Driving Highway 49 and Highway 89 from East Glacier to St. Mary, Glacier National Park, Montana
Much of the eastern side of Glacier National Park is easily missed by visitors to Montana. Most people fly into Kalispell, head to the west side of Glacier Park, and then drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road, at least to Logan Pass. There is so much to be seen on the eastern side, and Highway 49 and Highway 89 are just one of the highlights.
Driving from East Glacier, Highway 49 is the shortcut that will take you past the turn to Two Medicine and eventually connect with Highway 89. This is the way I would recommend driving. It cuts time off of the longer way around through the town of Browning, and takes you right past the the Two Medicine junction, which leads into the stunning Two Medicine area of the park.
Highway 49 is a winding, narrow road. I much prefer driving it from East Glacier toward St. Mary, instead of the other way. That way you are driving in the inside lane and are not so close to the edge. Pulling a camper is not recommended, so if you do have your camper, you will need to take the drive around through Browning. I would camp at Two Medicine and do the drive over Highway 49 in your vehicle. I have seen people riding their bikes up this road….I don’t think I could do it! It may not be as frightening as the Beartooth Highway, but I still wouldn’t want to be on a bicycle on the edge here.
The views that Highway 49 provides are truly incredible. You are looking at rolling plains and mountain peaks, and I, for one, just can’t get enough. You will get beautiful views looking into the Two Medicine valley at the start. It is only 13 miles from East Glacier to the Highway 89 junction.
Then you will take a left and continue following Highway 89 until you reach St. Mary. This road is also very pretty, and provides access into the Cut Bank campground and entrance to Glacier National Park. There are large turnouts as you near St. Mary to stop for photos of St. Mary Lake and the surrounding peaks:
All said and done, this drive is stunning, and I don’t think you will be disappointed. Especially if you swing into the Two Medicine area on your way! Enjoy Highways 49 and 89 near Glacier National Park in Montana!!
Warm Wishes from Big Sky Country!
Alex M. Neill
Montana Vacation Blog