June 2018 – America’s stunning National Parks get all the press, but sometimes the drive towards them is almost as beautiful. As we made our way to the eastern side of Glacier National Park in Montana via US-2, the image of a mountain reflecting in a pond caught our eye.
We just had to pull over for a closer look. The day was a big gloomy but the landscape was lovely.
The wildflowers were beginning to bloom, a perfect foreground for these snow capped peaks.
Huge snows last winter and a bunch of rain this spring has made all of the rivers and streams in Montana swell almost beyond the riverbanks, and there are waterfalls, big and small, everywhere.
Hopping back in our rig, we drove alongside the eastern side of Glacier National Park on US-89, and the scenery got better and better.
Big rigs can’t drive the narrow and twisting Route 49 that goes to the Two Medicine entrance of Glacier National Park. Instead, we had to route through the town of Browning, but the views we saw as we headed north towards Saint Mary were fabulous.
Suddenly the U-shaped valleys of Glacier National Park that were carved by glaciers eons ago came into view. Again, we had to pull over, if only to get a shot of our rig in such a setting!
Upper St. Mary Lake is located inside Glacier National Park, and we loved exploring it two years ago, but Lower St. Mary Lake is located outside of the Park, and pullouts along the road offered some fabulous views too.
When the sun is out, St. Mary Lake is a rich and luscious shade of blue, but on this overcast day the air was perfectly still and the mountains were able to check out their reflections in the silvery water.
The most famous part of Glacier National Park is the Going to the Sun Road that traverses the park via Logan Pass between the east and west sides. This road is so high that it is buried in snow well into the Spring, and the risk of avalanches keeps the road closed until mid to late June (or even early July!).
For Park visitors that arrive early in the season, like we did, the views outside the Park are almost as stunning as the Going to the Sun Road, and there’s very little traffic.
US-89 runs through the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, and some lucky souls have homes overlooking the lake. We spotted one on the far shore. How cool!
Out in the pastures we saw some horses romping around too. Beautiful!
Our goal this year was to visit Many Glacier, one of the most spectacular spots in Glacier National Park and a place we had never visited before. As we anticipated, our photos from there will fill an entire upcoming blog post! Once we finished our visit, we were back out on glorious US-89 once again heading south, this time with sunshine.
At one pullout a dirt road beckoned us to take a walk towards the mountains.
The wildflowers were blossoming in all their glory.
In the past, we have searched high and low for fields of wildflowers to photograph, often with little success. But it seems that the best way to find anything super special in this life is not to go looking for it! Here we were soaking in the awe-inspiring mountain views when we discovered we were surrounded by fields of wildflowers.
Buddy posed by some flowers for a pic.
The flowers inside Glacier National Park might be more plentiful and the mountains might be taller and craggier than what we saw on this special scenic drive outside the Park, but it was pretty darn gorgeous.
For RVers heading to Glacier National Park, the trek from the more heavily visited west side to the less visited east side is a 100 mile trip. But despite the extra miles it is well worth doing, not just for the majestic scenery inside the Park at Two Medicine, St. Mary and Many Glacier, but for the eye-popping views you’ll see on the way there and back!
Please note that there was construction on US-89 when we drove it in June 2018. We experienced long delays as a pilot car led groups of vehicles through the lengthy construction zone. Hopefully next year the road improvements will be finished and it will be a breeze to drive!
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Glacier National Park Entrances on the East Side:
More info about the eastern side of Glacier National Park:
- Going to the Sun Road info and past open/closing dates
- RV Parks and Campgrounds on Glacier’s East Side – RV Park Reviews
- RV Parks and Campgrounds near St. Mary – Allstays
- Map of our route – Zoom in and out
Other blog posts from Waterton-Glacier National Park:
- Glacier National Park’s “Many Glacier” – Crown of the Continent! 06/22/18
- “Going to the Sun” from Glacier National Park’s East Side – Breathtaking! 08/21/16
- Glacier National Park’s Quieter Side – Saint Mary 08/17/16
- Waterton Lakes Nat’l Park – Starry Skies, the Milky Way & Wildflowers 08/09/16
- Waterton Shoreline Cruise – A Classy Tour of Waterton-Glacier NP 08/05/16
- Waterton Lakes National Park – Rocky Mountain High! 07/28/16
- Glacier National Park in Montana – Mirrors at Lake McDonald 05/29/16
- Glacier National Park, MT – Mountain Goats and Lake Views 08/27/07
PLUS – Links to all our visits to the National Parks
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