I was at Glacier National Park last weekend with a friend. It takes about 8½ hours to get there from Seattle. Glacier is supposed to be a premier national park, though I have to say I was immensely underwhelmed. The park is nice, but it’s basically just some mountains and trees. This is nothing special in the West, and certainly not for someone who has Mt Rainier in the background every day. The park itself is in pretty bad shape. There are not many turnouts and parking areas, few of the major sites have signs, some major attractions were closed, and the trails are poorly marked. For such an old and esteemed park, it was not good.
Add to it that the park staff was not very nice. That’s pretty unusual, since most park staff are awesome, but not at Glacier. They act as if visitors are just a nuisance. The first person we met was really rude—to another person, not us—but it still wasn’t very pleasant. I also managed to get Ranger Rick lecturing me on speed within the park. The problem was simply that the speed limits change constantly (it’s insane, speed limits go from 25 mph to 45 mph and back again in the span of one mile). I was going too fast even though I wasn’t intending too. I knew Ranger Rick was there and I was actually looking for a pullout to take photos, but I was going to fast and got a ticket. To make things better he lied to us (said we had to pay now), threatened us (I would go to jail if I didn’t give my Social Security Number), gave a formal warning to my friend for not having updated documents (it was his car), and basically just created a really bad situation. Ranger Rick seemed new, was acting really nervous, and even talked about his personal life with us a couple times. The situation was fucked up.
Anyway, I got over it (the ticket wasn’t too expensive), but when you add everything up, I was less than happy with Glacier National Park. There are so many nicer national parks that are far more beautiful and interesting that is really isn’t worth the effort or expense to go to Glacier. And it is expensive! Hotels and restaurants are ridiculously priced. We were gouged. Oh well, at least now I know.