If you only have one afternoon to spend in one of the largest and most beautiful National Parks in America, what do you do? The options are endless. Our crew had no trouble deciding on an agenda when visiting Glacier National Park this time around…our objective was to enjoy the landscape and relax.
We fell head-over-heels for this park when we were here a couple of years ago. It was incredible. The highlights of that first trip were discovering Lake McDonald, hiking to Avalanche Lake, cruising the Going-to-the-Sun Road and a hike to Hidden Lake.
On this visit, we only had one afternoon in the park. With limited time…we chose to relax on Lake McDonald, take a stroll through the Trail of the Cedars and enjoy a few stops on McDonald Creek.
Finding your own private spot for family time, in the National Park
This lake is beautiful. It makes for a perfect playground with its crystal clear water, gorgeous pebbled banks and sheer size.
I love that in the midst of summer, with all of the people that come to visit this National Park, you can still find a private, and quite, spot to relax on the water. This lake is that big. In fact, it is the largest lake in the park.
We simply parked in a pullout along the main highway, and followed the trail to the water. Can you spot our private little camp in the photo above? It was fabulous.
We love our National Parks…and my favorite way to enjoy them….is away from all of the people!
We packed a picnic, beach gear, the kayak and floats for this trip. It was perfect.
The kids spent hours in the water and we all ended up taking a turn in the kayak. I even enjoyed some quiet time on the water…a few minutes of peace and quiet, always seem to reset my mama button.
If you are not looking for a quiet retreat on the lake, you will find plenty of fun (and people) in Apgar Village where you will find options for food, shopping, ice cream and kayak rentals.
Trail Of The Cedars
If you are looking for a beautiful and shaded stroll through a gorgeous cedar grove, rather than a hike…then this is the place for you!
This little stroll will take you on a .7 mile loop, over a smooth path and then onto a boardwalk. You can park at the Avalanche Picnic area for easy access. The trail is easily marked and you will find bathrooms across the road near the campground.
The trail runs along Avalanche Creek. Take a look at this video snippet and see just how pristine this glacial water is.
Our favorite part of this walk is the view of the gorge. It is gorge-ous! We were there pretty late in the evening, so my photos were not quite what I had hoped for…but nonetheless, we love this scenic spot.
This nature trail does get quite busy with tourists, but if you are there late in the day, it is a gentle walk without the crowds.
For more information on the different park trails, you can peruse this trail map for Glacier National Park HERE.
You will find an easy stop with a beautiful view, on any of the pullouts along McDonald Creek.
There are areas such as this where the rapids are flowing, as well as calm spots where you will find a fisherman or two.
Even when the lighting does not cooperate…I am reminded that this entire park is like a little corner of heaven. It is just that beautiful.
A Little Bit Of Everything
So no matter how much time you have to spend in this park, there is something for everyone to do. We almost cancelled our visit this year, due to having such little time to spend in the park. I am so thankful that we did not! Although we could not…visit the remote areas I had hoped to see, backpack through the backcountry or finally visit the Many Glacier area…we still had a fabulous visit! So take heart, and do not pass up an opportunity to visit this North American gem…even if you are short on time.
Sweet Family Memories Of Our 2015 Trip
When we visited Glacier in August of 2015, there were terrible fires burning in Spokane, Washington. The smoke from the massive blaze traveled all the way up to Glacier. Though we loved the beauty that we saw, we knew it would be even more wonderful without all the smoke….and it was! These are my favorite photos from that smokey visit:
What about you? Have you experienced the beauty of Glacier?