Glacier National Park, Montana

Last month, I took a family car trip over to Glacier National Park in Montana. I'd never been to Montana before, but since it was within 12 hours of driving from Oregon, I figured it'd be a nice experience for my 8 year-old daughter that mirrored all the mini vacations I took with my parents on long car trips. Below is a selection of photos from the trip, and a quick recap after.

The quick summary is that it was an amazing place. Though 2 million people visit the enormous park annually it didn't feel at all crowded. The lodging within the park was sold out nearly a year in advance so we ended up at a small B&B just outside the west side entrance called The Great Bear Inn (the included nightly dinner was ah-maze-ing). The park's season is pretty short, from roughly late-May to late-September, depending on snow melt. The park was really big, we mostly just explored various hikes and stops along the Going To The Sun road (including a day trip white water rafting which I would recommend highly). In four days we didn't even have time for the northern end of the park (we only saw glaciers from a distance). The animal life was pretty great, we saw bald eagles, mountain goats with baby goats, and lots of other little critters. We didn't get to see any of the bears we were warned about but that was fine. The scenery was beyond beautiful, with lush green glacier-carved valleys giving way to high peaks that make up the continental divide. Rising temps are melting the glaciers that give the park its namesake -- they are now just a couple dozen small glaciers left with estimates that they'll be gone in 10-15 years.

Overall, it was an extraordinary place and we had a great time. I can't wait to revisit the place, only this time I'll try the more northern sections of the park (it extends into Canada as well). On the way there, we spent a night in Spokane, Washington and that was a lot of fun as well.