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Published: June 20th 2015
We originally intended to camp in Glacier Park West, Montana on the west side and then take the infamous curvy and scenic Going-to-the-Sun Road to Glacier Park East for the remainder of our time. When we made our park campground reservations, none were available until June 1, so we booked the May 30 and 31 in Jacobson’s Cabins in East Glacier and the next 3 nights in Fish Creek in West Glacier.
A further surprise when we arrived in the main western entry point, Apgar Visitor Center, was that the Going-to-the-Sun Road was closed after 10 miles and we would have to take Route 2 around the southern perimeter of the park to get to East Glacier! The road still had some snow and there was some construction on the far eastern end.
The small town of East Glacier has a post office, gas station, a few restaurants and a local store named Borwnie’s but for more extensive shopping, visitors have to travel 12 miles east to Browning on the Blackfeet Reservation. The terrain immediately flattens out into the landscape familiar to anyone who has traveled through Kansas or Nebraska on their way to the Rockies. The looming snow-capped
mountains of Glacier are impressive on the return to the park.
Our exploration of the East Side focused primarily in the Two Medicine Lake area, starting with the Scenic Point hike to get a higher elevation view of the beautiful lake. We saw many long-horned sheep on the trail and even had to take a detour on the return trip because they were planted right on the path.
The next hike was one around the lake, beginning with the North shore. It didn’t really open up with views on the lake for several miles but it was quite nice at that point. We were distracted by our first sighting of bear scat and then a paw print right on the trail! There were many alpine lilies and other wild flowers on the edges of the path, and we later read flowers, especially bulbs, are part of their diet.
On a separate day, we drove up to St. Mary, the eastern end point of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, even though the road was closed due to construction on that side. The entrance drive to the St. Mary visitor center is stunningly beautiful. We hiked on a recommended loop which
didn’t offer any good views of the St. Mary upper lake. The best views were really at the visitor center. The ideal time to visit the park is from later June through August, but coming during that period means huge crowds. We enjoyed having the park mostly to ourselves!
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