Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Helicopter to Heaven: Flying High Above Glacier National Park

There are awe-inspiring moments in your life that have you pinching yourself wondering how you got here, and then there are moments one step up from that even. Getting to see one of America’s most impressive, expansive national parks from such a unique perspective definitely falls into the latter category.

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Our first few days in Montana’s Glacier Country were spent drinking beer in Missoula, paddling the Clearwater River Canoe Trail, and playing around Whitefish (more on that to come), and while all were absolutely lovely and charming and a blast to say the least, there was no doubt we were all eagerly awaiting to reach the main attraction: Glacier National Park.

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

And what better way to get acquainted with the park—particularly our friends who were Glacier newcomers—than to see it from above?

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

YOU GUYS. I have done a lot of cool things in my life—I never take a moment of it for granted, rest assured—but there has yet to be a cooler experience than hopping a chopper for a 60-minute flight over my favorite park in the world.

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Glacier Jet Center’s Mike was our pilot and the very one who took Sean The Bachelor up over Glacier a few seasons ago. We met him over at the international airport in Kalispell, where the company is headquartered, and I was the lucky one who drew the right straw, landing me the prime shotgun seat next to our esteemed leader.

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

The other five sat in the back, which was so plush and fancy that each seat had its own drop-down TV. Definitely the Rolls Royce of helicopters!

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Within five minutes of taking off from Kalispell, we reached the fringe of Glacier National Park and watched the terrain turn from flat to undulating to full-on mountain monstrosities. The weather was on our side: A nice layer of clouds sat high in the sky with patches of blue periodically peeking out from behind them—a far cry from the nonstop rain I experienced on my last Montana vacation.

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Mike asked us how fast we thought we were going; I guessed 50 miles per hour, but I was off—by 100. It’s hard to believe we were whizzing past glaciers at 150 miles per hour and barely felt like we were moving. The sign of a fancy chopper, for sure. I had worried about motion sickness—you know it forever plagues me—and I didn’t feel a thing (other than pure exhilaration) during the hour we were in flight.

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

We passed (slow) moving ice and lakes as smooth as glass and the color of turquoise. We spotted gushing waterfalls and hikers far, far below. I didn’t speak for an hour, as I had nothing to say. You feel so small when dwarfed by 10,000-foot peaks, but at the same time like a superhero when they’re nearly within fingertips’ reach.

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

After it was all over, none of us could adequately speak for the rest of the day. We kept turning to look at each other, as if to say: “Did that really happen?” I’m just glad I was sitting in the front, as I heard there were tears in the backseat and, well, I don’t do emotions.

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Words truly can’t describe how magical this experience was. Instead, I turn to photos as an aid.

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

Montana's Glacier National Park by Helicopter

And a little video, too. Enjoy—until you also have the experience to do the same, in which case take it, no questions asked.

COMMENTS
  • July 21, 2014

    These pictures are beautiful. When I think of Montana, I don’t immediately think of glaciers – it’s nice to know this exists in the USA. Thanks for sharing!
    Danee Sarman recently posted..Pollock’s Studio & Hampton’s Beach WeekendMy Profile

  • July 22, 2014

    STUNNING! Never even knew about this park and now it’s on the bucket list. You’ve GOT to stop doing this to me 😉
    Angie Away recently posted..Planning an #Unminivan Road Trip from Denver to SeattleMy Profile

  • July 23, 2014

    Admittedly, I didn’t love Glacier National Park when I was there (though it’s been about ten years ago now). It was so crowded and there was so much traffic. But your photos are stunning. Maybe I need to revisit and try again. Thanks for sharing.
    JoAnna recently posted..Five Thoughts from a Two-Week Trip in EuropeMy Profile

  • July 23, 2014

    Wow, super cool! Helicopter rides are always crazy fun, but doing it in a park like Glacier National Park, wow. This park is near the top of my must-visit list…..can’t wait to get there one day!
    Red Hunt recently posted..Hiking Along the Lycian Way to Oludeniz Blue LagoonMy Profile

  • July 23, 2014

    What a great recap, Kristen! The photos are unreal.

    You can probably add some inspirational quotes on a couple of those that look totally photoshopped and make a few bucks from stock photos, too. 😉 JK. But the lush green & and a couple of the mountain ones DO remind me of those posters you see in offices.

    Thanks for sharing! :-)
    Julie recently posted..Where are Philly’s Great Consignment Shops? WCI WednesdayMy Profile

  • July 28, 2014

    Your photos are so beautiful. We haven’t been lucky enough to ride in a helicopter yet, but apparently that’s something we need to change, if your experience is any indication of what we might be in for.
    Laura recently posted..Regain Your Senses at Tintswalo Atlantic Cape TownMy Profile

  • July 28, 2014

    Damn, those views!!! We took a heli tour in Maui, and now I’m hooked. Hopefully one day I can get to see GNP in one. And what wonderful company!!

  • July 28, 2014

    Didn’t know there were glaciers in Montana! A helicopter ride with such great views is still in my to-do list… Definitely something to check when I go there!
    Federico recently posted..What Should You Do if You Lose Your Passport?My Profile

  • July 28, 2014

    Montana really is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to; awesome photos.
    Ayngelina recently posted..New Site Design!My Profile

  • July 28, 2014

    Ugh, favorite people doing one of my favorite things, FOMO in retrospect is in full effect! And nice work on landing the shotgun seat :-)
    Alex recently posted..A Different Kind of Dive: Going Under in the Atlantis SubmarineMy Profile

  • July 29, 2014

    How absolutely amazing you lucky girl. :) I can see what you mean by the sniffing in the backseat. I don’t do emotion either but if there’s anything guaranteed to make me shut up and stop chatting, it’s the glorious, in awe, pinch-me-‘cos-I-can’t-believe-it, breath-taking, mountain views. Wow!
    Victoria recently posted..Glitzy burlesque, and utter SHEER MADNESS!My Profile

  • July 30, 2014

    I SO want to go here. How magnificent!
    Diana Edelman recently posted..Behind bars in Ljubljana: Hostel Celica reviewMy Profile

  • July 31, 2014

    This is looks so unbelievably exhilarating! We’re extremely envious :)
    Mindy & Ligeia recently posted..Vege Creek – Vegan Restaurant in Taipei, TaiwanMy Profile

  • August 3, 2014

    Wow! Thanks for sharing! I absolutely hate flying but I went to Nevada last year and the flight out was so beautiful I forgot for a few hours how horrible flying was! haha These photos remind me of that flight times 1,000!
    Vanessa recently posted..Sundays VIMy Profile

  • August 7, 2014

    Really nice! It is not really easy to take pictures from the helicopter and you did it!
    Olielo recently posted..The best hotels in Las VegasMy Profile

  • June 2, 2015

    I would absolutely love to take a helicopter ride like this over a beautiful place. It seems like this is a really great way to see a lot of stuff in a short amount of time. It would also be really fun to see all of the mountains and glaciers from such a different perspective, since most often we are looking up at the mountains instead of down on them. When my family takes a trip soon, I would like to see if we can find a helicopter that we can ride in all together! Thanks for sharing!

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