It’s almost the last weekend in May. And you know what that means. Time to load up the gear and the rig, and get yourself to the Crown of the Continent. Then what? We’ve got you covered in Glacier National Park on Memorial Day Weekend.
5 Things to Do in Glacier National Park on Memorial Day Weekend
#1 Get High: Bike the Going to the Sun Road
The Going to the Sun Road is still closed to vehicle traffic in its alpine sections. Perfect. Because the quintessential local Glacier National Park on Memorial Day Weekend experience is to bicycle it. Pedaling a bike up the nearly empty, quiet, Going-to-the-Sun Road is nothing short of spectacular. As you breathe in the fresh alpine air and watch waterfalls cascade off the mountains, you might catch a glimpse of a new moose or elk calf crossing a greening meadow. You might see harlequin ducks, mergansers, eagles, mountain goats, and even bears.
Glacier National Park biking is an experience you will not soon—or ever—forget. Our interpretive, guided bike tours on the gorgeous, closed sections of the Going-to-the-Sun Road are exclusive to Glacier Guides and Montana Raft. Nearly all ages (8 and up!) and abilities can enjoy at least part of this Glacier National Park shoulder-season experience.
Just need a bike, not a guide? We can help you with that, too.
#2 Get Thrilled: Raft the Middle Fork of the Flathead River
The whitewater section of the Middle Fork of the Wild and Scenic Flathead River is incredible right now! We’ve had sunny, 80F days that make this splashy adventure even more fun. Wondering about the differences between our three whitewater trips — the Classic, the Sport, and Thrillseeker? Just give us a ring if you’d like a friendly person to talk to. For Memorial Day Weekend, we recommend booking our exclusive Sport half day Glacier National Park whitewater rafting trip. This tour is for only 6-8 people per boat. Why is our Sport trip special? Most importantly, the small number of rafters allows for a more intimate experience with the river. In addition, anyone who wants a “window seat” can have one. As well as anyone who wants to become part of the crew that maneuvers the raft through the rapids — following the simple commands of the guide — can do so! Or, if you’d rather sit back and relax, that’s great too! The Sport trip is all about you.
#3 Get Happier: Drive to Polebridge and Eat Pastries
You haven’t lived until you’ve rolled down the dusty North Fork Road in search of a huckleberry bear claw, chocolate chip cookies, and savory scones. As every local knows, if you hang a right off the North Fork Road into Polebridge, you come across a few random buildings, backed up to an amazing view of the wild, secluded North Fork area of Glacier National Park. One of those buildings — all of which are off the grid — is home to the most amazing bakery you’ve ever set sweet tooth in. Load up on the goods, and then check out #4.
#4 Get Stronger: Go Hiking
If you’re in the North Fork area, perhaps post-Polebridge-treats, we recommend walking the closed road to Bowman Lake. It’s good exercise, and you’re more likely to experience a silent Bowman Lake when the road is closed, of course. Looking up at Rainbow Peak from the edge of the lake might be the perfect thing to do in Glacier National Park on Memorial Day Weekend, actually. It’ll get your brain ticking towards all that you want to accomplish this summer. Get smarter. Be kinder. Oh, and maybe hike the Highline Trail.
St. Mary Valley
If you’re in the St. Mary area, the Beaver Lakes Loop is often the first hike to melt out, and it’s a beauty. The views are tremendous, the wildlife viewing opportunities excellent, and if you time it right, you can eat at Johnson’s of St. Mary on the way home. Do you like family style fried chicken, homemade bread, and mashed potatoes? Well, we do.
If you’re in the Two Medicine area, Scenic Point should be calling your name. We hike there every Saturday for a reason. It’s the iconic where-the-mountains-meet-the-plains hike, and it’s challenging. Get off the trail around 5pm and head into East Glacier for chile rellenos and margaritas at Serrano’s. As of this writing, the Two Medicine Campground is still closed due to last week’s snowfall, so be sure to check campground status if you’re planning on staying there.
West Glacier / Lake McDonald Valley
If you’re in West Glacier, Avalanche Lake is a classic hike for a reason. Easy enough for almost anyone to tick off their list, Avalanche is a favorite for all ages. All summer long, waterfalls cascade off the Sperry Glacier to form this blue-green lake, but they are especially beautiful and full in the spring. Make this a morning adventure for maximum solace, then jump on a bike in West Glacier and ride down to the Glacier Grille for a burger and to the Stonefly Lounge or Glacier Distilling for a celebratory no-work-on-Monday cold one.