Hiking Glacier

RED LODGE POST

Glacier National Park boasts over 700 miles of trails. A hiker’s paradise to be sure. No matter the trail, magnificent scenery can be seen in every direction. Four nature trails are very popular:

  • Forest and Fire
  • Hidden Lake
  • Running Eagle Falls
  • Trail of the Cedars
  • Swiftcurrent Nature Trail

Trails often mentioned by hiking pros are:

  • Iceberg Lake
  • Grinnell Glacier
  • Highline Loop
  • Cracker Lake

The National Park Service wants hikers to have a fun time and an enjoyable experience when hiking in the park.

Highline Trail Glacier NP
Highline Trail, Glacier National Park. Photo courtesy U.S. Department of the Interior.

Some good advice is offered by the National Park Service and hiking professionals:

  • Always take along bear spray
  • Let someone know where you are going (including route), description of what clothing you’re wearing, when you plan to return, and a description of your car (including where parked and license plate number)
  • Don’t count on cell phone service in the park
  • Be prepared to help yourself as help from others may be a long time coming
  • Get familiar with the hazards associated with hiking
  • Learn about the trail(s) you will be hiking on before you go
  • If available carry a map of the trail(s)
  • Always check the weather before heading out on a trail
  • Stay close together with your hiking group
  • Above all always hike with a group for safety

Some good advice to prepare yourself for hiking:

  • Wear suitable hiking shoes
  • Take along first-aid supplies
  • Carry plenty of water
  • Pack some food and ready-to-eat snacks
  • Physically condition yourself for walking in rough, often steep, terrain
  • Tackle only trails that match your abilities and condition
  • Be prepared for changes in weather conditions
  • A light rain jacket and suitable clothing (think layers) are essential
  • Take along sunscreen, a hat, sunglasses, and insect repellent
  • Carry a sturdy water-proof backpack

There are many challenges in hiking Glacier as there would be in any mountainous area. It’s unlike a stroll in a city park. But the rewards that come with hiking Glacier are well worth the effort.

The publishing world has many guides for happy and successful hiking. Read one.

Consider:

  • Day Hikes of Glacier National Park Map-Guide by Jake Bramante
  • Top Trails: Glacier National Park by Jean Arthur
  • Day Hiking: Glacier National park & Western Montana, by Aaron Theisen

Excellent trail maps by the National Park Service are online.

The authors of Hiking in Glacier have published a very good online guide to 65 trails in Glacier. They did some sifting and came up with a list of the 10 best trails in the park.

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Copyright © 2020 John Sandy