Glacier National Park Montana

How to Enjoy Glacier National Park in the Spring (2-Day Itinerary)

June 10, 2022
Scenic Viewpoint of the Flathead River, Glacier National Park

My husband and I recently visited Glacier National Park in the spring, as part of our honeymoon in mid-May. For those of you who are aware, May is still pretty much the last of winter in this part of Montana. It’s cold, some lakes are still frozen, and the famous, scenic part of Going-to-the-Sun Road is still closed. What’s one supposed to see at Glacier National Park in the spring? Well, read on for my suggestions!

Apgar Village

Lake McDonald, Apgar Village

Apgar is hard to miss coming in from the West Glacier entrance. Here, you’ll find the Apgar Visitor Center, which I recommend to orient yourself to the park. Apgar Village is a cute area with souvenir shops and a great view of Lake McDonald, which should be completely thawed in mid-May. Here, Glacier Park Boat Company offers small boat rentals like rowboats, canoes, and kayaks to go directly into the lake.

Avalanche Lake via Trail of the Cedars

Avalanche Lake, Glacier National Park

Want to go hiking? Avalanche Lake is a great option. The hike to and from Avalanche Lake is about 4.5 miles roundtrip, and it’s an easy to moderate hike with not much of an incline. The trailhead is off Trail of the Cedars, located at the very last part of the Going-to-the-Sun Road that’s still open.

As Glacier National Park is in bear country, be sure to carry some bear spray with you, in the (unlikely) event that a bear comes right toward you. (This is a popular hike, which means the bears will probably be more scared of you!). Be sure to also wear appropriate hiking footwear, as the ground may still be wet and snowy.

Along the hike, you might even spot some mountain goats along the mountain edge. I recommend bringing some binoculars to see them better.

When we reached Avalanche Lake it was cold with gray skies, but it was still beautiful and we got some breaks of sunshine along the hike.

West Glacier Village

West Glacier Cafe, West Glacier Village

While West Glacier Village isn’t inside the park itself, you’ll want to stop here for any food since you won’t really find any restaurants open elsewhere in the park. I recommend stopping by West Glacier Cafe and trying the huckleberry milkshake — you’ll find lots of huckleberry flavored goods in Montana! You can also check out the Huckleberry Hut (located in this village) for everything huckleberry.

For a fun group activity, you can try miniature golf at Golfing to the Sun Mini Golf which, as the punny name suggests, pays tribute to Glacier National Park and the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Two Medicine

Two Medicine Lake, Glacier National Park

When the scenic part of Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed, it makes seeing the east side of Glacier a bit more difficult. The east side of the park is beautiful, but is about an hour away from the west entrance. I’d recommend visiting the east side on a separate day, if you have time. Be sure not to venture too far east near the town of Browning, as it’s known to be a bit sketchy.

Two Medicine is about 15 minutes northwest of East Glacier (which doesn’t have its own village / plaza like West Glacier, so you’ll have to find food options elsewhere). Here, you’ll find some beautiful lakes and mountains. Actually, it was sunnier on the east side and the lakes were fully thawed when we visited Two Medicine, but we couldn’t hike as the trails were still packed with snow. The general store and the boat rentals were also closed. It’s worth checking the weather beforehand to see if the trek will be worth it for you.

Do note though that the nearby Running Eagle Falls Nature Trail makes for a nice, easy hike even when there’s snow on the trail.

Summary

You can still enjoy Glacier National Park even when the scenic part of Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed in the spring. Take in the cool air and the beautiful views, and enjoy the park with fewer crowds.

Have you been to Glacier National Park in the spring or plan to visit? Let me know your thoughts!

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