Since Montana is home to Glacier National Park and parts of Yellowstone, it’s a beautiful state and one of the top-visited in the US. The truly awesome recreation Montana has to offer is in between those parks. Horseback riding, fly fishing, ATV excursions, sporting clays, hiking, fine dining are some of the most popular. We have put together Montana’s Best Road Trip from Yellowstone to Glacier
Download Roadtrip Itinerary from Yellowstone to Glacier
Where to stay between the two parks
The Ranches at Belt Creek is located equidistant between the two national parks and is the perfect place to stay on a road trip. After spending a couple of days in Yellowstone National Park exit the park at the North entrance, Gardiner. Continue on US HWY 89 for 3.5 hours. Arrive at the Ranches at Belt Creek. You will need at least three days here to explore the area, enjoy the outdoor recreations, and fine dining. Your Luxury Accommodations will not disappoint. When you are ready to leave, continue North on US HWY 89 for 3.5 hours till you arrive at the East entrance of Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is located in northwest Montana and borders Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park. Together, they comprise the world’s first international peace park. This park is known for its snowcapped mountains, alpine meadows, and numerous lakes. It was once home to 150 glaciers; though today there are less than 25.
Glacier National Park spans more than 1 million acres and has over 700 miles of hiking trails. You could easily spend months trekking around and never see the same thing twice. It’s an outdoor adventure paradise.
While hiking is the most popular activity, you can view the diverse wildlife with nearly any form of transportation. Auto tours, horseback riding, rafting, and cross country skiing are all beloved ways to take in the scenery. You’d be hard-pressed to get a bad view at this park because every angle is photogenic.
Because Glacier National Park is so large, most visitors plan to spend at least 3-4 days in the area. We highly recommend camping if you can handle the elements. If not, grab a hotel on the east side of the park so you can wake up to an unforgettable sunrise. Or choose a hotel on the West side of the park for the nicest accommodations.
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park is the flagship of the National Park Service and a favorite to millions of visitors each year. By driving the grand loop road, visitors can view the park from the comfort of their vehicle and also take a rest at one of the many roadside picnic areas. For the active visitor, the park has thousands of miles of trails from day hikes to backcountry explorations. The main attractions are all located on the grand loop road and here are some of the top reasons to visit the park. Come to Yellowstone to see grizzly and black bears, thousands of wild bison, packs of wolves, giant waterfalls, and the largest concentration of active geysers on Earth.
Yellowstone’s five entrance gates make it accessible from all directions. The popular Yellowstone gateway towns of Jackson Hole and Cody in Wyoming, plus West Yellowstone, Silver Gate/Cooke City and Gardiner in Montana, are the closest towns to Yellowstone and have many hotels, resorts, and camping areas.
Some fun Yellowstone facts:
- World’s First National Park
- 2,219,789 acres (Larger than Rhode Island and Delaware combined)
- 7 species of ungulates (bison, moose, elk, pronghorn), 2 species of bear and 67 other mammals, 322 species of birds, 16 species of fish and of course the gray wolf.
- There are over 1,100 species of native plants, more than 200 species of exotic plants and over 400 species of thermophiles.
- The park is home to one of the world’s largest calderas with over 10,000 thermal features and more than 300 geysers. It has one of the world’s largest petrified forests. It has over 290 waterfalls with the 308′ Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River as it’s showpiece.
- Yellowstone Lake is the largest (132 sq. mi.) high altitude (7,732′) lake in north america.
We have compiled the top questions and their answers we get from guests planning a “Park to Park” Road Trip.
How long does it take to drive from Yellowstone to Glacier?
The driving distance between Glacier National Park to Yellowstone National Park is 441 miles. It takes approximately 7h 59m to drive from Glacier National Park to Yellowstone National Park.
How many days do you need in Glacier National Park?
Ideally, plan on spending at least two to three days in Glacier National Park. This gives you enough time to drive Going-to-the-Sun Road, hike one or two trails, and visit the Many Glacier or Two Medicine areas.
Which is better Yellowstone or Glacier?
Glacier is much more rugged than Yellowstone. Hiking will demand much more physical ability and skill. The whole park is much higher than Yellowstone, so animals and plant life will be quite a bit different than what you find in Yellowstone. That is, if you want to see bison, you’d better head for Yellowstone.
What’s the best time to visit Glacier National Park?
The best time to visit Glacier National Park is in July and August. This is the peak season for visitors, with daytime temperatures averaging in the 70s and cool nights that can drop into the 40s (pack layers, as well as a good rain jacket).
Can you see the northern lights in Glacier National Park?
You can see aurora borealis any time of year in Glacier National Park, of course. … The foot of Lake McDonald, near Apgar, is a great spot to watch for northern lights in the spring.
How many days do you need in Yellowstone?
Ideally, you need at least three or four days to visit Yellowstone National Park. However, if you are short on time, you can get to the main highlights, even if you just have a day or two.
What are the best things to do in Glacier National Park
#1. Apgar Nature Center
#2. Lake McDonald
#3. Trail of the Cedars
#4. Going-to-the-Sun Road
#5. Logan Pass
#6. Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park
#7. Iceberg Lake Trail
#8. Glacier Park Boat Company Tours
Which side of Glacier National Park is better?
If you’re looking for activities other than hiking, you’ll find many on the Westside.
What do I need to know before going to Glacier National Park?
The natural wonders are plentiful and magical.
Climate change is rapidly affecting the landscape.
The main road may be closed until July.
Wildlife is everywhere.
Water is the number one cause of fatalities.
There is a wide range of hiking trails with varying difficulties.
Accommodations range from campsites to pricey hotels.
Several national park sites are within a day’s drive of Yellowstone including Grand Teton, Glacier, Devils Tower, Wind Cave, Mount Rushmore, Badlands and more.