About Many Glacier
Many Glacier is the northern-most entrance to Glacier National Park on the US side of the park. This part of the park can only be accessed by entering on the east side of the park or long multi-day hikes from other areas. Here you can find gorgeous blue-green lakes, expansive valleys of pine forests, and towering mountains. It is very peaceful and serene here and definitely worth stopping here during your visit.
How to Get to Many Glacier
The only way to get to Many Glacier is by car, walking, or biking. The majority of people arrive here by car. If you go by car, you can also visit all other areas of the park. The closest airports that you can fly to and rent a car are in Kalispell, MT on the west side of Glacier National Park, or Missoula, MT to the south. Be sure to arrive early to ensure that you can get a parking spot. As of 2021, road construction in the area was causing some congestion and delays of 40 minutes or more. See the NPS website for updated information on the local road closures.
Red Bus Tours run at different times throughout the season. These tours stop at various places throughout the park depending on the tour you choose. Some of the tours do visit Many Glacier if you do not have another way to access Many Glacier. Please see the Red Bus Tour website for more information regarding Red Bus Tours.
When to Visit Many Glacier
Glacier National Park gets a huge amount of snow all winter and it takes a lot of time for all of the snow to melt. Due to this, the Many Glacier area of the park, and much of the rest of the park, is closed for half of the year. Many Glacier is typically open from around early June to late September. The specific dates are different every year due to the variable weather each year. For expected opening dates and the latest information, please visit the NPS website.
Where to Stay near Many Glacier
Many Glacier Hotel
Many Glacier Hotel is located on Swiftcurrent Lake and accessible by car. It is one of the historical lodges in the park, built over 100 years ago in 1915 by the Great Northern Railway. It is the largest lodge in Glacier National Park and has many amenities inside. The view from the hotel lobby alone is breathtaking.
Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins
Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins are located closed to the Many Glacier Campground. They are very close to many of the main trailheads of the Many Glacier area. This lodging is cheaper than the Many Glacier Hotel, but does not come with the same view. Like the Many Glacier Hotel, these rooms book up fast, so make sure to make your reservation early if you plan on staying here.
Many Glacier Campground
Many Glacier Campground https://www.recreation.gov/camping/campgrounds/251869?tab=info is the only official campground located in the park at Many Glacier. It is near by to the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins. There are many 5 star reviews online for this campground, stating that it is in a great location and is very spacious. Reservations can be made through recreation.gov here.
Babb, MT is the closest town to the Many Glacier park entrance. It and most of the surrounding area is on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation. There are few lodging options and rentals here. Some places with good reviews include Thronson’s Motel and Park Cabin Company. In Babb, there is also a really cute and delicious coffee truck ran by local people from the town called Glacier Drip Coffee. The coffee was delicious and they were super helpful in giving tips for things to do on a rainy day in the area! We loved it so much that we stopped there twice during our short stay here!
St. Mary, MT
St. Mary, MT is about 16 miles from the Many Glacier Entrance. There are several lodging options in St. Mary which I talk about in my St. Mary and Logan Pass post. There are several lodging options here ranging from campgrounds hotels. We stayed here when we visited Many Glacier and St. Mary area and thought that it was a convenient location for visiting both areas.
What To Do at Many Glacier
Grinnell Glacier Trail
Grinnell Glacier Trail is a 11.2-mile trail that goes up to the Grinnell Glacier. Some people say that this is one of the most beautiful trails in the United States. Several miles of the trail can be bypassed by taking the boat service by Glacier Park Boat Company listed below. If you have the time and the right weather, this hike seems like it would be worth it!
Swiftcurrent Nature Trail
Swiftcurrent Nature Trail is 2.6 mile flat trail that circles around Swiftcurrent Lake. On this well-maintained trail you can enjoy walking through the pine, see beautiful views of Swiftcurrrent Lake, and see wildlife. While on this trail we were able to see bald eagles flying over the lake. This trail allows you to see views of the lake that you can’t see from anywhere else. The vibrant evergreen trees reflect so sharply off of the blue-green water. The trail makes a full loop around the lake. You can also take a 0.2 mile trail to Lake Josephine to see a whole other view of the surrounding mountains.
Swiftcurrent Falls is a waterfall flowing from the Swiftcurrent Lake to the Lake Sherburne that you will pass on your way into the park. When you turn left at the only intersection turning towards Many Glacier Hotel in Many Glacier, you will actually cross over the waterfall! When you park your car, make sure to walk back to this waterfall to see it in its true beauty. There is a small trail on the parking lot-side of the bridge that you can follow to see the waterfall from the bottom.
Cracker Lake Trail
Cracker Lake Trail is a 12 mile trail that begins from the Many Glacier Lodge parking lot. We did not hike through to the top of this trail where the most beautiful views are supposed to be, but we still enjoyed the walking that we did do on this trail. This trail takes you to Cracker Lake which is a bright blue lake created from glacial runoff. Do note that in the first few miles of the trail, there is a great deal of horse manure from the horse tours that come on the first part of the trail.
Take a boat across the lakes
Glacier Park Boat Company runs a boat service across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine bypassing several miles of walking. The first boat you will take departs from Many Glacier Lodge and crosses Swiftcurrent Lake. You then get off the boat, walk through a pretty pine forest on a maintained trail for 0.2 miles before boarding a second boat to cross Lake Josephine. You have the option of disembarking to hike and enjoy the other side of the lake or remain on the boat to return back to the Many Glacier Lodge. As of July 2021, prices for adults are $33.25 and children 4-12 years old are $16.75. Tickets and updated information can be found here. Lake Josephine is gorgeous and much quieter than Swiftcurrent Lake. It is a beautiful area that is worth exploring.
Hang out in the Many Glacier Hotel
As stated above, Many Glacier Hotel is gorgeous. Most of the natural woodwork remains since it was built over 100 years ago. The day that we visited was chilly, so there were big fires burning in the fireplaces. There were also many comfy leather chairs and couches to rest in. The entire back wall is windows to look across the lake at Grinnell Mountain. Proceed out back to the large deck with many chairs for watching wildlife the sweet reflection of the mountains in the water. From the deck here, we were able to see big brown bears on the mountainside to the right of us. Downstairs of the hotel, there is a café and a gift shop. There is also a restaurant on one end of the hotel that has meals and a dining room. So grab yourself a snack, and relax on the deck at Many Glacier Hotel.
Other Important Things to Know
There is NO phone service here. If you are with a group, make sure you have plans on when and where to meet up. My group was not prepared for this and it made the day more difficult than it needed to be.
Book your accommodation early as there are not many options for the number of visitors to the area, so lodging fills up very early.
The weather here changes so quickly! It was beautiful and sunny when we arrived, but within an hour everything became windy with dark clouds and pouring rain.
Have you visited Many Glacier? Do you have any questions about Many Glacier? Let me know down below in the comments!
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