Ready to book your family road trip through Glacier National Park? Here’s what you need to know.
We had a fantastic family road trip last summer but there are a few tips for travel through Glacier National Park that were helpful to know. Here are some of the things we didn’t think of or did think of and wanted to make sure your family knows too before hitting the road.
Timing Travel through Glacier National Park
Depending on when you travel through Glacier National Park, you will want to make sure the road is open. Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed in sections of the center during winter months. This makes sense when you travel through in August like we did and see unmelted (winter) snow in some areas. In fact, we watched a video that shows there is so much snow they have to plow massive amounts of it off the road in late spring to get the roads open for June travel.
Transportation through Glacier National Park
- Your car! The number one mode of travel through Glacier National park is your car. This will be the easiest way to travel if you have time constraints or want to control where and when you stop. If you take your own car through the park please make sure your brakes are in excellent condition and take it easy. The trip through the park will be incredibly hard on them. Downside is that the driver doesn’t get to fully enjoy the views, although there are many pull-offs.
- Free Glacier Shuttle – You can take the Road-to-the-Sun free shuttle in Glacier, which travels between Apgar and St. Mary Visitor Centers.
- Guided Bus Tours – save yourself the work and stress. Book your travel on a guided bus tour through Glacier. Bonus: your family driver gets to enjoy all the views too.
Tips for Travel with Kids and Pets through Glacier National Park
- There are bathrooms along the way but they are sporadically placed so the easiest rule is “everyone out for the bathroom”. Be prepared to wait in the summer months as there can be lines. In other words, even if “they don’t have to go” try anyway.
- Some places can be a little scary due to heights. When traveling from the northern entrance, put kids who are especially scared of heights to the passenger side of the vehicle. Reverse that if traveling from the south.
- Pets are allowed in limited areas. Please make sure you check Glacier National Park guidelines before venturing out.
Tip: Binoculars can come in handy. And don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. My kids saw a bear down in a gully as we were entering the park.
Great Places to Hike in Glacier National Park
- Rocky Point Trail (1.9 miles)
- Running Eagle Falls (0.6 mile)
- Trail of the Cedars (1 mile)
- See more great hiking trails with varying levels of difficulty here
Ways to Save on Entrance Fees at Glacier National Park
- Have a fourth grader? Make sure you grab your Every Kid in a Park Pass to get free entry. Just note, before going to any national park with your pass, you do need your 4th grader with you. Some rangers are pretty particular about “meeting” the 4th grader the card belongs to.
- No 4th grader? If you’re planning to visit more national parks over the year, check out the America the Beautiful Annual pass
- Current U.S. Military members get a free annual pass. See more info here.