Mary and I have been trying to go to Glacier National Park for years. It’s difficult. First, its’ hard to get to. It’s immense, so you need time. It has few locations to stay and fewer services (especially during the pandemic). And it has become so crowded as the few places that are really accessible are being overrun. But after missing it in 2020, due to pandemic closures, we were able to go for two weeks and I for three weeks in 2021. This is the first of four blog posts about the different sections of the park and how to see it and photograph it.
After flying in to Kalispell from your home location, it’s nearly a two hour drive to Glacier Park Lodge as we begin our counter-clockwise tour through the Park. East Glacier and The Two Medicine Lake area is probably the most accessible in the park and also the least visited. Most people (especially with limited time) rush toward the Going-to-the-Sun road and the popular Northeast section of the Park.
But the Two Medicine area is quite rewarding and deserves 3 days. Lower Two Medicine Lake is a park and point location with a small marina and Appistoki Peak rising over 8,000 feet in front of you.
Glacier National Park was made by its name sake with very high and pointed peaks, deep V-shaped valleys with waterfalls everywhere, and lakes at the end of those valleys. Running Eagle Falls here was one of our favorites in the Park and we photographed it multiple times at both sunrise and sunset. Because we were there in September toward the end of the summer season, the waterfalls were not running as high as in the spring, but we got cool weather and some fall color.
The highlight of this area is Upper Two Medicine Lake which is a spectacular. Take the first boat ride to the end of Lower Two Medicine Lake and hike 3 miles to the upper lake.
Appistoki Falls is a fun hike and you definitely can hear the waterfall. It’s just hard to see and you certainly can not photograph the whole thing. Tight telephoto shots worked best here.
We also hiked to Twin Falls, but did not find a good composition as they are blocked by trees from the trail and we did not want to wade into the cold and fast moving water.
We stayed at the Glacier Park Lodge which is a Pursuit Hotel. It is also known as the “Big Tree Lodge” because the interior is built around 60 gigantic timbers that weigh 15 tons each and are 38 inches in circumference. This lodge has nice enough rooms and it had a very good restaurant (which was a luxury as food became more and more scare during our trip).
Next time, on to the Many Glacier Hotel and a fateful hike for the ages.