Day 5 – Driving the Going to the Sun Road
On our fifth day, we got up early and packed up the car and drove to Logan Pass. We were going to move to the east side of the park and stay at the Many Glacier Hotel. I had prepared myself by watching videos of the road, studying the map, and of course we had already road the Red Bus and taken the hiking shuttle as far as Logan Pass. Since we left early, there wasn’t much traffic and there was plenty of parking at Logan Pass. We walked part way on the trail, but could see that the last part of the trail was still covered in snow. We looked at our maps and tour books where we had marked possible alternate hikes and activities. We decided to continue on the Going to the Sun Road and stop at the Rising Sun Boat Dock at St. Mary Lake to see if we could get tickets for the boat tour and ranger hike. We got some for the hike to Baring falls which was a 15 minute hike. Since our tickets were for later in the afternoon, we backtracked a little to Two Dog Flats Grill which is at the Rising Sun Motor Inn. We found that the eastern side of the park wasn’t as busy and easily found parking. We each got a sandwich. I believe I had a bratwurst on pretzel bread. The food was pretty tasty. Then we went back to the boat dock. We road the Little Chief around the Lake while the guide talked about the sites and some history of the area. We stopped for a short hike to Barring Falls. This time the whole group stayed together (which I liked).
Then we continued on the rest of the way on the Going to the Sun Road. This part of the road had less curves and was flatter. We stopped at the St. Mary visitor center and looked around at the displays and gift shop. (The visitor centers give you a great place to cool off, use the restroom, and refill your thermos.) Then we continued on to the Many Glacier area to our hotel. We stopped in the town of St. Mary to fill up with gas. You want to make sure to do that since there are no gas stations in the park and that is one of the few places you can get any services on the east side of the park.
We spent the rest of the evening unpacking and touring the hotel. There were seats out on the patio and around the lake to sit and admire the view. Many Glacier has a coffee shop in the lower level that serves pastries and pre-packaged salads and sandwiches. We usually ate there at least once per day. In the evenings, there was usually a ranger led talk in one of the meeting rooms.