The Best 3 Day Glacier National Park Itinerary for 2021

Sun sets on Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, one of the best views on this 3-Day Glacier National Park itinerary.

Epic scenic drives. Wildlife at every turn. Over 700 miles of hiking trails. Do these sound like your ideal adventure? Then you need to add this 3 day Glacier National Park itinerary to your bucket list.

Glacier National Park is truly my favorite place on the planet. You could come here every Summer for the rest of your life and still not see it all! But you probably don’t have a lifetime to explore Glacier right? That’s why I’ve created this ultimate 3 day Glacier National Park itinerary. You want to see the best of Glacier in the least amount of time!

This post explores everything you need to know, including the best time to visit, where to stay, and the best things to do in Glacier National Park. Buckle up… this one is a long (and super informative) one!

3 Day Glacier National Park Itinerary Pinterest Pin
3 Day Glacier National Park Itinerary Pinterest Pin

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Looking for more posts to plan your trip to Glacier National Park? You’ll love these guides!

Planning a trip to Glacier National Park? Download this printable guide to Going-to-the-Sun Road to discover all the 22 best stops (+ a map) along Glacier’s most famous drive!

How Many Days Should I Spend at Glacier National Park?

You could spend weeks in Glacier National Park, but let’s be real… none of us have that kind of time! So let’s get to the point – how many days do you really need in Glacier National Park?
The answer depends on what you’re interested in doing:

  • If you only want to drive through the park and see Going-to-the-Sun Road, you only need 1 day.
  • If you want to see the highlights and the most popular hikes, you need at least 3 days (what this itinerary focuses on!)
  • If you want to hike Glacier’s more strenuous, super scenic trails, you need at least 5 days.
  • If you want the ultimate first-timer experience, you need at least one full week in Glacier National Park.

Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park

When it comes to planning a trip to Glacier National Park, you’re at the mercy of the weather. The park is blanketed in snow from October to May, sometimes even as late as June. Parts of Going-to-the-Sun Road near Logan Pass are only open from mid-June to early October.

I recommend planning your trip to Glacier National Park between July and early September. But keep in mind, because the park has such a narrow tourism season, it will be crowded. The best way to beat the crowds at Glacier is to start your day early (I’m talking before sunrise!).

Entrance sign at Glacier National Park in Montana

How to Get Around the Park

If you’re coming from the Rockies or the Pacific Northwest, the easiest way to get to Glacier National Park is by driving.

If you’re coming from further away, the best way to get to Glacier is by flying. The closest airport to Glacier National Park is Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell. From Kalispell, you’re only 30 minutes away from the west entrance to Glacier National Park.

If you’re planning to visit other national parks like Grand Teton or Yellowstone, consider flying into Bozeman instead. This will put you about midway between the parks.

You can find the best flight prices for flexible dates and airports on Skyscanner.

Driving in Glacier National Park

The best way to get around Glacier National Park is by car. If you are flying into Glacier, the best place to rent a car is at the Kalispell airport. You can compare rental car prices and book the lowest price here.

I don’t recommend traveling to Glacier National Park in an RV unless you also tow a vehicle or plan on renting one while you are there. This is because the most scenic part of Glacier National Park, Going-to-the-Sun Road, does not allow vehicles over 21 feet long or 8 feet wide.

While driving the park yourself is the most convenient way to get around, parking can be difficult. Plan to arrive before 8am to find parking at popular trailheads in the Logan Pass and Many Glacier area.

Read More: Driving Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park

Taking the Park Shuttle

Glacier National Park offers a free shuttle service along Going-to-the-Sun Road. The shuttle runs from Apgar Village to St. Mary Visitor Center. While it can be useful for one-way hikes like the Highline Trail, it’s crowded, slow, and misses areas like Two Medicine and Many Glacier. Don’t rely on the Glacier National Park shuttle as your main method of transportation around the park.

For more information on the Glacier National Park shuttle, check out my detailed guide on planning a trip to Glacier National Park.

Red Jammer Bus Tour in Glacier National Park

Red Jammer Tours

Glacier National Park offers tours in their signature “red jammers” – classic open-air shuttles. For those who enjoy group tours, this is a great way to learn about the history of the park and see the highlights. The red jammer has routes exploring Going-to-the-Sun Road, Many Glacier, and Two Medicine.

Hiking in Glacier National Park

While some of the park can be seen on scenic drives, like Going-to-the-Sun Road, the best way to see Glacier National Park is on a hike! The park has hundreds of miles of trails, ranging from easy to strenuous. No matter your skill level, you will be able to find the perfect hike for you in Glacier National Park.

Read More: 19 Best Hikes in Glacier National Park

About Glacier National Park Regions

Everywhere you turn, Glacier National Park has stunning views. The calm, reflective waters of Lake McDonald. The rocky, rugged terrain of the Highline Trail. The icy blue pool at Grinnell Glacier. You can’t go wrong.

But before we dive into the details and the best things to do in Glacier National Park, let’s get our bearings.

Glacier National Park has 5 main areas. Lake McDonald, Logan Pass, and St. Mary all lie along the park’s famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. Two Medicine and Many Glacier are on the east side of the park and North Fork and Goat Haunt are up to the north.

Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald is home to the historic Lake McDonald Lodge. The Swiss-style chalet sits on the glassy waters of Lake McDonald, popular for boat tours and kayaking. Lake McDonald is great for families, with easier hiking trails like Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake.

Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald Lodge

St. Mary and Logan Pass

Logan Pass has the steepest, and most stunning, parts of the park’s famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. In fact, the Logan Pass Visitor Center sits at the highest point of Going-to-the-Sun Road. The St. Mary and Logan Pass area is home to many of Glacier’s must-do hikes, like the Highline Trail, St. Mary Falls, and Hidden Lake Overlook.

A view of mountains in Logan Pass from Going-to-the-Sun-Road.
View along the Highline Trail

Two Medicine

Two Medicine is one of the lesser visited, but most beautiful parts of Glacier National Park. The shores of Two Medicine Lake is the absolute best place in the park for sunrise. While it doesn’t have many easy day hikes, Two Medicine is home to one of the hardest trails in the park, the Pitamakan-Dawson Loop.

Two Medicine Lake at sunrise

Many Glacier

Many Glacier is home base for hikers and those looking to stay at the Many Glacier Hotel. Hiking Grinnell Glacier, Iceberg Lake, and Ptarmigan Tunnel should be at the top of your Glacier National Park bucket list. This is also a great area for spotting wildlife like mountain goats and moose.

Lakes in Many Glacier along the Grinnell Glacier Trail

North Fork & Goat Haunt

North Fork is only accessible by unpaved roads and Goat Haunt requires backcountry hiking to access. While difficult to get to, these areas reward you with solitude unlike any other area in the park. I recommend saving these areas for return trips (trust me, you’ll want to come back!).

Where to Stay in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park has tons of in-park lodging options, as well as rental homes and hotels outside the park. Here are my favorite picks for where to stay in and near Glacier for a short, 3 day trip.

In-Park Lodges

The most sought-after accommodation in Glacier National Park are its lodges. Glacier National Park features 5 in-park lodges.

For this 3 day itinerary, I recommend picking from the lodges located closest to popular trailheads:

  • Many Glacier Hotel – A swiss-style lodge with stunning views and the delicious Ptarmigan Dining Room in Many Glacier
  • Swiftcurrent Motor Inn – A rustic option with a camp store and close trailhead access in Many Glacier
  • Rising Sun Motor Inn – A rustic option with a restaurant and a gift shop near St. Mary Lake along Going-to-the-Sun Road
Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park
Many Glacier Hotel on Swiftcurrent Lake

These lodges are a bit further from the action, but still closer than staying outside the park:

  • Lake McDonald Lodge – A swiss-style lodge with amazing lake views and a handful of restaurants
  • Village Inn at Apgar – A motel-like inn with both standard and full-kitchen rooms near the west entrance

To book a stay at one of the in-demand park lodges, book your lodging 13 months in advance when reservations open.

Campgrounds

Camping in Glacier National Park is a great option for budget-conscious travelers. Most of Glacier’s campsites are open from mid-June to early September.

For this 3 day itinerary, I recommend camping near popular trailheads at:

Other reservable campgrounds on the western side of the park include: Apgar Campground and Fish Creek Campground. Both these sites are also reservable 6 months out.

Tents in a campsite in Glacier National Park

Staying Outside the Park

For those choosing to stay outside the park, I highly recommend staying on the east side of the park near St. Mary. Towns on the west side of the park provide more options, but St. Mary is closer to trailheads in Many Glacier and Logan Pass.

I highly recommend staying at the Cottages at Glacier. These cottages are walking distance from the St. Mary Visitor Center and are perfect for small groups. Most cottages have 2 bedrooms and 1 bathroom. The best part of these cottages is the view of St. Mary Lake. Be sure to book well in advance (we booked around 9 months out).

Cottages at Glacier cabins in Glacier National Park

What You Need to Know Before Visiting Glacier in 2021

In 2021, the National Park Service is requiring all visitors to make a reservation to drive Going-to-the-Sun Road. This must be booked in advance and is not available on a walk-up basis.
Your reservation, or “ticketed entry”, to drive Going-to-the-Sun Road can be made two ways:

  • Book 60 days out. 3/4 of the reservations will be released 60 days in advance. Reservations are released at 8 AM MDT on Recreation.Gov.
  • Book 2 days out. The remaining 1/4 of reservations will be released 2 days in advance. Reservations are released at 8 AM MDT on Recreation.Gov.

I’ve written an entire guide on driving Going-to-the-Sun Road in 2021 that covers:

  • How the ticketed entry system works in 2021
  • Exactly who needs a ticketed entry reservation (and what lodging/tours will exempt you!)
  • How to book your reservation in detail
  • Plus, the best stops along Going-to-the-Sun Road!

Read that post here: Everything You Need to Know About Going-to-the-Sun Road in 2021

Entrance fees and passes

Entry to Glacier National Park requires a fee. You have a few options:

  • 7-Day Glacier National Park Pass
    • Valid for 7 days
    • Best purchased at the Glacier entrance station upon arrival
    • Cost: $35
  • Annual Glacier National Park Pass
    • Valid for 12 months only for Glacier National Park
    • Only makes sense if you plan on visiting Glacier more than once in the next year
    • Best purchased at the Glacier entrance station upon arrival
    • Cost: $70
  • America the Beautiful National Park Pass
    • Best deal if you plan to visit more than 1 national park
    • Valid for 12 months
    • Admits you to all 63 national parks, plus monuments, historical sites, forests, and more
    • Cost: $80

2021 Notice
As I mentioned above, all visitors who want to enter the park along Going-to-the-Sun Road will be required to book a reservation for summer 2021. This reservation does not cover your entry fee to the park. You’ll need to present both your ticketed entry reservation and either a valid national park pass or pay the entry fee.

For more information on the ticketed entry system, read my comprehensive post on driving Going-to-the-Sun Road in 2021.

Day by Day Glacier National Park Itinerary 3 Days

Are you ready to discover the best things to do in Glacier National Park in 3 days? This guide breaks your trip down into 3 packed days. You’ll see the highlights of the park, including Going-to-the-Sun Road, Many Glacier, and the Highline Trail.

Since you’ll only be here for a few days, I highly recommend arriving in Kalispell in the morning. This will give you plenty of time to explore and settle in before sunset on your first day.

Day 1: Going-to-the-Sun Road and the Hidden Lake Overlook Hike

Your first day in the park is the perfect introduction! You’ll drive Going-to-the-Sun Road and stop for a leg stretch along the way before settling into your accommodation for the next few nights.

Drive Going-to-the-Sun Road

Considered one of the best scenic drives in the country, Going-to-the-Sun Road can’t be missed. You literally cannot miss it – it’s the only road through the main section of Glacier National Park!

Views along Going-to-the-Sun Road 2021
Going-to-the-Sun Road

Enter the park via the West Glacier entrance. Before proceeding onward, stop to stamp your national park passport at the Apgar Visitor Center. As you head east, you’ll get your first glimpse of the park. There’s plenty of pull-offs and vantage points along the way, so feel free to stop and take in the views as you go.

Check out the complete guide to Going-to-the-Sun Road for details on all the best stops along the way.

Planning a trip to Glacier National Park? Download this printable guide to Going-to-the-Sun Road to discover all the 22 best stops (+ a map) along Glacier’s most famous drive!

Lake McDonald and The Loop

Break up your drive to St. Mary by stretching your legs at Lake McDonald Lodge. The swiss-style lodge is one of the park’s many in-park lodges. Make sure to check out the crystal clear waters from the dock behind the lodge.

The Loop is 30 minutes further along Going-to-the-Sun Road. Try to find a parking spot to get out and view the highest peak in the park, Heaven’s Peak. There’s also a restroom here, one of the few along the drive.

After The Loop, Going-to-the-Sun Road becomes steep and winding as it heads towards Logan Pass.

Lake McDonald Viewpoint along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park
Lake McDonald

Hidden Lake Overlook Hike

Logan Pass Visitor Center is 20 minutes past The Loop. By late afternoon, you should be able to find parking in the visitor center lot. The trail to Hidden Lake Overlook starts behind the visitor center.

Hidden Lake Overlook is an out-and-back trail that is routinely rated as one of the top Glacier National Park hikes. It passes through grassy meadows and ends at a vantage point overlooking Hidden Lake.

You’ll cover 460 feet of elevation over the 1.4 miles out to the overlook, but the way back will be all downhill.

Hidden Lake Overlook hike in Glacier National Park
Hidden Lake Overlook

Sunset at Wild Goose Island Overlook

End your afternoon with a quick dinner in the St. Mary area. If you’re looking for a slice of Montana’s famous huckleberry pie, I recommend Two Sisters Cafe in Babb.

One of the best sunset spots in the park is just off of Going-to-the-Sun Road. Arrive at Wild Goose Island Overlook in the St. Mary region about 30 minutes before sunset. The fading light softens St. Mary Lake and paint the sky in pink, orange, and purple.

Wild Goose Island Overlook

Day 2: Many Glacier Boat Tour and the Grinnell Glacier Hike

Many Glacier is the most popular part of the park not located along Going-to-the-Sun Road.

There’s a reason I consider this the best 3-day Glacier National Park itinerary for hikers – each day you’ll do more mileage than the last! One of the most scenic and rewarding hikes in the park is the trail up to Grinnell Glacier Viewpoint.

The strenuous Grinnell Glacier trail is 11.3 miles long and climbs 1,600 feet up to the glacier viewpoint.

Many Glacier Boat Tour

A popular option is to take the Many Glacier boat tour to shorten the hike. Glacier Park Boat Company is a family-operated business that has provided boat tours since 1938. Their tour of Many Glacier crosses two lakes, with a quarter-mile hike between. The guides are incredibly knowledgeable about the history of the park. I can’t recommend this tour enough!

Another great perk of the boat tour is the capability to do a split round trip. You can take the boat out first thing in the morning, complete the Grinnell Glacier hike, and use your return trip in the afternoon. You’ll disembark at the Lake Josephine dock, saving you 3.4 miles each way on your hike to and from Grinnell Glacier.

Many Glacier Boat Tour on Swiftcurrent Lake in Glacier National Park
Boat tour on Lake Swiftcurrent in Many Glacier

Book the 8:30 AM or 9:00 AM Many Glacier boat tours at least 6 weeks in advance as the morning tours fill up quickly. You’ll have to pick up your tickets at the Many Glacier Hotel the morning of, so it’s important to arrive early.

Insider Tip
While you’re guaranteed a return trip on the boat tour, you may have to wait for space. Most of the afternoon boat tours are booked by round trip travelers, so you will only board if the tour isn’t at capacity. But don’t stress – Glacier Park Boat Company will continue to run boats until all hikers waiting at the dock are ferried back to the hotel.

Grinnell Glacier Hike

The trail starts at the Many Glacier Hotel. If you opt for the boat tour, you will cut off the flat section along Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. After Lake Josephine, the climb begins, ascending roughly 1,600 feet over 3.6 miles.

Much of this trail is unshaded, so starting in the morning will keep you from climbing to the viewpoint in the hottest part of the day.

The viewpoint at the top of this trail holds the bluest waters I’ve ever seen. Reward yourself after a long upward journey by dipping your toes in the icy cold water. Upper Grinnell Lake is the perfect spot for a picnic lunch before heading back down to the dock at Lake Josephine.

Grinnell Glacier Viewpoint hike in Glacier National Park
Upper Grinnell Lake on the Grinnell Glacier Trail

Dinner at the Ptarmigan Dining Room

The Ptarmigan Dining Room is Many Glacier Hotel’s best eatery. Ptarmigan Dining Room’s menu boasts locally sourced, gourmet cuisine. This will be the best meal you’ll have on your trip, so now is the time to splurge (financially and calorically!). If you still haven’t gotten your huckleberry fix, try a huckleberry cocktail or dessert.

It doesn’t take reservations or call-ahead, so you’ll need to put your name in on the list to get a spot. Expect to wait around an hour. While you wait, grab a drink from the adjacent Swiss Lounge and gaze out at the fading sun over Swiftcurrent Lake.

Insider Tip
Bring a casual t-shirt, pullover, and shoes to change into after your hike. While the Ptarmigan Dining Room is “hiker casual”, you’ll appreciate having clean clothes to change into after a long, strenuous hike. Some deodorant wouldn’t hurt either!

Stargazing in Glacier National Park

Designated as a “dark sky park” by the International Dark Skies Association, you’ll see more stars here than almost anywhere else in the world. If you’re an avid photographer, this could be your chance to capture stunning Milky Way photos.

Even if you’re not a photographer, there’s still a solid chance you’ll be able to spot the Milky Way with your naked eye. If in Glacier near a new moon, your chances of spotting the Milky Way are greatly increased.

Find a spot in the park with minimal light and observe. When coming from St. Mary, drive into the park at least as far as Wild Goose Island Overlook. I don’t recommend driving any further than the St. Mary Falls trailhead at night as Going-to-the-Sun Road can be dangerous to drive in the dark. Find a pullout, turn off your headlights, and let your eyes acclimate to the darkness for at least a few minutes.

Be sure to check cloud coverage and visibility before heading out using the Clear Sky Charts.

Milky Way in Glacier National Park

Day 3: Highline Trail Hike

Of all the hikes on this itinerary, this one is the longest. Best for last right?

The Highline Trail is often referred to as a sampler of Glacier National Park. With everything from grassy mountain sides to breathtaking vantage points, this is a must-do hike in Glacier. While some hikers prefer to do this hike as an introduction to Glacier, I prefer this hike as the finale. The Highline Trail perfectly ties together everything you’ve seen over the last two days.

Highline Trail Hike

Parking at the Logan Pass Visitor Center can be challenging. Arrive before 7:30 AM to make sure you secure a spot.

Start your hike at the trailhead across the street from the Logan Pass Visitor Center. The trail starts along a rocky cliffside above Going-to-the-Sun Road before opening up into grassy terrain.

Low hanging fog fills the valley along the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park.
Morning fog along the Highline Trail

About halfway through the hike, you’ll reach the optional Garden Wall add-on. This super-strenuous, 1-mile, straight-uphill trek is the best part of the entire hike. Will you be out of breath and questioning yourself the whole haul up the mountainside? Yes. Is it worth it? 110%.

The Garden Wall takes you up the side of the mountain range to Grinnell Glacier Overlook. You’ll be standing above the vantage point you hiked to yesterday.

As you overlook the turquoise waters, you’re also standing atop the Continental Divide. From here, water that flows down the west side of the mountain ends up in the Pacific Ocean. Water that flows down the east side of the mountain ends up in the Atlantic Ocean.

View from Garden Wall Grinnell Glacier Overlook in Glacier National Park
Garden Wall – Grinnell Glacier Overlook along the Highline Trail

In my opinion, the Highline Trail is much less impressive without the Garden Wall add-on.

Aside from the Garden Wall, the elevation change is gentle and isn’t very strenuous for most hikers. The Granite Park Chalet is a great place for a snack and restroom break before beginning your trek to The Loop. The downhill portion to The Loop is unshaded due to past forest fires, so bring plenty of water and sunscreen.

Granite Park Chalet in the distance along the Highline Trail
Granite Park Chalet in the distance

Most hikers choose to do the Highline Trail as a point-to-point hike, starting at Logan Pass Visitor Center and ending at The Loop. If you prefer to hike back to Logan Pass instead, I recommend turning around at Granite Park Chalet. If you opt for the point-to-point route, you’ll need transportation back from The Loop to your vehicle at Logan Pass Visitor Center.

My detailed post on hiking the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park has all the must-know details and logistics.

Say Goodbye to Glacier National Park

Capture those final glances at the Rocky Mountains as you make your last trip across Going-to-the-Sun Road.

If you’ll be flying, I recommend booking a hotel near the airport in Kalispell and taking an early morning flight the next day. Save enough time to return your rental car and bear spray (if you rented at the airport) before boarding your flight.

Planning a trip to Glacier National Park? Download this printable guide to Going-to-the-Sun Road to discover all the 22 best stops (+ a map) along Glacier’s most famous drive!

Side Trips From Glacier National Park

If you have more time in the area, there’s so much more to explore! My absolute favorite side trip is to Waterton Lakes National Park, Canada (so much so that it is included in my 7-day Glacier National Park itinerary!). Explore the quaint town and take a boat tour into the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

View of Waterton, Canada from above

For a break from hiking, explore Whitefish, Montana. There’s enough shops and restaurants to keep you busy all day long!

Other national parks within road trip distance include:

  • Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming – 6 hours away
  • Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming – 8 hours away
  • North Cascades National Park in Washington – 8 hours away
  • Mount Rainier National Park in Washington – 9 hours away
  • Banff National Park in Canada – 6 hours away
  • Jasper National Park in Canada – 7 hours away

What to Pack for Glacier National Park

Hiking the Highline Trail in Glacier National Park
  • Layers
    Glacier National Park weather can vary dramatically between day and night. While the mornings may start off cool, afternoons can be hot. Pack moisture-wicking hiking shirts and warm fleece layers to keep you comfortable all day.
  • Rain Jacket
    In the summer, it rains an average of 17 days per month. While it might just be a light, quick shower, it’s best to be prepared and always carry a rain jacket or poncho.
  • Hiking Boots
    The best thing to do in Glacier National Park is hike. You’ll want sturdy, comfortable hiking boots or trail runners with solid traction. Don’t forget to break in your shoes before bringing them to Glacier!
  • Merino Wool Socks
    Good hiking boots don’t mean anything if you have crappy socks. Always opt for merino wool socks. They might be a bit slightly more expensive, but will last longer and protect you from blisters.
  • Hiking Backpack and the 10 Essentials
    It’s important to carry safety gear every time you hike. Be sure to pack the 10 hiking essentials and bring a hiking backpack with plenty of room for water and extra gear.
  • Sun Hat and Sunscreen
    Many of Glacier’s trails are unshaded, so it’s important to protect yourself from the sun. Sunscreen is obviously essential, but a sun hat will go a long way towards protecting you from sunburn too.
  • Camera
    You’ll want to capture every view in Glacier National Park, but how you do that is up to you. Today, even an iPhone will do. If you have a DSLR camera, I highly recommend investing in a sturdy camera clip like this one from Peak Design. It secures your camera to your hiking backpack, protecting your pricey gear.
  • Binoculars
    Don’t miss any of Glacier’s wildlife! Your binoculars don’t have to be fancy either. I recommend this pair from Amazon.

Looking for more tips on packing for national park trips? Check out my guides on must-have hiking gear and the best hiking clothes for women.

Important Tips for Planning a Trip to Glacier National Park

Have I convinced you that Glacier National Park belongs on your bucket list yet? If so, there’s some important things you need to know to plan a seamless trip to Glacier National Park.

  • Book everything well in advance.
    Both accommodations and tours fill up quickly. To stay at the in-park lodges, book 13 months out when reservations open. Book reservable campsites 6 months out and reserve boat tours at least 6 weeks in advance.
  • Wait to buy or rent bear spray until you arrive.
    Bear spray is a necessity in Glacier National Park, but it isn’t allowed on planes (even in your checked luggage). It’s available for purchase at most outdoor stores in the area and can be rented from a booth at the airport. If you’re staying in an Airbnb or cabin, your host may provide it for you.
  • Download all your reservation confirmations and important documents offline before you leave home.
    Cell service isn’t a guarantee in most areas of the park. Make sure any documents you need are saved and accessible offline (I prefer to do this in Google Drive).
  • Download Google Maps offline to ensure you can navigate without service.
    To do this, go to your Google Maps app, select your profile next to the search bar, and choose ‘offline maps’. From there click ‘select your own map’ and drag the view to your custom area. It’s also a great idea to download music for your long drives too!
  • Give wildlife plenty of space.
    Keep 100 yards away from bears and wolves and 25 yards away from all other wildlife. If you encounter an animal, remain calm and slowly back away. Be sure to keep your bear spray in an easily accessible location like a belt clip or backpack holster.
  • Check the Glacier National Park website regularly.
    Conditions can change in a heartbeat. Check the Glacier National Park website regularly for road closures and park conditions. Glacier is also known to close certain campsites due to bear activity so stay aware if you plan to camp.
St. Mary Falls in Glacier National Park
St. Mary Falls along Going-to-the-Sun Road

Frequently Asked Questions About This Itinerary for Glacier National Park

What do I need to know before going to Glacier National Park?

In 2021, you need to book a ticketed entry reservation before visiting the park. This allows you to drive Going-to-the-Sun Road for a 7 day period. You should also book accommodations well in advance, at least 13 months for in-park lodges and 6 months for in-park campgrounds.

What is the best month to visit Glacier National Park?

The best time to visit Glacier National Park is between July and early September. The summer months have the best weather and all park resources open. Going-to-the-Sun Road is only open from late June to early October.

What should you not miss in Glacier National Park?

The best things to do in Glacier National Park when you’re short on time are:
Drive Going-to-the-Sun Road
Hike the Highline Trail
Hike Hidden Lake Overlook
Hike Grinnell Glacier
Take a Boat Tour in Many Glacier
Stop at Logan Pass Visitor Center

What is the best way to see Glacier National Park?

The best way to see Glacier National Park is on foot or by car. Glacier’s many hiking trails allow you to explore the wildlife and amazing scenery. By car, you can drive one of the best scenic drives in the country, Going-to-the-Sun Road.

How long does it take to drive through Glacier National Park?

The best way to drive through Glacier National Park is on Going-to-the-Sun Road. If you drove the 50-mile Going-to-the-Sun Road straight across without stopping, it would take you a little over 2 hours. If you’re driving Going-to-the-Sun Road with stops, it should take you around 3-4 hours.

How do you avoid crowds in Glacier National Park?

The easiest way to avoid crowds in Glacier National Park is by starting your day early. Many parking lots will fill up by 9 am, so plan to start your day around sunrise to avoid crowds and find easy parking.

Planning a trip to Glacier National Park? Download this printable guide to Going-to-the-Sun Road to discover all the 22 best stops (+ a map) along Glacier’s most famous drive!

Final Thoughts on This 3 Day Glacier National Park Itinerary

Glacier National Park is one of my absolute favorites – it holds a special place in my heart! Three days is the perfect amount of time to see the highlights of Glacier National Park.

This 3 day Glacier National Park itinerary includes:

  • Day 1: Drive Going-to-the-Sun Road, Hike Hidden Lake Overlook, Sunset at Wild Goose Island Overlook
  • Day 2: Many Glacier Boat Tour, Hike Grinnell Glacier, Dinner at Ptarmigan Dining Room & Stargazing
  • Day 3: Hike the Highline Trail

Looking for more posts to plan your trip to Glacier National Park? You’ll love these guides!

Is visiting every national park on your bucket list? If so, check out this guide on the best things to do in all 63 national parks too!

Want to share your thoughts, tips, and advice with me and other readers? Have questions about your trip? Head down to the comments section below!

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1 thought on “The Best 3 Day Glacier National Park Itinerary for 2021”

  1. Pingback: Most Beautiful National Parks in the World – World Travel Blogger

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