Glacier National Park is known as the Crown of the Continent for a reason. Its gorgeous scenery and stunning wildlife is among the most beautiful in the United States.
But with a possible rate hike coming in 2018 to $80 for entrance, and record-breaking crowds in recent years, it can be a costly endeavor and one that doesn’t feel as connected to nature as nearby hikes that are just and pretty, free, and not nearly as crowded.
Here are my three favorites:
Mt. Aeneas, Bigfork
The Camp Misery Trailhead only opens on June 15, but its not uncommon for skiers and snowshoers to hike the road up to Camp Misery. The gorgeous views of Swan Valley are like no other.
From Bigfork, take Hwy 35 north to Hwy 83. Head east on Hwy 83 to the junction of the Echo Lake Road. Head north on Echo Lake Road about 3 miles to junction with the Jewel Basin Road (No. 5392). Follow this road approximalty 7 miles to the trailhead. CAUTION: The last 5 miles are steep. Use headlights for safety. Caution advised for low clearance vehicles. Trailers not recommended.
It’s about 2-3 miles round trip depending on which trails you take up. The trial is very slick and hiking poles/snowshoes are recommended when snow is on the ground. Mountain goats also are known to wander this area. While 100 people usually make this hike per day, it’s still much more serene than Glacier, and you can bring your dog, which the park prohibits!
Here are some photos of the beauty
Holland Lakes Falls:
This is another popular hike, located about an hour south of Kalispell in the Swan Valley. In the winter, you can cut across the ice as a shortcut. This trail is 1.6 miles and climbs 750 feet. It is located on The Swan Highway, near Condon and is clearly marked. Deer frequent the trails and it is a truly beautiful sight. Beautiful cascading falls are at trails end, along with a gorgeous view of the lake and valley.
Located east of West Glacier, Stanton Lakes Trail is a gorgeous 4.5 mile hike. In the summer, the lush trail has many berries, wildflowers and beargrass to admire. The trail is steep, so it might not be best for little ones or the elderly, but it is also gorgeous once you reach the end.