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Glacier National Park Epic Weekend Guide

I first want to start off by saying Glacier National Park is by far one of the most stunning National Parks. But, Jake and I visited during Covid-19 where the East side of the park was closed for the season, so I can’t fully say we got to see Glacier National Park to its fullest.

Which only means we will one day have to go back. 

In this Glacier National Park Epic Weekend Guide we feel like we got to see some of the coolest places in the park. So if you follow this guide, be prepared to have your mind blown in this stunning park. We will cover the top places we visited while visiting the park. 

Watch Our Glacier National Park Video Tour Through The Park

Day 1: Exploring Glacier National Park

If you are going for a short time like us, then it’s best to get an early start to the day so you can capitalize on the day. Therefore, we woke up at 6am and got on the road. 

Lake McDonald

Sunrise over Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park
Sunrise at Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park

First up on the Glacier National Park Epic Weekend Guide is Lake McDonald. The lake famously known for its colored rocks. We went for sunrise, so we didn’t get to see the rocks glimmering in the sun, but we did get to see the sun pop over the mountain which was also stunning! You can always stop back over to Lake Mcdonald on your way out as it isn’t too far out of the way when exiting the park. 

To get this shot head to the Apgar Village. There is parking right next to the beach where you can walk down to get an epic view of the lake. But the lot is small, so it will fill up quickly.

Going To The Sun Road

Going To The Sun Road From Highline Trail

Next, hop back in the car because you are about to be driving up Going To The Sun Road which is by far one of the most scenic roads in the United States. There are many different pull offs to snap a picture or to just take in the views. We spent about 2 hours driving up to Logan Pass which is the top point along the drive. Logan Pass is along the Continental Divide with the elevation reaching 6,647 feet. 

Along the road you will also notice many beautiful waterfalls that flow under the road. Take your time driving up this road and stop at many of the different viewpoints as they all offer different views. It’s truly amazing to look over the cliff sides and wonder how they even got a road up to the top of the continental divide! And the view from up top is absolutely unreal. 

Hidden Lake

Hidden Lake | Photo by: @habitat.of.pat

One super stunning hike is accessed from Logan Pass: Hidden Lake. Unfortunately, the hike was closed due to bear activities (which often happens), during the time we went. But, if the trail is open when you are there, you should absolutely consider doing the hike. 

Hidden Lake can be done 2 different ways. You can just hike to the Hidden Lake Overlook which is 2.8 miles roundtrip, or you can hike down to Hidden Lake which is about 5.3 miles roundtrip. 

St. Mary’s Lake

Emily in Jakes arms with St. Mary's Lake in the background showing the epic peaks and aqua blue water
St. Mary’s Lake at Sun Point

Because Hidden Lake was closed, we headed down the other side of Going To The Sun Road to St. Mary’s Lake. And boy were we surprised at how beautiful this lake was as well! We parked in Sun Point parking lot and there is an easy access point to overlook the stunning lake. 

We were also super excited to hear that you can swim in the larger lakes in the park. So Jake and I decided to grab our floaties, a couple good drinks, some tunes and had a little beach day in St. Mary’s Lake. Mind you it was 90 degrees when we were there, so swimming felt super refreshing. Floating in the glacier was one of our highlights of the trip!

3 Waterfalls Hike

Jake and Emily sitting on a ledge with a long exposure of the 25 foot falls
Baring Falls: 1st Waterfall on 3 Waterfalls Hike

After we got done rafting, we decided to get some exercise and see more of what the park had to offer. Right from the same parking area you will find Baring Falls, St. Mary’s Falls and Virginia Falls. The hike is about 6 miles roundtrip. But, you can also cut off the first waterfall if you park at St. Mary’s Falls parking area (which is much smaller). 

But Jake and I were set off on finding these 3 beautiful waterfalls. Along the hike, you first come up on Baring Falls which is about .8miles from Sun Point Parking Lot. The falls drop about 25 feet and flows into St. Mary’s Lake which is about 100 yards away. 

St. Mary's Falls on 3 Waterfalls Hike
St. Mary’s Falls: 2nd waterfall on 3 Waterfalls Hike

Next, you will run into St. Mary’s Falls which was our favorite of the 3. There was stunning aqua blue water flowing. The falls drop about 35 feet in 3 separate tiers. You might also find many people jumping off the rocks or bridge into the deep aqua pool, which can be super refreshing in the hot summer months. 

Virginia Falls | Photo by: stripedmoonstudios
Virginia Falls | Photo by: @stripedmoonstudios

Last, but not least, is Virginia Falls which is about .8miles further up the trail. Shortly after St. Mary’s falls you will run into another waterfall that is unnamed but also very impressive. Don’t make the same mistake as we did and stop there thinking it is Virginia Falls.

Virginia Falls is another 1.6 miles roundtrip from St. Mary’s Falls. There will be two unnamed waterfalls along your route. But you will know once you reach Virginia Falls as it drops 50 feet over a rock wall down into an aqua pool. 

Going Back To Camp:

Our Hammocks hanging off the van in Glacier National Park
Jake and I enjoying the sunset on our way back to camp

We highly suggest getting a campsite in the park if you are able to plan your trip in advance and lock down a spot. Or if camping isn’t your style, you could grab accommodation at one of the lodges within the park.

For free camping options outside the park, check out our post: 3 Great Websites For Free Camping.

Day 2: The Big Hike

Another day to wake up early and make the most of your time on the Glacier National Park Epic Weekend Guide.

Highline Trail:

Hiking Highline in Glacier National Park

Today will be spent hiking one of the most stunning hikes within the park. It is long, but so worth it! Jake and I hiked Highline Trail to Grinnell Glacier Overlook which is 14.6 miles roundtrip. But there are a few other destinations along the trail. 

Huge rock wall called Garden Wall on Highline Trail
View of Garden Wall on our way back from Grinnell Glacier Overlook

From Logan Pass you will first run into Haystack Butte which is 3.5 miles one way. This portion of the hike you will notice the Garden Wall which is a stunning straight cliff rock wall. The path right under the Garden Wall is lush with wild flowers and shrubs. 

Grinnell Glacier Overlook

Next, you will run into Grinnell Glacier Overlook spur trail which is 6.7 miles one way from the top of Logan Pass. This is as far as Jake and I made it. Once you reach the spur trail up to the overlook, it is about 1000 feet elevation change in less than 1 mile. It was a challenge, but one of the coolest hikes we have ever done! 

Last but not least, you will run into Granite Park Chalet which is 7.5 miles one way. 

Because we traveled during covid-19 times the shuttle was not running from the bottom of The L:oop Trailhead, therefore we had to hike the whole way back to Logan Pass. But if you are traveling with friends and have a second car you could park one at The Loop Trailhead and hike down to trailhead making the hike a thru hike. Or you can choose to make the hike in out and back making it around 15 miles. 

But do note that the climb down to The Loop Trailhead is 3,200 feet elevation change. So if you have bad knees, this might be a less enjoyable route. 

Highline Trail in Glacier National Park

Overall, it’s a tough hike, especially the climb up to Grinnell Glacier Overlook, but it is seriously one of the most scenic hikes you can do in the park. Therefore, we highly suggest adding this to the list of things you MUST DO in the park!

After you finish the hike, you will most likely be exhausted. And unfortunately it was time for us to head home. We stopped at Lake McDonald again to wash off the sweat and dirt from the hike and hit a nice reset as we drove in the direction of home! 

Takeaway For A Glacier National Park Epic Weekend Guide:

Glacier National Park is seriously one of the prettiest places I have ever been. Simply from driving into the park the views just keep getting better and better. The lush green leading up to steep mountain walls is something unbelievable.

Jake and I definitely didn’t have nearly enough time to explore this park, but on this Glacier National Park Epic Weekend Guide you will at least get to hit some of the gems this National Park has to offer. We hope you enjoy! 

Save This ‘Glacier National Park Epic Weekend Guide’ For Later

How To Do #Vanlife Without Remote Work - tworoamingsouls

Friday 5th of May 2023

[…] on the weekends we could explore the surrounding area. Glacier National Park was by far the coolest place we got to explore. But we quickly found out Northern Idaho has some […]

Wendy Frisch

Saturday 22nd of August 2020

AMAZING video of Glacier National Park. Loved the photography and scenery. Soooooo beautiful. Kind of felt like I was there with you.