Before the Going-to-the-Sun Road opens over Logan Pass, the best scenic drive along the east side of Glacier Park is Looking Glass Road. This twisty road with gorgeous vistas, Highway 49, lies completely within the Blackfeet Reservation.
The Looking Glass Road gets its name from an historic Nez Perce leader, "Looking Glass," born in western Montana around 1830.
This winding, narrow, steep road starts at the aspen prairie edge near East Glacier, MT and climbs though timber to the sub-alpine and back down - all within 10 miles.
But as fun as the road is to drive, it’s best known for its grand mountain views, unique geology, and access to viewing the park's abundant wildlife. While you wont be brushing up against mountain goats like you can on Logan Pass, you are a very safe distance for viewing bears and other big game animals in their natural habitat and unabridged by roads and people. Keep in mind, that no matter where you are along the park's eastern edge, you are in grizzly bear country - period. I think of grizzly bears as being anywhere and everywhere which means I'm always on the lookout; and as "safe" as it is to view bears on Spot Mountain from the Looking Glass Road while you're parked, you are in their habitat and they can show up at any time - just use your head and never approach a bear in the wild.
Driving the road is encouraged, but getting off the road right of way will require a Blackfeet Recreation Permit, which can be purchased at the Bear Tracks gas station in East Glacier Park for $10. The permit allows you recreation access to tribal lands. The Tribe doesn't have special rules for driving the road, only for hiking from it.