Exploring Glacier National Park and nearby – August 26, 2014
We planned to drive Going to the Sun Road, stopping along the way for pictures.
Going to the Sun Road runs along the south side of Lake McDonald.
Near the end of summer, the mountain streams are still flowing strong, but are nowhere near what they can be during the spring melt and runoff.
When we came to the “first” tunnel, I remembered that there was a tunnel that had viewing windows cut into the side. It turned out that this was the only tunnel on Going to the Sun.
More images from the drive up the west side of Going to the Sun Road.
We were planning to stop at the Logan Pass Visitor Center. As we approached the entrance, though, Karen spotted a sign that said that the parking lot was full – and it was, with no spots opening up as we cruised through a couple of lanes. Karen need to use the restroom, so I kept driving around, hoping to find a spot.
No such luck.
A couple of very popular trails, with branches to other trails, start at the parking lot. We were interested in taking one or two of them and decided that, if we did, we would take one of the free park shuttles so that we wouldn’t have to worry about trying to find parking.
Not finding a parking spot, we headed on to the east, down the Going to the Sun road to the St. Mary’s side of the park.
Soon after we crossed the pass, we ran into road construction – and it lasted almost all the way to the St. Mary’s area!
After going several miles on it, we decided we would drive around the outside of the park on the south and not go back through the construction. Before leaving the park, though, we had a picnic lunch and took a short hike along the north side of St. Mary’s Lake.
Our route outside the park took us above Two Medicine Valley and Lake into the town of East Glacier Park.
In East Glacier Park, we stopped at Glacier Park Lodge
Glacier Park Lodge is located just outside the boundaries of Glacier National Park in the village of East Glacier Park, Montana, United States. The lodge was built in 1913 by the Glacier Park Company, a subsidiary of the Great Northern Railway. It was the first of a series of hotels built in and near Glacier National Park by the Great Northern to house visitors brought to the park by the railroad. (Wikipedia)
(The following image is from Wikimedia)
Glacier Park Lodge was intended to be a signature building. The lodge is built around a three-story lobby measuring 200 feet (61 m) by 100 feet (30 m), lined with Douglas-fir columns 40 feet (12 m) tall and between 36 and 42 inches (91 to 106 cm) in diameter. Each column was brought in by rail from the Pacific Northwest because trees in Montana rarely grow so large. A total of 60 such trees were used, with Douglas-fir in the lobby and cedars for the exterior. The logs in the main hall are detailed with smaller logs at their tops to resemble the Ionic order. The lodge was loosely styled as a Swiss chalet akin to other lodges built by the Great Northern between 1913 and 1917. The original structure contained 61 guest rooms, the lobby and the dining room. The addition housed another 111 guests.
The huge timber for the hotel arrived at the site by rail in April 1912, specially cut before the sap had risen in the trees to ensure that the bark stayed attached. (Wikipedia)
The community of East Glacier Park and the Lodge are situated in the Blackfeet Reservation. Two metal sculptures near the town welcome visitors to the Blackfeet Nation.
Next up: Hidden Lake Trail