With Going-to-the Sun Road in Glacier National Park closed to cars, but open to bikes, we got a little creative and hiked up to Granite Park Chalet after biking to the Loop. We found a stunning array of wildflowers while birds serenaded us up into the alpine landscape.
It was a Saturday morning so we knew that we needed to get up to Avalanche Campground before there was no parking. We arrived at 7:30am, found a parking spot and hopped on our bikes.
Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is getting a little resurfacing work this spring, so you have to navigate the days when you can ride your bike. It opened for the weekend and we figured that it would give us a chance to get a hike in.
We figured that the trail to Granite Park Chalet was probably mostly clear. The air was cool and filled with the sounds of singing birds. Clouds shrouded the tops of the massive peaks and we pedaled up along with other folks wearing similar smiles.
A few folks were stopped up ahead and we noticed a couple of black bears that were feeding on the side of the road. We just so happened upon them at the right time. We kept our distance and watched them forage for a little bit before grouping up and passing them on the other side of the road.
We climbed our way up to the Loop where we dropped off our bikes and began hiking.
The trail from the Loop up to Granite Park Chalet is usually experienced by hikers coming from Logan Pass along the Highline Trail. By the time they get to Granite Park Chalet, they’re hot and tired. The trail from here down is west facing with little shade, so it’s a hot, dry affair.
It is, unless, you come in the morning on a spring day like we did. It was full of small streams going across the road and wildflowers like crazy. I’m not sure how many different species we saw, but they were everywhere and of every variety. Purples, yellows, oranges, reds, whites, etc.
While the bird songs never stopped, which birds were singing changed as we got higher. We went from Varied Thrushes and Yellow Warblers to Fox Sparrows and Lazuli Buntings to White-crowned Sparrows and Hermit Thrushes. All along the way, a new bird was singing a song while Red-tailed Hawks and a Golden Eagle soared overhead.
We encountered a little bit of snow about 1/4 mile from the chalet, but it was all navigable all the way to the chalet. We found a perfect perch and enjoined our lunch as the clouds continued to recede, revealing the jaw-dropping Garden Wall that never gets old to my eyes. Glacier Lilies and Springbeauty carpeted the ground while Columbian Ground Squirrels scurried amongst them.
We eventually turned around, seeing only a couple of people. That changed as we got to the road, then even more people clamoring around Avalanche Campground. We, however, found gorgeous solitude in the alpine landscapes at Granite Park Chalet in Glacier National Park.