We got super lucky with our camping spot in Rising Sun Campground. It had an amazing view, right by the bathrooms, water, bear boxes, and the only showers in the park which were located on the back side of the camp store right by us. However, we did have frequent bear sightings and a fire ban while we stayed. We saw no bears the whole time we were at the park!
Once we parked, we set everything up from the tents to the air mattresses. We quickly made some oatmeal and then headed out to explore the park. First, we went back out of the park and to the visitors center to grab some information on the park and of course to get a picture with the sign. Then we stopped to get our park pass which we got for free from a couple who were leaving the park a couple of days ahead of the expiration date. Both of our cars had passes and back into the park we went.
Driving on the Going To The Sun road is unreal. The views on this road are breathtaking and you have to experience them to really understand why! We had reached the top at Logan’s Pass where there’s a visitors center and two trails that feed off of it, Hidden Lake and The Highline Trail. Due to the ridiculous amount of cars in the parking lot, we decided to keep driving the road. The views only continued to get better further down the road.
We ended up stopping at the bottom of the road where people were standing around the water. We all walked down the water and found out that it was a swimming hole, a popular one. The water is incredibly clear, blue, and freezing of course. We walked around for a bit and the boys decided that they would come back later to swim. After we explored that area for a bit, we headed down the road further.
This led us to Lake McDonald. I remembered seeing this in my book from my college class! So I told them all that we HAD to stop and check it out. I’m so happy that I did because this lake was my favorite part of the park. The lake had the most perfect reflection of the mountains in the water. Along with all of the colorful rocks, the water was so clear! We stood in the ice cold water and took pictures to show how clear the water was.
After spending time at the lake, we decided to do a hike. We picked Avalanche Lake as our very first hike in the park. It’s a 4.6 mile round trip hike through the woods and the elevation gain is 500ft. This trail seems to go on forever but the view at the end is totally worth it. You end up at the bottom of the valley surrounded by trees and waterfalls. The lake is crystal clear and blue like pretty much all of the water in the park. We highly recommend going on the hike if you are in fairly good shape. We took lots of water and snacks of course to eat when we got to the lake and at the end of the hike.
We hiked out after spending some time at the lake. We stopped a few more times at random spots to get out and stretch due to the long way back up. At the top, we decided to stop and check out Logan’s Pass Visitors Center. It was still super crowded but we went inside to check it out. The center has lots of souvenir goodies and information about the park like the animals, trails, and camping information. Outside of the center is also super nice. We found out at the visitors center that there is a shuttle system that runs the road all day. We totally recommend using the shuttle system because trying to find parking is almost impossible unless you get up very early.
We drove back down to the campground to make dinner and shower. The camp store was really cool by us. Again, we stayed at Rising Sun Campground which has the only showers in the whole park, lucky us again! So we bought our tokens for the showers which gave us 8 minutes each with decently hot water. After our showers, we headed back to the campsite to eat dinner. Due to the fire ban going on in the park, we couldn’t have a fire at all so each night we went to bed early. It sucked not being able to have a fire but we were all truly exhausted from sleeping in the car the night before and the 3 hour time difference.
The next morning we woke up really early and made pancakes for breakfast. We decided to go out and conquer The Highline Trail. This day was about to get really interesting…