Before you get to the excitement and wonder of Glacier National Park, there are a few things you can visit and do on the way to the park. That’s what I love about slow travel, it has really given Mr. Misadventures and I the ability to widen the ground we cover when visiting a specific spot.
I know that most times we are on a timeline, but if you have an extra few hours on your way to or from the park, consider doing one of these activities.
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Huckleberry Patch in Arlee
I promise you, the bears have not gotten to all the huckleberries! You can find a great many of them in the items sold at Huckleberry Patch in Arlee, including their famous huckleberry pie. In the summer, the huckleberry milkshake is also a big hit. There is another Huckleberry Patch in Hungry Horse which is closer to the park, but I prefer the one in Arlee. Whichever one you visit, you won’t regret a slice of pie!
Huckleberry Patch Address: 72532 N Couture Loop, Arlee MT
Distance from Glacier National Park: 2 hours (via US-93 N and Montana Hwy 35 W)
Garden of 1000 Buddhas
If you want to pass a few moments of peace and quiet reflection before visiting one of the most popular (and crowded) national parks, then there is no better place to get your inner zen on than at the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas. The gardens are FREE and open to the public. They sit on about 10 acres of land among the rolling hills of Arlee near the Flathead Indian Reservation. The main monument features a statue of Tara and there are 1000 Buddhas surrounding her. It is a very beautiful place.
Garden of One Thousand Buddhas Address: 34574 White Coyote Rd, Arlee, MT
Distance from Glacier National Park: 2 (via US-93 N and Montana Hwy 35 W)
National Bison Range
I was really disappointed to learn that unlike Yellowstone, there are no bison in Glacier National Park. Thankfully you can still see these majestic creatures on the way to Glacier at the National Bison Range. We saw about 2 dozen including babies while driving through the park along with pronghorn (closer than we’ve ever seen) and mule deer. They have a nice picnic area connected to the park where we enjoyed a meal as well.
National Bison Range Address: 58355 Bison Range Rd, Charlo, MT
Distance from Glacier National Park: 2 (via Montana Hwy 35 W)
Ninepipes National Wildlife Refuge
We went to Ninepipes National Wildlife Refuge looking for white pelicans, the ones we spotted were too far out to photograph, but we did see quite a few swans and blue heron (along with deer). It’s a great place to take a leisurely hike or go fishing and watch the birds enjoying the rustic 4,000+ acre space. If you get to this park, don’t miss the Ninepipes Museum of Early Montana in the nearby vicinity. We weren’t able to visit it, something I regret!
Ninepipes National Wildlife Refuge Address: 69286 US Hwy 93, Charlo, MT
Distance from Glacier National Park: 1 hour and 45 minutes (via Montana Hwy 35 W)
We drove completely around this gorgeous lake! Besides all the beautiful lakeside views there are national and state forests to visit. And orchards. Lots and lots of orchards where you can find apples and cherries as well as peaches. There were multiple spots where we pulled over to look at the pristinely clear water and I wished I had my bathing suit to jump in!
Flathead Lake Address: This is a huge lake with multiple towns around it such as Big Forks. More info here.
Distance from Glacier National Park: 1 hour (via Montana Hwy 35 W or US 93)
Whether you have time for one or all of these things to do on the way to Glacier National Park, I promise, you won’t regret the extra few hours out of your schedule.
What about you? Have you done something on the way to Glacier National Park that I missed? Do tell! Have you visited Glacier National Park? Did you do any of these five activities?
For a visual summary of this post, check out my things to do on the way to Glacier NP web story!
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