Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Boat Tours in Glacier National Park

Boat Tours:

One option for seeing the park in a unique way that is fun and easy for the whole family is take one of the park’s iconic boat tours. Most people are unaware that these tours are fully available in June, in fact, the Lake McDonald boat tours start on May 23rd. These tours are one hour long and depart at 5 set times daily, 7 days a week.

At Lake McDonald it is also possible to rent rowboats & motorboats for $18/hr and $23/hr respectively. A wonderful thing about rentals in June is that you are sure to get what you want and you can enjoy some peace & quiet on the lake before the inevitable frenzy of full-blown summer arrives. After all, isn't relaxation what vacation is all about?

                St. Mary’s also provides boat tours that begin on June 20th. Like Lake McDonald, these tours will leave at 5 set times daily. Unlike Lake McDonald, there is an optional ranger-led hiking option available to those who feel up to adventure. Each boat tour leaving from the Rising Sun boat dock on St. Mary’s Lake lasts 1.5 hours, except for the last boat out at 6:30 which is only 1 hour long. If you decide to do the optional 3 mile hike the tour will be 3.5 hours, but those hikes are only available for the tours leaving at 10:00am & 2:00pm. All cruises except for the 6:30pm tour also have an optional 15 minute hike to Baring Falls.

                Another wonderful option would be to go to Many Glacier for an unforgettable 2-part boat tour on Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. This tour begins on June 13th, and lasts 1.5 hours. The first boat you board, Chief Two Guns, will serenely guide you over Swiftcurrent Lake, and then dock. 0.2 miles away awaits the second boat, Morning Eagle, which will navigate you through the gorgeous waters of Lake Josephine. This boat tour is unique to the others, as it has the option of a guided or self-guided tour to Grinnell Lake, making it the longest of the tour options, of those available at that time, at 4 hours total. There are also rentals available at Many Glacier. Single kayaks cost $15/hr, while double kayaks, canoes, and rowboats go for $18/hr. Renting for these lakes is absolutely something you don’t want to miss out on. It is a truly once in a lifetime experience.

                The final location of available boat tours in June is at Two Medicine, on the east side of Glacier National Park. This tour takes you on the park’s oldest historic vessel, Sinopah. These tours are 45 minutes unless you would like to take the optional guided or self-guided hike to Twin Falls at 1:00pm or 3:00pm. With these hikes the tour becomes a total of 2.5 hours. These tours start on June 6. There are double kayaks, canoes, and rowboats for rent for $18/hr, as well as single kayaks for $15/hr. Two Medicine Lake is a stunning sight that you wouldn’t want to miss.

                All boat tours prefer reservations, which can be made by calling Glacier Park Boat Company at 406-257-2426, or by visiting their website at . Further information on pricing & additional tours that start in July can be found on their website as well. Many Glacier recommends a reservation made 3 days in advance, and Two Medicine recommends one day’s notice. Both Lake McDonald and St. Mary’s accept same day reservations because of the increased capacity of their boats. If you want to take a chance, all boat sites will sell same day tickets, but they will only be offered based on a space available basis.

                Another fun activity to note is the rentals at Apgar Village on Lake McDonald. Open from 10:00am-6:00pm starting on May 30. At Apgar stand-up-paddleboards can be rented for $10/hr., single kayaks for $15/hr., double kayaks, canoes, and rowboats for $18/hr., and 10 hp motorboats for $25/hr. These are an extremely popular attraction for being a great way to get on the water and have freedom around the lake, all for a reasonable price!

                Whether you want to hop on a double person kayak and paddle around with a friend, or take a memorable boat tour or tour with a hike, June is a great time to make these things happen. There will be less people in the park- meaning more room on the lake, easier access to rentals, and higher chances of landing the perfect boat tour for you & the whole family!  

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