If there’s one thing I love about summer evenings in the Flathead Valley, it’s strolls with friends
and family through our abundant farmers markets to peruse the plentiful stands featuring some
of the best produce, arts, crafts and food trucks this wonderful little corner of Montana has to
offer. I can’t help but smile as I wander about, tasting the wares as I drift from booth to booth, snagging a sweet bite of a Flathead Cherry here, a morsel of locally made cheese there, or a delicate bite of melon so fresh and juicy it doesn’t seem real.
Its officially the first day of summer! The only thing better than that is the fact Going To the Sun Road is open in Glacier National Park. What a great week! Spring Fever for this gal can only be cured in three ways: hiking in Glacier, planning a hike in Glacier, and talking about planning a hike in Glacier.
At this point in my 25+ year love affair with Glacier National Park, I’ve hiked most of the “on-trail” hikes that I’ve had a hankering to do. And some of those trails, like the dusty, well-worn path to Iceberg Lake, I’ve hiked numerous times. But no two hikes are alike, and there is no trail I’ve grown tired of yet – oh, certain portions of certain trails, to be fair – does anyone really harbor deep affection for that very last mile down from the Loop/Highline Trail/Granite Park Chalet trail, when it’s buggy and thronged with tourists and the sun beating down on your head intensifies the ache in your twelve-miles-in-shins? Not me.
What makes the Flathead Valley the absolute last BEST place in the last best place, Northwest Montana?
Well, the Trail of the Cedars/Avalanche Lake hike in our backyard national park, Glacier, certainly adds to the Flathead’s distinction.
I’d put Trail of the Cedars/Avalanche in the “easiest hikes in the park” category. Immediately accessible off the stunning Going-to-the-Sun Road -- insider tip: take the free shuttle and you won’t have to fight for a parking space -- the first part of the trail, The Trail of the Cedars, is a loop of just .60 paved miles, and has a raised, handicap accessible boardwalk in some sections. The cedars are mossy and magical, and some are over 80 feet tall.