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Discovering Natural Wonders: Road Trip from Helena MT to Glacier National Park and Coeur D' Alene

We arrived at the Helena North KOA in Helena, MT on July 3rd for 7 nights. During our stay, we went on The Gates of the Mountain boat tour. In 1805, the Lewis and Clark expedition passed through this area of the river and named it The Gates of the Mountains due to towering limestone cliffs that rise dramatically from the water, creating a breathtaking canyon-like setting. The cliffs are marked with unique rock formations and provide a majestic backdrop for the flowing river. As you cruise through this picturesque landscape, you'll feel like you're entering a hidden gateway, hence the name. We were also lucky enough to spot a few bald eagles.

Gates of the Mountain boat tour.


We discovered another hot springs while in the area, and since we enjoyed Bozeman Hot Springs so much, we decided to spend a few hours at nearby Broadwater Hot Springs. We enjoyed a relaxing day in Helena's only geothermal mineral hot springs.

Broadwater Hot Springs


We went hiking on the Mount Ascension Trail Head on the outskirts of Helena. It was a beautiful day for a hike, and the views at the summit were amazing.

Mount Ascension Trail

 

We arrived at St. Mary's E. Glacier KOA in St. Mary, MT on July 10th for a 9-night stay. Having seen the spectacular photos of Glacier National Park, a visit had been on my bucket list for a long time. All I can say is the pictures do not do this park justice. It has now earned the spot at the top of the list of my most favorite visited national parks.

View from the RV Park


I had scheduled a 6-hour Red Bus Tour for the day after we arrived so that we could get a good feel for the park. Unfortunately, the weather didn't cooperate during the first part of the tour, so we weren't able to take the top off the 1930s vintage bus. The clouds parted and the sun came out during the end of the day enabling us to enjoy the views with the top off. The narration our driver provided was a great way to learn about the history and landmarks in the park. We were also lucky enough to spot some Big Horned sheep during our ride.

Red Bus Tour


We spent the rest of our time exploring and hiking around this huge park. Myah wasn't allowed on the trails, so she needed to stay behind. We hiked the breathtaking Avalanche Lake trail one day and were blown away by the views.

Avalanche Lake Hike


Our favorite and most difficult hike was the Grinnell Glacier trail. This 10.6 mile hike with a 1600' elevation gain is considered strenuous. It is a difficult hike, but you are rewarded with stunning views along the way. The trail takes you through a diverse landscape from dense forests to alpine meadows dotted with wildflowers. Two miles into the hike, we caught a glimpse of the turquoise water of Lake Josephine in the valley below us. The color of the lake is hard to describe. It was truly an amazing sight! A few miles later, we spotted Grinnell Lake which was equally as beautiful as Lake Josephine. At the end of the hike, we reached the Grinnell Glacier. Like many glaciers, Grinnell Glacier is a remnant of the ice age. It formed around 1850 and was much larger in the past. Over the years, it has experienced significant retreat due to climate changes. Its unique blue color comes from the densely packed ice crystals that absorb all colors of the spectrum except blue. We felt fortunate to have been able to see a glacier up close and personal.

Grinnell Glacier Trail


More hikes, wildlife and waterfalls in Glacier.


We ended our visit to Glacier by visiting the neighboring Canadian "sister" park, Waterton Lakes National Park. Dogs are welcome on the trails in this park. Myah was happy to be able to tag along and enjoyed hiking a few scenic trails with us!

Waterton Lakes National Park


We had a wonderful time in the Glacier area. We felt so fortunate to have been able to witness this spectacular place in person. It is one of those special places you remember for a lifetime.

 

On July 19th, we stopped in Ronan, MT for a quick 2-night stay at Diamond S Park & Campground.


On July 22nd, we arrived at Coeur D'Alene RV Resort in Post Falls, ID for a 4-night stay. Coeur D'Alene is known for its stunning natural surroundings. We enjoyed walks along the waterfront during our stay. We also went for a day trip to nearby Spokane, WA and visited the beautiful Manito Park and gardens.

Coeur D'Alene and Spokane


Thanks for continuing to follow our journey. Our Pacific Northwest trip continues...

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