Travel & Photography Trip to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park USA/Canada

East & West sides, Avalanche Lake, Going-to-the-Sun Road, Logan Pass, St Mary Lake & Many Glaciers areas: Glacier National Park, Montana

Waterton Lakes & Red Rock Canyon areas: Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada

Ellen & Doug; July 2017

Travel Trip Photo: Reynolds Mountain (9,124') from Logan Pass, Glacier National Park, Montana

Ellen and Doug took a Travel & Photography Trip from the Denver, Colorado area to Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park in USA/Canada in July 2017.

Website photos, with captions, and slideshows (with music):
      West Side, Glacier National Park, Montana:
West Glacier: After a long 2 day drive from Colorado, we settled in for a 4 night stay in the Stimson Cabin at Tamarack Lodge in Hungry Horse, MT, just outside the west entrance of Glacier NP. Local travels included driving along the south and west shores of Lake McDonald, visiting Apgar Village and Visitor Center, Rocky Point, Lake McDonald Lodge, kayaking and taking a scenic boat tour on the lake;
Avalanche Lake: On our first full day in West Glacier, we took a wonderful 5+ mile (round trip) hike to Avalanche Lake with guide Allison, of Glacier Guides Montana Raft Company. The trail, fairly difficult at times, passed through cedar/hemlock forest and undulated up from the Going-to-the-Sun Road along cascading Avalanche Creek to beautiful Avalanche Lake. The lake is in a spectacular sub-alpine bowl surrounded on all sides by steep cliffs, with waterfalls pouring down from glaciers and snowfield above at the base of rugged peaks. On the return trip, we took a spur loop on the Trail of the Cedars;
Going-to-the-Sun-Rd: Although the accompanying photo gallery is presenting as if taken driving from the east up, we actually drove directly up, early in the morning, and then worked our way back to Lake McDonald Lodge. The drive up Going-to-the-Sun Road from the Lodge to Logan Pass is approximately 21 miles and normally takes an hour or more. We left at 7am and reached the Pass at 8am. The parking lot was already full but we lucked out as a visitor was vacating a space just as we arrived. A more leisurely drive up (which we did as a drive down) affords time to stop at the many spectacular and beautiful pullouts and overlooks, providing views of the surrounding mountains, waterfalls, glaciers, wildflowers and wildlife;
Logan Pass: Once at Logan Pass, with a parking spot secured, we headed out to explore, visiting the Visitors Center and hiking portions of the Hidden Lake Overlook and Highline trails, both of which provided numerous photo ops of incredible scenery and wildlife;
      Waterton Lakes National Park, Alberta, Canada:
Waterton Lakes: We crossed the international border into Alberta, Canada, noting a different (drier and absent of foothills) topography than we had seen in Glacier just a few miles to the south. Waterton Lakes consists of 3 lakes: Lower, Middle and Upper, with Upper being much larger and extending back south across the border into Glacier NP. Waterton Lakes Village, where we spent 3 nights, was on the northwestern shore of Upper Waterton Lake. Attractions, other than the village itself, that we visited during our stay included the Lake Cameron area, where Lake Cameron also extends south across the border into the US, and hikes to Akimina Lake and Bertha Falls;
Red Rock Canyon: The Red Rock Canyon area includes short hikes: in a nearby wildflower meadow (complete with another black bear sighting), in Red Rock Canyon (noted for its spectacular geology) and to Blakiston Falls;
Upper Waterton Lake: We took a scenic boat tour on Upper Waterton lake, south across the international border back into Glacier, surrounded by towering peaks all around us. An overcast day made the terrain even more foreboding, although majestic and awe inspiring. We landed at the south end at Goat Haunt, which has a small visitor center, a combination ranger station/customs house and several trailheads. Since we were only getting off the boat for a short visit, we did not have to show passports, but backpackers who were heading into the Glacier wilderness had to go through customs.
      East Side, Glacier National Park, Montana:
East Glacier: From the east, it is 18 miles from St. Mary up Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass, providing stunning views of St Mary Lake, the surrounding mountains, waterfalls and wildflowers. Evidence of fire is more clearly seen here, as are the meadows and hillsides of stunning pink fireweed that are a common aftermath of fire;
St Mary Lake: We took a scenic boat tour across St. Mary Lake and a 3-mile round trip, NPS ranger led hike to St. Mary Falls. The return boat trip gave us with our only bear sighting in Glacier, a foraging black bear (not a grizzly!). Ranger Elizabeth emphasized the geology of the area, always of particular interest to Doug;
Many Glaciers: We spent a long and magnificent day in the Many Glaciers area of Glacier National Park with Allison, of Glacier Guides Montana Raft Company, who had been our guide on our Avalanche Lake hike of the west side. First we hiked on the Bullhead Lake trail, stopping at Red Rock Lake, then on to Lower and Uppe Red Rock Falls. After lunch, we took a shorter and easier hike around Swiftcurrent Lake, which provided spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and several glaciers, including a glimpse of the renowned (and rapidly recedng) Grinnell Glacier peeking around a rock wall corner;