In terms of famous national parks within the United States, big name nature reserves such as the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Denali are primary destinations have been top destinations for many visitors year after year. With its stunning landscapes and limited tourists, Montana’s very own Glacier National Park is slowly becoming a top national park destination for individuals, families, and explorers from across the country.
Situated amidst the stunning wilderness in the state of Montana, Glacier National Park has more than 700 miles of hiking trails, 563 streams, 175 mountains (the highest of which is Mt. Cleveland at 10,448 feet), and 25 glaciers. Established in May 1910, this park continues to awe everyone from nature visitors to local residents.
Take the time to visit Two Medicine, though, and you’ll discover the incredible views, extensive hiking trails, thundering waterfalls and picturesque lakes that appealed to those visitors years ago. The thundering waterfalls and the serene lakes are not only perfect for hiking, but also are great for brushing up on your photography skills.
One of the most memorable and iconic ways to see the glorious scenery of the park is to travel on a wooden boat from anywhere between an hour to the entire day. There are so many terrific ways to journey through the park, one of which is aboard a classic wooden boat, which is definitely a unique experience specific to this Montana based park.
Showing guests around its backyard since 1938, Glacier Park Boat Company still actively uses its well-maintained boats around the park area. Historically crafted works of art, these wooden boats range in in construction dates from the years 1926 to 1984. Touring beautiful areas including St. Mary Lake at Rising Sun, Lake McDonald, Two Medicine and Many Glacier, this wooden boat tour is a must-do experience or any individual or family.
If you happen to be interested in exploring the national park as the earliest visitors once did, trotting or traveling on horseback is the most historically accurate way to experience the park’s past. Currently, Swan Mountain Outfitters takes guests into the park on horseback, with trips varying from one hour to a three-hour ride.
If these packages don’t happen to work with you, there is also a multi-ride option. If you or your party would like to engage in more outdoor activities in addition to simply horseback riding, it is also possible to combine this package with water rafting and the company is great at accommodating riders of all levels. Not to mention that each tour ends with a delicious steak dinner.
Although a very popular activity to participate in the spring and fall, bicycling on the Going-to-the-Sun Road is an absolutely must-do activity if the weather permits it. Unfortunately, this bike path is closed from mid-June through Labor Day, so keep this in mind when planning your trip to the Glacier National Park. The nearly 50-mile-long road runs from the park’s east and west borders in order for tourists to see both sides of the nature reserve’s pure beauty.
The first hike to consider exploring is called the International Peace Hike. In terms of hike planning, it is important to remember that some of the trails at higher elevations aren’t snow-free until as late as mid- to late-July. Another key tool point of contact to reach out to is the park ranger who is equipped to not only understand the various trails of the park, but can also better guide you to which trails or path are best suited for you. If by chance you are uncomfortable or feel unprepared to go on a hike on you own, you can join a park ranger on a guided hike during the daytime for as long as his/her schedule permits. Be sure to check the schedule before heading to overnight or trips that would last a few days.
Snacking is key
As you’re hiking or biking on the trails, be sure to look out for huckleberry bushes and start eating these tiny morsels during your exploration. Huckleberry picking and eating is permitted within the park, but please bear in mind each visitor is limited to one quart each day.
Though not everyone is a photography expert, taking the time to take pictures of your trip is essential not only for remembrance, but to also capture the elements in a different manner. The park’s photographers suggest these tips on things to see during your visit:
– Sunrise on the east side of the park. One of the key spots to watch the sunrise is from the Many Glacier Hotel
-Saint Mary Lake and Lake Sherburne (which are both accessible by road)
– The wildflowers that bloom late-June through mid-August at Logan Pass
-Post-winter waterfalls are stunning in every way possible
– Visitors can see the aurora borealis in the night sky depending on the light’s strength
– the Milky Way is visible from the head of Lake McDonald from May to October
For more about Glacier National park rangers and other visitors think believe it is best to download the free Chimani app to your smart phone. Not only does this app help visitors navigate the park, but is also has interesting bits of information to help with trip planning.