9.21.2011

Road Trip Part 6: Going-to-the-Sun-Road, Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-Sun-Road - Logan's Pass is to the left in the distance

Providing access to some of the most beautiful views in the park, Going-to-the-Sun-Road was definitely a trip highlight. Going-to-the-Sun-Road is the only road that cuts through an absolutely spectacular 50 mile stretch of Glacier National Park. There are several stopping points along the way for hikes, waterfalls, and unbelievable views but even if you don't have time to stop, the drive alone is worth it. 



Weeping Wall
While driving along the Road, you will come across the Weeping Wall - a rocky cliffside with water misting/pouring from it. At different times of the year, the weeping wall can be frozen, heavily flowing with water or trickling. Although, there is a designated area called the weeping wall, there are several waterfalls like this along the road, making every curve in the road an exciting adventure.

Due to the immense amount of snowfall Glacier receives, the entire stretch of Going-to-the-Sun-Road is only open during a very short time in the year. From about mid June the Road is carefully plowed and remains open typically until mid September. Large chunks of snow/ice still remain on the hill/mountainsides.  

Bird Woman Falls
Another gorgeous waterfall along the Road is Bird Woman Falls (492 feet). The road bridges over the middle of the waterfall so you can enjoy the view before you reach it, while you are over it, and after you pass it. 

View looking back over the bottom portion of Bird Woman Falls.

Bird Woman Falls later that same day.


How ridiculous is the water color at McDonald Creek?!


I love the colors of the red and green rocks mixed with the water - instant living artwork.

Huckleberry Cobbler
Pictures of food don't always look that appetizing but trust me on this one, Huckleberry Cobbler was a winner. It was Huckleberry season while we were in Glacier and it was Huckleberry galore in all the villages. Huckleberry jam, Huckleberry Ice Cream, Huckleberry candy, Huckleberry Pie Smoothies, Huckleberry pancakes and syrup - you get the idea. The bears apparently love the Huckleberries so that's why summer is  another great time to spot them. Dan and I decided we had to try something Huckleberry - I mean, if the bears love them, wouldn't we? We had lunch in the small village of Lake McDonald and treated ourselves to the Huckleberry Cobbler. Boyyyy, was it a good decision! I am not even a big fruity dessert person but it was delicioso! I am not so sure I would try some of the other Huckleberry flavored items (ie: Huckleberry Pie Smoothie - they seriously blend up a Huckleberry pie) but the Cobbler I highly recommend.

Lake McDonald...
After we finished up every last bite of the Huckleberry Cobbler, we headed down to Lake McDonald where we decided to rent a little motor boat and take a spin of the lake. An impromptu boat ride was the perfect mid-day pick me up - the lake is gigantic and surrounded by gorgeous mountain peaks and small sandy banks.

These leafless trees were gorgeous. The combination of  textures and colors in the water, the sky, the sand, the green brush and the tree bark is absolutely stunning.


Back at a different section of McDonald Creek there are small  falls and more beautiful colors.

While we were on a bridge above the creek, a pretty butterfly fluttered on down to the rail. It stayed there for quite sometime, long enough for me to take a little photo shoot.


Tunnel along Going-to-the-Sun-Road

Heavens Peak...



Other gorgeous views from the Road (not sure of all the mountain names)...







More Waterfalls

How fantastic are these Dr. Seussesque wildflowers?

Highline Trail...
The Highline Trail is a pretty cool little trail - and I mean little as in NARROW! The trail head is along the Going-to-the-Sun-Road, across from Logan's Pass. The trail wraps around the mountain's side so you are hanging above the Going-to-the-Sun-Road below -not recommended for those with fear of heights. As you can see in the photo above, there is a cable to hang on to on the one side if you want some extra security. I believe the trail is about 7 miles if you complete the loop but even if you just head out for a half mile, you can still see some amazing views. 




St. Mary Lake and Wild Goose Island in the middle.
Dan and I stayed in St. Mary at the St. Mary Lodge in the Great Bear Lodge section of the hotel. I'm being specific because our hotel room was beautiful - clean, cozy, great view of the lake and a creek - but I've read some reviews about the other sections of the hotel (ie: the East & West Motel) that aren't so great so be sure to do your research. The location was great - close to Many Lakes and right next to the east entrance of the Park. If you are staying here or on the east side, be sure to do an evening drive to Many because you are bound to see some bears...
As I just said, driving to the Many Lakes area at dusk is a great time to see some wildlife (almost guaranteed). On our last night, we took a drive and saw this BEAUTIFUL grizzly bear snacking on some berries just a few feet from the road. There were probably about 10-15 people, including one ranger watching from the road - we were probably closer than we should have been in my opinion but the ranger seemed to think it was fine so who knows. 
Of course, my camera battery was dying when we showed up so my pictures aren't the clearest. Figures, right?



You can see the grizzly hump on his back pretty well here.
A guy driving buy was blaring some rockin' music with his windows down, so the grizzly stood up to check out what the fuss was all about. Don't you just want to cuddle him?

After about 30 minutes of watching the bear, the ranger decided we better scare of the bear so he doesn't get too used to people. He had everyone clap and yell at the bear (I refused to participate) and the poor bear ran away. I suppose I can be grateful that the ranger didn't shoot the bear with a pellet gun or anything else hurtful.
On our last day we drove over to Two Medicine - a section of the Park that used to be the main attraction until Going-to-the-Sun-Road was built. Along the way, I spotted a coyote hanging out with some horses. Unfortunately, when I got out of the car to take a photo he got scared and ran away. 

Two Medicine Lake...


In Two Medicine there is a short and easy trail to Running Eagle Falls aka Trick Falls. It's nicknamed Trick falls because when there is a lot of water flowing, it looks like one giant waterfall but there are really two separate falls. The top fall was dried up when we were there but it was still cool to see the bottom fall flowing out from the cliff.
Welp, that is it. The last post from my road trip to Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. I hope you enjoyed all the photos and tidbits I shared. If you have never been to either park, GO! GO! GO! You won't regret it. I haven't been everywhere in the U.S. but I have a feeling these two parks have to be in the top most beautiful places you can go in the U.S.A.

Did you see Road Trip...
- Part 1 -
- Part 3 -
- Part 4 -
- Part 5 -


All images: Love.Inspire.Create

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