Over 2 million people visit Glacier National Park every year. There is so much wilderness to explore and history to learn about there, it could prove overwhelming to first-time visitors. Many tourists want to explore this region of endless trails, scenic highways, and miles of lakes and rivers but don't know where to begin. That's why there are guided tours available, either through the National Park Service or a local company. Whether it is a whitewater adventure or strolling through the mountains horseback, there are many fun touring options designed to help you become orientated with the area.
Many gorgeous stretches of road leading through wildflower meadows and glacial mountains are open throughout most of the peak summer season. Full vehicle access is usually allowed in the park from July to September. The famous Going-to-the-Sun-Road is carved high into the mountains of Glacier, providing incredible panoramic views of the park. It crosses the Continental Divide and has been named a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Many visitors come out annually to experience the various lookouts located along this 50-mile stretch of road.
Glacier's shuttle system is a free service provided by the National Park System. Buses run every 15 or 30 minutes depending on the stop. The Logan Pass, St. Mary, and Apgar Visitor Centers are facilities on the shuttle route where people can obtain more information about the park. There are also extensive hiking and nature trails, picnic areas, and phenomenal areas for photography along the way.
The historic “Red Jammer” Bus Tours also travel over the Going-to-the-Sun-Road and link to all the inns and hotels throughout the park. These 1930s vintage-style coaches hold up to 25 passengers and offer interpretive tours of passing landmarks as well as cultural history of the area. People can view many of the park’s mountains and glaciers on the way to Lake McDonald, which is the largest lake in the park. Sun Tours is another great option to take you through Glacier. Their buses are more modern and have air-conditioning and large windows for people to enjoy the passing scenery. These shuttles offer guided tours by Native American descendants of the Blackfoot tribe, who have lived in Glacier for centuries.
There are more than 1,500 miles of rivers and streams in Glacier. The Flathead River is by far the most popular river for recreation among tourists here. The banks of Middle Fork and North Fork Flathead River serve as boundaries for the park. They also great ways to explore the Glacier scenery by rafting, floating, kayaking, and canoeing. Boating tours with commentary are offered through the National Park Service at various lakes including St. Mary Lake, Two Medicine Lake, and Lake McDonald. Many tours will include guided hikes of the surrounding area.
For whitewater rafting, the Middle Fork is known as the wildest river, ranking class 2 to 4 in rapid ratings, depending on the month. Most rafting companies in Glacier prefer to take their tour groups down the Middle Fork of the Flathead River through John Stevens Canyon to the south end of Glacier. This river passes through stunning glacial valleys and rocky canyon peaks. The upper wilderness area of Middle Fork is only reachable by foot. Mountain Goats are a common sight along this river due to the mineral salts produced here. June and mid-July are considered the best time to raft or float the Middle Fork. More adventurous rafters can take advantage of the fresh mountain runoff in the spring. Rafting guides will lead you and a group through the rapids with instructions to keep you safe.
The North Fork of the Flathead River is a good location to kayak if you're a beginner because it is a little tamer than Middle Fork. This river forms the western boundary of the park. North Fork has a high silt content, which gives these waters an emerald green color. Floating and canoe trips are ideal in the North Fork from mid-July to mid-August. Fly fishing tours are offered through specialty businesses in and around the park. Rainbow, Brook, and Cutthroat Trout are most common in the Flathead River. Whitefish is another fish found on the west slope of Middle Fork. Canoe and small boat trips are also available on the Flathead River and other lakes in the park.
Most horseback riding corrals are located near the west entrance of Glacier. The rides are relatively easy (no experience necessary) and always very scenic. The tours will either take groups up into the mountains to explore or through trails in the Flathead Forest. There are two-hour or half-day trips available. Some companies combine horseback riding with rafting, fishing, or other activities and offer full or multi-day trips. The National Park Service also provides numerous guided hikes for people of all ages to help them navigate through the park's vast wilderness. With over 700 miles of nature trails and many landmarks along the way, it can be nice to have some assistance. For more information and to book your reservations log on to: www.nationalparkreservations.com or call toll free 855.684.3402.
Glacier National Park offers many lodging options. From lodges to cabins you can find what you are looking for both inside and within a few miles of Glacier. Glacier National Park encloses more than 1.4 million acres of pristine outdoors wilderness. ... Read More
Glacier National Park is a land of high-mountain adventure where you will find lofty mountain ranges, sculptured glacial valleys, clear lakes and wildflowers and wildlife flourishing in alpine meadows and prairie grasslands. ... Read More