Pacific Northwest - Day 8 - Glacier National Park - Snyder Lake, Going-to-the-Sun Road

Glacier National Park Travel Blog

 › entry 968 of 1090 › view all entries
Bear grass

Glacier National Park is a unique park. Not only because of it landscapes, flora, and fauna. But also because it is more or less an international park. It stretches out from north Montana to the US-Canadian Border, where it continues as the Canadian Waterton Lakes National Park

Glacier National Park was founded in 1910. In size it slightly bigger than Olympic National Park. It consists of many mountains, lakes, and, of course, glaciers. A sad thing, however, is that the glaciers are disappearing rapidly. It is expected that all the glaciers in the park will be gone in a few years. In that case one will have to come up with a new name. Since just "National Park" is a bit of a silly name.

The park has two main sections, each section is separated by a steep range of mountains and connected by the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road.

The pika
This marvel of engineering is only opened during summer time. Two weeks ago the park service was still busy with plowing the tons of snow that cover the road during winter time. Unfortunately some road repairs were scheduled which kept the road closed until the 21st of June. The road, or at least the steep 45 kilometers (28 miles), was now only open for hikers and bikers. The only way, for us, to get to the East section was driving 173 kilometers (108 miles) at the exterior of the park, around the mountain range. An investment we chose not to make.

An icon and very remarkable appearance in the park are the Red Jammers. These vintage looking red buses cruise the park bringing guests to and from hiking trails. These buses have been around since the 1930s. They were tested in Yosemite Natl. Park. They are currently used in Glacier and Yellowstone Natl. Parks, as well as the Gettysburg National Battlefield.

Red Jammer
And no, these are no fake buses! They are still the originals, although heavily refurbished with more safety, a stronger wheel base, and an environmental LPG engine.

Our first activity in the park was the 15-kilometer (9.3 mile) hike to Snyder Lake with an ascent of more than 600 meters (1968 ft). Quite a hike with nice nature and good views on the snow capped peaks. We also learnt about the local flower, the Bear Grass with its distinct cone shaped flowers. And, the highlight of the day, I finally saw a Pika. A cute Guinea Pig like mountain rodent, which I still had to add to my "see-it-live" collection.

Our next stop was the Lake McDonald Lodge one of the ancient and impressive lodges in the park.

View during the Lake Snyder hike
The lodge was built in 1913, replacing its predecessor, The Snyder Hotel built by George Snyder, guess who the lakes are named after... The lodge is a true gem, with a beautiful wooden lobby. We also admired some parked Red Jammers.

The last activity for today was to get at least some feeling of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Although it was closed for cars we could still hike it. So we spent almost two hours and a 7.5-kilometer (4.7-mile) roundtrip on the road, it was only one twentieth part of the road, but it still gave us nice views on the river alongside the road and the high peaks surrounding it. And yes, I have to go back to drive it....

More pictures below!

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Bear grass
Bear grass
The pika
The pika
Red Jammer
Red Jammer
View during the Lake Snyder hike
View during the Lake Snyder hike
View during the Lake Snyder hike
View during the Lake Snyder hike
Lake Snyder
Lake Snyder
View during the Lake Snyder hike
View during the Lake Snyder hike
The pika
The pika
Just GREEN!
Just GREEN!
Lake Snyder trail
Lake Snyder trail
View during the Lake Snyder hike
View during the Lake Snyder hike
View from the Going-to-the-Sun Road
View from the Going-to-the-Sun Road
Bear grass
Bear grass
Bear grass
Bear grass
Bear grass
Bear grass
Bear grass
Bear grass
Bear grass
Bear grass
Bear grass
Bear grass
Red Jammer
Red Jammer
Red Jammer
Red Jammer
Red Jammer
Red Jammer
Red Jammer
Red Jammer
Red Jammer
Red Jammer
Red Jammer
Red Jammer
McDonald Lodge
McDonald Lodge
Lobby McDonald Lodge
Lobby McDonald Lodge
Lobby McDonald Lodge
Lobby McDonald Lodge
Lobby McDonald Lodge
Lobby McDonald Lodge
View from the Going-to-the-Sun Road
View from the Going-to-the-Sun Road
View from the Going-to-the-Sun Road
View from the Going-to-the-Sun Road
View from the Going-to-the-Sun Road
View from the Going-to-the-Sun Road
View from the Going-to-the-Sun Road
View from the Going-to-the-Sun Road
View from the Going-to-the-Sun Road
View from the Going-to-the-Sun Road
GPS profile of the Lake Snyder hik…
GPS profile of the Lake Snyder hi…
Height profile of the Lake Snyder …
Height profile of the Lake Snyder…
Glacier National Park
photo by: mrgishi