Activities For Dogs In Glacier National Park

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Introduction

Situated in the state of Montana, just close to the US-Canadian border, Glacier National Park is one of the country’s most impressive and famous national parks. In fact, Glacier National Park has been dubbed the “Crown of the Continent Ecosystem” due to its enormous pristine ecosystem, including over 130 lakes, hundreds of species of animals and over a thousand species of plants, among others. With all the remarkable sights and activities, it’s no wonder that Glacier National Park is a popular destination for vacationers. However, like most national parks in the United States, this destination has some restrictions for those traveling with pets. Luckily, there’s still enough to do for patrons who want their furry friends to tag along. 

Going-to-the-Sun Road

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Easy
3 - 4 hrs
Items needed
Waste bags
Water
Food
Activity description

There are only two main roads in Glacier National Park; the first one is the road that goes from south to north along the park’s western edge and the other is the 50-mile road that runs from east to west across the park. The latter is popularly known as the Going-to-the-Sun Road and is the more preferred method of getting to the park because of the picturesque views. It takes about 3 hours each direction to drive through the road, particularly if you stop to take in the views and capture some photos. Driving through Going-to-the-Sun Road is a fun way to start your adventure through the national park with your dog.

Step
1
Prepare the essentials
Since the drive along this famous road can be considered a “road trip”, pack the essentials that you would usually bring in a typical day trip. Some essentials include food and water for your pooch as well as waste bags, in case of bathroom breaks. Also, bring a leash for when you make stops; the park requires dogs to be on a leash while on the trail.
Step
2
Check out the sights
When you are all packed and ready to go, get your dog in the car and be ready for the road trip. While there are several tours and public shuttle buses for visitors to the area, those who have dogs are required to have their own vehicles. Furthermore, take note that pets are only allowed along roads, parking spots, developed places and picnic areas. Hence, you should plan out multiple short stops to pose for photos and get your pooch to stretch out their legs.
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McDonald Creek Bike Path

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Sunny Day
Cheap
Easy
1 - 2 hrs
Items needed
Leash
Waste Bags
Activity description

Despite the impressive number of trails and hiking spots in the entire Glacier National Park, there is only one trail that is open for those traveling with their pets – the McDonald Creek Bike path. This paved trail is a 2.5-mile trail that runs between Apgar Village and West Glacier. You can get to the beginning of the trail by car and park it there. From there, you can take your time exploring the different sights with your pooch. Since the trail also happens to be a bike path, you can even bring your own bike and go bikejoring with your dog. This activity, however, is recommended only for dogs who are well-behaved and non-aggressive towards others, since there will likely be other bikers in the area.

Step
1
Trek through the path
To get to the McDonald Creek Bike path, you should have your own car to get to either of the two starting points – Apgar Village or West Glacier. More often than not, those trekking with dogs start in West Glacier and then make a stop at Apgar Village for some ice cream at Eddie’s.
Step
2
Relax by the lake
One of the must-see attractions when trekking the McDonald Creek Bike path is Lake McDonald. After a lengthy trek across the path, give yourself and your dog a break by relaxing at the lake area. Keep your pup by your side while resting but later, let them explore the fun sights and smells when walking them on leash. Here, you can rest, eat, drink or just take in the beautiful view before heading back towards the path and to where you parked your car.
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Dog-friendly Spots

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Sunny Day
Moderate
Easy
2 - 3 hrs
Items needed
Leash
Activity description

After exploring the Going-to-the-Sun Road and the McDonald Creek Bike path, there is not much more left to do within the Glacier National Park for those visiting with their four-legged friends. However, this does not mean that the fun and adventure has to stop for you and your pooch. In fact, there are several other dog-friendly spots close to the park and within the Glacier Country that are just as worthwhile to check out. There are a number of national forests, paved trails and swimming spots close to Glacier National Park that are completely dog-friendly and would help complete your trip. 

Step
1
Make an itinerary
A quick research will give you a list of the dog-friendly hiking trails and spots near Glacier National Park that you can check out during or after your visit to the park. Pick out which place you would like to see and make an itinerary that will fit within your schedule and within your pup's capabilities.
Step
2
Check out your chosen spots
Once you have decided on a final itinerary, you can start ticking off the places you chose one at a time. Want some spectacular views heading into Glacier National Park? Check out Glacier View just near Camas Road. Want to do some swimming? Take a look at Hungry Horse Reservoir, where you will find a swimming hole at Lion Lake. There’s also the famous Whitefish Mountain, an entire resort full of trails.
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Pet-friendly Lodge

If you do not feel like camping, you have the option of staying in a pet-friendly lodge. There are only a handful of places which accommodate dogs. One of the most popular ones, located just along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, is St. Mary Lodge and Resort. This place offers “Canine Companion” rooms in its East Lodge.  

Camping

Even though pets are not allowed in the backcountry and trails of the Glacier National Park, they are allowed within the drive-in campgrounds. Glacier National Park has 13 different campgrounds with over a thousand individual campsites. If you decide to camp with your pooch, take note that they should always be kept on a leash that is no longer than six feet. 

Conclusion

National parks usually turn off a lot of pet owners because of the restrictions that are imposed against bringing of pets. Fortunately, Glacier National Park is one of the select few national parks in the country where dogs are allowed, albeit only in limited areas. When visiting Glacier National Park, you have a couple of dog-friendly options so that both you and your pooch can have a grand time.