Seven-Day Glacier National Park Road Trip

From popular stops to remote places of solitude, this road loop stitches together touring with iconic scenery. Enjoy this seven-day tour of Glacier National Park by staying in motels and park lodges.

pastures in montana
Near Kalispell, Montana. Photo © snehit/123rf.

Day 1: Kalispell to East Glacier

112 MILES (180 KM); 2.5 HOURS
From Kalispell, hop on U.S. 2, which skirts the south end of Glacier National Park. Stop at Izaak Walton Inn for lunch and to explore railroad history. Pull into the Goat Lick to peer down to mineral seeps that attract white shaggy goats.

To enjoy a bit of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, roll into Bear Creek River Access. Take in the interpretive site at Marias Pass to learn about its discovery, geology, and history. Enter Blackfeet tribal land and bypass East Glacier for now, continuing farther to Browning to visit the Museum of the Plains Indian. Return to East Glacier to spend two nights at historic Glacier Park Lodge.

Day 2: Day Trip to Two Medicine

Pack a lunch for a day at Two Medicine. After entering Glacier National Park, walk the nature trail to Running Eagle Falls on the way to Two Medicine Lake. At the lake, rent a kayak to paddle or hop on the tour boat.

Afterwards, walk to Aster Park for views overlooking the lake or climb Scenic Point to get higher before returning to East Glacier.

wide landscape view of two medicine lake in glacier national park
View of Two Medicine Lake from Aster Park trail in Glacier National Park. Photo © Paul Brady/Dreamstime.

Day 3: East Glacier to Waterton

112 MILES (181 KM); 4 HOURS
From East Glacier, drive north on the curves of MT 49 and U.S. 89. On the final hill descending into St. Mary, stop at the St. Mary Overlook to explore the interpretive site and take in the view of the park. Then continue through St. Mary to Chief Mountain Highway.

After crossing into Canada, stop at the overlook of Waterton Lakes National Park. From the park entrance road, drive scenic Red Rocks Parkway to walk the loop and admire Red Rocks Canyon. Then, continue on to the Waterton Townsite. Stroll through the townsite, feast on dinner, and walk along the Waterton Lakeshore path to watch the alpenglow on the peaks before spending the night.

Day 4: Waterton to Many Glacier

50 MILES (80 KM); 2 HOURS
In the morning, hop aboard the International for a scenic boat tour on Upper Waterton Lake. Then, head back across the border to Many Glacier. Saunter around Swiftcurrent Lake and pop over the moraine ridge to Lake Josephine for the view of Mount Gould. After dinner at historic Many Glacier Hotel, enjoy bear-watching from the deck followed by the sunset over the Continental Divide and a good night’s sleep.

road curving through the mountains in Montana
Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park. Photo © Jerryway/Dreamstime.

Day 5: Many Glacier to Lake McDonald

60 MILES (97 KM); 2 HOURS
With a 6am start and a to-go lunch, head south to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Stop briefly at Wild Goose Island overlook for a classic photo of St. Mary Lake. Then drive straight to Logan Pass to get a parking spot. Tour the visitors center and hike to Hidden Lake Overlook.

Descend westward, stopping at Oberlin Bend and The Loop to gaze at Heaven’s Peak. Walk into the rainforest of Trail of the Cedars before overnighting at Lake McDonald Lodge for two nights.

Day 6: Day Trip to Bowman Lake

This is a dirt-road adventure day. Drive up the Camas Road and the rugged North Fork Road. Stop at the Polebridge Mercantile for fresh-baked cookies and sandwiches to go. Then enter the park and jounce along the bumpy Inside Road to Bowman Lake for a picnic. Walk along the shore to enjoy the views. On your return, sit outside at Northern Lights Saloon for a brew with a view. Return to Lake McDonald Lodge.

serene lake mcdonald surrounded by mountains
Lake McDonald. Photo © Sean Xu/iStock.

Day 7: Lake McDonald to Whitefish

51 MILES (82 KM); 1.25 HOURS
After yesterday’s rugged road trip, today is easy. Take your time saying farewell to the park by stopping in Apgar.

Hit the road to Whitefish. Drive up to Whitefish Mountain Resort ride the chairlift to the summit of Big Mountain to soak up the panorama of Glacier peaks, plus overlook Flathead Valley. Descend via chairlift or hiking before heading to downtown Whitefish to celebrate your adventure.

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