Round Trip Washington to Montana Roadtrip Featuring Glacier National Park

Freedom. It’s the feeling of the open road, leaving everything behind. It’s the rush that comes with a full tank of fuel and a large cardboard cup of gas station coffee. It begins by being with the ones you love as presently as possible, inviting a new reality as each second passes.

For my husband, Luke and I, it began as we left behind our hometown in Central Washington to explore Montana. We were celebrating one year of marriage, over 7 years of being together, and a million memories in between. Considering that mountain-loving Washingtonians tend to venture East twoards Glacier, I thought I would share our itinerary for anyone looking to recreate our 5 day loop.

Glacier was a place where we could be whoever we wanted to. A space where we could sing out loud, soak in every moment, and find true togetherness. Views flew by so fast we closed our eyes to imprint the memories, yet hours on the trail passed slowly as mountain time does, seemingly stopping the turn of the earth like a hand on a globe.

Our last couple of days was spent in pure relaxation, settling into mineral hot springs that soaked our tired legs and filled our spirits once again. The thing about being together for days on end with no service or connection to the outside world, is that it removes the elements that unknowingly fog our vision. Together, discovered another summit of clarity and connectedness that we promised to continue through our marriage.

Full Itinerary: 

Day 1 Friday, July 17: 

3pm: Drive to Sandpoint, ID (4 hr)

7pm: Camp at Beauty Creek or Bell Bay near Coeur d’Alene (We chose Beauty Creek)

Day 2 Saturday, July 18: 

7: Drive to Leigh Lake (3 hr)

10: Hike Leigh Lake 

12: Get lunch in Libby

1: Drive to Whitefish/ Kalispell area in MT (2 hr)

3: Get gas/ snacks/ walk around

Check into 20’ yurt 4pm-10pm

Day 3 Sunday July 19: 

Check out of Yurt

6: Head into park, and drive Going to the sun road (we will pass Lake McDonald Lodge and come back to it)

8: Hidden Lake Trail (Hike)

12: Paddleboard at Lake McDonald

2: Logan Pass Visitor Center

Check in at Lake McDonald Lodge @ 4pm

Day 4 Monday July 20: 

7: Hike Avalanche Lake (3 hrs)

10: Go back to hotel, check out by 11am

11: Drive to Flathead Lake (1 hr)

12: Get lunch on the lake 

1: Drive to Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort and check in (1 hr)

2: Check in and go in pools

Spend all day soaking in relaxation

Day 5 Tuesday July 21: Drive home (4 hr 30 min)

11: Check out

12: Stay in pools till 1

1: Depart

6: Get back to Washington

Freedom. It’s having a lifetime of jam packed experiences rather than wondering where the time went. It begins by being with the ones you love as presently as possible, and ends together, sitting in rocking chairs when our bones are weak, reminiscing on when our muscles pushed us up grand mountains.

Let me know what your plans look like!

Take care,
Madison Ford

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