Now that summer is upon us, it’s time to get out and enjoy the weather, your family and Montana. What better vacation spot is there than Glacier National Park? It’s just a short drive, about three hours, from Missoula to Glacier. Glacier Park is the perfect not-so-far-away getaway. With gas prices staying high, we could all use a vacation that’s close to home.

Nothing else in Montana, let alone North America, compares with the Going-to-the-Sun Road. You are able to see the most spectacular scenery along this road that takes you from one side of the park to the other. It’s definetly not for those who are afraid of heights, but if you can make the journey, it will be worth your while.

If you are looking for a serene place in the park to just enjoy nature, you can take a hike to Goat Haunt, one of the most remote locations in the park. St. Mary Valley is also a must see. Your odds of seeing wildlife are really good here, and if you happen to stop by the visitor’s center, you just may be able to catch local Native American drummers and dancers there.

Glacier has numerous trails for the avid and not so avid hiker, but did you know you can hike to a chalet and spend the night? The park has two backcountry chalets, Granite Park and Sperry Chalet. If you want to actually see a glacier, then Many Glaciers is the spot to visit. But, that’s not the only thing this popular spot has to offer. It is also home to two of the most popular hikes in the park, Grinnell Glacier trail and the Iceberg Lake trail. There are so many trails to take at Many Glaciers that hikers can take a different trail every day for a week and still not cover all that the area has to offer.

Of course, the places I’ve talked about visiting in Glacier Park just scratch the surface as far as what the park has to offer. So, if you want to truly get away this summer and see and experience things you never have before, then this is the place for you.

The operating dates for the 2012 concessioners operating in Glacier National Park have been set. These concessioners work with the park to provide visitor services. These services include lodging, food service, retail shops, tours, transportation, horseback riding, guided day hikes and backpacking trips, and boat tours and small boat rentals.

For a complete concessionaires schedule  or hiking maps click on the links below.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.