If you’re bringing the family to Glacier National Park this summer, you’ll be on the hunt for family-friendly activities. Don’t worry – the Crown of the Continent offers plenty of adventures everyone can enjoy. Here are a few of our favorites:
5 Unforgettable Glacier National Park Activities to Try
Whether this is your first time to the park, or you’re a seasoned visitor, these experiences are sure to please:
1. Whitewater Rafting
Glacier Park is home to plenty of beautiful scenery, but few places are as stunning as the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. A designated Wild & Scenic River, the Middle Fork forms the boundary of GNP and offers crystal-clear waters and mountain views. Enjoy family-friendly Class II-III rapids, wildlife sightings, and much, much more.
2. Going to the Sun Road
No trip to Glacier is complete without a drive up Going to the Sun Road. The only roadway that bisects the park, Going to the Sun offers stunning views, access to some of the park’s most popular attractions, and possible wildlife sightings. Make sure to stop at popular vistas like Haystack Creek, The Loop, and the Weeping Wall. As you near the top of the road, look up to catch a glimpse of the gravity-defying Highline Trail, which runs along a rock face near Logan Pass.
Keep in mind that Going to the Sun’s operation dates change each year (depending on weather and other variables like roadwork). Before you head out for a drive, consult the National Park Service website for real-time road status updates.
3. Avalanche Lake Trail
Access this stunning trail from the lower part of Going to the Sun Road, by Lake McDonald and Lake McDonald Lodge. One of the park’s most popular hikes, Avalanche Lake Trail is suitable for explorers of all ages.
If you have little kids, stick to the lower segment – the Trail of the Cedars Area. This boardwalk loop winds through an old-growth cedar forest (some of the trees are more than 500 years old) and offers informational placards.
If you feel up for a little hike, continue off the developed boardwalk onto Avalanche Lake Trail. The trail winds along Avalanche Creek and climbs moderately for 2.3 miles before connecting with the foot of Avalanche Lake. Bring a picnic, find a spot on the beach, and enjoy the views!
4. Hidden Lake Overlook
Another of the park’s most popular hikes, this one offers lots of “bang for your buck” in terms of views. While Avalanche Lake Trail starts at the bottom of Going to the Sun Road, Hidden Lake Overlook begins at the very top of the road – at Logan Pass. The trail is 2.7 miles long, round-trip, and features a family-friendly 540 feet of elevation gain. As you near the overlook, keep an eye out for mountain goats who like to play on the rock outcroppings near the trail. Don’t forget to snap a few pictures from the overlook!
5. Lake McDonald
Lake McDonald is famous for the vibrant, colorful stones that make up the lake floor. What many people don’t know, though, is that the rainbow of colors is a geological phenomenon. It’s the presence or absence of iron that determines the color of the rocks. While red stones came from a shallow ocean environment that allowed for the oxidation of the iron, green rocks formed in deeper water, where oxidation couldn’t occur.
Before you leave the park, head down to the shores of Lake McDonald and take a refreshing dip and some photographs. Remember, though: Glacier operates on “Leave no Trace” principles. This means you should pack out any trash you create and that you’ll want to avoid taking anything from the park, including Lake McDonald’s stunning rocks.
Once you finish exploring within park boundaries, check out some of the family-friendly fun nearby. We recommend riding the gondola up Whitefish Mountain Resort, grabbing some views at Glacier Zip Lines, navigating the maze at Glacier Fun Center, or cooling off at Big Sky Waterpark.
Ready to start planning your adventure to Glacier Park? Visit our lodging page today to find the perfect place to relax at the end of the day.