Wanderlust: Glacier National Park » Joel and Amber Photography Blog

Wanderlust: Glacier National Park

J&A Wanderlust

Jan 9, 2020

Glacier National Park // Montana Rocky Mountains // Photographers Explore The World

Something we discovered about parenthood is that it’s a whole lot harder to get stuff done. It’s now January…and we took this trip in September. Better late than never, though, because Glacier National Park is definitely worth sharing!

Last year’s adventure to Banff National Park brought us up to southern Alberta. If you’ve been following our travels for any length of time, you know we have a hard time staying in one place.

We want to see it all, so we start scouting nearby wanderlust-worthy locations. With a 8-month-old baby in tow, our distance capability became a little more limited.

Glacier National Park to the rescue! A 4-hour drive, the promise of beautiful scenery, and somewhere along the line of our travel bucket list. It was a little more complicated than we thought to be a US Citizen driving a Canadian rental car from Canada back into the US temporarily, but it gave us a laugh.

From Banff To Glacier

If you haven’t checked out our Wanderlust: Banff National Park blog yet, you definitely want to. The landscape was breath-taking. It also tells the backstory of this Banff/Glacier/Calgary trip and how we traded Scotland for the Canadian Rockies.

The Trek Down To Montana

After a weekend stop in Calgary, we packed up the baby and tried to perfectly time our 4-hour drive during naptime. It didn’t work, of course, and it was a v.e.r.y looooong 4 hours with a v.e.r.y. fussy baby.

Still worth it, though!

Something we discovered about northern Montana is that there isn’t a whole lot of we-need-to-get-this-baby-out-of-the-car stopping opportunities. It was raining the whole way, but the misty golden fields were dreamy as we drove along.

A Most Interesting Stopping Point, At Last

We honed in on a UNESCO site not too far off our path. The name shocked us (as did the museum admission price, haha!), which made it even more worth checking out.

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump UNESCO World Heritage Site

So this curious UNESCO World Heritage site it was. It highlights a significant piece of Blackfoot tribe culture where the plains people would kill buffalo by driving them off the 36-foot high cliff.

It rained during our stop here, but it didn’t stop us from seeing some beautiful views from the hill! We couldn’t walk out as far as we would have if the weather was more favorable, but the easy to access views were nice enough for us!

This one is just too cute not to share! Since it was raining and we couldn’t walk all the way out to the edge, we gave Josiah a little extra playtime in the car. He loves to “drive”!!

Glacier National Park

Josiah decided he was done napping for the day, so we were all thankful to arrive at Glacier! The cold rain made exploring a little more difficult, but Josiah took it all in stride. He loves being outside and didn’t seem to mind the cold.

Glacier National Park has one main road, Going-To-The-Sun Road. It made our itinerary pretty easy to plan! We started at St Mary and made it all the way to Lake McDonald on the other end.

We squeaked in at the tail end of the season. The main crowds had left, but the roads were still open. A week or two after we left, snow closed down much of the road.

Stunning, stunning scenery, even in the foggy rain! There were glaciers everywhere, of course.

Josiah loved touching the FREEZING cold water! He thought it was the coolest. He’s definitely a little water bug.

There aren’t a lot of options for lunch around the park, so we had to be a little strategic. Eddie’s Cafe was pretty much the only option still open at that time of year, but we still recommend it!

On our way back, we stopped at a boardwalk that wound through a cedar forest. Perfect for a stroller, which we didn’t take for granted! Very peaceful and well-kept.

You travel back on the same Going-To-The-Sun road. The views make a second glance well worth it! We enjoyed the return trip just as much as the first.

The next morning, the sun came out! The air was still pretty cold, and we embraced the sunshine for all it was worth! We didn’t have much time to go back into the park, so we wandered around the trails near the visitor’s center. The bear evidence made me a little nervous! We all survived the wilderness, and it was so worth it.

Camping With Character

By this point, we were full to the brim with the cold and rain. Josiah was especially ready to roll around and settle in for the night.

We spent our two Montana nights in one of the more interesting AirBnB experiences we’ve had! Our camper was in the middle of a 40-acre ranch on the Blackfoot Indian Reservation. The owner’s husband is also the guy who searched for and discovered a baby T-rex on the Blackfoot Reservation. Our Airbnb host had the article printed out for us to read. So interesting and very cool!

Camping isn’t typically our travel go-to, but we really enjoyed this AirBnB! Check out those views! We had no cell reception or anything of the sort. We played Yahtzee after we put Josiah to bed by the light of the moon.

Our AirBnB host told us about her nephew’s restaurant, Leaning Tree Cafe. It was so good we went back there the next day just to get another piece of their blueberry pie for our trip back to Canada. If we were sticking around longer, we definitely would have been back for breakfast! We even ran into the owner outside as we gleefully brought our blueberry pie back to our car, baby in tow. Super great guy!

Back To Civilization and Craft Coffee Shops

Blueberry pie and plastic forks in hand, we hit the road for Calgary. Josiah avoided a nice, restful nap once again. A stop at Tim Horton’s (their drip coffee is actually pretty good!), and we all made it back to the city.

And Calgary is next in our Wanderlust series. Our second favorite library (nobody has topped Halifax, Nova Scotia’s so far), an amazing city park, and lots of coffee. Our adventures there are coming soon!

*hugs*

Amber

In the meantime, you don’t want to miss the beauty of Wanderlust: Austria, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland! If you’re wondering why we love that Nova Scotian library so much, you can check it out at Destination: Nova Scotia!

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