Glacier Natl Park

Overview

Introduction

This park contains a spectacular array of glaciers, hundreds of lakes, waterfalls, trout streams, cliffs, forests, wildflowers and mountains. Glacier is the U.S. portion of Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, a joint preserve and recreation area maintained by the U.S. and Canada. Its beauty makes it a popular national park, but it's big enough that visitors can still find places where it feels like the nearest human is worlds away. Climate change has had a significant impact on the park, and scientists predict that all of its remaining glaciers will disappear by 2030.


The Going-to-the-Sun Road is an impressive feat of engineering that runs 50 mi/80 km across the Continental Divide and ventures deep into the park, passing inspiring alpine scenery along the way. Going-to-the-Sun Road is a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark and one of the most scenic roads in North America. The full length of the road is usually open late June to mid-October, but only a 10-mi/16-km stretch from West Glacier to Lake McDonald Lodge remains open in winter. A free Going-to-the-Sun Road shuttle makes stops at popular destinations and trailheads along the way. The shuttle runs early July-early September.


Types of wildlife roaming throughout the park include moose, elk, deer, mountain goats (lots of them), marmots, and bears (including the grizzly). Visitors should be sure to understand the park service's safety guidelines before heading off on a hiking trail.


In its most active months (late May-September), the park offers a full range of activities: National Park Service guided tours, backcountry hiking on more than 700 mi/1,127 km of trails, biking, nature trails, picnicking, horseback riding, rock climbing, swimming, rafting and fishing. Cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are popular in winter. For overnight stays, there are campgrounds, lodges and chalets; early reservations are necessary.


Adjoining the eastern boundary of the park is the 1.5-million-acre/607,000-hectare Blackfeet Indian Reservation. The Museum of the Plains Indian, located in the town of Browning, has artifacts and displays related to the tribes of the area, as well as exhibits of contemporary Native American crafts. The North American Indian Days Celebration is held the second week of July in Browning and includes traditional Native American games, dances and artwork, including displays of painted tepees, colorful feather headdresses and beaded deerskin outfits.


The park is open daily, but many areas are closed in the winter. The entrance fee is US$30 per vehicle May-October, $20 per vehicle November-April for a seven-day pass. Phone 406-888-7800. https://www.nps.gov/glac.

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