This post will end our time in Glacier National Park.
Read Day 1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 here, Day 5 here ,Day 6 here & Day 7 here- Read my post on 101 Things to Do Outside of the Park, here – and to read my posts from last year on the West side of the park, click here.
We arrived to Glacier on Sept. 4th and left on Sept. 11th.
Click here for a guide on visiting Glacier in September
I personally wouldn’t want to visit any later than this because most of the hotels start closing after Labor Day.
Click here for the operating hours & seasons in Glacier
It’s much more convenient to stay inside the park as Glacier is very popular and the lines to get into the park can get very long….and they even start turning people away when it gets too full!!
Apgar Village is the first area that you will come to after entering the park from the West Entrance & the Rising Sun Motor Inn is the first hotel you come to when entering the park from the East Entrance.
There are 7 entrances to the park but only 3 of those give you access to the Going to the Sun Road….click here to read about the different entrances.
So, I highly recommend you try and split your time between these two hotels. You will also have access to the Sun Rd by staying at those two hotels.
Tip: The Sun Rd usually opens late June to early July and closes around mid October.
The Lake McDonald Lodge & the Apgar Village Lodge & Cabins will also give you access to the Sun Rd. Apgar Village Lodge is not the same property as the Apgar Village Inn.
The Motel Lake McDonald will also give you access to the Sun Rd.
Tip: Your reservations at these hotels will only give you access to the Sun Rd for the days you are staying inside the park. Be prepared to show proof of your hotel reservations at the entrance gate.
Click here to read about the parks entrance fees
The Many Glacier & Two Medicine areas are located outside of the park but the areas are still part of Glacier National Park. These two areas do not require reservations to enter.
Tip: You can enter the park before 6 am or after 5 pm without a reservation because the entrance gates aren’t manned until 6 am and the employees leave at 5 pm.
As I’ve mentioned before, if you can’t get a hotel reservation inside the park or a Sun Rd reservation, you can book a boat tour of Lake McDonald or St Mary Lake to gain access to the Sun Rd.
You don’t necessarily have to go on the boat tour if you don’t want to…the reservation just allows you to enter the park the day of your reservation to be able to gain access to the Going to the Sun Rd.
You can also book horseback riding tours, hiking tours & a Red Bus tour to gain access…again, you don’t have to take the tour.…your tour reservation just allows you to enter the park for that day .
So, technically you could book multiple tours to gain access to the Sun Rd for multiple days in a row.
If you have 7 nights in the park, I would suggest staying 2 nights at Apgar, 2 nights at Rising Sun & 3 nights at Many Glacier.
So getting back to our last day, our flight out of Missoula was departing at 1:30 pm and the airport was 2 1/2 hrs from our hotel. So, we checked out of the Apgar Village Inn around 8:30 am.
Before checking out, we had breakfast outside of our room so we could enjoy those gorgeous views of Lake McDonald.
Sadly, the views were once again obscured by the smoke.
As I mentioned, we left the park on Sept. 11th which was the 20 yr anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the US.
On the way to the airport, we passed several memorials and several fire depts that had firemen standing outside holding American Flags.
It was a sad remembrance of what happened on that day but it was also nice to see so many that were honoring this day.
Driving alongside Flathead Lake
Remnants of the recent Boulder fire that happened around the lake in Aug….the fire destroyed more than 15 homes.
This fireplace was all that was left from this home that was destroyed by the fire.
We decided to make a quick stop at the St. Ignatius Mission church since we were unable to go inside the first time we visited.
The church was built in the early 1890’s and sits on the Flathead Indian Reservation.
Shots of the outside…
This Catholic Church is unique because its walls and ceilings have 58 original paintings that were done by Brother Joseph Carignano.
Brother Joseph Carignano served the mission as a cook and handyman and had no formal training in art.
Read more here
When we visited, they were doing repairs to the church..
The paintings are absolutely incredible and I highly recommend a stop here if you fly into Missoula! The church is located 2 hrs from Apgar Village Inn.
The inside of the church had beautiful stained glassed windows.
There’s also a museum and gift shop that displays Mission and Indian artifacts next to the church as well as a log home that was the original Sisters’ residence when they first arrived.
After leaving here, we continued our drive to the airport.
Once we arrived, we returned our rental car & headed inside to check in.
An old military plane sitting at the entrance of the airport.
The airport is very small!
After getting checked in & waiting on our flight that was late, we headed to board the plane.
We had to walk outside & board a shuttle that took us to our plane.
Shots from the plane
After a short layover in Dallas, we boarded our next flight to Nashville.
Our flight landed around 9 pm
Once we landed, we texted the off site parking service that we use to come pick us up.
After a very long day, we arrived home & headed straight to bed!
Thanks for reading & I hope this helps you plan your own trip to the amazing Glacier National Park!
Read Day 1 here, Day 2 here, Day 3 here, Day 4 here, Day 5 here, Day 6 here, Day 7 here & my post on 101 Things to do Outside of Glacier, here.
Read my posts on the West side of the park here, here, here, here, here & here.