. The Trail of the Cedars is a short, wheelchair-accessible boardwalk trail rich in vibrant, verdant hues. All hiking trails mentioned below are described in the "Day Hikes" section, below.

Almost exactly halfway along Going-to-the-Sun Road is The Loop, an excellent vantage point for views of Heaven's Peak. Just 2 miles farther is the Bird Woman Falls Overlook, an outlook for falls located across the valley. The Weeping Wall, a wall of rock that does, in fact, weep groundwater profusely in the summer, is a popular subject for photographers.

At the 32-mile mark from West Glacier is Logan Pass, one of the park's most highly trafficked areas and the starting point for the hike to Hidden Lake, one of Glacier's most popular. There's a visitor center here, atop the Continental Divide.

As you head downhill, you'll reach the turnout for Jackson Glacier Overlook, the most easily recognizable glacier in the park, followed by Sunrift Gorge, which is accessible via a short trail that presents opportunities to view wildlife.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.