Located in Western Montana, Missoula is a great starting point for visiting some incredible National Parks. Glacier National Park is located to the north of Missoula and offers breathtaking mountain scenery, glaciers, lakes, and abundant wildlife. Glacier National Park is known for its iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road, which provides stunning views and access to various hiking trails.
While Yellowstone National Park is not as close as to Missoula as Glacier, it is still within a reasonable driving distance. Yellowstone is the world’s first national park and is famous for its geothermal features, such as the Old Faithful geyser, colorful hot springs, and wildlife like grizzly bears, bison, and wolves.
Approximate Drive Time from Missoula: 2.5 – 3 hrs
Glacier National Park is approximately 140 miles north of Missoula, and it can take around 2.5 to 3 hours to get to the parks entrance, depending on traffic and weather conditions. The journey itself is part of the adventure, as you’ll be treated to scenic views and quaint Montana towns along the way. The best time to visit is between June and September, as that’s when the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a scenic drive that winds through the heart of Glacier National Park, is open.
Know Before You Go:
Vehicle Reservation & Park Passes
- Glacier National Park requires advance reservations during the summer months for those entering the park by vehicle or motorcycle. Reservations can be made on Recreation.gov
- The park is open 24/7 and visitors may enter the park before 6 a.m. or after 3 p.m. without a vehicle reservation.
- Visitors with lodging, camping, or commercial activity reservations (e.g., boat tours and horseback rides) do not need a vehicle reservation and can use their confirmation email to access the portion of the park for which their activity is booked.
- A park pass is required to enter the park. A vehicle reservation does not include a park pass, and the park pass does not serve as a vehicle reservation. Park passes may be purchased at entrance stations or online.
Pets & Glacier National Park
- Pets are only allowed in developed areas such as: in your cars while driving park roads, frontcountry campgrounds, picnic areas, along roads when you are stopped, in parking areas, and in boats on lakes where motorized watercraft are permitted. They must be on leashes no more than 6ft in length.
- Pets are not allowed on trails, along lake shores outside of developed locations, in the backcountry, or in any building. They must be on leashes no more than 6ft in length. Owners must pick-up and dispose of pet waste.
Approximate Drive Time From Missoula: 4 – 4.5hrs
Yellowstone National Park is approximately 300 miles south-east of Missoula, Montana and it can take around 2.5 to 3 hours to get to the parks West Entrance, depending on traffic and weather conditions. The journey itself is part of the adventure, as you’ll drive through Bozeman and Big Sky to get to the West entrance of West Yellowstone.
Keep in mind that the park itself is quite vast, spanning over 2.2 million acres, so the distance from the park’s entrance to various attractions within Yellowstone can vary.
Know Before You Go
- Yellowstone National Park does not require a vehicle reservation at this time.
- A park pass is required to enter the park, and may be purchased at entrance stations or online.
Pets & Yellowstone National Park
- Pets are only allowed in developed areas of Yellowstone such as parking lots, campgrounds, and picnic areas. Pets are not allowed on trails, boardwalks, thermal areas, inside buildings, or in backcountry areas.
- They must be on leashes no more than 6ft in length. Owners must pick-up and dispose of pet waste.
- If you plan to explore areas of the park where pets are not permitted, consider utilizing kennel or boarding services outside the park.Click here for more information on pet regulations in Yellowstone
Yellowstone National Park and Glacier National Park are generally safe destinations for visitors. However, it’s important to be aware of and follow certain guidelines to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
Yellowstone and Glacier are home to incredible wildlife, including bears, bison, elk, mountain goats, and wolves. It’s crucial to maintain a safe distance and never approach, touch, or feed the animals. Keep your distance for their safety and yours.
Yellowstone National Park is known for its geothermal features, such as geysers and hot springs. It’s essential to stay on designated boardwalks and trails as the ground around these areas can be fragile, and stepping off the marked paths can be dangerous.
If you plan to hike in Yellowstone or Glacier, be sure to carry bear spray and know how to use it. Stay on marked trails, be cautious of changing weather conditions, and be mindful of your surroundings.
Follow the Leave No Trace principles by properly disposing of waste, minimizing impact, and leaving natural and cultural resources undisturbed.