If you're traveling to Glacier National Park and want to maximize your viewing of glaciers, wildlife, and wildflowers, you'd be hard pressed to do better than the Many Glacier Valley in the park's NE corner. The valley's major trailheads are conveniently located near lodging and restaurant opportunities, and at the junction of four creeks that serve as wildlife movement corridors. Within 5 miles of the trailheads you can see four glaciers, as well as black and grizzly bears, mountain goats and bighorn sheep, icebergs floating in turquoise lakes, and carpets of wildflowers.
Many Glacier is located in the very heart of the park's soaring mountains, so, while mid-July to September 1st is generally beautiful, mountains tend to create their own weather, and they don't read forecasts - except their own. Therefore, it's always a good idea to bring a variety of clothing layers so you can adapt to the day's conditions.
Also, because of the mountain location far from cities and towns, cell phones generally can't get a signal, and the only TV is in the bar at Many Glacier Hotel, forcing you to "get away from it all" with the local wildlife, wildflowers, and glacial peaks during the day, and star-lit skies at night.
Best Seasons and Months for Viewing
The best weather in the valley tends to be from mid-July through the end of August, which also coincides with the best wildflower viewing times. If you're hoping to get a good look at some of Glacier's black and grizzly bears
Places and Pointers for Viewing
If you're planning to spend the night in the valley you can stay at the historic Many Glacier Hotel on the shore of Swiftcurrent Lake, or the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn one mile beyond. Both feature wrap-around mountain views in all directions, and are run by park concessionaire Glacier Park Inc. (GPI, 406-892-2525). Should you prefer camping, the large Many Glacier Campground is located across the road from the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, and at the start of two popular trailheads.
From Glacier Park International Airport, travel 35 miles north and east on Highway 2 to West Glacier, where a left-hand turn under the railroad tracks takes you to Glacier National Park in 0.5 miles. Follow the signs for Going to the Sun Road and travel 50 miles through spectacular glacially-carved landscapes to St. Mary's and the parks east entrance. There, take a left-hand turn on Hwy. 89 and continue north for 9 miles to Babb, Mt. Here, you will take a left, following the signs for Many Glacier for another 9 miles to the Many Glacier Hotel and Valley. Swiftcurrent Motor Inn is one mile beyond. Travel cautiously in the park, keeping an eye out for wildlife crossing the road, as well as wildflowers and incredible mountain views attempting to distract you.