March 21, 2023

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 if you’re pondering of visiting Glacier Nationwide Park this fall, there are additionally many stuff you want to remember to correctly put together to your journey.

Earlier than you e-book your journey to Glacier Nationwide Park in September, be sure you learn the following tips! And, don’t simply go to the park, you should definitely attempt a number of of those adventurous issues to do close to Glacier Nationwide Park too, or plan considered one of these Montana weekend getaways.

Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park
Going-to-the-Solar Highway

Visiting Glacier Nationwide Park in September

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Mid-September is a perfect time to go to Glacier Nationwide Park if you’re seeking to get pleasure from most areas of the park with out massive crowds. Needless to say many components of Glacier Nationwide Park are closed from fall via late spring, because the Going-to-the-Solar Highway typically doesn’t absolutely open till late June.

Most of the lodges and providers start to close down by mid- to late-September, and Going-to-the-Solar Highway 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 timber begin to present their stunning golden hues. However you continue to must be ready!

If you happen to need assistance planning a visit to Glacier Nationwide Park, my good friend Bryanna has put collectively a terrific Glacier National Park Guide with 39 pages of stop-by-stop directions, mountain climbing choices by problem degree, eating suggestions, and insider ideas. It even consists of an alternate RV itinerary for RVers!

1. Know in the event you want car reservations

You’ve got most likely heard that you just want car reservations to go to many components of Glacier Nationwide Park through the summer time. In 2023, a car reservation is required for the next areas of the park: Going-to-the-Solar Highway, the North Fork, Two Medication, and Many Glacier. Nevertheless, every location has totally different necessities and requires a separate reservation.

The excellent news is that reservations usually are not required after September 10, 2023! However if you’re visiting in early September, preserve the next in thoughts:

  • A Going-to-the-Solar Highway reservation is required for automobiles getting into via the West entrance from Could 26 via September 10, 2023, from 6 am to three pm and people getting into via the St. Mary entrance from July 1 via 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 might be made at for $2.00.
  • Reservations can be accessible roughly 120 days prematurely, utilizing a block-release system beginning at 8 am Mountain Time on February 1, 2023, for Going-to-the-Solar Highway reservations for Could 26 via June 30, 2023. The subsequent block can be launched on March 1, 2023, for reservations for July 1 via July 31, 2023. The third block can be on April 1, 2023, for reservations from August 1 via August 31 and the ultimate block can be accessible on Could 1, 2023, for reservations can be accessible for all areas for September 1 via September 10, 2023. Any remaining car reservations can be launched on a rolling foundation at 8 am, 24 hours prematurely.
  • Reservations are required when you have a lodging, tenting, or industrial tour reservation inside the park.
  • A park go is required along with car reservations. You should purchase a day by day Glacier Go on the gate ($35 for automobiles) or purchase an America the Beautiful Annual Nationwide Park Go.
  • North Fork car reservations, which embody the world within the northwest nook of the park and all factors east of the Polebridge Entrance Station, are required from Could 26 via September 10, 2023, from 6 am to three pm. These reservations are legitimate for at some point.
  • Reservations for Many Glacier Valley and Two Medication Valley are required from July 1 via September 10, 2023, from 6 am to three pm, and are legitimate for at some point.

If you’re visiting Glacier Nationwide Park earlier than September eleventh, be sure you set a reminder to log in to as quickly as reservations open to your visitation date. There’s at all times extra demand than availability, and reservations refill in a matter of minutes.

So whereas it’s tempting to attend till after September tenth, once you not want to fret in regards to the problem of getting a car reservation, simply needless to say many individuals have the identical thought and the park can be fairly busy within the days following the tip of required reservations.

2. Make the most of alternate transportation

Red Bus tour in Glacier National Park
Crimson Bus Tour

If you’re planning on visiting Glacier Nationwide Park in early September and you aren’t capable of safe a car 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 Highway.

Simply needless to say the shuttle solely operates on a restricted schedule from Labor Day to mid-September and house is accessible on a first-come, first-served foundation. If you happen to make the most of this selection, you’ll want to get to the park early and plan on packing your persistence as chances are you’ll find yourself ready to search out an accessible spot on the shuttle on the numerous stops.

One other technique to discover the park with out driving your self is to e-book an official bus tour. Xanterra operates the well-known Red Bus Tours using classic Thirties pink buses with rolltop convertible tops. These in style excursions promote out early and every of the 33 buses seats 17 folks, with 4 throughout bench seating.

Sun Tours additionally gives interpretive excursions that spotlight Blackfeet tradition. There are half-day or full-day excursions that function day by day on both sides of the park on air-conditioned 25-passenger window coaches.

3. Go to midweek

Tamara sitting on wall in Glacier National Park

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 through 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

Logan Pass in Glacier National Park

Like many nationwide parks, the parking heaps at in style trailheads refill very early. If you wish to beat the crowds, you’ll want to be the early fowl that will get the worm. Sure locations reminiscent of 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 of discover parking spots for the Highline Path or Path of the Cedars in the event you get there earlier than 8 am.

Nevertheless, you’ll want to be ready to spend time searching for an accessible parking spot. Sadly, when it is extremely busy, they received’t even allow you to circle the lot ready for somebody to depart they usually shut the parking zone totally.

Needless to say a few of the hottest hikes within the park, reminiscent of Grinnell Glacier, the Highline Path, and Avalanche Lake, all common a whole bunch of hikers per day. So even in the event you can safe a parking spot, some trails would possibly get just a little congested through the busiest hours in noon.

5. Lodges and eating places begin closing down

Boat on Lake McDonald in Glacier NATIONAL Park

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 Heart keep open year-round.

This implies guests must be well-prepared and self-sufficient, bringing their very own meals and requirements. If you happen to go to in mid-September, you’ll probably 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 the case of lodging, you’ll have higher luck staying contained in the park in the event 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

Baring Falls in Glacier National Park

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 can be much more energetic and the elk can be in rutting season from mid-September to mid-October.

Because of this you’ll want to be much more cautious when round wildlife. Don’t strategy wildlife or attempt to feed them. It’s best to solely observe wildlife via binoculars or a telephoto digital camera lens. You must also carry bear spray and hike in teams. When it’s open, you should purchase bear spray on the Apgar Customer Heart or hire it on the Apgar Campground (and return it on the finish of the day.)

7. Be ready for altering climate

Jackson Glacier in Glacier National Park
Jackson Glacier

After I visited Glacier Nationwide Park in mid-September, the climate was stunning 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 worthwhile to be ready for variable temperatures in numerous sections of the park and climate modifications all through the day. The easiest way to do that is by dressing in layers and packing rain gear.

8. Convey a picnic

Since lots of the lodges and eating places shut throughout September in Glacier Nationwide Park, it’s best in the event you convey alongside a picnic to your day. There are a lot of locations alongside the Going-to-the-Solar Highway and at different sections of the park to cease and luxuriate in a picnic whereas taking within the view. Simply keep in mind to watch the rules of Depart No Hint and convey alongside a trash bag to hold every thing out, don’t go away meals the place it might be eaten by wild animals, and ensure nothing blows away if you are consuming.

9. Fuel up earlier than you go

Road in Glacier National Park

There usually are not any fuel stations within Glacier Nationwide Park and driving via the park might take extra fuel than you count on as you might be climbing mountains and driving at a gradual pace with stop-and-go site visitors at factors on account of congestion. Ensure you fuel up earlier than getting 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 in style, and since lots of the in-park lodges shut in early September, it’s best to e-book your lodging nicely prematurely. I might advocate capturing for one yr prematurely in the event you hope to remain within the park, however you possibly can at all times preserve checking again to seek for cancellations.

If you’re planning on spending a number of days within the park, you’ll most likely 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. If you’re having bother discovering lodging, there are various massive chain accommodations in Kalispell.

I might 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

Island in lake in Glacier National Park

When visiting a Nationwide Park, I at all times advocate selecting up a park map on the gate and stopping on the Customer Heart to speak to the Park Rangers who could make suggestions on easy methods to spend your day. The Park Rangers can provide you with a warning to bear exercise and the most effective hikes and viewpoints to your desired exercise degree.

It is usually useful to have a map to trace your progress alongside the Going-to-the-Solar Highway and just be sure you 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 just received’t have something to distract you from the gorgeous environment. The draw back is that you just received’t be capable of get in contact with anybody in case of an emergency. If you’re mountain climbing or heading to a few of the lesser-visited areas, such because the lonely, bumpy gravel street into Two Medication, chances are you’ll need to think about bringing a conveyable GPS locator such because the Garmin InReach device.

13. See the autumn colours

The timber in Glacier Nationwide Park begin to change by mid to late September. The gorgeous Western Larch timber, which flip a fantastic yellow earlier than the needles drop, are the final to show by mid-October. A great spot to see the larch timber is alongside Freeway 2, which runs alongside the southern border of the park.

14. What to put on in Glacier Nationwide Park

Tamara at the edge of Lake McDonald

As I discussed beforehand, you will need to gown in layers if you end up visiting Glacier Nationwide Park in September. I might advocate:

  • Waterproof mountain climbing boots (I like my La Sportivas)
  • Wool mountain climbing socks (I at all times use Darn Robust Socks)
  • Fast-drying mountain climbing pants
  • A sweat-wicking t-shirt
  • Lengthy-sleeve button-up mountain climbing shirt
  • Skinny fleece
  • Waterproof shell or mild puffer coat
  • Solar hat or baseball cap

15. What to pack in your day pack

Ensure you are ready to your days in Glacier Nationwide Park by packing the next, particularly in the event you plan on doing any hikes:

  • Bear spray
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Emergency equipment
  • Raingear
  • Heat hat
  • Skinny gloves
  • Bug spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Lip balm
  • Tissues
  • Sanitizer
  • Trekking poles (I like my Black Diamond trekking poles)
  • GPS tracker
  • Compass
  • Battery backup
  • Headlamp
  • Digital camera or telephone

16. Easy methods to get to Glacier Nationwide Park

Reflection of clouds on Lake McDonald

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.

It would be best to hire a automobile when visiting Glacier Nationwide Park. Even in the event you can’t get car reservations inside 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

If you happen to can’t get a room or campsite in Glacier Nationwide Park, you’ll most likely need to focus your search on the world round West Glacier. If you’re prepared to drive a littler additional, I had a superb keep on the Homewood Suites in Kalispell.

You at the moment are all set to have a superb go to to Glacier Nationwide Park in September. If you’re driving the Going-to-the-Solar Highway and making a spherical journey from both West Glacier or St. Marys, you should definitely go away your self time to make the return journey. If you wish to keep away from the congestion on Going-to-the-Solar Highway, you possibly can loop again across the park. Whereas this may increasingly take you simply as lengthy, you received’t have any site visitors to cope with. I hope you could have a incredible journey to Glacier Nationwide Park!

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Glacier National Park in September travel tips

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