Two thousand lakes, a thousand miles of rivers, thick forests, breezy meadows and awe-inspiring peaks make up one of America’s finest attractions, GLACIER NATIONAL PARK – a haven for bighorn sheep, mountain goats, black and grizzly bears, wolves and mountain lions. Although the park does hold 25 small (and rapidly retreating) glaciers, it really takes its name from the huge flows of ice that carved these immense valleys 20,000 years ago. In the summer months this is prime hiking and whitewater rafting territory, while huckleberries litter the slopes in autumn. Outside of summer, the crisp air, icy-cold waterfalls and copious snowfall give the impression of being close to the Arctic Circle; in fact, the latitude here is lower than that of London.

The fifty-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road across the heart of Glacier National Park is one of the most awe-inspiring scenic drives in the country, and driving it from west to east can take several hours, creating the illusion that you’ll be climbing forever – with each successive hairpin bringing a new colossus into view. Beginning at West Glacier, the road runs east along ten-mile Lake McDonald before starting to climb, as snowmelt from waterfalls gushes across the road, and the winding route nudges over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass (6680ft) – a good spot to step out and enjoy the views. The most popular trail in the park begins at Logan Pass, following a boardwalk for a mile and a half across wild-flower-strewn alpine meadows framed by towering craggy peaks, en route to serene Hidden Lake. Four miles on, there’s an overlook at Jackson Glacier, one of the few glaciers visible from the roadside. From here the road descends to St Mary Lake and the east gate at St Mary, right on the edge of the Great Plains.

Note that Glacier is one of the few national parks you can happily explore without a car; Amtrak runs up to the park entrance, where shuttle buses ply up and down Going-to-the-Sun Road.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The many faces of changing Detroit: America's comeback city

The many faces of changing Detroit: America's comeback city

In 2013 Detroit became the largest city in American history to file for bankruptcy. But now the city is on the rebound: cool start-ups are filling once-neglec…

23 May 2018 • Jacqui Agate local_activity Special feature
A city in motion: why Detroit should be on your radar

A city in motion: why Detroit should be on your radar

Perhaps no city in history has fallen from such heady heights as Detroit. Through the earlier half of the twentieth century, the city bubbled with industry. Det…

22 May 2018 • Jacqui Agate insert_drive_file Article
King of the road: on the Civil Rights Trail through America’s south

King of the road: on the Civil Rights Trail through America’s south

This year marks 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr, and also the launch of a new Civil Rights Trail through the USA's south – a r…

04 Apr 2018 • Ella Buchan local_activity Special feature
View more featureschevron_right

Privacy Preference Center

Necessary

Mandatory - can not be deselected. Necessary cookies help make a website usable by enabling basic functions like page navigation and access to secure areas of the website. The website cannot function properly without these cookies.

PHPSESSID,aelia_cs_selected_currency,cookie_notice_accepted,RS,bp-message,bp-message-type,id,UIDR,w3tc_logged_out,__cfduid
__cfduid

Statistics

Statistic cookies help website owners to understand how visitors interact with websites by collecting and reporting information anonymously.

__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid,__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xt
__utma,__utmb,__utmc,__utmz,_ga,_gid
__atssc,__atuvc,__atuvs,di,dt,ssc,ssh,sshs,uid,uit,xtc

Marketing

Marketing cookies are used to track visitors across websites. The intention is to display ads that are relevant and engaging for the individual user and thereby more valuable for publishers and third party advertisers.

__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID,__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll,c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs
__gads,PISID, BEAT, CheckConnection TempCookie703, GALX, GAPS, GoogleAccountsLocale_session, HSID, LSID, LSOSID, NID, PREF, RMME, S, SAPISID, SID, SSID
__utmv, _twitter_sess, auth_token, auth_token_session, external_referer, guest_id, k, lang, original_referer, remember_checked, secure_session, twid, twll
c_user, datr, fr, highContrast, locale, lu, reg_ext_ref, reg_fb_gate, reg_fb_ref, s, wd, xs