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Many Glacier is simply one of the most beautiful places on earth. Located on the east side of Glacier National Park, Many Glacier is often overshadowed by other highlights of the park, like Going-to-the-Sun Road and Lake McDonald.
Though we loved exploring those places, there’s something peaceful about Many Glacier, and this area turned out to be a favorite of the entire family. When we return to Many Glacier one day, we hope to spend more than a few hours in this place. Though the pictures don’t do the area justice, and the smoke from wildfires drifted through the air during our visit, I’ll do my best to persuade you to make Many Glacier part of your Glacier National Park experience.
Getting to Many Glacier
We drove to Glacier National Park from West Yellowstone, so during our planning, we made reservations to stay the first night in the area at Browning. We stayed the night at Glacier Peaks Hotel and Casino. Though this hotel and town sometimes gets a bad rap, we had a perfectly routine stay and it served our purposes perfectly.
After we checked in, we had a quick swim and did some laundry. We then drove the 45-minute drive to the St. Mary Visitor Center to scope out our adventure for the following morning. We had a reservation ticket for Going-to-the-Sun Road, and we planned to drive the road and stay at the KOA in West Glacier in a cabin that evening. To read about our Going-to-the-Sun Road experience, click here.
Here is a map of the area.
After figuring out a plan for the next morning, we drove to Babb to have dinner at Two Sister Cafe. The place had a fun vibe, and the fried chicken was delicious. To read more about Two Sisters Cafe, click here.
After dinner, we were eager to get into the park. We decided to check out Many Glacier, and it was the perfect choice. We didn’t know what to expect exactly, but as we headed inside the park that evening, we soon discovered that we were in for a wonderful treat.
Driving the Road to Many Glacier Hotel
It’s worth noting that until you get to the national park maintained road at the park entrance, you’ll probably have to drive on gravel. We encountered road construction, so maybe that will change.
One of the first things we saw on our journey was this fox trotting down the road with dinner in its mouth. We love to see wildlife. We also saw a black bear along the road, but it popped back into the woods as soon as we saw it.
It wasn’t long before we had gorgeous views of Lake Sherburne.
This area is magical as the sun sets.
The mountains are stunning as the light changes at dusk.
When we were there in July, we seldom encountered another car. If you’re looking for somewhere quiet, this is the place to be.
As you can see, there was a bit of smoke from the wildfires, but don’t let that dissuade you from going if you hear it’s smokey.
Many Glacier is gorgeous, even when there’s smoke in the breeze.
Getting Closer to Many Glacier Hotel
As you get closer to the hotel, Lake Sherburne becomes more of a stream.
In fact, near the hotel, the water is known as Swiftcurrent Creek.
Eventually, you’ll make your way to Swiftcurrent Falls. This is the road you turn on to get to Many Glacier Hotel.
It’s not too difficult to get to the top of the falls from the road. It’s worth the little climb.
After we explored Swiftcurrent Falls a bit, we drove on down to the end of the road to Many Glacier Hotel. Suddenly, you find yourself in civilization again. When we return to Glacier National Park, we hope to stay a couple of nights at this hotel.
This adorable national park lodge sits on the banks of Swiftcurrent Lake. The decor is designed to remind you of a little lodge in the Swiss Alps.
Below is a view from the road into Many Glacier. This is the view looking back if you don’t turn towards the hotel.
Inside the Hotel
How relaxing is it to sit on the back porch of the hotel and gaze at the lake as the sun sets? And check out the cozy fireplace!
The piano in the lobby is a nice touch.
After we explored the lobby and the gift shop, we headed back to the car to see what else we could find before dark.
Bears in Many Glacier
As we returned to the road, we noticed some people pulled off to the side, staring at the mountainside with binoculars and camera lenses. Maybe wildlife had been spotted!
We were right! We couldn’t believe the number of bears roaming around on the mountain. Also, it surprised us that grizzly bears and black bears were so near each other. I’d read that bear types often stick to their own territory, but we saw a black bear with two cubs and two separate grizzlies walking along. Above is the mama black bear. The cubs were in the trees and shrubs a lot.
Here is one of mama and a cub.
We were quite a distance away. These were the best pictures we could get with our largest camera lens. As you can see, the quality is not great, but we could see them! Below is one of the grizzlies.
We didn’t explore anywhere else after that. Entranced by the bears, we stayed at our viewing spot until it was too dark to make out anything. This may not be the best plan because then we had to drive all the way back to Browning in the dark. We’re used to driving in the Ozark hills in the dark, so we just took it slow and steady.
Put Many Glacier on Your List
Many Glacier turned out to be one of those amazing surprises for our family. I don’t think you can really go wrong with visiting any part of the park. Beauty is plentiful! Though we did get reservations for Going-to-the-Sun Road, and yes, that road is amazing, realize that there are many places in the part that are amazing and are less popular.
If you’re on the fence about visiting the park if you can’t get a GTTS Road reservation, know that the park is still worth visiting. We didn’t do any hiking, but there are trails in Many Glacier and other areas, like Two Medicine. Stay in a nearby town and visit the quieter places. You’ll be glad you did!
Other adventures we had on this road trip: