By Darren Wright
Most National Parks are great places to ride a motorcycle, but some seem as though they are made for riding. Located in Western Montana with its northern boundary right on the Canadian border, Glacier National Park is one of those. Even the name of the main road just begs you to take a motorcycle and go. That road is named Going-to-the-Sun Road and takes you through some fantastic scenery.
Let’s take a trip through this wonderful place. Entering from U.S. Highway 2 at West Glacier, there are some stores and a gas station to top off at before entering the park. The first area you will come to will be Apgar. The south end of Lake MacDonald is located here.
This lake is famous for the colored rocks that line the shoreline. These rocks are small round smooth rocks of many varying colors. These rocks are famous among the photography community. We rented a kayak for a couple of hours and paddled up the lake for a short distance. We were able to view bald eagles and other wildlife.
After visiting Apgar, the journey takes you to the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. The road was well maintained, but as with many National Parks, there was construction along the route to slow you down. Do not plan on cruising through the twisties at high speed. The traffic will be too slow to get any new scrapes on your floorboards, but the views will more than make up for that. Keep your eyes peeled for animals. I caught a glimpse of something moving, and then just mere yards away a bear pops over the wall and crosses in front of us. This was the first of many animals we would see on our journey through the park.
There are many locations to pull over and take photos of the fantastic views of mountains, valleys and waterfalls. The photo opportunities seem to jump out at you at every turn. Make sure you take the opportunity to stop and check out the views because what you see from the road, may not be what you can see from the viewpoint. One of the viewpoints appears to look out over a valley, but when you look over the railing, there is a beautiful waterfall just below the view from the road.
Hiking can lead you to some more scenery and wildlife. There are trails throughout the park ranging from long multiple-day hikes to short hikes under a mile that can provide incredible photo memories. While taking a hike to Avalanche Lake, we were visited by a deer who didn’t seem to be bothered by being near people. We walked within ten feet of the deer and it just kept eating.
The Going-to-the-Sun Road reaches the summit of Logan Pass; at an elevation of 6, 647 feet it is advisable to check the weather, even in summer. Logan Pass Visitor Center has plenty of parking, including areas specifically for motorcycles with protection posts around them. If you want a close-up view of mountain goats, this is the place to go. They have a dog on staff to keep the goats out of the parking area.
Glacier National Park is a beautiful park that offers the perfect combination of great riding, gorgeous scenery, hiking opportunities and plenty of wildlife to view and take pictures of, without the crowds that make other parks less pleasant.