Detour: Kalispell to Glacier National Park (33.2 miles)
All along the GDMBR, you pass world-class national parks and other natural recreation areas. Just riding through this incredible landscape is a wonderful experience, but it’s worth your time to take a few days along the way to explore what sites along the route have to offer.
For this reason, and to build in time for fun activities with our awesome support team (David’s wife and kids: Anna, Silas [2.5 years old], Eleanor [7 months old]), we planned in a 2.5-rest day detour in Glacier.
Early in the morning (campgrounds at Glacier fill quickly), David drove into the park to reserve a group campsite, where Anna’s brother, Abram, and parents, Steve and Betsy, would meet us later in the day.
When David returned to pack up the car, I headed out by bike, first to Columbia Falls and then on to Glacier National Park and Apgar Campground.
The ride was pleasant, albeit much flatter than our previous few days of riding. To Columbia Falls, I could follow minor country and residential roads. From Columbia Falls, I followed US Highway 2 to West Glacier. With the exception of a couple miles into Hungry Horse, the highway had a wide shoulder (from Columbia Falls to a point 2 miles before Hungry Horse) or dedicated bike lane (Hungry Horse to West Glacier). From West Glacier, you can take either the road or a bike path (turn sharply right, downhill toward the river after crossing over the river on a bridge to catch the path) to the Apgar Visitor’s Center just past the entrance to the park.
At or near the park, there are grocery stores in West Glacier and Apgar Village. To explore the park, shuttle buses leave regularly from the Apgar Visitor’s Center to various trailheads throughout the park. (The visitor’s center has more information on schedules.)
Once in Glacier it was time to relax! We planned a couple of days of relatively light hiking with friends and family and enjoyed some time relaxing by Lake McDonald, not far from our campground.