Highway 2 West
As the scenery begins to change from sprawling dandelion-covered meadows to rugged mountain terrain and back again, excitement builds and those traveling along Highway 2 come to realize the awesomeness of their passage.
- Admire towering granite canyons as you pass from West Glacier on to the Marias Pass.
- Diving Glacier National Park from the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area, Highway 2 affords terrific opportunities for wildlife viewing.
- Watch rafter shoot the rapids on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.
Why should I drive the Highway 2?
Tracing the southern boundary of Glacier National Park on one side and the Bob Marshall Wilderness area on the other, Highway 2 cuts a two lane swath through granite canyons, dense wilderness, all the while following the curves of the Flathead River. It is one of the most impressive vistas in Montana.
The highway follows the original route of the Burlington Northern Railway over Marias Pass.
With many scenic turnouts along the way, drivers can stop to spot moose grazing in a meadow or the brightly colored rafts rushing down the Middle Fork’s rapids.
Where does the scenic stretch of Highway 2 begin and end?
Starting at West Glacier, Highway 2 travels for 56 miles to meet East Glacier on the other side of the Marias Pass.
How long does it take to drive?
With a speed limit ranging from 40 to 50 mph and allowing for several stops along the way, the route should take about 2 hours.
What will I see along the way?
Start your journey outside the historic Belton Chalet in West Glacier traveling east. After moving past a few meadows, the road seems to narrow as it makes its way through towering granite canyons. The Flathead River and railroad tracks will be on your left.
On your approach to Marias Pass, the highway rises steadily. The snow-capped peaks of Glacier National Park will appear to the north. Layers of mountain tops seem to roll out forever in the distance.
On the right the Bob Marshall Wilderness Area’s 1.5 million acres of wild landscape is sparsely punctuated with cabins and the occasional motel.
At the top of Marias Pass, use caution on the sharp curves, but stop at the pinnacles turnout to take in the view. As you admire the vista from the top of the 5,222 foot pass, you can’t help but be awe struck by the grandness of Glacier National Park in the distance.
Upon descending Marias Pass, the road flattens and winds through miles of meadows and dense forest, which is great for wildlife viewing.