I’m not even sure where to start. We’ve traveled so many places now, and we’ve seen so many beautiful views. Sometimes pictures and words fail, and I feel that will be true here. I love the unique views each state and each national park have had to offer. There is something pretty magical about Glacier, though.
On Thursday we drove into the west entrance of Glacier National Park, and shortly after entering we saw the beginning of Lake McDonald. This lake goes on and on and on. It is beautiful clear blue water with rock beds and mountains surrounding.
We picked up a map at the entrance and got advice on must-sees. Our first stop off of Going-to-the-Sun Road was to hike Johns Lake Loop Trailhead. This hike visits Johns Lake, Sacred Dancing Cascade and McDonald Falls.
I wore Bravely and Ryan wore River in pouches on our backs. This trail was not stroller friendly. It was hot out, but not miserably hot, and the trail offered plenty of shade.
The waterfalls and streams were stunning. We were able to get right up close.
I could happily live next to running water and never tire of the sound!
Johns Lake Loop Trail is 1.3 miles, but it took us nearly three hours to walk. We stopped to look, stopped for photos, stopped to climb rocks, stopped to feel the water.
It was worth all the time spent and every stop made. It is a trail full of beauty to behold.
After we finished Johns Lake Loop, we happily sat in the air conditioned van and consumed much needed water and snacks.
Then we continued our drive up Going-to-the-Sun Road. I just love that road name! The views along that road are gorgeous. I found myself asking Ryan to pull over every few minutes just to better soak in our current view.
A long way up the mountain, we reached Logan Pass. Logan Pass is the highest elevation reachable by car in the park. There we parked and immediately saw four bighorn sheep walking around eating grass.
We used the restrooms there, and then we started off on the Hidden Lake Trail around 6:30PM. It was going to be quite the trek, but we didn’t know that quite yet!
We were so excited when we saw our first patch of snow off to the side of the trail. We had no idea there was about to be plenty of snow just ahead.
At this point, Ryan and I each had kids in pouches on our backs once again. I was exhausted from the start, but I was excited about this 2.7 mile hike round trip. The trail was made up of a wooden platform and what seemed like an endless amount of stairs. We climbed, and we climbed, and we climbed.
Then, the wooden platform disappeared. All we saw ahead was snow. Snow and occasional yellow trail markers.
We were slipping and sliding everywhere! Thank God for teenage sons who helped me not bust it with Bravely on my back, for Ryan who toted River and helped Treasure, and for our older girls who helped our younger girls. It was quite the site to see! Ha!
After what felt like hours, we made it to Hidden Lake!
The view – every stair climbed and every slippery step taken was worth it for this amazing, breath-taking view!
We admired the view for approximately 3-5 minutes before realizing that we needed to start heading down the mountain immediately if we wanted to make it back before dark. And I was not about to trek through the snow with ten kids in the dark!
We saw a few mountain goats nearby as we started making our way down the mountain.
Here I feel I should insert the song “I wonder as I wander” or something of that nature. Haha.
Now we had kids crying, kids laughing, kids slipping, kids sliding. Kids and adults, I should say. Everyone was cold, hungry and tired. I started motivating with, “Hey! Tomorrow we’ll get Chick-fil-A sandwiches and big chocolate chip cookies. Y’all are awesome. You got this!” The thought of chocolate chip cookies did help.
We eventually made it down the mountain…at 9:52PM! Thank God it stays light out until around 10PM there!
We made our way home to our RV in Kalispell, arriving around midnight. We ate a very late snack super and crashed. We all slept in the next day and woke up mildly complaining about aches and pains. Every kid, except River who rode on Ryan’s back the whole way, said they were glad we did the hike even though it was hard. Perseverance and endurance is usually worth it in the end! Ryan and I both loved it – crazy, hard, beautiful!
Oh, and we did get our Chick-fil-A! 😁