Sunday, July 14, 2024

Glacier National Park Boat Tours

Tranquil Views Of Glacier National Parks West Side Await You On This Scenic Hour Long Boat Tour

SAINT MARY LAKE BOAT TOUR – Glacier National Park

The majesty of the Continental Divide and the tranquility of the emerald-hued lake are a must-see as you cruise along Lake McDonald, the largest lake in the park . Climb aboard the historic vessel, DeSmet, the flagship vessel in our wooden boat fleet from the shore below the Lake McDonald Lodge.

Glacier Park Boat Company will be following current CDC Guidelines and Federal Transportation Guidelines. Masks are required at all times for ages 2 years old & up while interacting with our staff, including aboard tour boats, acquiring rentals and while at the ticket office. Masks will not be provided, please plan to bring your own mask with you. Passengers will not be permitted on tour boats or at the ticket office without a face covering.

Reservations with Glacier Park Boat Company at either Lake McDonald or St. Mary Lake at Rising Sun will guarantee entry to the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor on the day of your scheduled tour. While a reservation for entry will not be required, current Park entry fees still apply. Please be prepared to show your confirmation letter at the Park entry gate.

If you have a boat tour reservation at either Many Glacier or Two Medicine and would like to travel the Going-to-the-Sun corridor, a ticketed entry reservation will be required. For more information on the ticketed entry system at Glacier National Park, please visit their website at

Children under 4 FREE

St Mary Lake Boat Tour

The boat tour on St. Mary Lake leaves from Rising Sun, a stop along the Going to the Sun Road that is 6 miles west of the St. Mary entrance gate.

The St. Mary Lake boat tour offers scenic rides, most of which give you the opportunity to leave the boat and take a 15-minute hike to beautiful Baring Falls and then return to the dock.

I cannot recommend this boat tour highly enough! The scenery simply cannot be beaten, and the experience of being on a wooden tour boat built in 1927 as it cruises through waves is quite unforgettable.

Watch this short video to get a great feel for what a boat ride is like!

The boat tours on St. Mary Lake depart at 10:00am, 12:00pm, 2:00pm, and 4:00pm. Each of these rides will take 1.5 hours round trip.

The 6:30pm boat tour is only one hour and does not give you time to leave the boat and hike to Baring Falls.

From the 10:00 and 2:00 boat tours, you may take an optional, free guided hike to St. Mary Falls with a Boat Company naturalist. The total boat trip and hike time requires 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Tour Time
$22 adult $11 child

St. Mary tour options. Prices are approximate and subject to change

To book a tour, call 257-2426 or visit It is best to do this in advance, but not required as this is one of the least busy of all the boat tour locations.

Glacier National Park Boating

The Glacier Park Boat Co has been operating in Glacier National Park since 1938. They have boats on five different lakes in the Park. The boats are vintage and lend to the picturesque setting. The cost is relatively low for the tours . There are many departures and you can choose how long youre actually gone from the dock. There are even guided hikes you can opt for. Its all worth it. Check out the GPBC website for details.

As we pondered whether or not we should spend a day doing a tour and skipping naptime, we came up with these four reasons to jump into the adventure:

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Best Time To Visit Glacier National Park

When it comes to planning a trip to Glacier National Park, youre at the mercy of the weather. The park is blanketed in snow from October to May, sometimes even as late as June. Parts of Going-to-the-Sun Road near Logan Pass are only open from mid-June to early October.

I recommend planning your trip to Glacier National Park between July and early September. But keep in mind, because the park has such a narrow tourism season, it will be crowded. The best way to beat the crowds at Glacier is to start your day early .

The View From The Water

Glacier Park, Inc.: Boat Tours in Glacier National Park

Everything looks different from the water. You can hike through the hills and look out from a high cliff, but its not the same as being on the water. We live on Puget Sound in the Seattle area and have a water view, so heading so far inland takes us out of our element. Getting onto the lake and having the view and feel of flowing water reset us and gave us the energy to keep going. Also, the sights around the lakes are much different than what you see from shore. And Ill tell you: theyre breathtaking.

Tip: even in bad weather, the view from the water is great. Water reflects light and gives you that extra dose of sunshine that you just might need. Also, clouds reflecting off the lake are truly a sight, especially with how quickly they change in the mountains.

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Dont Have Time To Read It Now Save It For Later

When I was trying to decide where to go on a road trip this year Glacier National Park in the Fall was first on my list.

For years I had been dying to go and experience the majestic mountains of Montana for myself. I can confidently say that this was the best decision I made all year!

In this blog post, I aim to give you a clear idea about what Fall in Glacier National Park is like and how to make the best of it.

You will find the best times of year to go, places to stay, hikes to do and lakes to visit. I have even included my best photo tips for each location so you can capture your adventures the best you can!

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Many Glacier Boat Tour

The Many Glacier Hotel is where you’ll begin your Many Glacier Boat Tour. In this photo, the view of the Many Glacier Hotel and Swiftcurrent Lake is overshadowed by Glacier National Park’s amazing Mount Gould. Note the white wooden boat on Swiftcurrent Lake- that’s “Chief Two Guns” and it will take you on the first leg of your Many Glacier Boat Tour.

The Many Glacier Boat Tour is another classic “must do” while vacationing in Glacier National Park. This is something the whole family can enjoy, and it’s a boat ride that you will never forget! This famous boat tour actually involves two boats and two lakes, and the scenery is breathtaking. The Many Glacier Boat Tour is definitely among our “Top Ten Things To Do In Glacier National Park!

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Take The First Boat Tour Of The Morning

The morning lighting in the Many Glacier Area is by far the best for photographs, and it will also give you ample time to get to Grinnell Glacier or Grinnell Lake and back again to catch another boat late in the afternoon. Check with the Information Desk at the Many Glacier Hotel for departure times.

A view of Mount Wilbur from Swiftcurrent Lake in the Many Glacier Area.

Ride On A Historic Boat At Two Medicine

Glacier’s Historic Boats – National Park

Explore this stunning but off-the-beaten path area on the eastern side of Glacier by boat. Towering above Two Medicine Lake is Rising Wolf Mountain, a well-photographed, conical mountain. Take the oldest wooden boat in Glacier Park Boat Co.s fleet across Two Medicine Lake and learn about the areas Blackfeet history. When the boat docks on the upper west shore, you can stay on the boat or disembark and hike with a naturalist or on your own to Twin Falls. Catch a different return boat or hike back.

Learn more by contacting Glacier Park Boat Company at 888-611-0747 or

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Glacier Park Boat Tours: An Experts Advice And Helpful Tips

Youre planning your big trip to Glacier National Park and youve heard about the historic boat tours available in the park. They all offer a uniquely beautiful perspective, which means it can be overwhelming to select a boat tour to add to your itinerary.

Luckily, as a seasonal park employee and former boat captain, I am here to help!

Glacier Park Boat Company is the only company authorized to offer boat tours in Glacier. Boat tour options include tours on St. Mary Lake at Rising Sun, Lake McDonald, Two Medicine Lake and Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes in Many Glacier. The cost ranges from approximately $20 to $40 for adults and $10 to $20 for children. Some of these even include guided hikes! These tours operate seasonally, from June-September. All of the tours are amazing, so it is impossible to make the wrong choice.

Each of these boat tour options is different, so keep reading for more details! In this article Ill cover:

  • Lake McDonald Boat Tour
  • St. Mary Lake Boat Tour
  • Two Medicine Lake Boat Tour
  • Many Glacier Boat Tour

How Many Days Should I Spend At Glacier National Park

You could spend weeks in Glacier National Park, but lets be real none of us have that kind of time! So lets get to the point how many days do you really need in Glacier National Park?The answer depends on what youre interested in doing:

  • If you only want to drive through the park and see Going-to-the-Sun Road, you only need 1 day.
  • If you want to see the highlights and the most popular hikes, you need at least 3 days
  • If you want to hike Glaciers more strenuous, super scenic trails, you need at least 5 days.
  • If you want the ultimate first-timer experience, you need at least one full week in Glacier National Park.

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Glacier National Park In One Day

Its a large national park though Glacier can be explored in one day, if you start early. Spend the night on the western side of the park in the Apgar Village, Lake McDonald or outside the park in West Glacier.

Stop by the Apgar Visitor Center, located 2 miles east of the West Glacier Entrance. Grab Junior Ranger booklets, walk through the interpretive area.

Open daily from mid-May to September and weekends only for the rest of the year. Hours are 9 a.m. 4 p.m. Apgar Nature Center is housed in at 1929 log cabin and open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from mid-June to late August.

Head to the Lake McDonald, arrange for a boat tour on the lake. Afterwards, tour the Lake McDonald Lodge a historic property built in 1913 to 1915. Or have lunch at Jammer Joes. For an after lunch walk, consider the Apgar Bike Path, a level 1.5 mile walk.

One of the top things to do in Glacier National Park is driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 50 mile scenic byway that travel east-west through the park. At Logan Pass, stop and enjoy the view and walk through the Visitor Center.

Continue driving Going-to-the-Sun Road to the St. Mary entrance, e eastern portion of the park. Exit Glacier National Park head north on U.S. Highway 89 to Babb. Many Glacier Hotel is located along the Many Glacier Lake. Stroll through the Many Glacier Hotel. another historic hotel. If you have the opportunity, have dinner at the Many Glacier Hotel, or nearby Swiftcurrent Inn.

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Nature Walk And Float Experience Combination

Boat tour on the Sinopah on Two Medicine Lake in Glacier National Park ...

This is a split combo tour that is relatively easy and family-friendly. The half-day trip is an ideal introduction to the park, as you can learn about the nature and ecosystem as well as getting involved in a nice and laid-back water experience. So you can get 2 different perspectives in one trip!

The nature section involves 2 short, easy walks in Glacier National Park both about one mile and it takes just over 3 hours to complete.

After this relaxing morning walk, you get to enjoy a 2 hour long, scenic float on the Flathead River. A lunch break of about 1.5 hours is included before the float, then its on to the river.

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The Tour Starts At The Boat Dock In Front Of The Many Glacier Hotel

This dock that’s located right in front of the Many Glacier Hotel is where your tour begins.

Your Many Glacier Boat Tour will begin with the historic wooden boat at the Many Glacier Hotel named “Chief Two Guns”, and this Glacier National Park icon will take you across Swiftcurrent Lake. When the boat reaches the far end of the lake, you will leave the boat and walk a pleasant 400 yards to the second wooden boat, named “Morning Eagle” . This boat will take you across Lake Josephine.

You can then choose to stay on the boat and return to the Many Glacier Hotel, or you can leave the boat at the upper boat dock on Lake Josephine and enjoy the beautiful hiking trails that start here.

Once you are finished hiking for the day, you can catch another boat back to the Hotel.

The Many Glacier Boat Tour is extremely entertaining as well. The captain of the wooden boats will discuss points of interest along the way, and he/she is usually quite funny as well as very interesting. The actual tour lasts about an hour and a half.

This is a view from Swiftcurrent Lake of Grinnell Point and Mount Gould in the Many Glacier Area of Glacier National Park.

Goat Haunt Montana Glacier National Park

Goat Haunt is known as “The Gateway to the Northern Wilderness of Glacier Park”, and the scenery here is absolutely breathtaking! Your Waterton Boat Tour will stop here for about a half an hour so you can explore the area.

The “International” is now docked and visitors leaving the boat to explore the Goat Haunt Area in Glacier National Park during their Waterton Boat Tour. The boat will remain docked for about a half an hour. If you want to go on a day hike, you can catch a late afternoon boat back to Waterton Township.

Once you get to Goat Haunt Montana in Glacier National, your Waterton Tour Boat will dock, and everyone will get off the boat to explore the Goat Haunt area for about a half of an hour.

Goat Haunt is a very special place that has a lot of history and a lot of international significance.

At Goat Haunt Montana there are bathrooms, an International Peace Park Pavilion, a nice beach, hikers’ shelters and a Ranger Station. Just beyond the Ranger Station is where the trailheads to the remote Northern Wilderness are located, however you cannot enter these trails without a valid passport.

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Things To See In Glacier National Park

Organized Tours & ActivitiesNarrated boat tours from Lake McDonald, St. Mary, Two Medicine, and Many Glacier are offered daily from mid-June to mid-September by Glacier Park Boat Co. These “scenicruises” combine an hour-long lake cruise with a short hike or picnic. Spectacular views of Lake McDonald, the Grinnell Glacier, and the panoramic rugged cliffs ringing St. Mary Lake are just a few of the photo opportunities you may have. The boats typically depart every other hour, five times each day, although schedules are subject to change in late season or if the weather is inclement. For more information, contact Glacier Park Boat Co. at P.O. Box 5262, Kalispell, MT 59903 . Listed below are seasonal phone numbers for cruises at the following locations: Lake McDonald , Many Glacier , Two Medicine , and St. Mary .

Special ActivitiesScenic helicopter tours of Glacier are offered by Glacier Heli Tours , Eagle Aviation , and Kruger Helicop-tours . Prices range from $60 to $90 for 1- to 2-hour tours, depending on your destination. All are located within 2 miles of West Glacier off U.S. 2.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.

St Marys Lake Boat Tour

Swiftcurrent Lake Boat Ride – Glacier National Park

Can you get to this boat tour without having a ticket for Going to the Sun Road?

4 replies to this topic

Actually if you have a boat tour ticket for St Mary Lake, you have an exemption for that day…just by showing your tour receipt. There are other exemptions if you are interested.

And yes, shy drivers who want to avoid driving the GTTSR can get there but you have to drive all the way around via State Route #2 from West Glacier > East Glacier Park village… then the 49/89 to St Mary first.

That is about 98 mi, 2 hr/10 min without stops, without visiting Two Medicine and without unseen construction delays on the #2 or 89. Add another 9 miles and 15 minutes from St Mary to Rising Sun/St Mary Lake Boat Dock.

Edited: 5:31 pm, May 29, 2022

Thank you so much. I tried for months to get a ticket for the Going to the Sun road and it always said not yet released. My brother-in-law sent me a link to get tickets and none are available until September. It looks like the same site so I dont know what happened. I would love to learn more about exceptions.

I have also just today learned about a new Pilot ticket Program that Apgar businesses are allowed to issue.

This ad from Eddie’s Cafe in Apgar has just been verified by Gina Kerzman, Glacier Spokeswoman, as being legitimate.

New This Year!

Please call 406-888-5361.

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