Glacier National Park
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Nicknamed the “Crown of the Continent,” Glacier National Park encompasses over one million acres of land straddling the border between Montana and Canada. With over 130 named lakes, more than 1,000 species of plants and animals, 734 miles of park trails and elevations ranging from 3,000 to over 10,000 feet sea level, Glacier exhibits a huge variety of ecosystems and microclimates. Visitors have the opportunity to spot bighorn sheep, elk, bats, mountain lions, and both black and grizzly bears -- just to name a few.
Because of its extreme latitude, the weather in Glacier National Park can be quite severe, with snow and ice preventing access to and operation of many of the park’s features during the winter. Spring extends well into June, and snow-related closures may persist into July; however, summer brings long, bright days with sunshine until well past 10 p.m., and daytime temperatures hovering between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Although Glacier as a whole is open every day of the year, you should always check the official park website for the latest weather-related updates and potential closures before setting off on your adventure.
On the Montana side, the park lies adjacent to the quaint gateway towns of Columbia Falls and Whitefish, small villages filled with shops, restaurants, adventure tour opportunities, and art galleries. Half an hour south of Whitefish is the larger city of Kalispell, where travelers can stock up on gear and necessities.
Glacier hosts a variety of scheduled in-park activities, including star parties, boat tours, guided hikes, and more. You can learn more about these opportunities by checking the official park calendar, as well as exploring the park’s Ranger-led Activities.
Even without a park-organized event, there’s enough to do at Glacier to keep an adventurer busy for a lifetime. Hiking, mountain biking, rock-climbing, fly fishing, backcountry camping, and skiing are just the tip of the iceberg. And if you’re a novice, no problem -- there are plenty of tour guides and outfitters in the area to help you see the park safely, whether you hoof it on horseback or brave the whitewater rivers.
- Spring 45-50 F
- Summer 70-75 F
- Fall 45-50 F
- Winter 30 F
- Coming soon
- Glacier National Park Private Vehicle, 7-Day Permit: $35
- Glacier National Park Single Entry: $20
- Glacier National Park Motorcycle: $35 (Winter Rate: $15 November 1-April 30): $null
RV Rentals Near Glacier National Park
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Glacier National Park Hiking Trails
With well over 700 miles of trails ranging in length and difficulty level, there’s a hike in Glacier for absolutely everyone -- whether you’re looking for an easy hour-long stroll or a multi-day backpacking adventure.
As in any hiking situation, it’s important to carry lots of water, sunscreen, and high-energy snacks. At Glacier, however, you must also remember that you’re in bear country. Always hike in a group and make plenty of noise to avoid surprising a bear in its natural habitat. You might also consider investing in -- and learning how to use -- bear spray.
Here are just a few of the best-known and -loved trails in the park. For a full list, maps, and in-depth details about hiking trails at Glacier National Park, click here.
Glacier National Park Trails
Things to do Outside Glacier National Park
Although you could easily spend a lifetime exploring the park, sometimes, you need a slightly more urban adventure. Luckily, the towns surrounding Glacier are chock-full of things to eat, drink, see, and do!
RV Resorts & Campsites in Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park boasts thirteen campgrounds, seven of which are accessible by RV. The majority of these are available on a first-come, first-served basis, so you’ll want to get there early -- or choose a campsite where you can book a reservation. Some of the campgrounds inside the park do offer reservations, and there are also a variety of private RV parks on the outskirts of the park to choose from.
Campgrounds Near Glacier National Park
Find the Best Dumpstations Near Glacier National Park
Dumpstations Near Glacier National Park
How to get to Glacier National Park
RVing is one of the most convenient ways to stay at Glacier or any large national park. You’ll have the ability to take the road at your own pace, and stop and see every little detail along the way -- all with the comfort of your very own bed along for the ride! If you don’t have a motorhome or travel trailer of your own, no worries; RV rentals are available all across the country, whether you fly in and pick up your rental or drive it from your hometown.
Due to its extreme northern latitude, chances are you’ll be arriving at Glacier from the south. From Missoula, take US93/MT200 north to Pablo, then turn right onto MT35 West toward Flathead County. (Enjoy the stunning views of the lake!) Continue through Big Fork and Columbia Falls before turning right on US2, whereupon you’ll enter through the parks West Glacier gateway.
The closest airport to Glacier National Park is the Glacier Park International Airport, which is located in Kalispell. You could also fly into a bigger airport and make a road trip out of it; Glacier’s a relatively easy drive from Seattle (10 hours), Calgary, Canada (6 hours), or Spokane (4 hours).
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, there are areas of Glacier National Park that are accessible for disabled visitors. Shuttles in the park are accessible, along with visitor and nature centers. There are several accessible campgrounds, and accessible paths and boardwalks as well. The park also has devices for hearing and visually impaired people so they can experience the visitor center videos and other exhibits.
Yes, pets are allowed at Glacier National Park. They are allowed in cars, frontcountry campgrounds, picnic areas, along roads, in parking areas, and in boats on lakes that allow motorized watercraft. They are not allowed on trails, lake shores without developed locations, in the backcountry, or in buildings.
Some of the top things to do at Glacier National Park include driving Going-to-the-Sun Road, hiking Trail of the Cedars, paddling on Lake McDonald, and much more.
Yes, you do have to reserve a camping spot in parts of Glacier National Park. While many campgrounds are first-come, first-serve, campgrounds including Apgar Campground and Sprague Creek Campground require reservations during peak season. Reservations can also be made for Fish Creek, Many Glacier, and St. Mary campgrounds.
The best time of year to visit Glacier National Park is during the summer. Late June through early September visitors can drive Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is closed during snowy weather. Chances to hike, paddle, ride bikes, and more are also better in summer when the weather is warmer.
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