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Author Topic: Advice on visiting Glacier National Park  (Read 700 times)
Margie
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« on: June 29, 2014, 02:42:20 pm »

Wondering if any of you have visited Glacier National Park.  We are thinking of possibly doing so in our 2350.  I realize that the Going to the Sun Road will not accommodate our PC.  We are traveling with a small dog.  Have any of you rented a car to travel on this road?  We would like to take our dog with us so are thinking that might be an option.  He doesn't do well in kennels and obviously is spoiled rotten but we love him.  Thanks for any suggestions.

Margie
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« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2014, 10:00:25 am »

 We visited 3 years ago in September.  Beautiful!  We still had our class a and did have our precious Peanut at the time.  We were towing and were able to leave our baby safely in the motor home while we toured.  I would suggest you check out the Red bus tours.  They do several different packages for "going to the sun."  I believe they pick up in some camp grounds.   I do remember that the wind was horrendous when we visited.  There was at least one day when our low profile car was severely buffeted. 
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« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2014, 10:37:50 am »

We did it several years ago. We stayed at the KOA and the red bus picked us up at the campground to tour the "Going to the sun road". I highly recommad taking the tour and leaving the driving to them. Our driver told us that new drivers have to ride across several times to get use to the sights so they learn to keep their mind on the driving.  The next day we rented a car and toured outside the park. Had dinner at the KOA campground one night. It was very good.

Does anyone know if the big eagle archway is still there? Does it lead to anything now?
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Margie
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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2014, 12:47:02 pm »

Thank you BuffaloRose and Tom for your responses to my question on this topic.  We are still in the planning stages for a late summer or early fall vacation.  I was under the understanding that dogs weren't allowed to stay in motorhomes in campgrounds up there unless we were with them.  Our guy would do fine to stay by himself in our motorhome as it is his second home but I don't want to get in trouble by having him in there.  We got the motorhome because of having a dog to travel with but are finding it is difficult in a lot of areas.  I appreciate your responses to what you have done in the past.

Margie
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BuffaloRose
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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2014, 01:04:35 pm »

We even went into Canada with our doxie.  I admit I don't always read the campground rules, but we never had an issue.  We stayed in nps campgrounds and provincial camp grounds. Of course she weighed about 10 pounds and we never let her off her leash when walking and never ever tied her out like so many people do.  She was always under our control except when she was in the motorhome.  We made sure that we had papers from our vet showing her vaccinations were current and her health was good.
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« Reply #5 on: June 30, 2014, 05:13:53 pm »

Last August 2013 we had planned for 3 to 4 nights in Glacier NP but ended up spending 14 nights in and near the park.  The weather is often cold, damp, and rainy in August, but the weather was awesome with ideal temps & sunny so we adjusted our trip around the change.  Ten of our nights were spent at the east side Rising Sun campground which did not require reservations.  They did have a 10 night limit, I recall $20 per night for us non-seniors.  Seniors was much less, maybe $10 per night, but not 100% sure on how cheap.  No hookups, just a dump station at the campground entrance.  That campground is maybe 5 miles inside the park from the Saint Mary's east entrance.  We had family stay one night in the KOA outside of Saint Mary's.  Our Rising Sun campsite was so much nicer....really SOOO much nicer.  We would have been miserable in that KOA, but understandably would be different if we needed hookups.  The bus picks you up at two locations near Rising Sun campground, one by the Rising Sun Lodge.  Our particular campsite happened to be a lot closer to the Saint Mary's Lake boat dock to the south so we walked there to get on the bus.

Wi-Fi is available at the Rising Sun lodge restaurant.  It requires a password so just ask the restaurant host for it.  Cell service is nil to sketchy, so Wi-Fi became essential for us to communicate with the outside world.  We really enjoyed our meals at that restaurant with the hosts and waiters/waitresses, all made the experience better yet.  There was a restaurant in the town 9 miles north of Saint Mary called "The Cattle Baron Supper Club", a good place for a great monstrous steak.  It's right off Highway 89, west side of street.

Like you say, a 2350 is not permitted on the  Going To-The-Sun Road.  To drive your 2350 to the west side of the park, you will have to take the southern route around the park.  Keep in mind that the land outside the park is National Forest so we took advantage, sleeping twice on those massive pull-offs, and once in the rest area along the route, (shshsh, officially no overnight parking in the rest area).  The trains were loud those nights but strangely, we actually enjoyed that.  It was one trip we decided to leave our Jeep Liberty home....oh well.  It worked out okay, but the Jeep would have improved time efficiency a lot.  The 2350 can be driven to all other places except one other scenic road in the south/east area of the park.  I forget the name.  Fortunately there is a longer way around so you can easily get everywhere around that region.  Going To The Sun Road was the only real obstacle for us.  I do believe a PC-2100 would be allowed to drive that road.  If it is questionable, I would do it anyway for the buses on the east side are so much larger.  The west road is more narrow with tighter hair-pin turns but a PC-2100 can handle it without any concern.  I think the restriction has much to do with parking up top at the pass.  If you can take up just one parking space, then you'll be fine.

When driving around the park east to west, be sure to visit the huge lodge there in the south/east.  We got lucky and were well entertained buy a young couple singing and playing guitar.  They were great.  A violin player serenaded us at the Grinnell Glacier area lodge.  Great affordable ice cream there too.  Good restaurant food at all lodges.  The west side area called Apgar by Lake McDonald is domesticated with accommodations of all sorts, which can get congested.  It's all worth visiting, our favorite was all the east side, best at the Grinnell Glacier lodge area.  There always is bear to be seen sometime in your day driving along the road there, or at the lodge itself, best at daybreak.  We seen 4 different bear, some repeatedly.  There was a yellow grizzly that hung out a couple hundred feet off the road for days of which always drew a huge roadside crowd.  Never so close to run to your car.  So beautiful a creature.  Be sure you each have a pair of binoculars or you will be fighting for them.

I would call the park and ask if your dog can ride the bus with you.  Be aware of dog restrictions on trails, I would assume there are.  

If you are good all-day hikers, I have some tips for some grand day views.  The hikes to Iceberg Lake and Grinnell Glacier Overlook were our top two.  But there are many shorter hikes for a half-day and less to awesome views too.

This type of trip is typical for us of which our PC-2350 with all it's amenities and capacities serve us well.  We just don't hook-up to much of anything except a fuel pump hose, and propane twice in the 4 weeks.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 03:32:45 pm by ron.dittmer » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2014, 07:26:44 am »

I forgot to say that the KOA we stayed at was in West Glacier, not the one in St. Marys. We did spent one night in a small campground in East Glacier before driving around the south road (Rt 2) to West Glacier. Back then we had a 35' class A, and did not have any problems with main roads. There were several small rustic campgrounds along Rt 2 that we would not have fit into but they did look nice.
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« Reply #7 on: July 04, 2014, 07:03:09 pm »

Ron - We will be at GNP for 8 nights in mid-August.  Do you have any other suggestions for day hikes, half-day, or shorter hikes?  Did you have any "close encounters" with bears while you were there?  We would love to see bear (and other wildlife) with the use of binoculars or a telephone lens, but no desire to have any face-to-face interactions.   Thanks for any suggestions!     ThankYou
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« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2014, 11:29:45 pm »

Margie and Ron. I live 10 miles from the park. We enjoy the heck out of it. We are working seniors thinking about buying a coach as we are close to retirement.

The park has a number of accessible bodies of water but only one paved road. You can see McDonald, Kintla, Bowman and St. Mary lakes out your window. The middle two would take a SUV. Beauty is not only reserved for the park as Flathead County has hundreds of bodies of water.

Will you see a bear?  Probably not. We see lots of deer, elk, goats, bighorn sheep and an occasional moose. You never know - there was an incident a few days ago where a hiker had to shoot a bear. Many hikers carry pepper.......some carry pistols. Montana has friendly gun laws.

Let me know if you have specific questions.

Mike

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« Reply #9 on: September 19, 2014, 01:56:51 pm »

Will you see a bear . . . . . . . We saw a nice black bear wandering down the middle of the road near the summit last Sunday.

You never know.
Mike
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2014, 11:13:18 pm »

Regarding Bear In Glacier NP,

We had a number of bear sightings, but all in the area of Many Glaciers, and mostly along the road.  The hike to Ice Berg Lake, we saw a bear in the distance.  The trail was busy with hikers and we heard from others that the bear crossed the trail at one point.  While at Many Glaciers lodge there, we saw bear on the hills maybe a city block or two away.  Binoculars are a must for those viewings.

I would never let bear stories get in the way of enjoying a hike or other park activity.  If you want some peace of mind, buy a can of bear spray like my wife wanted.  It is extremely potent, an "X" amount of times stronger than pepper spray.  It has to be since you are spraying a cloud of it 30 feet away from you rather than a short pin-point stream like pepper spray.  Bear spray can be purchased in many area stores.  You really can't miss it.  We spend $30 or $40 on a larger can of it and always carried it when hiking.  It comes with a holster that attaches to one's belt for very easy access.

« Last Edit: September 20, 2014, 11:16:42 pm by ron.dittmer » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2014, 02:53:53 pm »

The attached photo was taken at Denali National Park last weekend. We always carry bear spray when we hike or travel around the state. I am not a gun advocate but bear spray is only effective at a distance of 10-30 feet. At greater distances avoid contact, at lesser distances a large caliber pistol is the only effective deterrent. In this instance we stayed in our vehicle and prayed that he would choose not to unwrap us. My wife had the bear spray at hand and I had the .357. He crossed in front of us and I took another photo. They are beautiful and majestic animals.
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