Towns near Glacier National Park that will make you love nature

Glacier National Park is a popular tourist destination in northern Montana. Each year millions of outdoor enthusiasts visit to see its stunning, glacier-carved valleys in the Rocky Mountains. However, not all visitors take the time the explore the towns near Glacier National Park. It is located near five towns that will that are sure to complement your park experience. The beautiful and unique experiences offered by these towns will ensure you leave as a happy camper!

Towns near Glacier National Park: Missoula, the best place for Montana charm

In addition to its rich culture, this town offers a plethora of outdoor activities. Surrounded by the awe-inspiring Rocky Mountains, the two most frequented recreation areas are Blue Moutain to the southwest and Rattlesnake to the northeast. Here you’ll find plenty of hiking, scenic drives, and wildlife viewing.

Towns near Glacier National Park - Missoula, Montana
Missoula, Montana

About 2. 5 hours south of Glacier National Park, Missoula, Montana is a lovely place to visit. With roughly 75,000 residents it’s full of unique eateries, funky little shops, and has an outstanding music scene.

During the spring and summer, make sure to take a bike ride through the town and onto some of its nearby bike paths. If camping is your thing, there are plenty of campgrounds close to town. Still looking for something to do in Missoula? Check out some adventure outfitters for fishing and horseback riding.

As the largest town from which you can comfortably day trip to Glacier National Park, there is truly something for everyone.

Helena, a small adventure outpost with a dose of history

Located just over three hours from Glacier National Park, Helena is the state capital of Montana. With about half the population of the bustling town of Missoula, Helena functions as a jumping-off point for remote adventures. Just outside of town you’ll find over 75 miles of hiking trails ranging in difficulty from beginner to advanced. Additionally, you’ll find  3 lakes nearby: Canyon Ferry Lake, Lake Helena, and Spring Meadow Lake, which all offer swimming, picnicking, hiking, bird watching, and fishing. Canyon Ferry Lake is by far the largest, and the best place to rent a boat to explore.

Aside from endless hiking, swimming, and fishing, this town is a great place to relax after your outdoor adventures. During your stay, make sure to check out the local breweries and learn about the state’s unique history at the capital building.

Great Falls, the best place to explore the Missouri River

The Missouri River in Great Falls, Montana
Great Falls, Montana

Just over 2 hours southeast of Glacier National Park, you’ll find the charming town of Great Falls. Slightly larger than Helena, with around 60,000 residents, this town offers a vibrant culture with amazing food and unique shops.

Given its name, it should be no surprise that Great Falls is known for its waterfalls. Located on the Missouri River, a system of hydroelectric dams makes for a series of stunningly powerful waterfalls just outside of town. One of the most popular places to visit is Ryan Island Park. Here you’ll find a gorgeous view of the Ryan Dam and Great Falls Waterfall, for which the town was named. Another favorite destination is the River’s Edge Trail, which connects major parks and areas of interest along the Missouri River.

Additionally, Great Falls has plenty of options for horseback riding, biking, rock climbing, and other warm-weather sports. On the other hand, in the winter visitors enjoy cross-country skiing and ice fishing. The area’s relationship with nature is infectious, so fair warning that you may fall in love with this place!

Want to know more about Great Falls? Read: Great Falls Montana – make your escape into the wilderness.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, best place to relax and play golf

About 4 hours southwest of Glacier National Park, Coeur d’Alene is an outdoors enthusiast’s dream. Best known for water sports on Lake Coeur d’Alene, the surrounding mountains provide a scenic backdrop and plenty of hiking trails.

Despite its small population of nearly 51,000, this town attracts plenty of visitors due to its unique combination of rugged adventures and luxurious resorts. If you are looking for a place to relax after your Glacier Park visit, you’ve found it! The most famous resort is The Coeur d’Alene. Here you’ll find a well-known golf course where the 14th hole is located on a floating island in the middle of a lake!

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

If you are looking for something a little less posh, Coeur d’Alene is still a great place to visit. Its many trails and remote lakes make it an endlessly interesting place to explore. Additionally, the town has done a great job of persevering the history of its early inhabitants, the Coeur d’Alene tribe.

Calgary, Canada, the best way to add an urban flair to your trip

About 3 hours away from the northern gate to Glacier National park, visiting Calgary is a distinctly different experience than the other towns on our list. For instance, it’s a truly cosmopolitan city with over 1 million residents. Featuring public art, tons of history, sports, and plenty of nods to its country-western roots, Calgary will counterbalance your outdoor fun with its cultural delights. Consequently, some of the most popular urban destinations include the Heritage Park historical village, the Calgary Tower, the Calgary Zoom, Prince Island Park, and line dancing at one of Calgary’s many country western dance halls.

Calgary, Canada

Just outside of the city, Bow River is a well-known destination for fly fishing for rainbow trout. Due to its popularity make sure to apply for a fishing license online ahead of time. Other popular outdoor activities in and around Calgary include biking, kayaking, hiking, bird watching, and scenic drives.

If you have time, you should not miss nearby Banff, which is Canada’s first national park. If you get a chance to visit, you will see why. Its vibrantly blue lakes attract visitors from all over the world for hiking, swimming, boating, and scuba diving.

Conclusion on towns near Glacier National Park

Whether you are looking for secluded nature, luxurious spas, or urban adventures, there are plenty of options for visiting towns near Glacier National Park. Why not take some extra time to explore the areas around the park? To sum up, all 5 towns are a great opportunity to learn about the history of the land and experience a new culture. No matter which town suits your style, you’ll be happy you made the time to visit!

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