Embarking on an adventure to Glacier National Park is a journey of its own. From the anticipation that builds as your plane descends over snow-dusted peaks, to the thrill of traversing the vast Montana landscapes, your transit to Glacier is far from mundane. Whether you prefer air travel or overland routes, every trail leading to Glacier National Park is punctuated with panoramic views, memorable roadside stops, and the promise of adventures to come.
How to Get There: Airports Serving Glacier National Park
Flying is the quickest way to reduce distance between you and your mountainous adventure. Glacier National Park is served by several airports that cater to varying travel preferences and budgets.
- Glacier Park International Airport (FCA): Only 30 miles from the park’s West Entrance, FCA offers convenient access to the park with airlines operating regular flights from major hubs throughout the year. Many car rental services are available at the terminal for the onward journey.
- Missoula International Airport (MSO): About a three-hour drive from the park, MSO provides additional flight options, often at competitive fares.
- Great Falls International Airport (GTF): Situated approximately 130 miles from the park, GTF is another reasonable alternative, with travel time to the park being around 2.5 hours.
Journey by Road: Overland Routes to Glacier National Park
For the road trip enthusiasts, driving to Glacier National Park is a bucket-list-worthy adventure. These key routes are your highway to natural wonder:
- Highway 2: One of the most scenic routes, Highway 2 grants passage to the park from both the east and west. It travels directly over the Continental Divide at Marias Pass, offering breathtaking views of the park’s southern boundary.
- Highway 89: This route provides a north-south passage to the park’s east entrances and prairies, presenting a fun, offbeat way to access the park.
Regardless of your starting point, ensure that your vehicle is in top-notch condition and adequately fuelled. Be prepared for potential weather-related road closures during winter months.
Park Entrances and Fees
Glacier National Park is accessible through multiple entry points:
- West Entrance: Near the communities of Columbia Falls and Whitefish, this entrance leads directly to Apgar Visitor Center and Lake McDonald.
- St. Mary Entrance: It provides access to the eastern portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road, it is open seasonally depending upon weather conditions.
- Many Glacier Entrance: This lesser-known entrance leads to the heart of the park and provides direct access to many scenic trails and backcountry campgrounds.
- Polebridge, Two Medicine, and Camas Entrance: These entrances offer a more remote and personal experience with fewer crowds.
As for the fees, a 7-day vehicle entry permit costs $35, while a pedestrian or cyclist pays $20. To make the most out of your visit, consider the Annual Glacier National Park pass for $70, granting unlimited entry for one year.
Planning your transit route to Glacier National Park is a crucial part of your adventure. From arriving at the nearest airport to an unforgettable road trip, the journey to Glacier is as much a part of the experience as the park itself. So, strap in, prepare for marvels at every mile, and let the journey begin.