Glacier National ParkMontana 

A hiker’s paradise.

Glacier National Park

One of America’s most scenic drives through untouched country can only be matched by its trails.

Glacier National Park in Western Montana is a one million acre park that borders Canada on the north. It was established in 1910 in order to protect these beautiful and scenic lands. The bill was signed by President William H. Taft. Going-to-the-Sun Road, the popular and scenic 53 mile road that bisects the park to provide interior access, was finished in 1932.

Glacier is a backpacking and nature paradise. With towering mountains, beautiful alpine lakes, 13 campgrounds, 700 miles of hiking trails and one of the most scenic drives in the country, it’s a can’t miss national park to visit during the season.

Much of the parks’ land was carved by glaciers during the last ice age and 25 active glaciers remain in the park. There are around 700 lakes in the park, though only 131 have names. Two hundred waterfalls run throughout the park.

The park is one of the few ecosystems where plants and animals remain historically intact (except for bison and woodland caribou). The park’s waters provide some of the best trout fishing in the country. 260 species of birds have been recorded. And the threatened grizzly bear and Canadian lynx reside in the park. The mountain goat is the official symbol of the park.

Distance from Nearby Major Cities:

Yellowstone NP: 450 miles (8.25 hours)
Seattle, WA: 560 miles (9.25 hours)
Salt Lake City, UT: 660 miles (10 hours)

Busiest Months

  • Percent of annual visits

Don’t Miss:

  • Glaciers
  • Hiking
  • Fishing

Other Activities


The cool waters of Glacier National Park make for some of the best fly fishing for trout in the country. The North and Middle Forks of the Flathead River are both popular. It is one of the few rivers available for Westslope cutthroat trout. Rainbow trout and a few other non-native species are also available.

Recent Bird Sightings

Hiking and Backpacking:

Hiking is one of the more popular activities in the park with more than half of visitors reporting taking a hike. The park has more than 700 miles of hiking trails and tons of scenic views.

Highline Loop: A one-way, 12 mile hike from Going-to-the-Sun Road at Logan Pass to the Loop. A shuttle is generally taken at the start or end. The trail has spectacular views and wildlife spotting but is not for those with a fear of heights as it follows the Continental Divide with some narrow sections / steep drops.

Grinnell Glacier: Grinnell is one of the parks largest glaciers and also one of its most visited. It sits just below the Continental Divide and is reachable from the Grinnell Glacier Trailhead. You can also take the shuttle boats across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine to shave some miles off the hike by starting at the Many Glacier Hotel (7.6 mile hike roundtrip after boat shuttles). Hikers can go on the glacier but are urged to take appropriate safety precautions.

Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail (aka Iceberg Lake Trail): A popular hike for those in good physical condition to pass through the Ptarmigan Tunnel at mile 5.1 of this trail. The 250 foot tunnel was built in 1930 through the Ptarmigan Wall at 7,200 feet in order to circumvent steep terrain. The opening of the steel doors that close the tunnel for the winter depends on snow but are typically opened in early July.

St. Mary Falls: Going-to-the-Sun Road provides access to the trailhead for the short hike to St. Mary Falls. For a longer hike, continue on the trail to Virginia Falls. From the trailhead to Virginia Falls and back, it is 3.6 miles roundtrip.

Avalanche Lake: A 2.3 mile hike on Trail of the Cedars and then along Avalanche Creek brings hikers to the lake at the base of Bearhat Mountain, 4800 feet above Avalanche Lake.

Weather Forecast:


Average Temperature (Monthly)

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Lodging and Camping

There are 13 campgrounds in Glacier National Park. They are generally found on the east and west borders of the park or along Going-to-the-Sun Road. Apgar Gampground is the largest with 194 sites on the west side of the park near the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

A backcountry use permit is required for all overnight camping in the backcountry. Sites are restricted to 65 designated campgrounds or the Nyack / Coal Creek camping zone. Half of the sites are available for reservation and the other half must be reserved in person on the day of or day before a trip. Each backcountry campground has 2-7 campsites.

Xanterra is the operator of several lodges in the park. Many Glacier Hotel, Swiftcurrent Motor Inn & Cabins, Rising Sun Motor Inn & Cabins, Lake MacDonald Lodge and Village Inn at Apgar all accept reservations for guests.

Campground Reservations:

Fish Creek Campground
173 Sites


Many Glacier Campground
41 Sites


St. Mary Campground
142 Sites


Group Campgrounds:

Apgar Group Sites
10 Sites



Nearby Activities:

Roundtrip Flights to Glacier Park International Airport


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