Exploring Glacier National Park: An Unforgettable Hiking Adventure | It's A Wanderful Life

Exploring Glacier National Park: An Unforgettable Hiking Adventure | It's A Wanderful Life

By Laura A. Crookless, January 28, 2023

If you’re looking for an unforgettable outdoor adventure, then look no further than Glacier National Park. Located in northwestern Montana on the Canada-United States border, this breathtaking park is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in the world. From its majestic mountain ranges carved by prehistoric ice rivers to its alpine meadows and deep forests, Glacier National Park is a paradise for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts alike. The park covers over one million acres of land and contains 25 active glaciers that move due to thawing and melting. It features over 700 miles of trails which are perfect for day hikes or multi-day backpacking trips. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll through meadows filled with wildflowers or a challenging trek up a mountain peak, there’s something here for everyone.

 St. Mary Falls

Brief History Of Glacier National Park

In 1793, members of the Lewis and Clark expedition were among the first Europeans to explore this area while they were on their quest to map out the newly acquired lands of Louisiana. It was during this time that they discovered several glaciers within what is now known as Glacier National Park and described them as “immense fields of snow” in their journals. It wasn’t until 1910 that President Theodore Roosevelt signed a bill declaring Glacier National Park as an official national park –– making it one of America's first natural reserves. Over the next few decades, various improvements were made to the park such as new roads, trails and lodges being built for visitors from all over the world. However, this period also had its own unique challenges. As more people flocked to visit the stunning scenery, some species—such as gray wolves and grizzly bears--began to decline due to illegal hunting activities. But thanks to strict conservation efforts by organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, these animals are making a comeback in Glacier National Park!

Siyeh Pass

Native Americans Indians in Glacier National Park

The Salish, Pend d'Oreille, Kootenai, Blackfeet people and other native tribes have called these lands home for centuries. For them, Glacier National Park is more than just incredible scenery; it’s a spiritual oasis full of spirit and tradition. Today, the native people living in this park still practice traditional customs such as hunting and fishing while respecting the environment and its wildlife.  Given its special significance to local tribes, many areas within Glacier National Park have been set aside as sacred sites that are carefully protected from harm. These include places like Upper Two Medicine Lake and Running Eagle Falls which serve as important cultural landmarks for members of the Blackfeet Nation. It’s truly inspiring to see how these people continue to honor their heritage by preserving the beauty of Glacier National Park—both now and into the future!

Popular Trails in Glacier National Park

One of the most popular trails in the park is Logan Pass Trail. This 14-mile roundtrip hike begins at the Logan Pass Visitor Center in West Glacier and takes you through some of the most magnificent landscapes in North America. Along the way, you’ll traverse through meadows filled with wildflowers and forested glens as you make your way towards Hidden Lake Overlook—where you can take in views of snow-capped mountains and cascading waterfalls. Another popular trail is St. Mary Falls Trail. This 3-mile roundtrip hike takes you along two beautiful streams until you reach St. Mary Falls—a cascade waterfall that tumbles down into a picturesque pool surrounded by lush greenery. With its easy terrain and breathtaking scenery, this is a perfect day hike for all skill levels. For those looking for a more challenging trek, consider tackling Siyeh Pass Trail. This 8-mile roundtrip trail begins at Sunrift Gorge near St. Mary Lake and climbs 2500 feet up to Siyeh Pass—where sweeping views await at 8100 feet above sea level! Along the way, keep an eye out for mountain goats scrambling over rocks or eagles soaring overhead as they search for their prey. But if all these strenuous hikes don't sound like your thing, don't worry! The park also offers plenty milder options like Avalanche Lake Trail—an easy 4 mile roundtrip trail that features crystal clear lakes framed by alpine meadows spilling with wildflowers. It's one of the few hikes where wildlife sightings (such as deer or elk) are highly probable!

Logan's Pass

Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald, a mesmerizing body of water located within the beautiful confines of Glacier National Park. This lake—which spans over 9 miles in length and more than 500 feet in depth—is truly one of nature’s greatest wonders. When visiting, be sure to take some time to admire the stunning views from its crystal clear shores, where you can soak up the sun and listen to the serene sounds of nature all around you. Here, you’ll also have access to a wide variety of activities such as fishing, sailing and swimming—perfect for an exciting day out! No visit to Lake McDonald is complete without bareboat cruising along its glistening waters. For those looking for a more luxurious experience, consider booking a guided boat tour with one of the many established companies that operate onsite. From its breathtaking beauty to its abundance of recreational opportunities, it’s easy to see why Lake McDonald has become such an iconic destination within Glacier National Park. So don’t miss out on this must-see attraction.

Lake McDonald


For those looking for budget-friendly accommodations, camping is always a great option. There are several campgrounds located throughout the park, offering both tent and RV sites with all the amenities you need such as toilets, potable water and fire pits. Plus, some sites even come with picnic tables and electrical hookups if you need them! If you’re looking for something a bit more luxurious, consider staying in one of the National Park Service-run lodges at either Apgar Village Lodge or Lake McDonald Lodge. Apgar Village is located right on the shore of Lake McDonald and features various cabins and motel rooms—perfect for large families or groups of friends. Meanwhile, Lake McDonald Lodge offers cozy guest rooms paired with breathtaking views of Glacier Park's largest lake (Lake McDonald). But if you're looking for an authentic experience while still having access to modern amenities like WiFi or hot showers, then backcountry camping might be right up your alley! However, before setting out on any backcountry trips, make sure to plan ahead by checking with rangers about possible hazards such as avalanches or wildlife encounters.


Apgar Village Lodge



Encountering wildlife is one of the most thrilling experiences you can have while visiting Glacier National Park in Montana. From majestic bald eagles soaring overhead to black bears meandering through the forests, there’s no shortage of incredible creatures living in this remote paradise. However, it’s important to remember that these animals are wild and should never be approached—as it could be dangerous to both you and the animal. When visiting Glacier National Park, you may have the opportunity to see a variety of wildlife including deer, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and even grizzly bears! While all these animals can be amazing to see, it’s important to remember that they are wild and that getting too close could be threatening for both yourself and the animal. If you do encounter a bear during your visit, it's essential that you remain calm and careful. Remember not to make eye contact or approach the animal as they might view this as a threat. Do your best to give them plenty of space and make sure you keep children away from them at all times. Another piece of advice is to pay attention to any signs or warnings posted around the park that let hikers know when grizzlies are near or when other animals are active in certain areas. Make sure you obey any posted rules such as keeping dogs on leashes or staying on designated trails while exploring the park so as not to disturb any local wildlife. Although it can be exciting when encountering incredible wild animals out in nature, it’s important to always practice caution when doing so—especially if traveling with kids or pets! By following these simple tips and respecting nature’s boundaries, your next visit to Glacier National Park can be filled with amazing memories without any unfortunate encounters!


Mountain Goat

Safety Is Your Responsibility

One of the best ways to ensure that you stay safe while exploring Glacier National Park is by knowing what hazards lurk in the area. This includes things like extreme weather conditions, steep trails and potential encounters with wild animals that could all lead to serious injuries if proper caution isn’t taken. It’s also essential for visitors to familiarize themselves with local laws and regulations such as speed limits or prohibitions on alcohol consumption within the park. When it comes down to it, being prepared for any situation will go a long way towards keeping yourself and others safe during your visit. Ensure that you bring along plenty of supplies such as extra food, water and warm clothing so that you can respond quickly should any emergencies arise! And always be sure to tell someone where you are going before setting off on an adventure. At the end of the day, understanding why safety is your responsibility in Glacier National Park can make all the difference between having an enjoyable experience or putting yourself at risk. So remember: take every precaution necessary when planning a trip here and always practice good judgement while enjoying all this majestic place has to offer!

There’s no doubt that Glacier National Park is a truly incredible place for hikers, adventurers and nature lovers alike. From its many picturesque trails to its abundant wildlife and lush flora, this park is sure to provide an unforgettable experience for any outdoor enthusiast. So whether you plan to stay for a day or a week, there’s no better place to reconnect with nature than Glacier National Park—a truly wonderful place for hikers and adventurers everywhere!

Click here to visit Glacier National Park through the National Park Service.

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