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#2203337 - 01/17/19 09:11 PM Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas
Christine81 Offline
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Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 78
We are going to be in Whitefish Montana for a wedding this summer and thought we would visit Glacier National Park and head home through Banff. We will have about 5 days to spend touring those areas. Anyone have any advice ... must sees for us? I have never been to Canada, so that is all new to me.

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#2203366 - 01/18/19 12:48 AM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
Chance Offline
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Chance
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In Banff, I would recommend a visit to the historic Banff Springs Hotel, even if just to walk through or have lunch on the patio (with stunning views). It is a truly beautiful hotel in a very scenic setting!

https://www.fairmont.com/banff-springs/

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#2203423 - 01/18/19 05:02 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
RockChucker, CAMS Offline
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Just an FYI that when you buy your pass into Glacier National Park it should be valid for entry into Banff. We went up a year and a half ago and got into both parks no problem. Both places were amazing! One of the funnest things we did was wander around the forest behind Avalance Campground. The forest there is really old and the trees and vegetation is beautiful . In Glacier I also recommend parking and letting the free shuttle service drive you around. That way you can enjoy the views and not have to worry about other drivers.
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#2203442 - 01/18/19 05:46 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
Adam Witmer Offline
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I haven't been to Banff, but have been to GNP a few times where I have seen all types of wildlife (moose, black bear, mountain goats, longhorn ram, etc) and even had an encounter with a grizzly bear. wink It's probably my favorite place in the US during August.

The first time I was there, I was speaking at a banker's association conference and the night before I was heading to the park they had a local entrepreneur, Jake Bramante talk about his experiences in the park as he has hiked all 734 miles of trails there. Turns out, he sells a WONDERFUL map of day-hikes which I used both times I was there. His site is www.hike734.com and he has a ton of information about GNP and tips like getting to Logan's pass very early and going to Many Glacier for a possible moose sighting, which I saw exactly where he said I might. He even sells a map that ranks his favorite day hikes which is absolutely worth the $12 investment.

My biggest tip is to have a plan where you want to start the day out (like Logans pass) and go straight there without getting sidetracked on all the pull-overs on the way - you could be in your car all day if you stop at every beautiful site.

Also, if you go to Logan's pass (which you will) make sure you don't miss out on the Highline Trail. You leave your car parked at the Logan's Pass parking lot and cross the street. The Highline Trail is an 11.4 mile hike, but make sure you hit the first 1/2 to 1 mile of the trail even if you don't want to hike the entire 11.4 miles. Trust me, it is the most amazing hike in the park and you don't want to miss it (but many people do).
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#2203541 - 01/22/19 02:05 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
Island Dreaming Offline
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Also at Logan's Pass, there's a trail which goes up the mountain behind the visitor center to Hidden Lake - it's a cool place as well.
Another option is Big Fork - a town a bit to the south east of Whitefish. It has a brewery/restaurant along the highway which overlooks the lake but if you go into town there are several shops and artisans - a great place to spend part of a day wandering. We found the artisans were all friendly and happy to spend some time visiting with you. There is a also a state park on the eastside of Flathead Lake with some trails, not as impressive as GNP but with fewer other hikers.
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#2203543 - 01/22/19 02:28 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
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I have been to both and can't say enough positive things about both parks. You can't go wrong with anything you do there. If you can, travel the Going to the Sun Road at GNP. Absolutely stunning.
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#2203569 - 01/22/19 05:15 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
David Dickinson Offline
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My wife & I are headed to GNP in August. Never been there. These comments are greatly appreciated!
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#2203603 - 01/22/19 07:45 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
Norman Paperman Offline
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We did a back-country trip, so we didn't spend much time with the public. When we did, I can tell you that Apgar was super crowded. There are lots of shops and things to do, but also lots of people. Take a run west to Two-Medicine. Nice day-hikes, pretty lake.

Editor's Note: I was there in August 2016 and the park ranger told me that in July alone they broke their record with 1MM visitors. From what I understand attendance continues to climb.
Last edited by Norman Paperman; 01/22/19 07:48 PM.
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#2203605 - 01/22/19 07:54 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
Christine81 Offline
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Great information. Thanks so much! I think we will spend one night in GNP, somewhere around the "end" of the road to the sun, and then three nights in Banff. Unless, those of you that have been there suggest we should spend a night somewhere more in the park. Anyone have any lodging suggestions for either GNP or Banff area? No, we won't be camping. As great as that sounds, we don't want to have to bring all of that along with the wedding and all.

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#2203614 - 01/22/19 08:35 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
Adam Witmer Offline
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One thing to keep in mind, the closer you stay to where you want to go, the less driving you will have and you will have plenty in the car. The going to the sun road in GNP is only about 55 miles, but will take a bit over 2 hours to drive - without stopping and first thing in the morning before the park gets packed, which will slow down traffic. Plus the way the park is, if you are staying in Kalispell/Whitefish, you have to drive back through the park to get back. I drove from Kalispell to Many Glacier and think I had 6 hours of driving round trip from the west park entrance to Many Glacier and back, not including my time from Kalispell to the park entrance which was probably another 1 to 1.5 hours each way.

I know there is a hotel in the Many Glacier entrance to GNP (East side) and then another on West side of GNP off the road to the sun. There are also a few hotels right by the entrance on the park on the East side of the going to the sun road.
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#2203627 - 01/22/19 09:48 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
Busy Bee, CRCM Offline
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Whitefish is such a cute little town! When my husband and I were in MT last time, we were staying in Kalispell but we took a day and went to Lake McDonald, Whitefish, Hungry Horse Dam, and Lone Pine Park in Kalispell. We didn't have a ton of time to explore, but the places we went were all absolutely beautiful. Montana is such a gorgeous state!

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#2204313 - 01/29/19 07:22 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
Christine81 Offline
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Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 78
Thanks everyone for your responses. I think we have it figured out. Three nights in Whitefish, one night in Glacier National Park, two nights in Banff and two nights in Lake Louise, and then we head home. I was amazed how booked up places were already for August. Definitely something to look forward to on these cold days!

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#2204315 - 01/29/19 07:25 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
Rocky P Online
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Christine, your comment " I was amazed how booked up places were already for August."

There are only limited months of warm weather. I'm sure for the hardy, there would be openings now. :-)

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#2204320 - 01/29/19 07:42 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
David Dickinson Offline
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I tried booking lodging for Aug 2019 in Oct 2018. Lodging inside the park was already booked solid. I was told that you need to call 12-13 months ahead (call August 1, 2018 for lodging any days in the month of August 2019). That's how high the demand is. Sounds like you found an open date for your one night inside the park. Congrats!

I was able to get lodging outside the park for our trip in August, but not inside the park.
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#2204483 - 01/30/19 05:53 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
Christine81 Offline
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Joined: Mar 2011
Posts: 78
David, I had a couple of options just last week in the park. Depending on where you wanted to stay. We were trying to stay more towards the middle (which I had one option) or on the Canadian end, since we are heading to Banff and not back to Whitefish. We ended up going with Many Glaciers. Hopefully it works well!

Actually skiing in Banff seems pretty popular too. So maybe they are just always really busy! If there is a next time, we will have to plan further ahead. But just got the "save the date" for the wedding a bit ago and decided to add Banff and GNP and make it a real road trip. HA!

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#2204490 - 01/30/19 06:12 PM Re: Looking for Glacier National Park/Banff ideas Christine81
David Dickinson Offline
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I was able to secure lodging outside the park (on both the west and east side), so it should work well. We are driving from Nebraska to and from and plan to visit Yellowstone, Custer's Battlefield and many other things on the way. Probably a 8 day trip total (think Chevy Chase and Family Vacation). smile
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