How to Do Glacier National Park in One Day


Sometimes, you just don’t have a lot of time – but any time spent in Glacier National Park is better than none. From the highs of Logan Pass to the alpine lakes and hiking aplenty, you don’t want to waste a second of your time in the park. Here’s how to make the most of just one day in Glacier.

Plan Ahead

During the busy season, you can’t entirely fly by the seat of your pants. With ticketed entry becoming the new reality during the summer, don’t expect to roll up to the gate and get in with just your America the Beautiful pass. But if entry tickets are all sold out when you’re planning your trip, don’t panic. You can still enter the park before 6 a.m. or after 5 p.m. with just a pass and no entry ticket. You can also enter with your pass and a booking confirmation with an authorized park tour operator.

Get Up Early

Even if you have an entry ticket, it still pays to get up and get into the park early. Popular parking lots like Logan Pass will fill up, even with ticketed entry. So if you want to hit the trail or scope out a viewpoint, it’s a good idea to get there first thing. And if you only have one day, you want to make the most out of it. Early morning is also a top time to see wildlife, as crepuscular critters like bears and lynx are most active around dawn and dusk.

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Book a Tour

A ticket for a tour can be your ticket into the park, but it gives you much more than that. Classic boat tours show a different side of the park lakes, and you can learn plenty about the park while you enjoy time on the water. Red Bus Tours bring out classic red buses from the early 20th century, letting you enjoy the ride in style while seasoned drivers known as jammers (from the days when manual transmissions would mean jammed gears) give you a storied look at the park. Or sign up for a Sun Tour and hear about the cultural and spiritual significance the park holds for the Blackfoot tribe.

Put Boots on the Trail

You’ll likely see hundreds of hikers on popular trails like Avalanche Lake and the famous Highline Trail, and there’s a reason that these hikes top bucket lists for many people. But you can also get off the beaten path on some of the other 700 miles of trail in the park. Ask for recommendations from park rangers or scope out some local trail guidebooks to find a good walk for your hiking level and timeframe. Even if you only have a few minutes on a nature loop, you can experience the park in a different way.

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Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road

One thing is for sure: the Going-to-the-Sun Road lives up to the hype. If you can only spend one day in the park, driving this famous road is a must. Keep in mind that it’s not open for vehicles year-round, with first snowfall closing it down usually in October, to stay open to foot and bike only, typically until late June. But if you can drive the whole road from one side of the park to the other, you’ll likely want to turn around and take it back the other way too. Embrace the adventure, steep drop-offs over winding curves, and viewpoints for miles along this mountain road.

When you need a rest stop on your road of adventure, Highline Adventures properties are at the gateway to Glacier, ready to give you a good night’s rest. Explore with us, and enjoy the journey.