Montana Highway 89 travels between East Glacier Park and Babb, Montana.
Locally it is called The Looking Glass Highway. Many visitors drive this road to access the Two Medicine Valley and those who are brave enough accept the challenge and drive between the Two Medicine Road Junction and Kiowa Junction.
This is a horrible road!
This section of highway is broke up and seems to be in a constant state of disrepair.
There are ginormous holes that are simply filled with gravel. The road has short sections of 8 feet or so that have dropped a few inches (or more) lower than the other parts of the road.
Nature has built in speed bumps to help you not drive too fast.
It’s not that the road has not been repaired, it appears that it can’t be fixed due to the herculean forces that the continental plates place on the earth’s surface as they collide then ride one over the other.
In fact, whole eastern side of Glacier National Park is located over the Lewis Overthrust which forces newer rock on top of older rocks. This action formed the iconic Chief Mountain and can be seen in many places along Highway 89. Click here for more information on the Lewis Overthrust.
What They Called It.
The Native Americans called them “Looking Glass Hills” because they said that “under certain atmospheric conditions Rising Wolf Mountain shines like a polished black-glass mirror.”
The Looking Glass Hills were the site of a fire lookout at one time as well. It was built in 1937 and the wind blew it away 3 years later.
The wind must have been horrific that day. It was located on a ridge overlooking Two Medicine Lake so the view would have been amazing. Read more about Glacier’s winds.
Please note: The Looking Glass Hills are all contained within the Blackfeet Reservation and are private property. Please respect their lands. A Blackfeet Use Permit can be purchased at most sporting goods stores as well as gas stations that sell hunting or fishing licenses. The $10 cost allows you to cross the Blackfeet reservation to access Glacier National Park but please use ESTABLISHED access points and ask permission to cross private property.
- Drive this incredible section of highway with caution. Perhaps you should borrow your mother-in-law’s car, but definitely drive it.
- Drive slow and use the pull-outs for incredible views of the Two Medicine Valley. Rising Wolf Mountain dominates the view from this highway but you can also spot peaks such as Mount Morgan, Flinsch Peak, Mount Henry and even Grizzly Mountain.
- By the way, all of the peaks in the Two Medicine Valley are within your grasp if you want to climb them. Climb them all! See The Featured Peaks for more info. Purchase Volume 2 from our store.
- Again make sure to use all the pull-outs. Spot Mountain, seen from the top of the hill and then again on the downhill section before Kiowa Junction, as well as the Basin Creek drainage are also worth a gander.
- The views get even better in the fall when the aspens start to turn.
What is your favorite section of road to drive in or around Glacier National Park?
Send me your comments.
Thanks for joining in for this small bit of fun history about Glacier National Park. Not all of it is true but it is interesting.
Ruhle, George C., The Ruhle handbook Roads and Trails of Waterton-Glacier National Parks, Falcon Press, 1986
Rex’s Fire Lookout Page, 2014.
© Montana Outdoor Guidebooks, 2014