We made our border crossing at the very small, frontier-like outpost of Chief Mountain between Waterton NP and Glacier NP. There were only 1 RV and 1 car in front of us and no one behind us, and we were asked a total of 2 questions. What a breeze.
Of course there were no availability at any of the Glacier NP campgrounds, but we were able to secure one at Johnsons of St. Mary Campground, just outside the east entrance to the park. From there we explored the east side of the park and up to the Many Glacier area and then signed up for the Crown of the Continent Tour on a historic Red Bus.
Coincidently the driver of our tour was camped right beside us in the campground and he had the bus parked outside Trixie that morning. Talk about door to door service. The buses are wonderful, they are White Company retractable roof touring buses from 1936, refurbished by Ford in 2000. They have the original aluminum skin over wood bodies and are now attached to an E450 chassis. They were running with all their original components until 2000 when they went out of service for a few years. They were then refurbished and brought back into service and now provide many different touring options of Glacier National Park. Our tour lasted 6 hours and took us on the Going to the Sun Road over to Lake MacDonald on the west side, where we stopped for lunch before returning on the same route. The open roof makes it the perfect way to enjoy all the grandeur of the mountains high above you. (Hover your mouse over the photos for more information. Click on them to enlarge.)
After 3 days on the east side of the park we relocated to a KOA by the west entrance to the park. It is a fantastic campground with tons of room between sites, great landscaping and beautiful cabins for rent if anyone is interested in going to that area. We returned into the park and up the Going to the Sun Road to its highest point at Logan Pass, where we hiked the Hidden Lakes Trail. The wildflowers were at their peak and there were still large patches of snow which mountain goats use to cool off in. What a wonderful way to spend the day.
On our way out of the Glacier NP area we stopped in to see breathtaking Glacier Park Lodge, Built in 1913, it is the oldest of the 3 historic lodges and the most magnificent, with its use of 40 ft high Douglas firs that still have the bark attached. For more info on the hotel click here. The hotel is not actually located inside the park but on the adjacent Blackfoot Indian Reservation at East Glacier, beside the original Amtrak station that still brings tourists today.