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  1. Default Glacier National Park from Salt Lake City or Denver... what to do on the way?

    My girlfriend and I have about 10 days to take a road trip that will feature Glacier National Park. We'll mostly be driving and taking short hikes and stops as necessary, but no day-long or overnight back-country excursions (this time). We're coming from New York City, and thought Denver or Salt Lake City were good options to fly into, and we're figuring flying back from the Glacier area is our best bet, rather than a loop. I know there is tons of stuff to do and see on the way... any suggestions for an organized trip that features the highlights of this area? I've always liked mixing cities, scenic driving, and parks on my trips...

    Thanks for any suggestions!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    I will say this, since there are no major airports around Glacier, you're going to be looking at a rather significant premium in price from trying to do a one way flight and having a car rental drop in a relatively remote area. If you want to fly out of Montana, I'd suspect that it would actually be much cheaper just to fly there too and do a loop around whatever airport you choose.

    If you are looking at doing a one way trip, you might consider instead finishing in Seattle, which is actually quite a bit closer to Glacier than SLC or Denver, and will likely offer better deals than trying to fly one way out of a regional airport like Billings, Missoula, or Spokane.

  3. #3


    Follow this link to read about our trip from Salt Lake to Glacier. It may give you some ideas


  4. Default

    There actually is an airport located close to Glacier Park. It is the glacier park International Airport (FCA) and is located in Kalispell, and approximately 40 minutes from the entrance to GNP. It will be slightly cheaper to fly into Spokane or Missoula. from Spokane you're looking at a 4 hour drive (to Kalispell), and not much to do on the way other than stop and look at the view at the top of the passes.

    Coming in from Missoula will be about a 2 hour drive (also to Kalispell), and on the way you can visit the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation center, hike up to the 'M' in Missoula, visit the bison range in Charlo, and take an amazing drive around Flathead Lake, coming from Polson and into Kalispell.

    I recommend the hike up Mt. Aeneas in the Jewel Basin. You frequently can see goats at the top, and they sometimes get pretty close to people. The very best time to make that hike is early in the morning, and get to the top by the time the sun rises. I'm telling you, it's amazing.

    If you are avid hikers, a hike up to Camp Misery is in order, it is also located in the Jewel Basin.

    In GNP, you have to visit Lake McDonald of course, but the Avalanche Lake trail is a nice hike. Also make sure to check out the Trail of the Cedars.

    Check out Big Mountain, too. I think it's being called Whitefish Mountain now. It is located near Whitefish and offers some great hiking trails, huckleberry picking, and a zipline that was just installed a couple years ago.

    Don't forget your bear spray!

  5. Default

    Thanks for the replies and recommendations!

    I ultimately decided (mainly because of the cost of flying and rental cars) to do a grand loop from Salt Lake City. It'll be a lot of driving, but being our first time in the region we'll get to take a lot in. Now I'm trying to plan where to stay and about how far to drive each day. We have 11 days/ten nights...

    First things first, coming from Salt Lake City, should we go through Boise first, and make our way through Idaho City on the way to Missoula, or head directly to Sun Valley, up the Sawtooth Scenic Byway into Stanley, then Missoula? Any other suggestions for this first leg of our trip?

    My plan after Missoula is to head to Kalispell or Whitefish and see Glacier for 2 or 3 nights, then head down to Great Falls, then down to Yellowstone Park for 2 nights, Grand Teton and/or Jackson, WY, time permitting, then back to SLC. What do you think? Is there going to be way too much to choose from for ten nights?

    Any other suggestions/input are greatly appreciated. We are very excited about this trip!!

    Last edited by Brian1039; 07-28-2010 at 11:20 PM.

  6. Default

    Thanks, UK, this was very helpful! I'm planning on driving through Great Falls from East Glacier, but I wasn't sure if I should stop in Billings on the way to Yellowstone, or go through Helena and Bozeman instead. What do you think? How would you suggest entering the Yellowstone area if we're coming in from Glacier?



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    Go through Billings. That way, you can take the Beartooth Highway into Yellowstone.

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