When visiting Glacier National Park, it’s always difficult to determine which side of Glacier Park to stay on, west or east. Each region of Glacier Park is unique and there is plenty of activities on both sides to provide you with something to do for many days. This article will cover some of the sights and activities on each side of the Park giving you a comparison of Glacier National Park’s West Side versus East Side.
Glacier National Park is over 1 million acres therefore traveling from one side to the other side can take anywhere from 1 hour up to 3½ hours. If you’re looking at doing an all day activity, i.e. hiking 12 miles or more, you will want to either get a very early start to your day or stay relatively close to the activity location.
The easiest access to the two chalets in Glacier Park, Granite Park Chalet and Sperry Chalet, comes from this section of the Sun Road. Plus you’ll have more choices for a horseback ride in Glacier Park on this West Side section of the Sun Road to include an all day horseback trip to Sperry Chalet.
The most remote region of Glacier Park accessible by vehicle is on the West Side – about an hours drive from Smoky Bear Ranch. This region contains two gorgeous glacial finger lakes – Bowman Lake and Kintla Lake. While driving to this region, you’ll get views of several of the glaciers located in the Livingston Range in Glacier Park.
If you’re looking for activities other than those in Glacier Park, you’ll find those activities on the West Side. All of the land outside Glacier Park on the West Side is either privately owned or Flathead National Forest Service land. This has encouraged development of many types of exciting activities.Flathead National Forest, there are many challenging and scenic hikes. You can visit some very pretty, pristine mountain lakes and have them all to yourself. Hungry Horse Dam, a 564 foot high dam and the first dam on the Columbia River system, is easily accessed on this side. Access to the Bob Marshall Wilderness, where you can really escape civilization, is on the West Side. And the Jewel Basin Hiking Area, a very rugged mountainous region, is located in the Flathead National Forest. Or you can drive to the top of Desert Mountain and obtain stunning views of Lake McDonald, the North Fork River drainage, and the Flathead Valley area.
Other exciting activities offered on the West Side include waterslides, go carts, bumper boats, zip lines, a human maze, and more. You will find something fun for every member of the family on the West Side.
All of the land outside of Glacier Park on the East Side is the Blackfoot Indian Reservation. This tribe has not always invited or encouraged the private development of activities so one of the few activities outside the Park on the East Side is a golf course in East Glacier.
West Side Versus East Side (Summary)
When traveling to a place you’re unfamiliar with, it’s hard to know the layout of that area. We chose to live and develop our lodging facility on the West Side versus East Side of Glacier National Park to provide a quiet, pristine environment for guests but still be close to enjoy the activities this beautiful area has to offer. If you’re looking for a variety of activities for family members of all ages, the West Side of Glacier Park will provide that for you.