From our very first exchange of emails with Gail, I was pretty certain that we would enjoy Glacier Bear Retreat even though at the time, construction was months away from being complete. Gail’s passion for the Glacier area is immediately obvious and contagious. The home that she has built there is a real testament to how much she loves Montana and Glacier National Park in particular. I cannot overstate the value of Gail’s home being located inside the park. Every moment is spent enjoying some aspect of the park and Glacier Bear Retreat is a perfect base from which to begin and end your adventures each day.
Upon arrival, Gail could not have been nicer, showing us around the house and making sure we had everything we needed. We had three couples and one child in our group and we were very comfortable. On the nights that we ate in, we really enjoyed dining on the screen porch, listening to the flowing stream just behind the house. The kitchen and pantry have everything you could want and more. Later in the evening, s’mores and an evening beverage by the fire pit topped off another wonderful day in GNP.
Each day offered a variety of interesting options depending on your mood. Everyone always enjoyed the short hike over to Apgar Village with its stunning views of Lake McDonald and shops with something for everyone. While our hiking ability would not be called advanced, we were able to take advantage of some of the easier, but still beautiful trails including Trail of the Cedars, Avalanche Lake (awesome), John’s Lake Loop, and Grinnell Lake where we ran into a mama grizzly and her two cubs coming back down the trail, so heed the signs and listen to everyone who tells you to carry your bear spray and keep it handy. After running into the bears, cocktails at the Many Glacier Hotel were a must.
A highlight of our trip was the helicopter tour we took of the park with Glacier Helitours in West Glacier. It was truly a bucket list event. The perspective from above gives you an appreciation of the park and the glaciers that is impossible to get in any other way. Awesome.
All too soon it was time to go home. Gail came by the say goodbye before we left and while we were in the house talking, we looked out the window to see a beautiful black bear wondering down the road in front of the house. (Always pack your bear spray) That was a nice way to end a trip and begin thinking about when we can get back to Glacier Bear Retreat.