Approximately 20,000 years ago a thick blanket of ice covered the whole of northwest Montana except for the tallest peaks of the Rocky Mountains. When the ice receded, it left behind beautiful sculpted cliffs, carved canyons and valleys, streams, lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers, with towering mountain ridges forming part of the continental divide, Montana’s, the Blackfeet, rightly called the mountains Miistakis, or the "Backbone of the World.” Today, about 1,600 square miles of this still-pristine ecosystem forms Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park, founded in 1910, is named because of the vast amount of glaciers which have formed on the land. In the late 19th century, explorers reported approximately 150 glaciers; today now there are only 27. You can find more than 1,100 species of plants grow within the park, including bear grass, monkey flower, glacier lily, Indian paintbrush, red cedar, hemlock, limber pine, western larch, Engelmann spruce, and Douglas fir.Thirty species of these plants are found nowhere else. Wildlife thrive throughout the park and may be spotted at any time. You can find 260 species of birds at Glacier National Park, including the peregrine falcon, great horned owl, the gold and bald eagles, and several species of hawks.
Animals of Glacier National Park
Credit: wikipediaAmong the more than 60 species of animals, visitors may be able to witness mountain goats (the park’s official symbol), bighorn sheep, moose, elk, coyotes, wolves, badgers, otters, wolverines, black bears, and several species of deer. The park is also home for two threatened species, the grizzly bear and Canada lynx. Fish thrive in the park’s numerous streams, and more than 700 lakes (less than half of these are named). Among the 23 species of fish found are cutthroat trout, northern pike, kokanee salmon, mountain whitefish, and the endangered bull trout.
Things to do in Glacier National Park
Even though the park is in a sparsely populated part of America, nearly 2 million people visit Glacier National Park each year. It offers plentiful recreational activities, these include short nature and wildlife walks, hiking, backpacking, fishing, hiking, camping, boating, horseback riding, vehicle touring, and cross-country skiing. There are more than 700 miles of well-marked winding trails to explore throughout the park, which varying in length and difficulty from short nature walks to day-long hikes, to overnight backpacking adventures. Sightseers shouldn’t miss the 53-mile-long Going-to-the-Sun Road drive, which divides the park and crosses the continental divide at Logan Pass at an elevation of 6,646 feet. Completed in 1932, the Going-to-the-Sun Road is the only American roadway listed as both a National Historic Landmark and a Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.
Glacier National Park Tours
The park offers a variety of hiking, boating, horseback, and bus and van tours. Educational tours are also available that focuses on the wildlife, geology, history, and culture of the park. For example, the Blackfeet Nation offers a day-long bus tour through the park along the Going-to-the-Sun-Road that offers a Native American spiritual experience and philosophical perspective of the beautiful parklands.
Where is Glacier National Park?
Glacier National Park is located northwest of Montana, 25 miles east of Kalispell.
Map of Glacier National Park:Credit: Glacier Park Inc.
Hours of Operation:
Glacier National Park is open all year-round, 24/7. However, not all areas are open or accessible during the winter. Most facilities are open during late May to early September.
Glacier National Park Headquarters Address: Glacier National Park, PO Box 128, West Glacier, MT 59936
Glacier National Park Entrance Costs:
A 7 day entrance pass during May 1st to Oct 31st costs US$12 per person, for a non-commercial car with passengers it will cost US$25.
You can find Glaciers Hotel which is located along the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake. It costs US$135 to $255 per night. At the park you will be able to find many food concessioners, bars, and gift shops. There are also facilities for backcountry camping, bicycling, and boating that are found within the park. Other outdoor activities include boat tours and rentals, bus tours, fishing, guided hiking, and horseback riding are available. Campgrounds are operated on a first-come, first-served basis with the exception of Fish Creek and St. Mary, which may be reserved in advance by contacting the Park Recreation and Reservation Service.
Cabins Near Glacier National Park:Credit: google maps
Glacier National Park Lodging Map
Best Times to Visit:
The best time to visit Glacier National Park is late May through to early September. If you want to stay away from the crowd then Autumn will be a better time to visit. The colors are spectacular in late September and early October, but not all facilities are open for business.
More Travelling Tips:Credit: Wikipedia
It is recommended to make reservations when camping. Permits are required for fishing and overnight backpacking. Dogs are allowed at the park but not allowed on the hiking paths. Be sure to pack sunglasses and always where sunscreen. If you plan on hiking wear waterproof hiking boots.
How to get to Glacier National Park Montana
Glacier National Park, West Glacier, Mt 59936, USA