Off to Glacier

Friends, it’s time for me to retreat into one of my nation’s fantastic national parks.  In 2011 and 2012, we did Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Mesa Verde, Grand Teton, and Yellowstone–some of them more than once.  In March, we went to Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park, and this summer seemed like a good time to visit Glacier National Park, tagging Grand Teton and Yellowstone again along the way.

Some of you may know that Glacier is a U.S. national park that is on both an international border and borders a Canadian national park, Waterton Lakes, and together they’re known as Waterton Glacier International Peace Park.  Bring your passports, though, because everyone crossing the border these days needs one!






I’ve never been to Yosemite–that’s the only one of the three major national parks (Grand Canyon and Yellowstone being the other two) I’ve never visited.  Maybe we’ll hit that in 2014.

Are there any national parks on your list this summer?  Which are your favorites, and why?

13 thoughts on “Off to Glacier

  1. Great Smoky Mountains when I was growing up– we hiked and camped there most summers. Then Grand Tetons when we lived out west. Great scenery at both, and well maintained trails. Plus, if you will walk even half a mile from your car you can escape most visitors.


  2. Back when I was in the Service, we had a couple of imaginary parks to project various bureaucratic fantasies onto. Tumbling Tumbleweed National Monument (TuTu–all parks are foreshortened in agency nomenclature), which was kind of hard to visit, not because it was remote (that was half the idea of national parks), but because it was hard to find. And not because it was imaginary, lots of national parks are imaginary in one or another of the senses of that word. But because it blew around a lot, somewhere along the Texas/New Mexico border.

    And for the troublesome ranger who couldn’t be exiled far enough on this planet to suit the suits who didn’t wear uniforms, Rings-of-Saturn National Park (Rosa), which was… well, you know. Have a great trip!


  3. During the decade we lived in the West and the kids were still home, we systematically visited close to the all western national park. Unbelievable beauty, strength,expanding spaces and mountains to climb.

    Enjoy! (The may belong to JP Morgan next year.)


  4. I was close to Waterton last week, when I was in Banff National Park and Glacier Provincial Park (only a few hours west of Waterton, on the Canadian side). I know these are Canadian, rather than American, but if you ever get a bit further north, the Columbia Icefields (in Banff NP, between Jasper and Banff), are quite something. Enjoy your trip!


  5. Glacier is fantastic! We took a multi-week family road-trip when I was 11 or 12. All the parks were great, but Arches and Glacier were tops! I remember sleeping in our van because there was a bear family wandering around the campground.

    Yosemite is really worthwhile. I have been a couple of times, once when I was really young on a family car camping trip and twice when I was in college to go rock climbing.

    My favorite camping trips ever have been the three backpacking trips I did when I a teenager to climb Mt. Whitney. Its not a national park, but do make time to camp in the BLM lands and national forests on the East Side of the Sierra Nevadas. Car camping is great, but backpacking is even better.


  6. Oh wow, I just checked – Sequoia and Kings Canyon are National Parks, not forests. At any rate, they are highly recommended and have a great trip to glacier. (I’ll be teaching summer school and remodeling the bathroom. harumph.)


  7. Can I use National Monuments? I love El Morro near Ramah, New Mexico. It’s a small, overlooked gem (and one of the oldest National Monuments in the country). Chaco Canyon, Canyonlands, and the fabulous Goosenecks of the San Juan which is a Utah State Park. I also like Three Turkey Ruin which is a Navajo Tribal Park near Canyon de Chelly (which is wonderful in its own right).


  8. Boundary change: I’ve been wondering this week why we can’t just declare everything that the Wisconsin ice sheet ever sat on “Glacier N.P.,” huh, why? That would add the sites of some of my favorite geology class field trips in Ohio–BelleFOUNTAIN and LYME-a; “Mount (sic) Mansfield,” where I didn’t learn to ski, as well as virtually all of Pennsylvania north of Interstate 80. You’d see these clowns in Washington scrambling to get off the Select Weights and Measures Committee and onto Interior and Insular Affairs. Westerners might have to stop complaining that the federal government “doesn’t own most of the East” so nobody understands back there. Best of all, many more of us would be in, or at least near, this park tonight. We might even declare it a virtual Historiann meet-up. A smashing good use of executive authority, I think, if anybody’s listening down in D.C.


  9. We didn’t make it over the border into Waterton Lakes, but we were all over Glacier this week. However, for my money, nothing beats Yellowstone, which has all of the animal encounters (we saw more different animals there last summer), PLUS the geothermal attractions, which are just freakin’ fantastic.

    We did see a lot of bears, two of them close-up, in Glacier. All of them were at or near Many Glacier: one juvenile grizz on the road, one massive adult on the mountain, and a juvenile brown bear on the road. (Yellowstone offered more proximity to prey animals like bison and elk, but we did see a wolf there, too.)

    Bonus National Monument tagging: we drove home via the eastern route, and therefore took the opportunity to see Little Big Horn National Monument and to eat some Indian tacos for dinner last night.

    Still on the road–more when I get home.


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