“Awe-inspiring” and picturesque photos of Glacier National Park have been flowing thru my Instagram feed this year. One mesmerizing photo after another have been coming thru, month after month… I knew my soul journey to Montana needed to happen soon. Though my husband and I had never been to Montana before, we could hear Montana beckoning us. We’re both small business owners in the Phoenix valley, during the summer months each of us experience a decline in business, especially with my company. We’ve turned this “down time” into our opportunity to travel and get out of the AZ heat. While doing my research on places to explore and stay in Montana, I found an amazing place called Paws Up where you can experience “glamping”, basically lux camping … more on this gem coming up in my next blog post.
The beginning of our Montana Journey, first 2 days were set aside for the breathtaking Glacier National Park. I had 2 things to get figured out. First, where will we stay in Glacier, and second which one of the 700 miles of hiking trails would we pick? Thanks to google, it makes this searching process pretty darn easy. By reading other blogs I get inspired and read good info on personal experiences on hiking, food, hotels etc. – this is what makes the web community so awesome & connective. We are all here to share our journeys, and at the same time provide a glimpse of what may be of interest to you, the reader. Sending a big thank you to all of the brave souls who write, explore and share so freely!
Where to stay in Glacier? Well, there are lots of options from affordable motels to some historic lodges actually located in Glacier National Park. You can even camp if you’d like. For us we were really only there 2 nights and for one full day, a nice cozy bed and warm shower was all that was needed after a full day’s adventure in Glacier. I found the Belton Chalet located just outside of the west entrance of Glacier National Park. This historic lodge was built by the Great Northern Railway in 1910.
“Taken by the surroundings, Louis W. Hill, son of the Great Northern Railroad magnate James J Hill, imagined a series of lodges, chalets & camps that would funnel wealthy railroad passengers from the East to magnificent mountain vistas, rivaling the great tours of Switzerland. In 1909 the Great Northern Railway authorized construction of a new depot at Belton & a 42×37′ hotel to be located adjacent to it.- beltonchalet.com
What drew me to Belton were certainly the historical aspects and that it had recently undergone renovations, keeping the history intact while providing some modern comforts. The rooms reflect the clean & simple era of the early 1900’s. Beds are new and comfortable; toilet and shower are also updated. Really a great place to call home after hiking all day and driving thru the park.
FYI: Belton Chalet is right next to the train, there will be train noise. They do offer ear plugs in your room. The train noise didn’t bother me, but instead took me back in time adding to the character of the Chalet.
Room Recommendation: Ask for the top floor room with a balcony. The rooms are small so be prepared; if you can get a balcony it offers some additional space.
Food: They have an onsite restaurant for dinner; we didn’t eat at the Tap Room or Grill Dinning. Due to the late hour after completing our hike, 7pm we choose to eat dinner in the park. For breakfast Belton suggests going next door to a locally owned restaurant called Glacier Highland which I highly recommend! I had an egg white veggie omelet and huckleberry pancakes, super yummy and provided good fuel for hiking!
Iceberg Lake Trail : Took me a bit longer to decide what hike to take, I asked my hubby to assist in the google search. We read thru 4-5 different blogs and all of them mentioned Iceberg Lake Trail, which ends at turquoise blue “Iceberg Lake”. We double checked with a sweet local girl who rang up our breakfast check, she confirmed, Iceberg was one of her faves.
Factors when choosing which hiking trail: length, scenery, and foot traffic. All of these factors were taken into consideration and bam… Iceberg Lake trail it was! The hike is close to 10 miles round trip, with a moderate incline up to Iceberg Lake. Though it is a highly traveled hike, we still felt that we had our own space; coming across hikers every 10-15 min. This trail is smooth, not too rocky or too steep, making it appropriate hike for all ages. Close to being 10 miles round trip, I would recommend starting mid morning to offer plenty of time for breaks and to take in the scenery. There is no need to me to blab about what is so special about this hike; the photos speak for themselves.
Iceberg Lake Trailhead : 9.9 mi / 15.4km. Follow the Many Glacier Road to the parking lot for Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. Turn right immediately after the inn and follow the road around to the Iceberg Lake/Ptarmigan Tunnel trail head.
Glacier National Park borders Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada—the two parks are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park and were designated as the world’s first International Peace Park in 1932. Both parks were designated by the United Nations as Biosphere Reserves in 1976, and in 1995 as World Heritage sites. – From Wikipedia
Driving thru Glacier National Park taking Going-to-the-Sun Road: A must to experience, the views are expansive, in the evening we drove back thru the park and came across some wildlife; a Big Horn Sheep and a Ram…such majestic creatures.
Hiking Tip: Get your bear spray! My husband and I each carried our own can of bear spray. There are a large number of Black & Grizzly Bears that inhabit GNP. We did come across a Grizzly on our hike; it was up in the forest just beside the hiking trail. Other hikers warned us, so were alert and mindful to be calm. We paused as he moseyed on his way into the woods.
Happy 100th Birthday, National Park Service! The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016, and everyone can take part in the celebration! The centennial will kick off a second century of stewardship of America’s national parks and engaging communities through recreation, conservation, and historic preservation programs. To find a National Park near you, click here: www.nps.gov
Glacier National Park was really the highlight of our trips this year; to have such beauty within the United States is such a blessing. I have to say that every time I venture out into Mother Nature, my energy is soothed my senses are heightened. I also see the massive importance behind our consciousness with how we treat Mama Earth. She has been holding us, giving us all healing energy. We need to respectfully give back, protect her and nurture her as she does for us. Let’s make an intentional energetic connection & movement to give massive love to all beings, plants, animals and Pachamama (Mother Earth). Is it any wonder that Glacier National Park has earned the name “Crown of The Continent”!!