Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

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Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby The Other Tom » Sat Mar 03, 2018 8:54 am

We will be visiting June 14-16, staying in Browning (at least that's the plan for now).
I realize weather, road conditions, etc are hard to predict this far out, but I assume Going to the Sun road will not be fully open then.
I'm looking for things to do on the east side. Any tips would be appreciated.
Also, if it makes more sense to stay on the west side, I suppose we could change our plans and do that. Comments?
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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby PeteE » Sat Mar 03, 2018 10:10 am

The Other Tom wrote:We will be visiting June 14-16, staying in Browning (at least that's the plan for now).

I would look for a place to stay in St Mary or Babb/Many Glacier.
Browning is a lot farther than it looks on a map from anything to do in Glacier Park.
And I would book it ASAP. The park has had record breaking crowds the last two years.


I realize weather, road conditions, etc are hard to predict this far out, but I assume Going to the Sun road will not be fully open then.

Yeah, it's too early to call some things but bear in mind that the East side had a record February snow fall--over 6 feet.
And the snow keeps on coming. I'm sure they got a dump last night on the East side.
The park will look spectacular this June. I still believe the Sun Road might be open to Jackson Overlook by mid June---that's a guess on my part.
The East side Sun road up to Jackson Overlook is a little easier to clear for the most part.


I'm looking for things to do on the east side. Any tips would be appreciated.

I like hiking in the St Mary Valley early in the season, and that's where I plan to be come this June.
The 2015 Reynolds fire opened up the St Mary valley nicely. The flowers could be really great depending on how the melt out goes.
I'm also planning on doing out and back up the Baring Creek drainage--parking at Sunrift Gorge. The burn opened that area up too.
Great snowy mountain scenery, views of Sexton glacier, and flowers up there will be good, again depending on melt out.
Many Glacier should have some good hiking as well. Iceberg Lake might be open. Apikuni Falls should be doable.
Cracker Lake might be open too.
Out and backs up the Grinnell Glacier and Swiftcurrent pass trail will be ok---up to a point.
None of the passes will be open though.


Also, if it makes more sense to stay on the west side, I suppose we could change our plans and do that. Comments?
I would stay on the East side. More places to go, hike, and see. I would not stay in Browning or East Glacier. You'll spend all your time driving. Plus there won't be much to do in the Two Medicine area anyway. Two Med is buried.


That's my 2 cents worth.

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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby The Other Tom » Sun Mar 04, 2018 6:43 am

Thanks Pete! That's certainly more than 2 cents :)
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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby llholmes1948 » Sun Mar 04, 2018 11:19 am

Tom,

It is a bit dated but you can always check out my trip report from early June 2007 which may give you somewhat of an idea of what to do and expect:

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=1182

What the conditions will be during your visit will be pretty dependent on the snowpack and the weather. Suggest you check at one of the Visitors Centers for current information on trails when you are there.

I would recommend staying at East Glacier, St. Mary, Babb or Many Glacier. On the west side I would recommend Avalanche Lake and Apgar Lookout, depending on the snow on the latter trail.

We enjoyed the Iceberg Lake trail even though we were not able to reach the lake. We also enjoyed the trails at Two Medicine. No snow cover there at lower elevations at that time. Recommend packing some raingear and some waterproof boots as you may encounter some water on trails.

Even though we were only able to do "unexciting" low elevation trails we had a great time - waterfalls and creeks were blasting away and wildlife sightings were superb (better than on our summer visits). There were also few other people on the trails we hiked. On the south shore trail at Two Medicine we had the entire trail to ourselves. Some of the wildflowers seen in early June are not seen later in the summer.

Hope you have a great time and will post a report of your visit.

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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby The Other Tom » Mon Mar 05, 2018 9:42 am

Thanks Lyman. Good info.
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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby PeteE » Tue Mar 06, 2018 1:40 am

Hey Tom:

I'm giving this advice because you have just a 3 day stay.
The St Mary area would be my choice in your shoes---and you're a hiker, even a casual one.
If you are mainly going to drive around and just do short(ish) walks. It doesn't matter as much where you stay---in my view.

There will almost certainly be some good hiking in spite of the big snow year we're having.
And good flowers too if that interests you.

St Mary has more available places to stay, especially more reasonably priced.
The ideal place in my opinion would be all three nights? at The Rising Sun Motor Inn at Rising Sun.
That's in the park. Beautiful place to stay. Nice walking in the immediate area.
Shuttle stop. Convenient to drive to any trail head on the Sun Road.
About 40 minute drive to Swiftcurrent/many Glacier for trail heads there.
I like the breakfast at Rising Sun too.

Highly unlikely you can get 3 nights anywhere in the park at this time.
Outside the park I would suggest Johnson's Motel in St Mary.
I stay at Johnson's a lot tent camping.
It's just outside the park. Modest rooms but clean. Good food too. Home cooked type fare.
I and friends eat there a lot :)

Staying in East Glacier would be my last choice. It's just too remote for any good hiking.
And stay in Browning as a last resort.
Browning is just depressing in my opinion. Small town with more than its share of poverty.
If you have to stay there, stay in that big hotel/casino on the outskirts of Browning where US 89 and US 2 meet.

There's great hiking in Many Glacier too depending on the melt out.
Iceberg Lake will almost certainly be 90% covered mid June this year.
The trail might be ok by then. There will be a lot of snow to cross, including a couplesteep snowfields.

You might want to have traction aids with you like "MicroSpikes".
That would depend on how comfortable you are crossing old snow fields and/or snowy patches on trails that might remain in some areas.

It's really an incredible hike early.
Cracker Lake might be doable too. Beautiful destination with Mt Siyeh's 4000ft vertical North Face looming over Cracker Lake.
Parts of both Swiftcurrent Pass and Grinnell Glacier trails will be OK.
Apikuni Falls will be doable--and ALL the falls will be going great guns!!

So if Many Glacier isn't your thing. do the St Mary/Virginia Falls trail. Much easier going.
And I'm personally looking forward to hiking that area around mid June. The 2015 Reynolds burn has made that area gorgeous with flowers.
Easy hiking between the Sun Road and St Mary lake. Parking area at Sun Point, Sunrift Gorge, and St mary?Virginia Falls.
Shuttle stops as well.
And on the north side of the road/parking area at Sunrift Gorge is one end of the Siyeh Pass trail.
The trail goes up the Baring Creek drainage. Terrific views of the surrounding mountains and Sexton Glacier--Goat Mt on the right, Going To The Sun Mt and Matahpi on the left.

You can do both the St Mary/Virginia Falls hike as well as the Baring Creek hike by parking at Sunrift Gorge.
Spend day 2 at Many Glacier, or vice versa.
You'll see some of Glacier's best country and it'll be gorgeous with the remaining snow.
More if things get that far

cheers

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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby The Other Tom » Tue Mar 06, 2018 8:33 am

Thanks again, Pete. Good recommendations on places to stay.
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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby brindledog » Wed Mar 07, 2018 10:48 am

Pete's advice is spot-on. The good news is this: No bad rooms, no bad hikes, no bad views. So no matter what you do or where you go, you will be "wowed." AND, if you can't quite get where you want to go, all the more reason to come back!

Have fun!
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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby daschmit » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:10 pm

Pete, are the rates charged and services provided by Johnson’s comparable to, or superior than, those provided by the St. Mary KOA (https://koa.com/campgrounds/st-mary/)?
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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby PeteE » Wed Mar 07, 2018 12:39 pm

daschmit wrote:Pete, are the rates charged and services provided by Johnson’s comparable to, or superior than, those provided by the St. Mary KOA (https://koa.com/campgrounds/st-mary/)?


I would say no.
KOA is much nicer and has better services and amenities.
It`s also more expensive.
Johnson`s is pretty basic. Just a place to sleep and maybe eat.They do have a laundry and showers though.

I`ve tent camped at both KOA and Johnson's , but never stayed in rooms or cabins at either.

I may be a bad person to ask about accomdations since I'm pretty much a "tent camper".
I just want a place to sleep and take a shower. 8)

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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby daschmit » Wed Mar 07, 2018 1:17 pm

Conversely, I have stayed at the St. Mary KOA, and have used both tent sites and camper cabins, but never Johnson’s. During my first trip to Glacier in 1976, tent sites cost only $3.00 per night at the KOA and gas was roughly 56-64 cents a gallon. Since I was there in late September and October, many NPS and NFS campgrounds were then free, given the fact that collection stations were closed for the season. ‘tis just a smidgen more expensive these days, to say nothing about the vastly higher rates of visitation, let alone the lottery format for backcountry permits.
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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby llholmes1948 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 12:35 pm

Tom,

One of things that I think is good to do in Glacier in early June is to just drive around the Park to the extent that the roads are open. It is nice to take a drive in the evening to check out the scenery and it is a good time to spot some wildlife. Evening traffic at least in early June of 2007 was extremely light.

It is also nice to take a drive on U.S. 2. The goat lick at Essex can be a great place and the Silver Stairs waterfall just east of there will probably be at full blast. On the evening that we were at the goat lick, goats were everywhere, on ledges above the highway, on the highway (and unfortunately posing a risk to themselves and to traffic) and below the highway. They evidently had decided to forgo the wildlife underpass that day and do their own thing.

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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby The Other Tom » Sun Mar 18, 2018 6:28 pm

Thanks, Lyman
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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby Sue Z » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:08 pm

llholmes1948 wrote: The goat lick at Essex can be a great place

Lyman

Goat lick? How have I not heard of this before? Thanks, Lyman!
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Re: Trip June 14-16 2018 ?

Postby llholmes1948 » Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:13 am

Sue Z wrote:
llholmes1948 wrote: The goat lick at Essex can be a great place

Lyman

Goat lick? How have I not heard of this before? Thanks, Lyman!


Sue,

There used to be a brochure online about the Goat Lick but I can't find it at the moment. There is a parking lot and an accessible paved walkway to a viewing platform a few miles east of Essex on U.S. 2 and it is well marked wth signs. In the 1970s it was just a gravel pull-off on the highway.

I don't want to exaggerate the chances of seeing goats there and when you do see them they are usually at a considerable distance. Binoculars are highly recommended. We have stopped at the goat lick many times and in the majority of those times there are no goats present or visible. Our drive through the area in June 2007 was the only time we have actually seen goats on or near the road and that was early evening. Usually you are viewing them on some cliffs across the Middle Fork so they are by no means as close as you normally see them on trails in Glacier. There are mineral salt licks in the steep cliffs above the Middle fork. Some goats come from the Park on the north side of the highway and are supposed to go through a fenced wildlife corridor under the highway in order the reach the salt licks. Other goats come from the national forest south of the river. Sometimes goats can be seen resting in the trees above the cliffs.

I wouldn't recommend driving a long distance to see the goat lick because there may be no goats there but it is usually worth a stop if you are driving by and not a bad drive if you are in the East Glacier area.

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