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Old 10-07-2016, 07:21 PM   #1
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Glacier National Park 2016 Trip Report

Last August we took a two week trip to Glacier National Park. It took us three days to travel from Nixa, MO to St Mary. We left Friday, August 5 around 10 am and headed north to Kansas City then north towards Lincoln, NE and west to Grand Island, NE KOA. Luckily, we had made reservations as there was there was a local event and the KOA was full. We took advantage of their Hunt Brothers Pizza delivered to our campsite for the evenings meal. The first leg was about 460 miles.

Average mpg for this leg was 12.3 mpg. Towing our 2008 Classic 25fb with a 2015 Ram CrewCab 2500 Cummins.

Here are a couple of photos showing our water/electricity site at the KOA and the corn field behind the KOA.

Kelvin
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:29 PM   #2
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The next day was a 600mile drive to Buffalo, WY. We stayed at Deer Park Campground in Buffalo. I didn't take any photos as we arrived pretty late and was too tired.

The next day we made it into St Mary Campground at Glacier National Park. The weather started to turn to rain but due to the rain shadow from the mountains we didn't get much rain. We were able to set up in St Mary Campground without getting rained on. We reserved our site 6 months in advance. The site we chose was A07 in loop A, a no generator loop. The weather forecast for the next day was for clearing.
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:40 PM   #3
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The next day, as promised, we woke to clear skies. Good thing too, as we had scheduled a Red Bus tour from St Mary Lodge over Going to the Sun Highway to Lake McDonald Lodge and back. Before we had to walk over to St Mary lodge I took a short walk to take some photos.
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:44 PM   #4
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There was a party of Airstreams in our loop that were traveling together from Washington.

More to come

Kelvin
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Old 10-07-2016, 07:55 PM   #5
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We have stayed in the Grand Island KOA several times. Had their pizza delivered too. We also liked Camp-a-Way in Lincoln. That's a nice place too. We took many trips across the great plains from Minnesota to Denver to visit family. Decided to move to the Denver area instead.

The long drive across the great plains gets harder and harder the more you do it. Your fuel usage indicates some headwinds I'm guessing. I usually ended up with an unusual east wind blowing in my face on the way home. Headwinds both ways, story of my life.

Aren't the mountains majestic after so many miles of "flats"? I think Glacier is one of the most beautiful National Parks. Watch out for these guys. They will eat your lunch.

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Old 10-08-2016, 07:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post

The long drive across the great plains gets harder and harder the more you do it. Your fuel usage indicates some headwinds I'm guessing.

Aren't the mountains majestic after so many miles of "flats"? I think Glacier is one of the most beautiful National Parks. Watch out for these guys. They will eat your lunch.

David
The drive is tedious. We've made it to Glacier three times; 2011, 2012 and 2016. We are wondering if we will stay in Missouri when I retire, maybe as early as the end of next year.

The next day at Glacier we took a Red Bus tour. My wife's sister and husband followed us in their trailer and it was their first time so we thought it would be the best way to introduce them to the park. The weather clear and it was a little cold, compared to the hot summer of Missouri.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:10 AM   #7
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As typical, the parking lot at Logan Pass was full. Even our Red Bus driver had to let us out while she circled the parking lot until one of the Red Bus parking spots opened up. We were able to get out and walk around for about 30 minutes. While mostly clear the air moving up from Lake McDonald was condensing into clouds at the pass.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:20 AM   #8
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The Red Bus then travels down the Going to Sun Highway and stops at Lake McDonald for lunch. You can eat at the lodge $$$$ or Jammer Joe's Pizza $$$ or grab a ready made sandwich at the general store $$. We opted for sandwiches and eating down by the lake in front of the lodge, which faces Lake McDonald.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:28 AM   #9
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We live in Kalispell and if you're ever back near Glacier the west glacier KOA is one of our favorite campsites we've ever stayed in. The drive from east to west glacier is also wonderful. If you're looking for a more quiet location without as many people the Bob Marshall wilderness/hungry horse reservoir has campsites and it is just on the other side of the highway a few miles down
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:33 AM   #10
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After lunch we make the return trip back to St Mary. A quick stop at McDonald Creek then its up the Going to the Sun Highway and back to St Mary. Riding the Red Bus isn't the best way to take photos. The road was very crowded and most turnouts were full of cars. A lot of hikers do not take advantage of the shuttle bus system. If you park you car on the side of the road and your wheels are not on road gravel but straddle onto the flora you will get a ticket from the park rangers. We saw many cars with tickets.
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Old 10-08-2016, 08:52 AM   #11
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Great pictures and details about your recent trip. How long did you stay at the park?
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Old 10-08-2016, 09:06 AM   #12
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The next day we moved to Many Glacier. Many Glacier now has some campsites reservable so we made reservations when our 6 month window opened up. You have your list of preferred sites listed out by priority when you get online as soon as your time becomes available as these sites went fast. 2/3 of the campground is still first come first serve. While I didn't get my first choice of campsites what we chose was campsite 110. The description of the site shows a 20ft vehicle but then states the drive way is 55ft long. Looking at Google satellite, the rec.gov campsite photos it appeared our 25fb would fit. When I got to the site I found it was easier to back in and then park the truck behind the trailer. The island between the campsite and the loop road makes a tight curve and trying to pull through didn't work. I think if you back in even a 27fb/28 would fit. A 30 might stick out and interfere with adjacent campsites entrance.
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Old 10-08-2016, 09:21 AM   #13
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Unfortunately, the next day at Many Glacier was a rain day. Unlike 2011, 2012 where we had clear skies throughout our 2 week trips this trip had cool weather traveling through the midwest up to Montana. Site 110 is a generator allowed campsite and the hours are 8am to 10am, 12n to 2pm and 5pm to 7pm. I purchased a GenConneX propane Honda 2000. We were able to top off ours and my inlaws trailer's batteries during these times. Luckily it wasn't cold enough to run the furnace at night. I just ran it for 15 minutes prior to the wife getting up.

Luckily the weather event was only for 24hours and the next day the skies were clear. Our first hike of the trip was to Iceberg Lake. This is one of the classic hikes at Glacier and is an easy hike but is still close to 9-10 miles round trip. We decided to join a ranger guided tour up to the lake. While it takes longer to get to your destination the ranger offers a lot of information about the area, history and the trail which makes it worthwhile.
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Old 10-08-2016, 09:27 AM   #14
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I decided on the way back I would head on up to Ptarmigan Tunnel. The trail intersects with the Iceberg Lake trail. This trail is more strenuous than the Iceberg Lake trail but the views are worth the effort. Looking from the tunnel entrance shows you where you came from. When you walk through the tunnel the next valley appears with Elizabeth Lake below. Notice in the last two photos in the upper left corner, Ahern Glacier.
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