Garden wall in snow. Glacier National Park

A Hike on the Loop Trail in Glacier National Park

Hope you all had a great Father’s Day weekend….skipping stones and all!

We were planning on driving the entire Going to the Sun Road, but persistent Pacific storms kept dumping moisture over the region. Weather conditions and an additional 6” of snow fell on the road between Triple Arches and Logan Pass preventing crews from completion of plowing through to the east of the divide. Reportedly, crews were working on clearing the Big Drift, which has about 40 to 50 feet of snow. That is considered average and as far as I know crews are still tackling the job.

So with uncertain weather forecasted for last Sunday, we decided to take advantage of the sunshine on Saturday and headed out to the park. The valley was beautiful drenched in sunlight and I couldn’t resist stopping for this photo along the way.



conola fields flathead valley

Canola fields in the Flathead Valley



After a quick stop at the Lake McDonald store and a visit with Weird Ben, we began our drive on the Sun Road.


weird ben with m and e

Year after year, Weird Ben just sits here smoking his cigar and entertaining tourists. Here’s Weird Ben with M and E.



We drove as far as we could, which was up to Big Bend. A gate blocked the road and neither foot nor bicycle travel was allowed any farther.


Big Bend of Sun Road

This is looking over the gate where traffic had to stop and turn around at the Big Bend parking lot.


People parked and took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy the scenery and play in the snow. M and E skied down a slope just for fun and then it was time for a hike.


Skiing at Big Bend, Glacier National Park.

E skis down in her hiking boots while Dad looks on.


We turned around and went back to the loop.  The Loop Trail was steep with an ascent of about 1800 feet in 3.5 miles. It traverses a forest to Granite Park Chalet. Due to the Trapper Creek Fire of 2003 it is now a burn area with blackened trees.


the burn at the loop.Glacier National Park

Can you imagine a burn looking this pretty?


The benefit of which is that the trail has better views of the mountains and Heaven’s Peak. The sun was really intense and it felt hot as blazes even though temps in the park were mid to upper 60’s.


Loop Trail Glacier National Park

This is the view through the burn, but it is not Heaven’s Peak.


We stopped, like most of the other hikers that day, when we reached the snow about a half a mile or so before the Chalet.


a snowball fight on Loop Trail, Glacier National Park

A snowball fight at the end of our journey on the Loop Trail, Glacier National Park


(If case you are unfamiliar with the terrifying true story of “Night of the Grizzlies”, Granite Park Chalet is where a woman was mauled and killed by a grizzly bear in the early morning hours of August 13, 1967. She had hiked to the chalet and was camping in the area with a friend. They were brutally attacked. Her friend survived the ordeal but she did not.

That same night, another woman camping miles away at Trout Lake was killed by a grizzly. Witnesses say she was unable to escape her sleeping bag during the attack. The incident was well publicized and PBS Montana recently aired a documentary about the horror story. Lots of things have changed concerning bear management since that time, such as strong communication to visitors concerning bear safety and food storage.

Every one of us carries bear spray as a precaution. We are  accustomed to seeing black bear and grizzly along the trails we hike in Glacier.)


curious white tail deer.Glacier National Park

Sorry, I know you were expecting a bear. A curious deer examines us on the way down.


My daughter and I switched packs on the way down.  I felt kind of silly with this little one, but it sure was light.


me in small backpack.Loop Trail.Glacier National Park

Me in small backpack.Loop Trail.Glacier National Park



Some of us snoozed on the way home with David dozing along Hwy 206 *-).  We were exhausted and relaxed upon arriving home, and have already decided we will hike to Virginia Falls next weekend.


Remember, “as laughter is the best medicine, exercise is the cheapest”.


Check out some of our other bear stories:

Until next time,

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