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. Please give all of these critters their space, and remember to carry bear spray on your bike.
Glacier National Park biking is an experience you will never forget. Our interpretive, guided bike tours on the gorgeous, closed-to-cars sections of the Going-to-the-Sun Road allow most ages and abilities to enjoy at least part of this 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! 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 6-9 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 paddle! Or, if you’d rather sit back and relax, that’s fine, 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
While many of the park’s most famous trails don’t typically fully open until mid-July — like Grinnell Glacier and Ptarmigan Tunnel — the upside is that there are far less people on the ones that are open, whether fully or partially.
West Side Options
On the west side of the park, we love making a day out of stringing together several shorter hikes like Rocky Point on Lake McDonald, the McDonald Creek trails, and Johns Lake off the Going to the Sun Road. For maximum solace, hike in the morning, 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.
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 fried chicken, homemade bread, and mashed potatoes with gravy? Well, we do. They serve it up family style every Sunday.
A few short hikes will get your brain ticking towards all that you want to accomplish this summer. Get smarter. Be kinder. Oh, and maybe hike the Highline Trail.
If you’re in the Two Medicine area, the Scenic Point trail might not be fully open, but it should be calling your name. We hike there every summer 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. Two Medicine Campground’s opening date fluctuates in the spring, so be sure to check campground status if you’re planning on staying there.
Other questions about what to do in Glacier National Park on Memorial Day Weekend? We’re always here for you. Call, email, smoke signals – whatever works for you.
We wish you a wonderful kickoff to summer! And we hope you’ll take a moment during your adventures to remember all the men and women who died in active military service to our country – that’s what this weekend is really all about.