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The Perfect 5 Day Glacier National Park Itinerary

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Reservations for Glacier National Park’s roads, activities, and campgrounds fill up fast! That’s why it’s so important to have a Glacier National Park itinerary before you go. This five day itinerary will walk you through what you need to book so you can see the best Glacier National Park has to offer! 

Day 1: Lake McDonald 

Spending the day at Lake McDonald is a great way to begin your Glacier National Park itinerary. The lake itself is famous for its crystal clear waters and brightly colored rocks— beautiful to look and also take photos of! While you are down at the lake, take a boat tour. Lipicture of mountains with text "Glacier National Park 5 day itinerary"ke most things at Glacier National Park, this is something you’ll want to book in advance. Reservations for Glacier National Park Boat tours can be made here. You may also want to consider booking a night or two at the Lake McDonald Lodge to complete your Lake McDonald experience! 

Day 2: Going to the Sun Road

Going to the Sun Road is a can’t miss experience on any Glacier National Park itinerary! The road itself was built in the 1930s as part of the New Deal. This road is an impressive feat of engineering with a 408 foot tunnel on the east side, a 192 foot tunnel on the west side, and a retaining wall with 788 cubic yards of masonry near the Golden Staircase. The views are just as impressive as the road itself. From high above Lake McDonald, you’ll be able to get beautiful panoramic views of the park. However, keep in mind that you’ll have to buy your pass to drive the Going to the Sun road well in advance. The drive itself only takes a few hours but you’ll want to stop along the way to sightsee and you’ll also need to plan time for driving back. 

Day 3: Highline trail

Along your Going to the Sun Road drive you’ll pass by the Highline Trail. This hike is one of the most beloved trails of locals and tourists alike. Even if you don’t hike the whole trail, this beautiful hike deserves a day all of its own on your Glacier National Park itinerary. The trail offers 360 degree views of the park that you won’t be able to find anywhere else. You can find an in-depth look at how to plan your Highline Trail hike here

Day 4: Bear claws at the Polebridge Mercantile

After a long day of hiking in Glacier National Park, you deserve to treat yourself! Head over to Polebridge to grab a delicious (and famous) bear claw and then explore the area. This area of Glacier National Park is one of the lesser explored areas and usually offers a quiet reprieve from the hustle and bustle you’ve likely run into the rest of your trip. Once you’ve had your fill of tasty treats, take a short drive to Bowman Lake and enjoy the peace and quiet! 

Day 5: Go sailing  

You’ve seen all the highlights in Glacier National Park— so now what? There is endless hiking in the park but if your feet are tired and you’d like to explore the area surrounding Glacier National Park a bit more on your last day, take a trip to Dayton. Dayton is a small town on Flathead Lake with a very unique offering— sailing charters! Go Sail Flathead Lake’s sailing charters are a fantastic way to get a view of the area from the water and also learn the basics of how to sail (if you’d like to). You’ll sail by the famous Cromwell Island, the beautiful Wild Horse Island State Park, and maybe even spot some wildlife you missed during your Glacier trip. Get the details of how to book your sailing charter here