One Day in Many Glacier: 7 Best Things To Do

Women hiking in Glacier National Park

Many Glacier is one of the most spectacularly scenic and remote areas of Glacier National Park. The jaw-dropping views, turquoise lakes, ample wildlife viewing opportunities, and unbeatable hiking trails make Many Glacier a popular destination for many visitors to Glacier. 

With so many great options, deciding what to do on your day in Many Glacier can be hard. Luckily, I have spent every summer of my life living and working in Many Glacier and I feel well-equipped to give recommendations–I’ve done it all! 

Keep reading to learn how I would spend one perfect day in Many Glacier. 

What To Do with One Day in Many Glacier

If I only had one day in Many Glacier I would be sure to eat a good breakfast, take a hike, refuel with lunch, visit the Many Glacier Hotel, attend a ranger-led activity, experience the water, and watch the sunset. 

1. Eat Breakfast

The key to a good day in Glacier no matter where you are is to be properly fed! When I’m hungry, I don’t have fun and I get cranky. That’s no way to spend a day in Glacier National Park

My favorite place to eat breakfast near Many Glacier is the Glacier’s Edge Cafe in Babb. Babb is a tiny town just a few miles outside the Many Glacier entrance. The Glacier’s Edge Cafe serves big portions of delicious, reasonably-priced food. Service is quick and kind! I have never had a bad experience there. I like to order the Denver omelet or the breakfast sandwich. 

If you don’t make it to Glacier’s Edge, you can eat breakfast at either the Many Glacier Hotel or Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. Both offer breakfast even if you are not a guest. Prices will likely be a bit higher at these options, but a good breakfast is worth its weight in gold (especially when you have a day of hiking ahead of you). 

Fruit, eggs, bacon and hash browns at breakfast buffet at Ptarmigan's Many Glacier
Breakfast Buffet Line at Ptarmigan's in Many Glaicer Hotel

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2. Take a Hike

Many Glacier is a hiker’s paradise. There are hikes for the avid adventurer and hikes that are suitable for folks looking for a more mellow way to spend the day. The good news is that there is no such thing as a bad day in Many Glacier. No matter what type of hike you choose, it will be fantastic. 

Relaxed Stroll Option: Fishercap Lake

Fishercap Lake is a quick, 1/2-mile walk (1 mile round-trip) with a great payoff! The trail to Fishercap Lake is labeled on maps as the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail. Simply hike ½ mile down the trail, look for the sign that points you to the lake, take that side trail and you will find yourself at Fishercap Lake. The lake has a lovely view, and is a common place to see moose! Keep your eyes open and remember to keep a respectful and safe distance (25 meters). 

Pathway next to river with mountains and trees in the background with deer coming from river

Easy Hike Option: Red Rock Falls

Red Rock Falls is a 3.6-mile round-trip hike that gains only 200 feet of elevation. On the trail, you will walk through lodgepole pine forest, aspen groves, and wildflower meadows until you reach Red Rock Lake and then Red Rock Falls. This is a great hike for families! The waterfall is a stunning cascade that is especially impressive in the spring or early summer. Make sure you look for moose along the way! 

person taking a picture of a waterfall
Green lake with mountains in background
View of mountains and trees with lake to the side

Moderate Hike Option: Grinnell Lake

Grinnell Lake is a 7-mile round-trip hike that takes you to one of the brightest turquoise lakes in Glacier. The trail is very flat and well-maintained the whole way, and there is even a swinging suspension bridge you get to cross! This is a great hike for families with older kids or little ones who are happy hikers. 

Difficult Hike Option: Grinnell Glacier

The Grinnell Glacier hike is an 11-mile round-trip hike with 2,000 feet of elevation gain. Not for the faint of heart, but certainly worth the effort. The Grinnell Glacier trail truly has everything a hiker in Glacier could dream of. You walk past stunning lakes, through old-growth forests, into alpine wildflower meadows, over a glacial moraine, and into a spectacular glacier basin.

To make this hike shorter, you can ride the boat tours offered by Glacier Park Boat Company. For more information, check out my article about the Grinnell Glacier Boat Tour and Hike

3. Eat Lunch

In the Many Glacier Valley, the only dining options are the Many Glacier Hotel (the Swiss Lounge and the Ptarmigan Dining Room) and the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn (Nell’s). The Swiss Lounge is a casual dining option with moderately priced meals, while the Ptarmigan Dining Room can feel a bit more formal. Last season, both of these locations in the Many Glacier Hotel had the same menu.

Nell’s is the restaurant located at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. It is a casual spot for typical American fare like burgers, sandwiches, pizza, and fries. Nell’s will be cheaper than either restaurant at the Many Glacier Hotel (and the sweet potato fries are delicious!!). If none of those options sounds appealing to you (or if you plan to be hiking during lunchtime), make sure you pack a lunch to bring with you into the valley so that you don’t get too hungry! 

bbq mac and cheese at Nell's in Many Glacier
BBQ Mac and Cheese at Nell’s
carrot cake
Delicious carrot cake from the Swiss Lounge

4. Visit the Many Glacier Hotel

The Many Glacier Hotel is a lovely historic lodge built by the Great Northern Railway in 1914. This Swiss-style building has so much character and has become an iconic feature in Glacier National Park. It has a winter caretaker that stays alone in the valley all winter long…just like The Shining!

The Many Glacier Hotel is open to the public and the National Park Service offers historic hotel tours most days that allow you to become more familiar with the building and its history. 

View of lake with Many Glacier Hotel on the other side of the lake with mountains in the background
Women in canoe on boat dock

5. Get On (or in) the Water

One of my favorite things about living in Many Glacier is the close proximity to swimming and boating opportunities. Glacier Park Boat Company offers historic boat cruises with interpretive commentary many times each day. In addition, they offer small watercraft rentals of kayaks, canoes, and rowboats. The perspective of the mountains from the water is spectacular and I can’t recommend them enough. 

If you’re looking to save money, simply dip your toes (or go for a swim) in any body of water you like! The cold mountain water is refreshing, invigorating, and good for the spirit. For more information about swimming in Glacier, see my article about it!

6. Attend a Ranger-Led Activity

Park Rangers are a great resource for knowledge about Glacier. When you visit, make sure to check the schedule of ranger-led activities to see what is being offered while you are there! Some activities are small strolls, some are long hikes, and others are informative talks. No matter what you decide to attend, you are sure to learn something and the whole family will be entertained.

Personally, I enjoy the educational evening programs given by the rangers every night. They usually begin at 8 pm at the Many Glacier Hotel and the Campground Amphitheater and topics range from beavers to bears to biodiversity to wildflowers to birds to wildfire and more!

If you have kids (or if you are a kid at heart) make sure to pick up a Junior Ranger activity book from the Ranger Station or visitor center so you can earn your badge!

People sitting on benches in the woods listening to a Ranger in Glacier National Park
Sunset on the lake with the mountains and trees in the background

7. Watch the Sunset 

Sunset in Glacier is a beautiful sight to behold. For all my best tips, check out my article on sunrise and sunset viewing in Glacier. Sunset in Glacier is usually around (or after) 9:00 pm in the summer! Watching the sun disappear behind the mountains is so lovely and an experience you should have at least once on your visit to Glacier. The balcony of the Many Glacier Hotel is a perfect sunset-viewing location, ideally with a delicious beverage in hand. 

If you are more of a morning person than a night owl, catch a sunrise instead! Coffee, crisp mountain air, still water, and alpenglow on the mountains is an unbeatable combination. 

Where to Stay

Lodging can be difficult to find in and around Many Glacier because it is such a remote area of the park. In addition to the locations I have listed, you can search for lodging in Browning, St. Mary, and East Glacier. 

1. Many Glacier Hotel

The Many Glacier Hotel is a beautiful, Swiss-style, historic hotel built by the Great Northern Railway in 1914. It is located right in the heart of Many Glacier and offers 214 guest rooms. It is the largest hotel in Glacier National Park, with rooms ranging from around $300-$700/night. The hotel is operated by Xanterra, a private company that operates lodging in many National Parks around the country. Make your reservations early!

many glacier hotel
swiftcurrent motor inn

2. Swiftcurrent Motor Inn

The Swiftcurrent Motor Inn was built in 1933 to offer a more affordable lodging option to Glacier’s growing tourist population. It is still a bit cheaper than the Many Glacier Hotel, but not by much. The Swiftcurrent Motor Inn is also located right in the Many Glacier Valley and offers traditional hotel-style rooms and small cabins. 

3. Thronson’s Motel

Thronson’s Motel is located in the tiny town of Babb, just outside of Many Glacier. The rooms are clean, the staff are kind, and the location is great! There is a small general store next door, the Glacier’s Edge Cafe is right across the street, and the Many Glacier entrance is only a 10-minute drive from your door. Matt and Cheryl stayed here with their family for a night in the summer of 2023 and said they had a great experience.

Things to Know about Many Glacier

Visiting Glacier can be overwhelming and there are so many things to know! I’ve compiled information here that will make your trip go more smoothly. 

1. The Road Can Be Bumpy!

The Many Glacier road was reconstructed and repaved between 2017 and 2021. However, there are still two miles that are gravel! This section can become very dusty when it is dry and very bumpy and pothole-laden when it is wet. Drive carefully! There is no need for a large vehicle or four-wheel drive. I have seen many small rental cars drive the road without issue. 

2. Reservations are Required 

Vehicle reservations will be required to access Many Glacier during certain times in 2024. For the most up-to-date information, check Glacier National Park’s vehicle reservation page.

3. No Cell Phone Service

Once you leave Babb and drive onto the Many Glacier Road, you will lose cell phone service. There is no public wifi in the valley. Make sure you download maps and send important messages before you enter the valley. Enjoy the peace of no notifications! 

4. Limited Access to Food

There is no grocery store in Many Glacier and food options are limited. Make sure you either pack a lunch or are prepared to eat at restaurants (of which there are three) throughout the day. For snacky items, there are two convenience-store-style locations in Many Glacier. Heidi’s in the Many Glacier Hotel has snacks, coffee, and small meals. The Swiftcurrent Motor Inn Camp Store has just about anything you could expect to find at a small gas station. 

heidi's gift shop
Snow falling over lake and trees in Glacier National park

5. Weather is Unpredictable

The weather in Many Glacier can change dramatically in as little as 15 minutes. Make sure you are prepared for rain, sunshine, heat, snow, wind, hail, and thunderstorms. You never know what Mother Nature will throw at you!

Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

Planning a vacation shouldn’t be stressful. We created a step-by-step itinerary so you can visit the best places at the right times.

Not only that, but we’ll tell you about the park while you drive with our audio guide! Stop planning and start having the vacation of your dreams now!


GLACIER TRIP PLANNER: To read or watch all of our content about Glacier National Park, check out our Glacier Homepage

THINGS TO DO: Check out what not to miss and other things to do in Glacier including, hiking, and the amazing boat tours. Find out how to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road with our free printable

WHERE TO EAT: Don’t miss the best places to eat in Glacier National Park

WHERE TO STAY: Learn all about where to stay when visiting Glacier

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO: Find out which entrance is best for Glacier National Park as well as what to do when the Going-to-the-Sun Road is closed and if you need bear spray while visiting or if swimming is allowed

WATCH: Enjoy videos of gorgeous Glacier National Park while learning our best tips for visiting by watching our Glacier YouTube Playlist


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