My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Photo Essay: Exploring Glacier National Park

2011/06/20by Donna Hull

Updated: 07.01.2014

Waterfalls, scenic views, lakes, glaciers and hikes. Discover our favorites in this Glacier National Park photo essay. Glacier is one of the last remaining wild places in the United States. Let us show you why:

Waterfalls

A waterfall tumbles down the mountainside and into St. Mary Lake.

A waterfall tumbles down the mountainside and into St. Mary Lake.

Alan took this waterfall photograph while on a photo workshop with Marc Adamus. He can’t remember the exact location, but says that the journey involved climbing up a steep hillside like a mountain goat. An easier option is the approximate 2-mile-round-trip hike to St. Mary Falls off Going to the Sun Road. Add another 2 miles to your hike by continuing the one mile in and out to Virginia Falls. When the snow is melting, Glacier offers more than 200 waterfalls. Take your pick.

Lakes

St. Mary Lake on the east side of Glacier.

St. Mary Lake on the east side of Glacier.

Lakes are everywhere in Glacier National Park. How many lakes? According to data from the National Park Service, you’ll find 762, although only 631 are named. Lake McDonald on the west side is the largest and also the location of historical Lake McDonald Lodge. Alan took this photo of St Mary Lake, the park’s second largest lake, on a moody, fall day.

Off the Beaten Path

Polebridge Mercantile serves the North Fork area of Glacier.

Polebridge Mercantile serves the North Fork area of Glacier.

Polebridge is a funky enclave on the west side of Glacier National Park. Boomers can also access Bowman and Kintla Lakes from here. Polebridge Mercantile provides services (and delicious baked goods) to campers, hikers and hardy souls who live in the area for the summer. Be sure to hang around for a meal at the Northern Lights Saloon. And if you’re visiting the park over the 4th of July, the most creative parade in the U.S. will be rolling down the gravel road to Polebridge.

Scenic Views

At Logan's Pass on the trail to Hidden Lake overlook in Glacier National Park.

At Logan’s Pass on the trail to Hidden Lake overlook.

Turn in any direction and you’ll find natural beauty at Glacier. But my favorite spot for the view is at Logan Pass. At 6, 464 ft, it’s the summit of Going to the Sun Road. This photo is taken from the boardwalk path as it leads across the tundra for the short hike to an overlook of Hidden Lake. In the summer, you’ll be accompanied by blooming wildflowers and sightings of mountain goats. If it’s a heavy snow year, the snowplows could still be clearing snow until July from this portion of Going to the Sun Road. You can monitor the snowplowing progress at the National Parks Flickr page. Personally, I enjoy watching this Going to the Sun snowplowing video.

Glacier Hikes

Dramatic view at Swiftcurrent Lake in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park

Swiftcurrent Lake in the Many Glacier area.

Twenty-five glaciers (from the same NPS data I referenced above) give this Montana national park its name. And, yes, they are shrinking. So you better lace up those hiking shoes quickly. The trail to Grinnell Glacier, 11-miles-round-trip, starts from Many Glacier Hotel and leads to the foot of the glacier. This is our favorite area in Glacier National Park.

Planning a trip to Glacier National Park? Check out our articles and advice. Click on Exploring Glacier National Park.

So what do you think of our Glacier National Park photo essay? Does it remind you of a favorite Glacier NP memory? Post a comment to share it with us. Now that Montana is our full-time home, we have lots of exploring planned for Glacier.

New here? We hope you’ll come again. To keep up with us, sign up for our weekly broadcast, monthly newsletter or both! Subscribe here.


A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Melanie McMinn June 21, 2011 at 8:04 pm

Gorgeous! I’ve never been to Glacier, but I’ve been to glacial areas here in NZ and know how stunning they can be in person. Lucky you being close enough to visit Glacier more often!

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
June 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Melanie, I’ve been to New Zealand’s glaciers as well as Glacier National Park. The uniqueness of New Zealand’s glaciers (or at least Fox and Franz Josef) is their location in a temperate rainforest. Glacier National Park is more rugged and alpine in nature.

Reply

Living Large June 21, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Simply breathtaking. I’ve never been either, but your photo essay makes me want to go! 

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
June 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm

Thanks. It is a beautiful national park.

Reply

Sheryl June 22, 2011 at 1:04 am

Wow. These photos are amazingly beautiful!

Reply

Leigh
Twitter:
June 22, 2011 at 4:46 am

I’ve only been to Glacier once – a long time ago – but I’m moving to Calgary soon – so I see many visits to Waterton Park & Glacier National Park on the horizon. The photos are lovely. I remember the incredible blue of the waters.
Sorry I missed you at TBEX – was looking for you.

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
June 22, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Leigh, Waterton Park is next on our list, maybe for this fall. Unfortunately I had to cancel my trip to TBEX due to a bad virus. Hope to see you at TBEX12?

Reply

Christine June 22, 2011 at 4:49 am

So very beautiful!

Reply

Corie June 22, 2011 at 4:13 pm

I was lucky enough to work at Many Glacier hotel for 3 summers…..always love looking at pictures of my favorite place on earth.

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
June 22, 2011 at 4:35 pm

Corie, I imagine that working at Many Glacier was an awesome experience. You must have some interesting Glacier NP stories to tell.

Reply

Kamicia June 22, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Because the glaciers are rapidly diminishing, going to GNP has been at the top of my to do list for a long time.  I finally made it last summer.  It was more then I imagined.  Each day was filled with wonder and amazing views.  I saw bears each day, hiked each day (including Grinnell Glacier), and took advantage of the ranger lead hikes and birding walks. My friends and I had an amazing time!  I look forward to going back soon!!

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
June 22, 2011 at 4:34 pm

Thanks for sharing your Glacier NP experience. I’ve yet to see any bears. Hopefully that will change on my next visit.

Reply

CamelsAndChocolate June 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Oh Donna, way to hit me where it hurts! I was most excited about going to Glacier of anywhere on our six-week trip, and alas, Going-to-the-Sun Road wasn’t open, and the little bit of park that was was so waterlogged, we only got to drive on the main road and didn’t get to do any hiking whatsoever. Painful!

I also heard good things about Polebridge–someone on Twitter say they have the best huckleberry bear claws at the Mercantile (and I am a newly converted huckleberry fiend!–but due to road conditions, we couldn’t make it up there towing our trailer. Next trip, I’m only going to do Glacier–and I’m going to fly into Spokane the first week of August, when the road is guaranteed to be open, and give myself a good 10 days to see the area!

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
June 22, 2011 at 7:17 pm

Kristin, September is an excellent time to explore Glacier. But before you head out to Polebridge, ask one of the park rangers at the visitor’s center to make sure that they’re open. The food at Northern Lights Saloon is surprisingly good, too. I saw your photos of rafting in Glacier. They made me shiver! I can’t imagine how cold that was on such a rainy day.

Reply

MyKidsEatSquid June 28, 2011 at 1:15 am

Beautiful pictures. I can tell in the first one he was playing with the shutter speed (ISO), right? I’ve been trying out new techniques myself. 

Reply

MyKidsEatSquid June 28, 2011 at 1:15 am

Beautiful pictures. I can tell in the first one he was playing with the shutter speed (ISO), right? I’ve been trying out new techniques myself. 

Reply

Vera Marie Badertscher June 30, 2011 at 3:40 am

I think we’ve talked before about how much I also love Glacier National Park. We went across the border to Waterton and want to go back up there and stay in that wonderful Canadian park.  Not everyone realizes that Glacier/Waterton is(are?) an International Park.
I’m also curious about the special effects Alan may have used to get those gorgeous painting-like photos.

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
June 30, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Vera, we have discussed Glacier National Park before. Slowing the shutter speed gives that dreamy, painter’s look that you see in the top two photos. In the waterfall photo, he also used a filter on his lens. Being a purist, he does very little post processing to his images.

Reply

NJ March 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

Loved the photos! Would definitely try to visit a national park after reading this!
NJ recently posted..DESTINATIONS: Ireland- Travel Tips For a Week In the Emerald IsleMy Profile

Reply

Donna Hull
Twitter:
March 19, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Yes, the National Parks in the U.S. are a treasure.

Reply

The GypsyNesters
Twitter:
July 2, 2014 at 9:05 pm

That first photo is stunning Alan! We’ve only been to Glacier National Park in the winter – you’ve convinced us to come back. It won’t take much to convince David the Train Nut to visit again! -Veronica
The GypsyNesters recently posted..Snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef – Bucket List, Check!My Profile

Reply

Paddy
Twitter:
July 23, 2014 at 5:52 am

Amazing pictures :)
Paddy recently posted..3 days in EdinburghMy Profile

Reply

noel July 27, 2014 at 8:49 am

Stunning, I loved the photos you are sharing, gorgeous
noel recently posted..Plaza de Espana, Seville – Travel Photo MondaysMy Profile

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

This blog uses premium CommentLuv which allows you to put your keywords with your name if you have had 3 approved comments. Use your real name and then @ your keywords (maximum of 3)

{ 8 trackbacks }

Previous post:

Next post:

About Us

We're Donna & Alan Hull. We KNOW boomer travel.

Since 2008, we've published articles and photographs focusing solely on boomer travel: where to go, what to do and how to do it.

Partner with us

Did you know that baby boomers purchase 80% of luxury vacations and adults aged 55 + account for one-third of all trips in the U.S.? We can help you to reach an audience of active boomer travelers.

Learn more:


Have questions? Get in touch.

The fine print:

Media Mentions

We're the undeniable experts on boomer travel.


Need a boomer expert for your publication? Get in touch.