You will find your stay at the exclusive Pinnacle Cottages provides the perfect location for your Glacier National Park vacation.
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The townsite of St. Mary is very small but has several restaurants and shops. Johnson’s has family style dining and their specialty is fresh made bread. Park Cafe is a small cafe serving American fare. Both of these restaurants have moderately priced, but delicious food and also can make up a hiker lunch with advance notice.
New in town is fresh made pizza at Rising Sun Pizzeria just down the hill serving delicious pizza, beer and wine. Check with the front desk for special guest discounts.
In the small town of Babb, which is just 10 minutes north of St. Mary there are a few restaurants with everything from huge Montana-sized steaks to family style meals.
Once inside the National Park, Rising Sun is just 6 miles from the cottages. The Two Dog Flats Grill is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Just north, about a 20 minute drive, is the historic Many Glacier Hotel. The dining room there is a fun experience with spectacular views of glacier carved valleys, glaciers and Swiftcurrent Lake. One mile from Many Glacier hotel is the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn that has pizza and pasta.
There are several small grocery stores in the area, but if you’re planning on stocking the kitchen to eat in, we recommend stopping along the way in a larger town and buying groceries. The cottage has a full size stove/oven as well as a gas grill on the deck. Pots, pans, dishes and utensils are fully stocked and special requests for pots or pans can usually be accommodated.
Whether you’re hiking or driving in Glacier National Park, wildlife viewing opportunities abound. Glacier is famous for it’s unique wildlife habitat and most of the park is a wilderness park which provides thousands of acres of undisturbed habitat. Grizzlies, moose, mountain sheep and goats, elk mountain lion and many other animals may be spotted throughout Glacier.
John Muir once wrote, “Climb the mountains and get their glad tidings. Nature’s peace will flow into you. As the sunshine flows into the trees the winds blow their freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares drop away like leaves of autumn.” Muir certainly had Glacier National Park in mind when he wrote this.
Glacier is a special place. Its flora and fauna, as well as the world renowned geology make it one of the top ten international parks placing it on the same level as the Serengeti, Yellowstone, and the Everglades. For centuries Glacier has been a sacred area for Native Americans and was a frequent site for vision quests. In the early 1800’s trappers and explorers came upon the area and quickly spread word about the spectacularly rugged mountains, pristine lakes, roaring water falls, and famous glaciers.
After visiting the area in 1891, Naturalist George Bird Grinnell wrote an article for Forest & Stream describing the unique features of the area. Grinnell’s interest and writing about this special place caught the ear and eye of many, including President Theodore Roosevelt. As a result of Grinnell and others persistent efforts over a twenty year period, President Taft designated this area as Glacier National Park on May 11, 1910.
In the early days most visitors enjoyed Glacier Park by horseback on long trips with tent camps at Rising Sun, Many Glacier, Midvale, Cut Bank Creek, Belton, Gunsight Lake, and Lake McDonald. Camps turned into chalets and the public pushed for more roads and access to the Park.
The railroad barons knew Glacier would be a grand tourist destination and increase revenues for the railroads so they created an ad campaign dubbed “See America First”. Construction commenced on lodges and Swiss-style chalets to entice wealthy tourists. Today, only a few of the first camps and chalets still exist. For the adventurous who hike, the rustic Sperry Chalet or Granite Park Chalet have overnight accommodations but you must have an advance reservation. These reservations open in late October each year and fill up quickly. The Belton Chalet in West Glacier was one of the original chalets and is now located on Highway 2 in West Glacier.
The majority of visitors to Glacier Park see the Park from their vehicle or within 100 yards of the highway. About 4% of the annual visitors hike 2 miles or less, and about 1% hike beyond that. Glacier is a special place and deserving of a deeper look than just a drive on the Going to the Sun Road. When you plan your visit to Glacier, take the time to explore, if even for a few miles off the pavement and you will experience the glad tidings of the mountains and nature’s peace.
If hiking is on your itinerary, St. Mary is the best location for the most scenic hikes in Glacier Park. Check out the National Park website to see detailed maps of hikes in the area.
Our staff is experienced hikers and can assist with recommendations, current trail conditions and tips.
Glacier Park’s lakes allow unparalleled opportunities to see the Park from historic boat tours. The Glacier Boat Company provides guided scenic boat cruises throughout the day at Many Glacier, Rising Sun, Two Medicine Lake and Lake McDonald. These boat tours are fun and informative. Check out their website at www.glacierparkboats.com
Riding the convertible, circa 1936 Red Buses will surround you in breathtaking scenery. The Red Bus will pick you up at the St. Mary Visitor Center, just ½ mile from the Cottages and provide a guided scenic bus tour over the historic Going-to-the-Sun Road to Lake McDonald Lodge where you will have lunch on your own and then return in the afternoon for another breaktaking view of Glacier Park. There are many tour options available which you can check out at www.glacierparkinc.com/Transportation. Our staff will be pleased to assist on setting these up when you arrive.
Few people see Glacier National Park by horseback but for some, there is no better way. Swan Mountain Outfitters experienced wranglers lead guided tours through the Glacier back country, explaining the natural and human history of the Park and opening up the world of alpine vistas, sparkling lakes and streams and wildlife viewing. Contact Swan Mountain Outfitters at www.swanmountainoutfitters.com
Want to experience the thrill of whitewater rafting? Several area outfitters provide experienced guides and all the equipment for half day, full day or multi day trips on the Flathead River. A terrific family adventure and memories for a lifetime.
Our front desk staff will be happy to assist with making these reservations as well.
Flyfishing and Montana just go together. Blackfeet country has some of the finest flyfishing in America and booking a native guide will afford you exclusive exceptional access to lakes only open to Blackfeet tribal members. We recommend Cutbank Creek Outfitters at (406) 338-5567. Advance reservations highly recommended.
There are flyfishing guides available at all the whitewater raft companies as well, or you can fish for free in the lakes and streams inside the boundaries of Glacier National Park. Check with the Park Service for closures or restrictions.
Just to the north lies Waterton National Park in Alberta, Canada. This park joined with Glacier Park in 1932 to form the world’s first International Peace Park. A one-hour drive from St. Mary, Waterton townsite sites on Upper Waterton Lake, the deepest lake in the Canadian Rockies.
Waterton is a busy tourist destination that offers a great variety of shopping, boat cruises, bicycle rentals and dining. Be sure to check out the historic Prince of Wales Hotel where kilted waiters serve high tea daily. Don’t forget your passport which is now required to enter Canada. Please visit the Glacier-Waterton National Park website for more information.