Glacier Nationwide Park in September is fabulous. The air is crisp, fall colours are beginning to pop, and most significantly, the crowds are starting to skinny. However in case you are pondering of visiting Glacier Nationwide Park this fall, there are additionally many belongings you want to bear in mind to correctly put together on your journey.
Earlier than you e book your journey to Glacier Nationwide Park in September, ensure you learn the following pointers! And, don’t simply go to the park, be sure you strive a number of of those adventurous issues to do close to Glacier Nationwide Park too, or plan considered one of these Montana weekend getaways.
Visiting Glacier Nationwide Park in September
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Mid-September is a perfect time to go to Glacier Nationwide Park in case you are trying to take pleasure in most areas of the park with out massive crowds. Needless to say many elements of Glacier Nationwide Park are closed from fall by late spring, because the Going-to-the-Solar Street usually doesn’t totally open till late June.
Lots of the lodges and providers start to close down by mid- to late-September, and Going-to-the-Solar Street closes by mid- to late-October, relying on the climate. This makes September a real candy spot for visiting Glacier Nationwide Park, particularly when the Aspen and Larch bushes begin to present their lovely golden hues. However you continue to should be ready!
Should you need assistance planning a visit to Glacier Nationwide Park, my good friend Bryanna has put collectively a terrific Glacier Nationwide Park Information with 39 pages of stop-by-stop directions, mountaineering choices by problem stage, eating suggestions, and insider suggestions. It even consists of an alternate RV itinerary for RVers!
1. Know should you want automobile reservations
You have got in all probability heard that you simply want automobile reservations to go to many elements of Glacier Nationwide Park throughout the summer season. In 2023, a automobile reservation is required for the next areas of the park: Going-to-the-Solar Street, the North Fork, Two Medication, and Many Glacier. Nevertheless, every location has completely different necessities and requires a separate reservation.
The excellent news is that reservations should not required after September 10, 2023! However in case you are visiting in early September, maintain the next in thoughts:
- A Going-to-the-Solar Street reservation is required for autos coming into by the West entrance from Could 26 by September 10, 2023, from 6 am to three pm and people coming into by the St. Mary entrance from July 1 by September 10, 2023, from 6 am to three pm The part of the street that requires reservations is from the West Entrance Station, Camas Entrance Station, and the Rising Solar checkpoint positioned 6 miles west of the St. Mary Entrance. Reservations are good for 3 consecutive days.
- Automobile reservations could be made at Recreation.gov for $2.00.
- Reservations shall be out there roughly 120 days prematurely, utilizing a block-release system beginning at 8 am Mountain Time on February 1, 2023, for Going-to-the-Solar Street reservations for Could 26 by June 30, 2023. The subsequent block shall be launched on March 1, 2023, for reservations for July 1 by July 31, 2023. The third block shall be on April 1, 2023, for reservations from August 1 by August 31 and the ultimate block shall be out there on Could 1, 2023, for reservations shall be out there for all areas for September 1 by September 10, 2023. Any remaining automobile reservations shall be launched on a rolling foundation at 8 am, 24 hours prematurely.
- Reservations are required you probably have a lodging, tenting, or business tour reservation throughout the park.
- A park go is required along with automobile reservations. You should purchase a each day Glacier Go on the gate ($35 for autos) or purchase an America the Lovely Annual Nationwide Park Go.
- North Fork automobile reservations, which embody the realm within the northwest nook of the park and all factors east of the Polebridge Entrance Station, are required from Could 26 by September 10, 2023, from 6 am to three pm. These reservations are legitimate for sooner or later.
- Reservations for Many Glacier Valley and Two Medication Valley are required from July 1 by September 10, 2023, from 6 am to three pm, and are legitimate for sooner or later.
In case you are visiting Glacier Nationwide Park earlier than September eleventh, ensure you set a reminder to log in to Recreation.gov as quickly as reservations open on your visitation date. There’s at all times extra demand than availability, and reservations replenish in a matter of minutes.
So whereas it’s tempting to attend till after September tenth, once you not want to fret concerning the problem of getting a automobile reservation, simply remember that many individuals have the identical thought and the park shall be fairly busy within the days following the top of required reservations.
2. Make the most of alternate transportation
In case you are planning on visiting Glacier Nationwide Park in early September and you aren’t capable of safe a automobile reservation, there are nonetheless different methods to benefit from the park. First, you possibly can hop on the free park shuttle that makes stops on Going-to-the-Solar Street.
Simply remember that the shuttle solely operates on a restricted schedule from Labor Day to mid-September and house is obtainable on a first-come, first-served foundation. Should you make the most of this feature, you’ll want to get to the park early and plan on packing your endurance as you could find yourself ready to search out an out there spot on the shuttle on the varied stops.
One other approach to discover the park with out driving your self is to e book an official bus tour. Xanterra operates the well-known Pink Bus Excursions using classic Thirties pink buses with rolltop convertible tops. These common excursions promote out early and every of the 33 buses seats 17 individuals, with 4 throughout bench seating.
Solar Excursions additionally provides interpretive excursions that spotlight Blackfeet tradition. There are half-day or full-day excursions that function each day on all sides of the park on air-conditioned 25-passenger window coaches.
3. Go to midweek
Whereas the gang ranges actually drop off in September in comparison with mid-summer, Glacier Nationwide Park stays one of many busiest parks within the nation. If you wish to keep away from crowds, it’s best to go to throughout the week and check out a few of these issues to do exterior of Glacier Nationwide Park, or spend time in close by Whitefish or Kalispell on the weekend.
4. Go early
Like many nationwide parks, the parking heaps at common trailheads replenish very early. If you wish to beat the crowds, it’s essential to be the early hen that will get the worm. Sure locations similar to Logan Go and Avalanche Creek start filling up earlier than dawn and stay busy for a lot of the day. In September, you should still be capable to discover parking spots for the Highline Path or Path of the Cedars should you get there earlier than 8 am.
Nevertheless, it’s essential to be ready to spend time searching for an out there parking spot. Sadly, when it is vitally busy, they received’t even allow you to circle the lot ready for somebody to depart they usually shut the car parking zone totally.
Needless to say a few of the hottest hikes within the park, similar to Grinnell Glacier, the Highline Path, and Avalanche Lake, all common lots of of hikers per day. So even should you can safe a parking spot, some trails may get slightly congested throughout the busiest hours in noon.
5. Lodges and eating places begin closing down
In September, the park lodges and eating places start shutting down so fewer providers can be found all through the park. By late September to early October, the customer facilities additionally shut, though the loos on the Apgar Customer Middle keep open year-round.
This implies guests should be well-prepared and self-sufficient, bringing their very own meals and requirements. Should you go to in mid-September, you’ll possible nonetheless discover meals at Eddie’s Cafe at Apgar and Jammer Joe’s Pizza at Lake McDonald Lodge (however hours could also be restricted.)
In terms of lodging, you’ll have higher luck staying contained in the park should you go to within the first half of September. In any other case, the lodges shut by late September:
- Lake McDonald Lodge closes on September twentieth
- Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and Cabins closes on September tenth
- Many Glacier Resort closes on September twelfth
- Rising Solar Motor Inn and Cabins closes on September sixth
- The Village Inn closes on September twenty fifth
6. Watch out for bears
In September, the wildlife is aware of that winter is coming they usually begin to spend extra time foraging for meals as they put together to enter hibernation. The bears shall be much more lively and the elk shall be in rutting season from mid-September to mid-October.
Which means that it’s essential to be much more cautious when round wildlife. Don’t strategy wildlife or attempt to feed them. It’s best to solely observe wildlife by binoculars or a telephoto digicam lens. You must also carry bear spray and hike in teams. When it’s open, you should purchase bear spray on the Apgar Customer Middle or lease it on the Apgar Campground (and return it on the finish of the day.)
7. Be ready for altering climate
After I visited Glacier Nationwide Park in mid-September, the climate was lovely with sunny days and temperatures reaching 70 at decrease elevations. Nevertheless, it has been identified to snow or sleet in September in Glacier Nationwide Park too. It’s essential to be ready for variable temperatures in numerous sections of the park and climate modifications all through the day. One of the simplest ways to do that is by dressing in layers and packing rain gear.
8. Carry a picnic
Since most of the lodges and eating places shut throughout September in Glacier Nationwide Park, it’s best should you deliver alongside a picnic on your day. There are lots of locations alongside the Going-to-the-Solar Street and at different sections of the park to cease and luxuriate in a picnic whereas taking within the view. Simply bear in mind to look at the rules of Depart No Hint and convey alongside a trash bag to hold all the things out, don’t go away meals the place it could possibly be eaten by wild animals, and ensure nothing blows away when you are consuming.
9. Gasoline up earlier than you go
There should not any fuel stations within Glacier Nationwide Park and driving by the park might take extra fuel than you anticipate as you might be climbing mountains and driving at a gradual pace with stop-and-go site visitors at factors as a result of congestion. Ensure you fuel up earlier than coming into the park on the service stations in West Glacier or St. Marys.
10. E-book your automobile and lodging early
Since Glacier Nationwide Park is so common, and since most of the in-park lodges shut in early September, it’s best to e book your lodging nicely prematurely. I’d advocate capturing for one yr prematurely should you hope to remain within the park, however you possibly can at all times maintain checking again to seek for cancellations.
In case you are planning on spending a number of days within the park, you’ll in all probability need to break up your keep into two places to make it simpler to get out for these early morning hikes. Attempt to spend 1-2 days in Apgar or Lake McDonald and 1-2 days in Many Glacier.
Lodging within the areas straight exterior of the park additionally might e book up a number of months prematurely, even in September. In case you are having bother discovering lodging, there are numerous massive chain motels in Kalispell.
I’d additionally advocate reserving your rental automobile early. Whereas automobile rental shortages are easing, there’s nonetheless a restricted stock and also you don’t need to be left quick.
11. Choose up a park map
When visiting a Nationwide Park, I at all times advocate choosing up a park map on the gate and stopping on the Customer Middle to speak to the Park Rangers who could make suggestions on spend your day. The Park Rangers can warn you to bear exercise and the perfect hikes and viewpoints on your desired exercise stage.
It is usually useful to have a map to trace your progress alongside the Going-to-the-Solar Street and just remember to don’t miss the highlights.
12. Be ready for little to no cell service
When you enter the park, you’ll have very restricted cell service. The great a part of that’s that you simply received’t have something to distract you from the gorgeous environment. The draw back is that you simply received’t be capable to get in contact with anybody in case of an emergency. In case you are mountaineering or heading to a few of the lesser-visited areas, such because the lonely, bumpy gravel street into Two Medication, you could need to contemplate bringing a conveyable GPS locator such because the Garmin InReach system.
13. See the autumn colours
The bushes in Glacier Nationwide Park begin to change by mid to late September. The attractive Western Larch bushes, which flip a good looking yellow earlier than the needles drop, are the final to show by mid-October. A great place to see the larch bushes is alongside Freeway 2, which runs alongside the southern border of the park.
14. What to put on in Glacier Nationwide Park
As I discussed beforehand, you will need to gown in layers if you find yourself visiting Glacier Nationwide Park in September. I’d advocate:
- Waterproof mountaineering boots (I really like my La Sportivas)
- Wool mountaineering socks (I at all times use Darn Powerful Socks)
- Fast-drying mountaineering pants
- A sweat-wicking t-shirt
- Lengthy-sleeve button-up mountaineering shirt
- Skinny fleece
- Waterproof shell or gentle puffer coat
- Solar hat or baseball cap
15. What to pack in your day pack
Ensure you are ready on your days in Glacier Nationwide Park by packing the next, particularly should you plan on doing any hikes:
- Bear spray
- Emergency package
- Heat hat
- Skinny gloves
- Bug spray
- Lip balm
- Trekking poles (I really like my Black Diamond trekking poles)
- GPS tracker
- Battery backup
- Digital camera or cellphone
16. How one can get to Glacier Nationwide Park
Glacier Nationwide Park is in Northwestern Montana, abutting the border with Canada and bridging the Continental Divide. The closest airport to Glacier Nationwide Park is Glacier Park Airport (FCA) close to Kalispell, which is 40 minutes south of the park. Nevertheless, it might be simpler to search out extra reasonably priced flight choices to Missoula Montana Airport (MSO), which is about 2.75 hours to the south.
You’ll want to lease a automobile when visiting Glacier Nationwide Park. Even should you can’t get automobile reservations throughout the park, you’ll want to have a automobile to get to eating places and different sights.
17. The place to remain close to Glacier Nationwide Park
Should you can’t get a room or campsite in Glacier Nationwide Park, you’ll in all probability need to focus your search on the realm round West Glacier. In case you are prepared to drive a littler additional, I had keep on the Homewood Suites in Kalispell.
You at the moment are all set to have a wonderful go to to Glacier Nationwide Park in September. In case you are driving the Going-to-the-Solar Street and making a spherical journey from both West Glacier or St. Marys, be sure you go away your self time to make the return journey. If you wish to keep away from the congestion on Going-to-the-Solar Street, you possibly can loop again across the park. Whereas this will likely take you simply as lengthy, you received’t have any site visitors to deal with. I hope you may have a improbable journey to Glacier Nationwide Park!