4 Must See Sights in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks this country has to offer. One trip to this amazing terrain and you will realize just how small you truly are on this planet. Glacier is home to over one million acres of glacier cut peaks, crystal clear mountain lakes, and an abundance of wildlife. Growing up in Montana Glacier quickly became an annual summer destination. Here are my 4 favorite can’t miss sights of Glacier National Park.

Going to the Sun Road

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Going to the sun road is the feature attraction of the whole park. Completed in 1932 going to the sun road is the only road that crosses the park and goes over the continental divide via Logan pass. Stretching over 50 miles from Lake McDonald on the west side of the park to Saint Mary lake, the road features steep drop offs, gorgeous waterfalls, and jagged snow capped peaks. For the best experience on this narrow winding road, drive a smaller vehicle with great visibility or take the vintage red bus tour. 

 

Hidden Lake

http://www.nrmsc.usgs.gov/repeatphoto/hiddenlake_b.htm

 

After taking the scenic drive up going to the sun to Logan Pass if you are anything like me you are ready for a hike. Lucky for you one of the most beautiful mountain lakes Glacier has to offer is only a five mile round trip hike from the Logan Pass visitor center. This is a well traveled path so expect some crowds. About half way through hiking you will reach a overlook to give you a awe inspiring view of Hidden Lake itself plus numerous mountain peaks including Bearhat Mountain. This hike also includes alpine meadows, nearly year round snow, and plenty of mountain goats. 

 

Avalanche Lake

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If you are looking for a great view near the Lake McDonald area Avalanche Lake has everything you are looking for: massive peaks, insane waterfalls, and the clearest water you will see. If you are nearing the end of your trip and have not found that one picture you are going to show all your friends and family this is it. Only a 4 mile round trip hike, this is a trail for the whole family. After reaching the mouth of Avalanche Lake and getting to take in the picturesque view you can either continue on the trail to the far side or dive into the ice cold glacial water for a swim.

 

Saint Mary Falls

https://www.hikinginglacier.com/glacier_photos/hidden_lake_saint_mary_falls/saint-mary-falls.jpg

Starting near Saint Mary Lake on the going to the sun road is a little over 3 mile round trip hike with multiple breathtaking waterfalls. At under a mile into the hike you come upon the first and best known waterfall on the trail, Saint Mary Falls. Saint Mary Falls consists of cold glacial runoff dropping 35 feet down just off the trail. Continue farther on the trail and you come to the next gorgeous waterfall, Virginia Falls. Virginia falls is larger and steeper then Saint Mary falls. The water drops 50 feet right before showering you with a nice cool mist. If getting up close and personal with waterfalls is your thing then this is a must see trail.

5 Best Things to Do in Missoula

Mount Sentinel

Nestled in the beautiful Rocky Mountains of Montana, Missoula is a hidden gem where urban lifestyle meets adventure. Completely surrounded by seven wilderness areas, this city is rich with culture and endless outdoor recreational activities. In no particular order, here are the 5 best things to do when visiting Missoula, MT.

 

#1 | FLOAT DOWN THE CLARK FORK RIVER

Clark Fork River Float
Clark Fork River

During the summer, floating down the Clark Fork River is one of the best ways to cool down and relax. Every day, hundreds of locals on tubes, paddleboards, and rafts pass through town enjoying the sunshine and clean air.

 

#2 | GRAB A DRINK AND PLAY SOME GAMES

Arcade at GILD Brewing
Arcade at GILD Brewing

GILD is a locally-owned brewpub that just so happens to have an awesome arcade in the basement. From pinball to board games, GILD has everything you need to start the night off right. Not to mention, they have some of the best-tasting beer and hard cider in town.

 

#3 | HIKE MOUNT SENTINEL

Mount Sentinel Trail
View on Mount Sentinel

Going for a hike on Mount Sentinel is a favorite for people visiting Missoula, and for good reason. As you gain elevation, you are able to see the entire city and the vast valley that lies below. In the distance, you can see the Rattlesnake Wilderness and Snowbowl Ski Area (shown above).

 

#4 | SHRED SOME POWDER AT SNOWBOWL

Montana Snowbowl
Montana Snowbowl

If you happen to visit Missoula in the winter, be sure to check out Snowbowl Ski Area. Conveniently located only 12 miles from Missoula, Snowbowl offers some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the West.

 

#5 | TRY YOUR LUCK AT FLY FISHING

Rainbow Trout
Rainbow Trout

It wouldn’t be a trip to Missoula without a fishing excursion in the mix. Missoula is world-renowned for its trout fishing streams, with a variety of different species to hook into. There is an impressive number of outfitters to choose from, so take your pick and get out there!

 

Things To Do in Spokane, Washington

If you are headed to Spokane for a weekend getaway or even just a quick day trip, there are many different activities to enjoy, places to eat, and views to take in. My name is Isabella Bradley, I am a senior at the University of Montana. In this blog post I will be sharing with you some of my favorite things to do in Spokane, where I was born & raised.

Kendall Yards

One of my favorite spots in Spokane is Kendall Yards, located closely to downtown! Kendall Yards is a modern neighborhood with a view of the river and downtown. There are many hip spots for food, beverages, dessert and more! In the summer, Kendall Yards hosts a night market filled with food trucks, art, produce, and live music every Wednesday night. One of my favorite parts about Kendall Yards is the paved trail that runs parallel to the river where you can walk, ride bikes, or grab a Lime Scooter to enjoy the view of the river and downtown.

Breakfast Poutine from the Yards Bruncheon, my favorite!
My friend Maddison & I enjoying coffee from Indaba Coffee and donuts from Hello Sugar

Green Bluff

Green Bluff is an association of small family farms and food stands. The activities change based on the season, but they range from pick-your-own fruit, pumpkin patches, and annual festivals. Green Bluff has a variety of breweries, places to dine, and other specialties.

My friends & I enjoying an elephant ear at the pumpkin patch! (aka my friends watching me enjoy an elephant ear)
Picking peaches, Summer 2019

Downtown Spokane

Downtown Spokane is a lively area filled with shopping, dining, Riverfront Park, pubs and clubs, hotels and more. Riverfront Park is home to the Looff Carousel, the Skate Ribbon, the Pavilion Light Show, and the SkyRide Gondola. Both the Carousel and Skate Ribbon were recently renovated, along with the majority of the park, causing them to become more of a staple to the downtown Spokane scene. The Pavilion Light Show was also recently welcomed to Riverfront Park, it is a free recurring weekly light show on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and is a must see on your visit to Spokane.

River Park Square, the downtown mall, is located just across the street from Riverfront Park. This mall has many stores including Nordstrom, Urban Outfitters, Sephora, Athleta, and an AMC Movie Theatre. On the same street, you can find more shopping that includes; Lululemon, Free People, Anthropologie, Nike, Apple, Carhartt, Lush, and more. A large amount of both my time and money have been spent downtown Spokane, with thanks to the wide variety of shopping and entertainment.

Pavilion Light Show, photo from City of Spokane (my.spokanecity.org)
Skate Ribbon at Riverfront Park, photo from Visit Spokane (visitspokane.com)

Manito Park

My final & favorite spot in Spokane is Manito Park. Manito Park is a public park featuring botanical gardens, greenhouses, and arboretum. Manito park has five different gardens; Duncan Garden, Ferris Garden, Rose Hill, Lilac Garden, and Nishinomiya Tsutakawa. Other features include the Mirror Pond and the Park Bench Café. Many people gather at Manito Park to picnic, host gatherings with friends and family, and enjoy the views of the beautiful gardens.

My dog, Spring, and I enjoying a picnic next to the Mirror Pond
My friends and I at the garden, Rose Hill, for homecoming photos in the fall of 2016. This garden was a hot commodity when it came to photos

You are now equipped to navigate a weekend in Spokane. I hope this information was helpful & you enjoy your getaway!

 

Welcome to The Flathead Valley: The Crown Jewel of the NW!

So, you’re spending the weekend in The Flathead Valley, and you’re looking to craft the perfect itinerary. Well, don’t take it from Trip Advisor, take it from a local.

Kalispell is the central hub of the Flathead Valley, from here you are a hop, skip, and a jump away from some of Montana’s best landmarks – The Rocky Mountains, Flathead Lake, and Glacier Park. Not to mention the touristic towns of Whitefish and Bigfork – home to some of the best dive bars.

If you’ve read this far, Hello, and welcome to my first blog post. My name is Savannah, and I was born and raised in Kalispell, Montana, also known as “The Last Best Place.”

Now, you’re only in The Flathead Valley for a weekend, so let’s start crafting that itinerary!


Day 1: Go fish!

With the abundance of fresh water lakes in this region, you don’t have to be an expert outdoorswoman (or man) to cast a line and catch a vibe!

This weekend we hit up one of my favorite spots for Pike fishing, Stillwater Lake.

The supplies you will need for this activity – A couple of fishing poles and a twelve pack of seltzers of your choice.
Pick your best hook then tie on a steel leader so that massive fish your about to catch doesn’t chomp through your line.
Drink a Blue Moon at the Stillwater Bar.  If you’re like us, and you get skunked, there’s are great little bar on the lake where you can drink a beer and lick your wounds.

Day 2: Pick a mountain, any mountain!

Now it’s time to put some work in. The Flathead Valley is enclosed with mountains, so take your pick, and cut a path to the top for some of the best panoramic views in the world.

This last weekend, my boyfriend and I hiked Mount Aeneas located in the Jewel Basin, approximately a 45 minute drive from Kalispell. This 6 mile, round trip hike is very doable and will have you working up a sweat.

On the way up! Flathead Lake and Echo Lake can be seen here.

 

My boyfriend and I, at the top of Mount Aeneas.

Mount Aeneas sits at 7,500 feet above sea level. You can view the Flathead Valley and The Bob Marshal Wilderness from the top.

Good practice: A cheers at the peak!

Dinner: Tamarack Brewing Co.

After you’ve summited that whopper, you’ll surely be hungry. A favorite among tourists and locals alike is Tamarack Brewing Co.

The Tamarack’s home base location is Lakeside, MT. From Mount Aeneas you’ll have to travel to the West side of Flathead Lake to grab this delicious bite.

Take a tip from me and call in an order. This popular spot is guaranteed to have a wait.

Take your tamarack dinner to-go.  We love the huckleberry salmon and the Big Sky burger, but don’t forget to save room for a fresh baked pizza cookie!

Now, if you’ve made it this far, then I hope I’ve sold you on a weekend in “The Last Best Place.”

With that being said, we Montanan’s hear California is great, and that there’s a plethora of activities to do there.  So, if you don’t make it to the Flathead Valley, we understand, and we’re not mad about it 😉


Author: Savannah Anderson 

Instagram: @savvvanderson

 

The Oregon I Bet You STILL Don’t Know

The Oregon I bet you STILL don’t know.

As you can see, when I say eastern Oregon I do not mean Bend as some travel bloggers do. I mean further east as in closer to Idaho than the coast. Not many people think of beautiful conifer forests, waterfalls, hot springs, fossil beds, historic sites, roaming elk herds, nor majestic mountain lakes when they think about true eastern Oregon. In fact, I would say not many people outside of the few who live here spend much time thinking about eastern Oregon if they think about it at all. This seems to be particularly true when people are making their travel plans, and that is perhaps the best part about it out here. If you dare to go against the grain (and do a little bit of roughin’ it) there are numerous trails with brilliant views, and historic structures of some form awaiting your discovery year-round with little to no crowds. Read on to learn more about the eastern Oregon I bet you STILL don’t know!

Did you know about the National Forests and other public lands in eastern Oregon with miles of all types of trails?

Hike, bike, backpack, ride a horse or ATV, maybe even Nordic ski! It’s all here depending on the time of year.

A pristine stream during a summer hike in the Steens Mountain Wilderness, Oregon
A wintry, Nordic ski trail that can be found in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, Oregon
It’s a short, uphill hike to this breathtaking mountain lake found in the Malheur National Forest, Oregon
On a trail of the Winom-Frazier OHV Complex in the Umatilla National Forest, Oregon – Photo courtesy of RiderPlanet USA.

If you prefer to have a more relaxing visit you can simply camp along a lake, river, or visit a hot spring.

Ritter Hot Springs, Oregon – Photo courtesy of  Zach Urness/ Statesman Journal.
Did you know that eastern Oregon also has one of the most renowned fossil beds in the USA?

They have discovered such unusual fossils like those of ancient, small mammals.

A marsh “rhino” tusk fossil which can be viewed at the Thomas Condon Palentology Center of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Oregon – Photo courtesy of NPS
Did you know eastern Oregon had its own gold rush?

Asian immigrants were participants, and there are even a few active claims still. 

Kam Wah Chung exterior
This strange building holds some incredible wonders. If you are interested in old Chinese medicine and the influence immigrants had on the gold rush you should consider taking the time to visit the historic Kam Wah Chung in John Day, Oregon – Photo courtesy of Oregon State Parks.
Sumpter Valley Dredge
Gold mining was much more than sifting through pans by hand. To learn more visit the Sumpter Valley Dredge in Sumpter Valley, Oregon! – Photo courtesy of Oregon State Parks
Did you know eastern Oregon has fire look outs that are still in operation during the summer?

Their often rugged roads end in some of the best views perfect for romantic sunrises or sunsets and dark sky photography. You can probably stop by and have a chat with the look out too!

A starry night at Dixie look out of the Malheur National Forest, Oregon – Photo courtesy of Matt Franklin
Did you know. . .I purposely did not give you a lot of specific details?

What good is an adventure if you don’t get to put in the effort to discover it for yourself?! I myself have been disappointed by going to places travel bloggers have already given nearly every detail away about. Putting in the time and effort to find these and other hidden gems out here is one of the reasons I fell so in love with it that I now live out here.  I have a continual sense of excitement about the next beautiful creek or historic remnants I may find on my next outing.  I do not want to potentially ruin that sense of excitement for you. Come out and discover it further for yourself! I will give you a hint though: having a vehicle, particularly one for rough dirt roads, is a good idea.

I hope you enjoy whatever your next adventure is! I must admit I hope it is out here.