Minutes from Glacier National Park, Discover Kalispell Launches
The Great American Road Trip
Tuesday, May 18, 2021 — Kalispell, Montana — As confidence in travel continues to increase and concerns around COVID-19 decrease, more than 70% of Americans say they are excited and looking forward to traveling this summer, according to a recent survey from Destination Analysts. And while summer is on the horizon, it’s sure to be unlike any other, with American travelers participating in a variety of vacationing styles, including close-to-home adventures, longer vacations and bucket-list trips.
In northwest Montana, Discover Kalispell is helping travelers get back on the road through their newly launched Great American Road Trip campaign. When you book a three-night stay at a Kalispell hotel, you’ll receive a free America the Beautiful, National Park Annual Pass that provides entry to 2,000 federal recreation sites, including national parks.
“Kalispell is the gateway to some of the country’s most incredible and untouched spaces,” said Diane Medler, Executive Director for Discover Kalispell, The Kalispell Convention & Visitor Bureau. “And with travelers hitting the road again, when they stay three consecutive nights in Kalispell, we’re giving them a free national park pass so they can more easily explore all of the wonders in America’s backyard.”
At just over 1 million acres, Glacier National Park is 32 miles from Kalispell and is a bucket-list destination that’s high on many travelers’ lists. New this summer, the National Park Service launched a ticketed entry system for the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor. From May 28 – September 6, 2021, travelers will need an entry ticket to enter the park at Camas Road, West Glacier and St. Mary between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.
And while the new ticket system may cause worry for some travelers, there are still abundant options for experiencing Glacier National Park, even without an entry ticket.
Get up early or go in late. Prior to 6 a.m. and after 5 p.m., no entry ticket is needed to enter Glacier National Park. Plan to wake up with the birds and catch the sunrise — which happens around 5:30 a.m. during summer — and make the most of your day in the park. Evening is also a great time to visit and heading into the park after 5 p.m. will give you cooler weather, more active wildlife and stunning sunsets. Keep in mind that while you don’t need an entry ticket, you do still need a park pass.
Do a loop tour. To drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road in its entirely, you need about 3 hours. Explore more of Montana by taking U.S. Highway 2 over to the east side of the park. Time your adventure so you hit the St. Mary entrance just after 5 p.m. and drive the road from east to west, which will get you back in Kalispell around 8:30 p.m.
Explore beyond the Going-to-the-Sun Road. While the road is one of those must-do activities, there’s so much more to Glacier National Park. Plan to visit Two Medicine, Many Glacier and the North Fork. Located on the east side of the park, Two Medicine and Many Glacier both have hiking trails and boat tours, while Many also has horseback trail rides. The North Fork – which is accessible by a scenic gravel road – has jaw-dropping lakes and hiking trails.
Book an activity with a guide. One of the best ways to get to know a place, especially if you’re short on time, is to book a trip with an experienced guide. Glacier National Park has several guided activities, including hikes, bus tours, boat rides and more. Bonus: if you have an activity booked along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, that serves as your entry ticket.
“We know this summer will be different,” added Medler. “And while there are new temporary changes, Montana is still a destination that’s ready to welcome travelers to explore our wide-open spaces, breathe in our fresh mountain air and adventure in the last American frontier.”
Start planning your Great American Road Trip here and check out the 18 direct flight offerings into Kalispell’s Glacier Park International Airport. When you’re ready, come adventure in Montana’s most charming mountain town. Learn more at DiscoverKalispell.com.
About Discover Kalispell
Discover Kalispell, the Kalispell Convention & Visitor Bureau, is the designated marketing organization for the city of Kalispell and is a division of the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce. The organization is funded by the state accommodations tax and the Tourism Business Improvement District (TBID) fee. Anchoring the Flathead Valley, Kalispell is a destination that combines accessible amenities, touchable history and a charming downtown with Montana’s wide-open spaces and endless outdoor recreation. It’s also located within minutes of Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, the Jewel Basin and many public parks and trail systems. More information can be found at DiscoverKalispell.com or on social media at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as #DiscoverKalispell. For more Kalispell story ideas or images, contact us at [email protected].