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Five Things to Do on the Way to Glacier National Park

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.

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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

things to do on the way to glacier national park huckleberry patch pie 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

Five Things to Do on the Way to Glacier National Park 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

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Photo credit: Jonathan Irish, National Geographic

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)

Flathead Lake

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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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5 Things to Do on the Way to Glacier National Park Montana USA5 Things to Do on the Way to Glacier National Park Montana USA5 Things to Do on the Way to Glacier National Park Montana USA

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33 Comments

  1. Great ideas! Sometimes we get so focused on the destination that we forget to stop and smell the flowers — or huckleberry pie — along the way. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I have never been to Glacier National Park, but your pictures are gorgeous! That pie made my mouth water, and I don’t even know what huckleberry tastes like! lol. I had no clue there was a park of 1000 Buddhas.

  3. I would love to see Glacier National Park some day. I am all about visiting National Parks for sure and this one looks worth checking out I love that there are things to do along the way too, makes the trip worth while ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. That huckleberry pie looks amazing! I would love to go to Glacier Park one day! We have beautiful glaciers here in Norway and I love to explore around them!

  5. What place to visit, not just for the huckleberry pie. I don’t know they was a park of 1000 Buddhas, amazing. So much to see, would love to go there one of these days, thanks for sharing.

  6. These are some great suggestions. What beauty God has created. I would love to be able to travel sometime. Thank you so much for sharing this great article

  7. Thanks for the tip about the National Bison Range! It will be on our list to visit on our way to (or from) Glacier National Park.

  8. I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a huckleberry before. That pie looks divine! All of these suggestions like such fun, serene things to do. I’ll have to check them out in I’m ever in Montana.

  9. Glacier National Park has been on my travel bucket list for several years now but I still haven’t had a chance to go. It looks beautiful there (and I want that pie! ๐Ÿ˜› )!

  10. Fabulous ideas for things to do around Glacier National Park. The park of 1000 Buddhas is definitely unexpected and I would love some of that huckleberry pie!

  11. These are great ideas! That garden of 1,000 Buddhaโ€™s looks like itโ€™s from a different world ๐Ÿ™‚ great ideas!

  12. Wow. I love how you started this post with some huckleberry pie!! The national bison range also looks amazing. Pinned this for when I get around to visiting glacier national park!

  13. I had no idea these things were neat Glacier! I want to do every one – I’ve always wanted to try huckleberries, I love wildlife so the refuge and bison are perfect, and the Buddhas are very unique to have in the middle of the US!

  14. I haven’t been on a roadtrip in a while! This is a good reminder to make the journey just as special as the trip. That pie looks divine by the way! Can’t wait to read about the actual visit to the park!

  15. So first off, these are all amazing suggestions… but I have to admit, I have been living abroad for 2.5 years now, and seeing that pie made me soooooo nostaligic for the U.S. I digress!! In all seriousness, thanks for the tips on where to find the bison en route to Glacier. I pinned your blog so I can reference this info for future travels. My absolute favorite part about visiting the U.S. is going to the National Parks, so Glacier is officially on the list.

  16. Great guide! I was supposed to visit Glacier national park this summer but hopefully I’ll be able to see it next summer. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Wow all of these spots look beautiful! I have not visited Glacier National Park yet so I would love to stop at these places on the way. Adding this to my list for post-COVID ๐Ÿ™‚