Thursday, July 26, 2012

From Yellowstone to Glacier National Park

Part 4 of 4: Exploring Glacier-Grand Teton-Yellowstone National Parks

Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone National Park ( in part 3 of this series)

This is the conclusion of my trip sharing about our exploration of Glacier-Grand Teton- Yellowstone National Parks. If you missed the first 3 parts, and would like to learn about:
1. Itinerary and sights to see for this trip- please go to part 1.
2. Sights to see in the south loop of Yellowstone National Park.- please go to part 2.
3. sights to see in the north loop of Yellowstone National Park - please go to part 3.

In part 3, after exploring Mammoth Hot Springs Terraces in the north part of Yellowstone National Park, we drove to Helena, the capital of Montana. Another town we were considering as a stop over between Yellowstone and Glacier when we were planning for this trip was Great Falls, which has an International Airport for visitors to both Yellowstone and Glacier. 
Since Great Falls is about 4 hours drive from Mammoth Hot Springs, we decided for Helena, to give us one more hour in Yellowstone.
In the map above, you will see that there are only two roads that goes from West to East of Glacier National Park, that is Going to the Sun Road and Highway 2. Then, there are two short roads that go from East to West going to Many Glacier Area in the North and the Two Medicine Area in the South of Glacier National Park. Because of this road accessibility, probably most of the visitors of Glacier National Park only explore the Going to The Sun Road, thinking that it is the only highlight of the Park. Since we were planning to hike to Grinnell Glacier Overlook and Upper Grinnell Lake at the Many Glacier area (North East of Glacier National Park), we decided to take the 30-mile longer route, that is driving from Helena to East Glacier first to give us more coverage of Glacier. On our way to East Glacier, we saw this field of canola blossoms.
Field of Canola Blossoms ( Farmed for Canola Oil )

We had a long drive just seeing yellow contrasting the mountainous landscapes afar. It was a beautiful drive.
East Glacier, Glacier National Park, Montana

From East Glacier, we followed Highway 2 to West Glacier. We did not feel sorry for adding 30 more miles to our route. We saw this beautiful roadside waterfall and there was huge parking next to this one to enjoy this scenery. 
Silver Falls, on Hwy 2 between East Glacier and West Glacier, Montana
We also saw lots of wild mountain goats at Goat Lick viewpoint, still on Hwy 2 of Glacier National Park.
Goat Lick, on Hwy 2, Glacier National Park, MT

When we reached West Glacier, our first stop was at Apgar Village. We actually reached Apgar Village about 1:30 pm, time for our late lunch.
Lake McDonald, Apgar Village
From Apgar Village we continued our drive East on Going To The Sun Road. We sure had many roadside stops because of the majestic scenery, but will share more details of Going To The Sun Road in my later posts.
Our first hiking stop was at Logan Pass. We hiked to Hidden Lake, but sadly, the Hidden Lake was still very much hidden by ice and snow, and our entire hike was on snow.
Hidden Lake

We were done with our hike at Hidden Lake about 8:30 pm, and we were surprised to see several big horn sheep in the parking lot. More pictures of big horn sheep later when I share more details of our Hidden Lake hike in one of my later posts. However, let me share this picture of 5 big horn sheep dictating the speed for us in the below picture. :)
From Logan Pass, we drove East to Rising Sun in the St. Mary Village area of Glacier National Park. Below is a picture I took right before checking in at Rising Sun Motor Inn where we stayed.
The park ranger told us to get up 4:30 in the morning for a beautiful sunrise since he said where we would be staying has a beautiful look-out point for sunrise. Oh well, we checked in about 9:45 pm, went to bed about 12:00 pm, so we told ourselves if we could get up 4:30 am for sunrise, good, if not, still good, because we need also sleep so we can hike. Well, I for one could never sacirfice my 8-hours of sleep! Anyway, here is a picture from the lookout point where the park ranger tipped us to get beautiful sunrise picture, you just have to imagine the sun rising here. :( I took this picture past 9:00 am already, haha! 
St. Mary Lake. Not A Sunrise Picture :( , but a Picture at Dusk

We enjoyed a hearty breakfast instead at the Rising Sun Motor Inn Restaurant. Before going to Many Glacier area, we took some more pictures around Mary Lake.
Goose Island and St. Mary Lake ( taken about 10:00 am )

At Many Glacier, we hiked to Grinnell Lake and Grinnell Glacier. We did not reach Grinnell Glacier Viewpoint because of too much snow and ice on very steep exposed cliffs (we had no crampons), but we still had a wonderful hike to Grinnell Lake. 
Hike to Grinnell Glacier and Lake
 (the lake next to the trail is Josephine Lake and the wildflowers are bear grass lilies)

We Had To Cross so Many Streams on our way to Grinnell Lake, and stream crossing were awesome :)
( the blue color of the water was from the glacial melt)
Grinnell Lake
The forecast was rain on that day, so we geared up for a wet hike. Sure enough, we were rewarded with some rainbows.
I will share more details and pictures of our hike to Grinnell Lake in later posts.

This concludes our Fire and Ice Adventure Vacation exploring Yellowstone-Grand Teton-Glacier National Parks. In my next posts, I will share more details about our hikes and some places of interest in these 3 National Parks.

If in case you missed the first 3 parts, and would like to learn about:
1. Itinerary and sights to see for this trip- please go to part 1.
2. Sights to see in the south loop of Yellowstone National Park.- please go to part 2.
3. sights to see in the north loop of Yellowstone National Park - please go to part 3.

Links I used to Help Us In Planning For Glacier National Park exploration:

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  1. I have followed your whole journey virtually and I am so glad that I have done so. This is the grand finale, the place looks just wonderful. All the shots are just heavenly, I wish I could visit all these places once in my lifetime.
    Have a fantastic week :)

  2. i imagined myself being the story teller Beth and looking at the sights in real life.., oh my! my heart is pounding in indescribable happiness! like i said before, this Fire and Ice adventure vacation of yours and Khai will forever be etched in my heart, mind and soul. will probably come back on these post time and again to remind me how blessed I am to have "met" you. you have added so much intensity (love and gratefulness wise) in this nature loving heart of mine... i can never thank you enough for the influence, inspiration, sisterhood, friendship and more...

  3. What gorgeous and breathtaking sights!! Your double rainbow is spectacular.

  4. wow the conola field is really so beautiful...

  5. Lovely and beautiful place. Nature surely gives us a pleasure to enjoy the beauty of it. Let us all make it clean and not destroy what He has given us....

  6. Rainbow over rainbow. Seems like a best day. I love all the photos. The photo of those horn sheeps is my favorite.

  7. What a beautiful place! Love all the photos! And so nice to see the rainbow! : )

  8. The big horn sheep! I want to see more of them! : )

  9. Betchai! just done with another tour of duty and this just made my day! sigh, catching my breath here...from the Mammoth Hot Springs first photo to the last photo with the twin rainbow my eyes were screaming with delight! the waterfalls photo of Angels Landing is so beautiful...and yes I wish I could have crossed the streams with you! what with those icy blue waters that look so refreshing! and yes I would love to see more of those horned creatures! awww you missed the sunrise haha, anyway the hearty breakfast must have eased the bit of sadness from not seeing never fail to amaze us with places we only dream of yah wonderwoman!

  10. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Your post is full of "pots of gold".

  12. Montana is absolutely beautiful. I love the big horn sheep. They are so cute!

  13. Great trip report so far and spectacular photos! Glacier is one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

  14. What beautiful scenery! There are just so many beautiful places in the world. Crossing that wooden bridge must have been something. Those slow moving big horn sheep made me laugh.

  15. That seems to be a tourist’s haven…
    Thanks for sharing…

    Hey why not make a visit here:

  16. What a fantastic experience you and your husband had on this trip! Such beautiful nature, and fascinating places you've share through your gorgeous photos!

  17. you have such amazing photos. please make it bigger too :D
    you are inspiring and im bout to read your other entries prior to your trip :)


  18. i think choosing what photos to post here is one of your biggest challenge :-) really nice virtual journey again ms beth