My Top 10 National Parks: #1

My Top Ten National Parks of North America

10.  Grand Canyon National Park

9.  Yoho National Park

8.  Zion National Park

7.  Bryce Canyon National Park

6.  Yosemite National Park

5.  Olympic National Park

4.  Banff National Park

3.  Yellowstone National Park

2.  Grand Teton National Park

and finally…

1. Glacier National Park

The Statistics

Date established: May 11, 1910

Annual visitation (2014): 2,338,528

Size: 1,013,572 acres

Location: Northwest Montana


My Experience

Number of visits: Three

Total days in the park: Eleven days

Where I stayed: I have camped out in St. Mary Campground and Rising Campground. I also camped one night in a campground just outside of the park. I spent one night in a tiny motel near the park and another in the Many Glacier Hotel. I absolutely loved the Many Glacier Hotel. There is a cavernous lobby with a huge stone fireplace and a grand balcony overlooking Swiftcurrent Lake.Canadian Rockies and Glacier National Park 359

Can’t miss sight: This is a tough one. First, there’s Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is an engineering marvel. Then there’s Logan Pass, which is where Going-to-the-Sun Road traverses the Continental Divide. It is known for its top-of-the-world scenery. You’re among mountains and stunning meadows. There are a couple of amazing hikes that begin at Logan Pass. Hidden Lake, which is the destination of one such hike could also be considered a can’t miss sight.

Hidden Lake 2

My favorite view: Wild Goose Island Overlook, along the eastern side of Going-to-the-Sun Road is the most photographed spot in the park, and rightfully so. The mountain landscape surrounding that portion of Saint Mary Lake is astounding.

Wild Goose Island
Wild Goose Island

Wildlife seen: Grizzly bears, mountain goats, rams, moose, deer.

Mountain Goats 2

Favorite hike: This park is a hiker’s paradise. Glacier contains a few of my all-time favorite trails. I love the Hidden Lake trail and the Highline Trail that leave Logan Pass. The Siyeh Pass Trail is another phenomenal hike. However, I’m going to have to go with the Grinnell Glacier Trail. I’ve hiked it on two of my three visits to the park. I’ve seen amazing wildlife both times to go with the incredible scenery.

Upper Grinnell Lake

Bonus Points: The aforementioned Going-to-the-Sun Road is arguably the most scenic road in America. On the opposite end of the spectrum I’d have to say the Two Sister’s Café in Babb, just outside of Many Glacier offered up some spectacular food. My wife and I were talking about that place for weeks after we ate there.


If I Return

I want to return many times. I would love to stay in the Many Glacier Hotel again and would like to hike to one of the backcountry chalets and spend the night there, too. I’d probably return to a few of my favorite hikes, but I have a list of ones I still have to complete. I have to yet to hike to Avalanche Lake, Iceberg Lake, and Piegan Pass among others.


Why You Should Visit

If you really want to see the Swiss Alps, but don’t anticipate crossing the Atlantic anytime soon the scenery in Glacier is a great substitute. The Many Glacier Hotel was modeled after the grand Swiss mountain chalets and the mountains themselves resemble the jagged Alps on the other side of the world. The combination of alpine meadows, glacially sculpted valleys, rugged mountains, dreamlike lakes, and abundant wildlife make Glacier National Park a place that belongs on everyone’s Bucket List.


The Bad

I wish it were closer and that the good weather lasted longer there (Going-to-the-Sun Road sometimes doesn’t open until late July due to all the snow it receives).


10 thoughts on “My Top 10 National Parks: #1

Add yours

  1. I had a feeling this was going to be #1! I’ve been to both Avalanche and Iceberg Lakes and they were great hikes. Haven’t done the Highline Trail yet but that’s next on my list.

    I really enjoyed this list. It was a nice recap and gave me some places to add to my bucket list.


    Liked by 1 person

      1. Stuff up in that area of the park seems to always be closed! My friends and I actually saw a mama grizzly with two cubs right near the Iceberg Lake trailhead, so that was comforting…

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Elated to see Glacier as #1! I’m convinced I will never see another place with comparable beauty and uniqueness. I fell madly in love with my experiences there. Every day I spent there was better than the last. It always makes me so happy to hear others feel the same way about this magical place!


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