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Glacier National Park Surrounding Area

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Glacier National Park Surrounding Area Your Base Camp for Park Exploration

Your Base Camp for Park Exploration

Communities: Columbia Falls, Hungry Horse, Martin City, Coram, West Glacier, Polebridge, Essex, East Glacier Park, St. Mary, Babb

The Crown of the Continent beckons with 1 million acres of mesmerizing peaks, alpine lakes, cascading waterfalls and sweeping valleys. Glacier National Park is explore-worthy all year long, and the small communities in and around the park offer an array of seasonal lodging options and amenities, plus an abundance of warm western hospitality.

The famous Going-to-the-Sun Road—an engineering marvel and National Historic Landmark—is more than just one of the most scenic drives in the country; it’s a bucket-list beauty for bicyclists, snowshoers and Nordic skiers as well. Crest the Continental Divide at Logan Pass, where you can get out and stretch your legs, take a short hike and spot mountain goats.

Historic red bus tours and interpretive Sun Tours are also an enjoyable way to see the park and learn more about the history and geography of the land. For an on-the-water perspective, boat tours of Lake McDonald, Many Glacier, Two Medicine and St. Mary Lake are offered through Glacier Park Boat Company.

Columbia Falls makes a great base camp for exploring the area with a must-play golf course and finely crafted Montana beer from Backslope Brewing. In Hungry Horse stay at the Historic Tamarack Lodge & Cabins, open year-round for all-season adventures. The Hungry Horse Reservoir is an excellent spot for fishing and boating. Don't miss the Hungry Horse Dam Visitor Center. Martin City hosts the wildly fun Cabin Fever Days and Barstool Ski Races every February, and in Coram visit the Amazing Fun Center, Glacier Distilling, and Josephine's Bar and Kitchen.

In West Glacier, the Crown of the Continent Discovery Center is a one-stop-shop for souvenirs, handmade ice cream, drinks, Mexican food, horseback trail rides, moped rentals and more. You'll find outfitters in West Glacier at the ready to guide you on a Flathead River whitewater trip, fly-fishing adventure or trail ride. North of West Glacier, off the beaten path, the tiny outpost of Polebridge is known far and wide for the Polebridge Mercantile, serving up world-famous fresh baked goods in one of Montana's most remote locations.

Another overnight option along this corridor, and also an Amtrak stop, is the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex. This scenic setting is especially lovely in winter with Nordic skiing trails and cozy, unique lodging in renovated railroad cars.

The East Glacier Park train depot was built in 1913 and sits directly across from the historic and architecturally jaw-dropping Glacier Park Lodge surrounded by lush gardens and beautiful views of Dancing Lady Mountain. On the grounds you'll find a nine-hole golf course, which is the oldest grass greens course in Montana. While in the East Glacier Park area, dine at Summit Mountain Lodge—taking in views of wildlife and the park—take a trail ride with Glacier Gateway Outfitters, and drive the scenic Looking Glass Road (open seasonally).

In the St. Mary /Babb area, don't miss the St. Mary Overlook and fishing on Duck Lake (with a tribal permit). Your trip isn't complete without huckleberry dessert from Johnson's of St. Mary or Two Sisters Café.

Check out the Glacier National Park dashboard for current weather conditions as well as camping and parking availability.  

Highlights: The Going-to-the-Sun Road; historic red bus tours and Sun Tours of the park; Polebridge Mercantile; St. Mary Lake; Lake McDonald; park lodging; golf; snowmobiling

Length: 177 miles
Travel time: 4 hours

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Discover some of the West’s best highways, byways, backroads and small towns. Motorcycle Montana from Glacier Country to Yellowstone Country.

News from Glacier National Park Currently, 43.0 miles of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are open for travel.

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