As we drove into Montana, we were greeted with a magnificent sunset 🌅 and right away, I could tell we were going to have an amazing time! Dylan and I had plans to spend a couple weeks in that state. We were going to visit one of my best friends and travel with her from Glacier National Park to Bozeman.
Over the course of a couple weeks we went on numerous trails, saw incredible skies, and went on fun adventures 🤩. There is no better place to spend a summer than in the heart of Big Sky country. They really know how to have the best time. Read below to find out what we did in Montana!
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Table of Contents
Glacier National Park to Bozeman
Coeur d’Alene Idaho
Dylan and I drove out of Washington and into one of our favorite states: Idaho! We have spent many summers in Sun Valley, but now we had the opportunity to check out the Northern panhandle area. Unfortunately, we only had a day to hang in this stunning city.
As soon as we were done with work we went directly to the park that sits on Lake Coeur d’Alene. McEuen Park 🌳 has tennis courts, a playground, a water playing area, ample lawn space, the marina, and access to Tubbs Hill. It’s an amazing park to spend time at and enjoy the scenery. Dylan and I played tennis and then we went to Tubbs Hill where we cliff jumped into the lake below. It was seriously one of the most fun afternoons we have had so far!
Glacier National Park
After cliff jumping, we drove directly to Montana. Along the way we were met with a beautiful 10 pm sunset 🌅, which is definitely something I can get behind. We were going to meet one of my best friends, Emily, and her boyfriend to go camping outside of Glacier National Park NP #41.
Day 1 Glacier National Park
Unfortunately, we didn’t get reservations to drive the major road through the park: Going to the Sun Road. So we had to make our plans around it. First, we drove all the way to the Many Glacier area of the park to take on a large hike.
We did the Iceberg Lake trail, which is 9 miles long and winds its way through the mountains to a stunning alpine lake. There were amazing wildflowers, great panoramic views, and it was a fairly flat trail. However, we wound up seeing three different grizzly bears on the trail! One of them got way too close for comfort, but luckily we were unharmed and had a good story to tell.
The park opens the Going to the Sun Road at 4 pm, so when we were done hiking we drove there. We drove about 2 hours back to Kalispell area to grab food. We got yummy sushi 🍣 and ice cream 🍦 before calling it a night.
Day 2 Glacier National Park
In the morning, we woke up and drove to Whitefish to paddle 🚣♀️ on the lake before heading back into the park. The lake was beautiful and pristine. It was a great way to spend a few hours on a summers day and it convinced Dylan and I that we need to get an inflatable paddleboard for ourselves.
Once the clock struck 4, we went directly into the park. We drove the Going to the Sun Road, spent time skipping rocks at Lake Macdonald and then drove to Avalanche Campground. From there, we did the trail to Avalanche hike. I had fairly low expectations, but I was simply blown away 🤯.
This lake was a crazy aqua color and four waterfalls streamed down the mountains behind. Plus, on the way back we were able to see a black bear 🐻 in the river! It was such an incredible sighting and a great last day in Glacier. That night, we grabbed food at the saloon because it was the only thing open, before we hit the hay.
Our original plan was to go straight from Glacier National Park to Bozeman, but we took some detours. Dylan and I drove to the shores of Flathead Lake to go swimming 👙. This is one of the clearest large lakes in the entire world! We went to the Wayfarers state park in order to gain access and go cliff jumping into the cool water below. If we had more time, I would have stayed there for hours. Unfortunately, we had to keep moving.
Dylan and I drove to the beautiful capital of Montana: Helena. We immediately drove into the depths of the Helena National Forest to camp ⛺️. We got to a beautiful spot overlooking the mountains and managed to see a beautiful sunset before resting.
That next morning we went to the spacious Lewis and Clark Library 📚 to get some work done. We love working in libraries, because it helps us focus. After working, we drove to the base of the mountains to go on the famous 1906 Trail. This trail climbs steeply up the mountain until you get 360 degree views all around Helena. It’s one of the most popular and best trails in the area.
After grabbing a quick shower at Planet Fitness, we continued our drive towards Bozeman. Along the way we saw a huge supermoon 🌕 and a fantastic sunset. It was magical!
We stayed at Emily’s place for a couple weeks to rest, hang with her, and let Dylan fly to a bachelor party. It was wonderful spending quality time with one of my best friends. The year in the van has given us the opportunity to see friends that we usually don’t get to see often.
When Dylan flew out of town, Emily, Andrew, and I went camping in Montana ⛺️. We drove to a spot an hour and a half away called Sureshot Lake. We drove up a few sketchy roads through the mountains, but finally we arrived. As soon as I walked up to the lake, I was in heaven.
There were only a couple other people there when we arrived, but within an hour everyone else left. The three of us set up the tent right next to the lake. It was a magical spot and a magical night of camping. We spent the next day paddling on the lake, sitting by the campfire, and watching the stars. I was in pure bliss 😌.
Fairy Lake and the “M”
When we got back to Bozeman, we spent most of our time working. However, Emily and I decided to take a morning off to go on some Bozeman area adventures. First, we drove up to the incredible Fairy Lake. It was an incredible crisp blue color and there was even a great rope swing. It was still a bit too cold for us to swim, so I’ll have to go back.
Then, after our adventure to the lake we drove back to Bozeman to complete the most iconic hike 🥾. The College “M” trail is one of the most popular in the area. The letter M is emblazoned on the mountain that oversees the city. People brave the steep climb to say they made it to the M and get fantastic views. It was a steep, short hike, with incredible payoffs.
Another night after work, the four of us went floating on the river. We went to Walmart and got a couple of inner tubes. Then, we drove to the Madison river, with our floats, snacks, and drinks in tow. We spent the evening floating down the river and marveling at the beautiful landscape ⛰. It was so fun to just hang, laugh, and admire the scenery. We got to the end right as the sun set. It was a magical experience.
On our last adventure in Bozeman, we went to the popular Hyalite Reservoir area. This area has amazing campsites, trails, and a huge reservoir. People from Bozeman come here to spend time outdoors doing various adventures. The three of us went paddle boarding on the water. Although it was windy, it was a wonderful time.
Overall, I had the best time seeing my best friend 👯♀️ and traveling with her from Glacier National Park to Bozeman. We saw multiple magnificent sunsets, shared many laughs, and went on incredible adventures. It was an incredible two weeks, but we had to keep moving.
Where We Stayed:
- Hipcamp in Glacier
- Helena National Forest (46.55405, -112.45356)
- Sureshot lake (45.54420, -111.900360),
- My best friend’s driveway in Bozeman
Let me know in the comments if you enjoyed this van chronicle!
📌 Pin Van Chronicles #20: Glacier National Park to Bozeman