We left around 6:30am from a few days’ stay with utilities and internet in White Sulphur Springs, Montana to recoup and gain more energy to do the next massive destination, Glacier National Park. We wanted to leave early as the campground we were aiming for was first-come, first-served, and had filled up anywhere from 8AM to 5PM on any given day the past week.
By the way…Conestoga Campground is worth a stop if you are on your way up to Glacier – very nice people and good food in such a tiny town! I just had to post a picture of these salted caramel sweet potato fries that were to DIE for! (And so good I clearly couldn’t stay still long enough to let the picture focus before diving in…)
Pretty views, too, and a great sunset every night…
The drive on Route 89, and eventually, west on 2, was very scenic. We passed through many mountain passes, which meant a good number of winding turns and that we had to look out for wildlife at this time of morning, including a few deer. (I got a really great shot of three deer on the side of the road together but we accidentally deleted it…such is life, but you can picture it, right?)
After a quick Walmart stop in Great Falls and a traffic jam in a tiny town just before we got on 2 because a parade seemed to have just let out, we arrived at the park around 1pm. On our way in, we saw signs for livestock crossings and almost
immediately after, saw some steer crossing the road.
We also saw signs saying that there were spots open in Two Medicine Campground. We picked up the self-pay envelope and set out to find an available campsite, hoping we could find one of the ones that would fit us. Searching first in one of the farther loops, we came across one that was a little bit of tight fit, but that couldn’t be beat!
Right at the foot of Rising Wolf Mountain, an ominous, mysterious looking summit, and with a clear sight of Pray Lake and several other snow-capped peaks, it was certainly one of the best spots in the park! We couldn’t believe it was open.
Two Medicine is just West of East Glacier and an hour south of St. Mary, one of the most popular areas of the park, so it is a little less of a populated and traveled area, which was fine by us after all of the crowds at Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. There are, however, still plenty of campers and park rangers around and we found that it filled up every day during our stay. It is known for being a “best kept secret” and everyone who has stayed there for a while says to keep it that way, but it appears that the secret has gotten out so I don’t feel THAT badly touting how great it is. There are no utilities, but there is a dump station, water fill, and flush restrooms.
On our first full day there, we set out at the Two Medicine trailhead towards Aster Park. Passing through the dense and lush woods and open fields of wildflowers, it definitely felt more remote than the previous parks we had visited.
Experiencing mostly flat trails along Two Medicine Lake, the trail towards Aster Park gave us more of an incline, climbing 670 feet in 0.5 miles. Not too bad for experienced hikers, but it gave us a little bit of a workout. The reward, however, was a great view of the lake, surrounding mountains, and even our “house”! We could indeed see our camper from this peak, which we thought was pretty neat.
On the way down, we stopped to see Aster Falls…Glacier has tons of beautiful waterfalls, though this was one of the smaller ones…
We then continued the trail around Two Medicine Lake and passed over some interesting footbridges along the way. This one looked a little scary, but it wasn’t bad!
We also passed through more fields of wildflowers, got some beautiful views of the lake, and even saw some beavers up close!
We also noticed that the rocks here were unusual colors – dark red, and even light blue and turquoise – beautiful to see! Particularly the ones that laid under streams and looked like fall leaves!
We took another detour to see Twin Falls, two waterfalls side by side. They were definitely worth the 0.8 mile round trip detour!
As it started to rain, we started the 3.5 miles back to the campground, but were still able to catch more of the beautiful scenery along the way!
Though this was the longest hike we’d done on the trip yet – 11+ miles total – we made good time getting back. Until…we ran into two women who were having some “wildlife” issues. They had stumbled upon a male and female moose on the trail who did not seem to want their company and were showing some signs of aggression. They had been waiting there for someone else to come along, so once the moose were a little to the side of the path, we carefully went through as a group, with bear spray in hand, hoping they would not want to mess with four people. They seemed docile as we went past, but we got a little bit of an adrenaline rush for sure! Though not as much as the ladies we had met, who had also seen a grizzly and her cubs 50 yards off into the distance on the opposite side of Rising Wolf Mountain earlier that day. I have been excited to see wildlife thus far on our trip, but certainly do not want to invade their personal space! We’ll continue to be on watch and make as much noise as we can on the trails so as to not surprise any of them!
Back safe and sound, we recouped and enjoyed our amazing view the rest of the night.