14 Things to See and Do on Your Way to Glacier National Park
How many times have you heard, "It's about the journey, not the destination?" So too, is it in Montana.
When tourists come to Montana with the goal of visiting Glacier National Park, I think they're so focused on getting to the park they miss out on some of the cultural, fascinating, and altogether kitschy sights and experiences you can have along the way.
Here's your invitation to slow down and enjoy the drive. Here are 14 things to see or do on your way to Glacier National Park.
Smoke Jumper’s Center
Located just west of the Missoula airport, the Smoke Jumper's Center is open from Memorial Day to Labor Day and offers and in-depth look at what a smoke jumper does.
The Garden of 1,000 Buddhas
The garden, filled with 1,000 statues, is available for public tours and viewing year-round, though their hours vary so you'll want to visit their website before planning your visit.
The Bucksnort Steakhouse
What would a visit to Montana be without a stop at a Montana steakhouse? This one is located on Evaro Hill and is right on the way to the park.
CSKT Bison Range
Ownership of the Bison Range was returned to the Tribe in December of 2020 as part of legislation incorporated into the Consolidated Appropriations Act, though public access and visitation are still available. You can learn more about the history of the Bison Range at this link.
Four Winds Indian Trading Post
This establishment has the honor of being "the longest operating...and oldest in Montana" according to their website.
Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge
The wetland and grassland area is a habitat for birds and animals, including the occasional Grizzly bear.
Ninepipes Lodge and Allentown Restaurant
Near the wildlife refuge located against the backdrop of the Mission Mountains, this would make for a nice stay if you didn't want to all the way to the park.
Miracle of American Museum
Old automobiles, boats, firearms, and other relics of bygone days, this museum is a kitschy diversion in Polson.
Richwine's Burgerville in Polson
Be prepared for a line. It's where the locals go.
Hungry Horse Dam
Near Kalispell, the Hungry Horse Dam is an impressive feature, and according to the Bureau of Reclamation was, "At the time of its completion, the dam was the fourth largest concrete dam and the fourth highest concrete dam in the United States."
Golfing=good. Golfing in Montana=great. On your way to Glacier, try the Mission Mountain Mountain Golf Club, the Silver Fox Golf Course, or the Polson Bay Golf Course.
Flathead cherries, peaches, huckleberries, apples--in the summer you almost can drive a mile without seeing a fruit stand. Flathead cherries and huckleberries are Montana favorites so go ahead and buy a box.
This is a delightful vacation town on the east side of Flathead lake with shops, restaurants, and lots of charm. Consider stopping for lunch on your way around the lake.
Big Sky Waterpark, Columbia Falls
Montana's largest waterpark deserves at least one day in your vacation in my opinion. If waterslides aren't your thing they have mini golf and "Krazy Kars" too.