Club Traveler

America the Beautiful: Glacier National Park

One of the few ecosystems in the United States that closely resembles what it looked like before Europeans arrived, Glacier National Park in Montana is one of the nation’s most glorious treasures. Known as the Crown of the Continent, the park houses the headwaters for the currents that empty into the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and Hudson Bay—and its crucial importance to the United States watershed system is matched by its visual splendor.

Glacier’s nearly 1,600 square miles of protected lands and 750 miles of hiking trails span such a broad area that a visit requires some planning. Two don’t-miss highlights: Going-to-the-Sun Road and Logan Pass. The former stretches about 50 miles over some of the park’s most impressive landscapes, crossing nearly every type of terrain that the park features. Dig deeper into its points of interest by downloading the National Park Service’s free audio tour before your trip.

The drive will get you to the second must-see, Logan Pass, the park’s highest point accessible by road. Unforgettable views—often including wildlife—are among the highlights, along with the carpet of wildflowers that color the area in the summer. Other destinations include Lake McDonald Valley, with its glacially carved lakes and waterfalls; Many Glacier, an area of active glaciers that some consider the heart of the park; and Bird Woman Falls, a nearly 500-foot waterfall near Logan Pass.

While the natural beauty is the park’s primary draw, a visit to Glacier isn’t complete without learning from the people who first inhabited the region. The Native America Speaks program sprinkles each summer with cultural talks and performances from members of the Blackfeet, Salish, Kootenai and Pend d’Oreille nations. Check here for dates through the rest of the summer.

Make your Montana home with RCI at the Meadow Lake Golf Resort #1909, about 20 miles west of the park and surrounded by northwest Montana’s mountains. Open all year, the resort sits along Meadow Lake Golf Course, where guests can take advantage of discounted golf fees as well as the property’s many other amenities, like the on-site restaurant, indoor and seasonal outdoor pools, an outdoor hot tub, a racquetball court and seasonal day lodges at Flathead Lake and Whitefish ski resorts.

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**The photo featured at the top of this article is by stellalevi / Getty Images.