Blake Walsh

20 Best Things to Do in West Glacier, MT

  • Published 2022/11/19

With its stunning, rough, yet inspirational environment, the best things to do in West Glacier make it the ideal family destination.

West Glacier is also an unincorporated community, a census-designated place (CDP) in eastern Flathead County, Montana.

The U.S. Route 2 and the central BNSF Railway line pass through the town outside Glacier National Park.

There is a range of visitor facilities in West Glacier, including hotels, restaurants, and souvenir stores.

Golfing, hiking, bicycling, kayaking, and rafting are just a few of the recreational options available in the area.

During the winter months, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are also accessible.

West Glacier is an excellent place to start your journey through the Crown of the Continent.

If you’re looking to experience this Northwest Montana community, we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in West Glacier, Montana.

Cruise along the Going-to-the-Sun Road

Scenic views along Going-to-the-Sun Road

silky /

The Going-to-the-Sun Road is a must-see when you visit West Glacier.

Logan Pass, where the Continental Divide is crossed, marks the end of the Road’s 50-mile journey.

Stunning glaciers, lush valleys, thundering waterfalls, snow-capped peaks, and vibrant wildflowers will be part of your journey.

On your way over Sun Road, you may spot some wildlife.

View of a lake along Going-to-the-Sun Road

Akshay-PhotOvation /

Driving your own car over Going-to-the-Sun Road is not the only option.

There are also Red Bus Tours and free shuttles provided by the National Park Service.

Seasonally, the roadway is only accessible because of its location in the mountains.

Dates for opening and closure are subject to change based on the state of the weather.

View of a mountain along Going-to-the-Sun Road

Dean Fikar /

Before setting out on your journey, make sure to verify the current condition of the roads.

Just because some of the Road is closed doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy some of Glacier National Park’s most breathtaking views.

You won’t want to miss out on the Road’s many perks.

While traversing this technical masterpiece, it might be challenging to know where to stop and look.

Clear road of Going-to-the-Sun Road

Tassanee Riebpadith /

Hike the Trail of the Cedars Nature Trail

Going-to-the-Sun Road leads to the Trail of the Cedars, a popular hiking trail.

Outside of the Avalanche Campground Ranger Station, you’ll find the start of the Trail of Cedars.

Some portions of the 0.6-mile (0.97-kilometer) walkway are paved, while others have elevated boardwalks.

Cedars that tower over 80 feet (24 meters) tall may be seen in the distance.

Two portions of the path exist: one loop around, and the other leads to Avalanche Lake, a 2-mile-long climb with a 500-foot-high (150-meter) elevation increase.

A waterfall, which has cut a channeled stream through the multicolored rock, is located amid the half-loop.

You’ll be surrounded by hemlocks and red cedars in this area.

Because of the high humidity, red cedars grow up to 100 feet tall and with diameters ranging from 4 to 7 feet in this region.

More than 500-year-old trees may be seen in this location.

Ferns and mosses are growing on the forest floor if you look attentively.

Take your time as you stroll down this boardwalk, which leads you into a more typical Pacific Coast ecosystem.

Go Whitewater Rafting with Glacier Raft Company

The Glacier Raft Business is Montana’s longest-running rafting company and the best place to begin your white water rafting trip in Glacier National Park.

The Middle and North Forks of the Flathead River in Montana are ideal for whitewater rafting expeditions for all ages.

Glacier National Park rafting and fly fishing trips and its Glacier National Park cabins in West Glacier help you get the most out of your vacation to Montana’s Glacier National Park.

If you’re up for a self-guided excursion, its Outdoor Center can provide you with a kayak rental and local knowledge about Glacier National Park.

Unlike any other, this is a holiday experience of a lifetime, and it’s right in Glacier National Park!

See the Rich Wildlife of Hidden Lake Overlook

Sunny day at Hidden Lake Overlook

Zack Frank /

Glacier National Park tourists should not miss the Hidden Lake Overlook Trail.

There are alpine wildflower meadows, delicate tundra, and the carved peaks of the Northern Rockies surrounding trekkers.

You’ll see Bighorn Sheep, Mule Deer, Mountain Goats, Grizzly Bear, and Marmots while hiking the Hidden Lake Trail.

It’s easy to see why this is one of Glacier National Park’s most popular hikes.

Bighorn sheep at Hidden Lake Overlook

Stephen Moehle /

As a result of its ideal position, Hidden Lake Trail has become a well-known hiking destination.

Logan Pass Visitor Center serves as a rest point for travelers on the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

You’re losing out if you don’t hike the 2.8-mile round trip to the viewpoint, which most people do.

Logan pass sign at Hidden Lake Overlook

Chris LaBasco /

Stop Over Apgar Visitor Center

Two miles east of the West Glacier gate, you may find Apgar Visitor Center.

Park conditions fluctuate drastically from season to season.

Its Rangers will equip you with everything to have a fulfilling and safe journey.

One of which is holding demonstrations on how to use bear spray properly.

When Glacier is open, most businesses and services are only available from late May through September.

The winter closure of the tourist center allows for the plaza to serve as a resource for visitors seeking information about the area.

See the Architectural Wonder of Nyack Ranger Station Historic District

Ranger Station Historic District contains the original ranger station’s remaining components.

Only the barn and the fire cache hut, constructed in 1935 by Austin Weikert using drawings provided by the National Park Service Branch of Plans and Design, are still standing.

The Nyack ranger station used to be a significant administrative and management complex, consisting of a ranger station and dwelling, a barn, a fire cache, a fireguard lodge, and a woodshed.

Two structures still stand on this location: a hay shed and a storage shed, including the barn.

Most of the Nyack ranger station’s building has been demolished or removed, putting the integrity of this formerly necessary administrative facility in jeopardy.

The Nyack barn deserves a stopover as an essential part of Glacier National Park’s architectural past.

As a result of the building’s superb log workmanship and design, it has been designated an architectural landmark in West Glacier.

In February of 1986, the NHRP acknowledged its historical importance.

Explore the Area on Horseback with Swan Mountain Outfitters

The United States’ Glacier National Park is a priceless treasure.

A horseback ride across the “Crown of the Continent” is a great way to experience it.

Swan Mountain Outfitters, a family-owned and operated business, will help you achieve that.

Horseback guides will accompany you to the beautiful lodges, tiny chalets, and tent camps, all deliberately situated a day’s horseback ride apart from each other.

All rides are done at a walking speed only for your safety.

Take Photos with Triple Arches

Aerial view of Triple Arches

melissamn /

Triple Arches is one of seventeen remarkable masonry and concrete structures in West Glacier.

As the first product of a 1925 cooperative agreement between the National Park Service and the Bureau of Public Roads, this 51-mile stretch of scenic Road is significant as an early twentieth-century engineering achievement.

As an alternative to a massive retaining wall, this bridge was built in 1927.

Reinforced concrete was used to construct the Garden Wall, where the Going-to-the-Sun Road crosses the continental divide and is referred to locals as the Garden Wall.

Taking a pause on the way to the sun road at this semi-hidden architectural and engineering marvel is a terrific idea if you have the time.

Catch Performances and Talks at Apgar Amphitheater

What could be more enjoyable than learning?

At night, your feet may rest, and only your head has to work.

Apgar Amphitheater is one of West Glacier’s ADA-accessible venues for nighttime performances.

Listen to park rangers describe the importance of park resources and participate in discussions on taking care of mother nature.

The topics vary from history, geology, and ecology.

The venue also hosts musical performances featuring local and regional artists.

Go on a Family Retreat at Great Northern Resort

Great Northern Resort offers a comprehensive Montana holiday experience about a mile from the West Glacier Glacier entrance to Glacier National Park.

Since 1977, the Great Northern Resort has welcomed guests to Glacier National Park with genuine Montana friendliness.

Having been a part of this beautiful region under new ownership since 2016, Great Northern is dedicated to providing its visitors with excellent service and exposing them to its treasures.

As the Great Northern Railway brought the first tourists to the area, the owners decided to name the Park after the railway.

Spend time in our lovely cottages, go whitewater rafting, fly fishing, or all three!

At one of the best Montana wedding locations, your wedding or family reunion will be surrounded by stunning mountain scenery.

Our river guide training classes may prepare you to lead your own private float trips down the river with confidence.

What better way to teach your children about rivers than to do a whole day of river rafting?

These initiatives aim to raise knowledge of the river ecology while encouraging river safety.

Get Your Fishing Supplies at Glacier Outdoor Center

Glacier Outdoor Center is home to Glacier Anglers Fly Shop.

Everything you need to experience Glacier National Park is available at Glacier Outdoor Center, the only outdoor store and fly shop within a 40-mile radius of the Park.

Accommodation is also available here.

This location is ideal for those who want to see all that Glacier National Park offers but don’t want to spend a lot of time driving.

Come back to your own fully equipped kitchen, full bath, Wi-Fi and satellite television, gas grill, covered porch, and private trout pond after a long day of hiking and mountaineering.

Pay a Visit to Lake McDonald Backcountry Campground

Lake McDonald Backcountry Campground's waters

Sean Xu /

Stand-up paddleboarding and camping in Glacier National Park are the two best ways to see the Park.

Stay overnight at a wilderness campsite just 20 steps from Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park, or paddle across to a hidden rocky cove for the day.

Take a one-mile detour from Sprague Creek Campground to a peninsula on the Northwest Coast of the lake, where you may paddle, kayak, or canoe.

Clear day at Lake McDonald Backcountry Campground

Chris LaBasco /

Apgar Village’s permit office accepts reservations for backcountry camping. A pit toilet, a fire ring, and tent sites are available at the wilderness location.

If the weather cooperates, this is a beautiful spot to spend the night beneath the stars.

To keep tiny and large animals away from your food, use the hanging pole to store all food items.

Avoid rough water by going out early in the day; the earlier, the better.

Scenic view at Lake McDonald Backcountry Campground

Panoptography /

Immerse Yourself in Nature at Glacier Bear Retreat

This stunning four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath luxury residence stands on Lake McDonald’s west side.

When you stay at Glacier Bear Retreat, you’ll have access to a hot tub, dartboard, pool table, hammocks, bicycles, and yoga mats, just to name a few amenities.

This property has Apgar Creek and Fish Creek flowing through the land.

It is a calm haven for nature-loving people wanting to rediscover Glacier National Park’s natural splendor.

This charming log cabin was developed as a location where guests could build lasting memories.

Here, you will not need to stand in huge lines every day or have issues with access being restricted due to its social isolation.

We want you to feel at home while being pampered, so we’ve provided a complete bar and recreation area and bathroom amenities such as soap, bubble bath, and shampoo.

Learn Landscape Photography at Glacier Photo Guides

Glacier National Park, a photographer’s dream, is one of the most beautiful sites to capture breathtaking photos.

Learn photography while touring Glacier National Park for a whole day.

Individual and small group photography training in Glacier National Park is available through Glacier Photo Guides.

Take up the challenges of landscape photography by becoming more comfortable with your camera.

There are options for all levels of photographers, from novices to those who want to hone their talents.

Half-day sessions are available in addition to the full-day option.

These tours begin around dawn until sunset to take full advantage of the light.

Visit the Historic Belton Depot

Belton was the Great Northern Railway’s first name for the town of West Glacier.

The quaint village of West Glacier got its name in the 1950s.

Signage for roads and train stations uses different spellings of both terms.

The Great Northern Railway constructed the Belton Train Depot and Belton Chalet between 1906 and 1910.

There is a short distance between the Belton Chalet and Glacier National Park’s entrance.

Visitors from the west and east coasts converge at the Belton Depot these days.

Located in the historic Belton Depot, the Glacier National Park Conservancy Store is open to the public.

Amtrak passengers from Empire Builder’s east and west points arrive twice daily at the depot.

Spend a Lovely Afternoon Playing at Glacier View Golf Club

In business since 1969, Glacier View Golf Course offers a round of golf the whole community can cherish.

The Glacier View Golf Club offers beautiful scenery, a difficult course, and reasonable fees.

Organize your tournaments and trips immediately, or just come play on the 18-hole course’s tough yet enjoyable 18-holes.

After that, savor delicious meals and drinks, including everyday lunch and drink deals.

Your beloved golf balls, a fresh hat, and a huge selection of other golf gear and accessories are all available in the pro shop.

Golf excursions and competitions are available and offer a terrific chance to socialize on the course.

Participate in a Trip with Wild River Adventures

Looking for picturesque and whitewater rafting excursions in Glacier National Park that are perfect for families?

They feature the greatest assortment of flathead river whitewater, recreational, and group rafting.

Wild River Adventures is a family-run river rafting business near Glacier National Park and offer versatile river rafting adventures.

Since 1985, they have offered well-equipped journeys in this stunning region.

Affordable trips tailored to each consumer’s preferences are a priority for Wild River Adventures.

They require their workers to retain their Wilderness First Aid, CPR, and River Rescue certificates, and they do ongoing risk management training.

Unwind for the Weekend at Glacier Guides Lodge

At Glacier Guides Lodge, unwind after a memorable day of exploration in Glacier National Park!

The Lodge is an excellent starting point for rafting, hiking, bicycling, and fishing since it is situated inside a peaceful, wooded canyon.

Complimentary Wi-Fi, Dish TV, air conditioning, and daily cleaning service are all included in the amenities.

For the guests’ comfort, each room offers two queen beds, a complete bathroom, a refrigerator, a microwave, and a coffee maker.

Included is a continental breakfast that is mostly made using organic ingredients.

Breakfasts vary daily but usually consist of fruit and veggies, baked goods, cereals, and proteins.

Check out the Menu at Eddie’s Cafe & Mercantile

Located in Apgar Village in Glacier National Park, there is a family-run restaurant, gift store, camp supplies store, and ice cream parlor named Eddie’s Cafe & Mercantile.

They have been operating in the park for more than 60 years.

You can have everything you want at Eddie’s Cafe for breakfast, lunch, or supper.

They are a comprehensive restaurant accessible every day from 7 am to 9 pm on Sunday through Saturday, and their bar runs all season from 8 pm to 9 pm.

Have a drink on the terrace with a glimpse of Lake McDonald if you want to unwind.

Eddie’s Cafe & Mercantile is pleased to be the sole grocery-type establishment in the park and offers a full range of park amenities, including wine and beer.

Admire the Views from your Room at Glacier Highland

Since 1927, Glacier Highland has been the go-to hotel for West Glacier and the outlying neighborhoods, providing rustic accommodations with contemporary amenities and conveniences.

They are a locally owned and run business committed to giving customers outstanding service and a doorway to beautiful surroundings.

Convenience stores, gift shops, and a petrol station are all located in Glacier Highland.

The bedrooms provide further contemporary conveniences, including Internet access, satellite television, mini-fridges, and coffee makers.

They enjoy having the best mountain view hotel in West Glacier, Montana.

They have become a popular lodging choice as visitors throng to the stunning, tranquil woodlands and mountains of Glacier National Park each year.

Final Thoughts

You can never go wrong with the bright, carefree attitude of West Glacier as a vacation destination.

It’s the ideal vacation spot for families because of the stunning environment, bold, dramatic, rough, and inspirational.

Do note that you won’t be able to see all of these attractions in a single visit, so make plans to return soon!

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