With only a couple days for our explorations, we took a pass on the skiing in Whitefish and opted for a drive into Glacier National Park. Amtrak’s Empire Builder travels along the southern edge of the park and is an amazing way to see it in the winter, but we wanted to venture in a little deeper.
So we rented a car and drove through Hungry Horse to the western entrance to the park and the famous Going To The Sun Road. During the summer months the road traverses the park, climbing over Logan Pass, but once the snow flies only the first eleven miles are open.
While this seriously limited the amount of the park we could see, the upside was that there were no crowds. Other than a handful of hardy souls we saw strapping on cross country skis to head off into the back country, we were all alone.
We gingerly managed our way up the snowy road, skirting along Lake McDonald all the way to the iconic Lake McDonald Lodge. The hotel, designated as a National Historic Landmark, has been housing guests since 1914 when it was built as the Lewis Glacier Hotel.
However, it is only open in the summer, so we had the whole place to ourselves, at least the outside of it. We trudged through the snow examining the entire grounds and then down to the lakeshore, where we found a view that was well worth the trip… and slips, slides, and falls.
The panorama includes the whole lake and surrounding peaks, but our eyes, and cameras, were automatically drawn to the north end of the lake where Stanton Mountain, Mount Brown, and Gunsight Mountain loom over the water.
On the way out of the park we stopped at the Apgar Visitor Center and then got some great pictures from the boat ramp by the campground. Nearly ten miles of lake spread out before us from this vantage point.
David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com