Western Montana's Glacier Country: Nature and Culture
East Glacier Park looks sleepy as we arrive in the evening. The northwest Montana air is clear and crisp and really invites you to take a deep breath. Along the horizon are the mighty mountain ranges of the northern Rockies in nearby Glacier National Park, which is open year round and invites visitors to explore these stunning landscapes. Through layers of mist and single clouds, the sun descends over the mountains and wraps this picture-perfect panorama in an almost magical light.
A Red Bus Tour Along Looking Glass Road
The next morning, we arrive early to the historic Glacier Park Lodge, an impressive wooden hotel at the eastern edge of the national park, the history of which dates back to 1913. Particulary impressive is the lobby of the hotel, lined with 15-metre tall, massive tree trunks, which exudes a wonderful rustic charm reminiscent of the times when visitors used to arrive in steam trains at the nearby station 100 years ago.
Directly in front of the hotel, we board a Red Bus Tour. The iconic red buses have been a symbol of the park since the 1930s, and with room for 17 people and a big folding roof, they are certainly one of the most beautiful ways to take a tour. Our driver tells lots of funny and interesting stories about the history of this region as our route takes us along the eastern parts of the park on Looking Glass Road. The open roof provides views of absolutely stunning landscapes. The view over Two Medicine Valley is a sight I certainly won‘t forget.
A Nostalgic Boat Tour on Two Medicine Lake
And right into this valley is where our journey takes us next. From here, our day continues with a nostalgic wooden boat tour on Two Medicine Lake. This part of the park, as well as the regions east of the park, are areas which are sacred to the Blackfeet Nation, who even today conduct rituals such as vision quests here.
From the boat, we have a great view onto the panorama of mountains before us, which have names like Sinopah and Rising Wolf and are of importance to the Blackfeet Nation. You can also take the boat to the other side of the lake, where you will find great trails for hikes along mountain peaks or hidden waterfalls – not to mention the wildlife you may encounter, like grizzly bears, mountain goats and elk.
A Horseback Tour Through Tribal Land of the Blackfeet Nation
After a quick lunch at the nice Two Medicine Store right at the lake’s edge, we’re off to an afternoon on horseback through the eastern parts of the park. Glacier Gateway Outfitters is located only a short distance from Glacier Park Lodge and is the perfect starting point for a tour through the reservation. Our tour leads us through some dense forests that almost feel enchanted on this foggy day.
In the evening, we have dinner at Glacier Park Lodge and enjoy the rest of a day that has shown us the breathtaking nature of the eastern regions of Glacier National Park with a great sense of heritage and history.