Montana’s two most famous national parks, Yellowstone in the south of the state and Glacier in the northwest, comprise 5,054 square miles. When I told Lucy Beighle I was planning on hitting both in a single four-day trip, her assessment was stark: “That’s crazy.” Beighle, who works for Glacier Country tourism, might have been showing her hometown bias in advocating for me refocusing on western Montana, but her advice proved gold. “You’ll need at least two days in Glacier; really you could spend a week just in the park,” she said, and she wasn’t wrong.
Hardcore hikers and avid outdoorsmen would have zero problem melting into the million acres of other otherworldly lakes, primeval woods, and waterfall-striped mountains, but two full days provides a strong summary of West Glacier (East Glacier, home to the Blackfeet Reservation, is currently closed to visitors because of COVID-19) while leaving plenty of time to explore the vanguard breweries, ghost towns, and ATV trails of points south. Here’s the best way to organize your trip for this upcoming spring. As always when traveling during the pandemic, consult local guidelines (Whitefish Covid Cares, the National Park Service) for the latest on COVID-19 protocols and restrictions.