Top 10 Road Trips
Going-to-the-Sun Road, Montana
In an epoch of climate change, it’s more satisfying than ever to make a pilgrimage (albeit by car) to witness the awesome beauty of glaciers in idyllic northern Montana. In Glacier National Park (www.nps.gov/glac), the Going-to-the-Sun Road runs east to west for 50 miles. Take at least half a day to drive it in early June or just after Labor Day for the most unencumbered backcountry tour. Although the park stays open year-round, parts of this road trip route close from mid-September to mid-June. In July and August, when the route is beleaguered by traffic and maintenance work, jump on the free and eco-friendly shuttle bus. The Sun Road, as it's also called, crosses the Continental Divide at a breathtaking elevation of 6,646 feet (keep an eye out for mountain goats and bighorn sheep) and passes by Jackson Glacier Overlook, which, as the name suggests, is a good place to spot glaciers. A huge feat in engineering when it was created 79 years ago, the parkway includes portions carved into a sheer vertical cliff known as the Garden Wall. On the side of the road, the valley lies thousands of feet below.
Smart Splurge Hotel: The park is celebrated for its scenery, not its lodgings. Just outside, try Silverwolf Log Chalet Resort (www.silverwolfchalets.com), several minutes from the west entrance. Its snug log cabins come with gas fireplaces, daily maid service, and even Wi-Fi.
Great Value Hotel: The quaint 96-year-old Swiss chalet-style Many Glacier Hotel (www.nationalparkreservations.com/glacier_many.htm) serves afternoon fondues in the lobby and presides over a prime spot along Swiftcurrent Lake.