First, though, we stopped at the West Glacier Amtrak Station located in the historic Belton Depot building built by the Great Northern Railway Company in the early 1900s. The only way to get to Glacier was by train at that time. Buck boards were waiting at the station to take the passengers (over very rough roads) to Lake McDonald. The really adventurous visitors would travel by horseback to get to the interior of the park.
A portion of the trip is through the plains of the Blackfeet Nation.
We traveled north to Babb, and proceeded west to the Many Glacier Entrance to Glacier National Park. Lake Sherbourne, a popular fishing location in the area is on the left side of the road for several miles. We pulled over to let our doggy, Sadie, go for a swim.
We made one more stop before reach Many Glacier to admire the postcard-perfect scenery.
There is a large parking lot above the Many Glacier Hotel, although there were some parked along the road, too. This area has been called the "Switzerland of North America" for the Swiss-chalet style hotel and majestic views. The historic hotel has rustic rooms with an upscale restaurant and lounge. Unfortunately for us, the (reportedly) magnificent lobby was closed for a restoration project.
Views of Swiftcurrent Lake, mountain peaks, and glaciers are gorgeous from the hotel. As you probably surmised, this area was named Many Glacier because it is the area of the park with the most glaciers, although they are melting at an accelerated rate due to global warming. Gem Glacier can be seen on the mountain in the center of the second photo.
In the hotel are many past and recent photos of glaciers that illustrate just how much the glaciers have melted in the past 80+ years.
Boat tours and boat rentals are available from here as well. And the Red Touring Cars pick up/drop off passengers from the hotel. There is a corral next to the rear parking lot of the hotel where horseback trail rides begin.
The Swiftcurrent Creek flows beneath the bridge near the entrance to the hotel. The water rushes over rocks between rocky cliff walls. We continued to walk along the road to the enjoy the views of the creek.
Big horned sheep were grazing on the cliffs above the road. It's always a thrill for us to see these animals in the wild.
We spent some more time exploring the banks of the creek further downstream.
Before leaving the area we drove to Many Glacier Campground (109 sites) and one of the most popular campgrounds in the park. The very popular (and some say best) trail at Glacier NP is the Grinnell Glacier Viewpoint. It is 5.5 miles each way to the glacier. No, we did not hike it (unfortunately).
What a great place to spend our final day at Glacier. I have wanted to visit this park for decades and it did not disappoint! Absolutely stunning scenery can be found everywhere. Loved it.
Admission is payable at the Many Glacier Entrance for $30/vehicle for a 7-day pass. Our Senior Pass gets us in for free (what a deal!) For full information about Glacier NP, check out their website.