Enjoy the breathtaking scenery of Glacier National Park, one of North America’s most pristine ecosystems, established in 1910 as the 10th U.S. national park. Its glacier-capped peaks, alpine valleys and crystal clear lakes fill more than 1 million acres (400,000 hectares) within Montana state.
Glacier Park’s 700 miles (1,126 kilometers) of hiking trails guide visitors into the wilderness to experience the park’s rugged beauty. Among towering mountains, encounter meadows carpeted with wildflowers, waterfalls and wildlife, including mountain goats and marmots in higher elevations and elk and harlequin ducks in lower valleys and streams. Choose from numerous novice hikes, from the Trail of the Cedars to St. Mary Falls.
For experienced hikers, the possibilities are almost endless for day hiking or backpacking. On the park’s east side, Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail is a strenuous 10.7-mile (17.2-kilometer) trek offering fantastic views of the glacier-carved Ptarmigan Wall. On the west side, Quartz Lake Loop from Bowman Lake Campground is a moderate 12.8-mile (20.6-kilometer) hike that swings between picturesque alpine lakes.
Bisecting Glacier Park, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is one of the world’s most scenic drives. Traversing 50 miles (80 kilometers) and reaching heights up to 6,646 feet (2,026 meters) at Logan Pass, the motorway’s engineering is as impressive as its unrivaled views. Sit back and enjoy the ride on the National Park Service’s free shuttles. For a guided, open-air tour, book a spot on a historic Red Bus. The 1930s bus fleet and historic lodges and chalets are significant parts of the park’s rich heritage.
The Going-to-the-Sun Road is open to cars after the snow is cleared, typically from mid-June through September. Cycle along the route from spring through fall. In winter, the road offers fantastic cross-country skiing.
Visit Glacier Park year-round. Most facilities, including campgrounds and lodges, however, are open only during summer. Snowshoeing and Nordic skiing are popular in winter.
Drive to Kalispell, Columbia Falls, Whitefish or Browning for easy access to park entrances. Several outfitters offer whitewater rafting, horseback riding and fishing excursions within the park. Kalispell’s Glacier Park International Airport is located 30 miles (48 kilometers) from the park’s west entrance.