Experience Glacier National Park: A Guide to Activities Inside the Park

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park — with its sprawling wilderness, imposing mountain peaks, and crystalline alpine lakes — is a veritable playground for outdoor enthusiasts. Each season opens up new ways to connect with nature, offering a world of activities from ranger-led tours and boat-fishing excursions, to winter sports like cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Dive in to discover how you can immerse yourself in what the park has in store.

Summer and Fall: Explore and Engage

Ranger-led Tours:

Ranger-led programs are the park’s quintessential offering: educational and enlightening experiences that provide a firsthand look at Glacier National Park diverse landscapes and ecosystems. You can:

  • Embark on guided hikes and learn about local fauna, flora, and geology.
  • Join evening programs at campgrounds to hear tales of the park’s history and conservation efforts.
  • For a real backcountry experience, consider a multi-day ranger-led backpacking trip.

Details about the ranger-led programs can be found on the National Park Service’s website or at visitor centers. These programs typically run from late June to September.

Boat Tours and Fishing Guides:

If water-based activities appeal to you, glacier-fed lakes and rivers provide excellent opportunities for guided boat tours and fishing.

  • Boat tours: Companies like Glacier Park Boat Co. operate scenic tours on several of the park’s iconic lakes, such as Lake McDonald and St. Mary Lake. Most tours run from late May through September.
  • Fishing Guides: Licensed fishing guides offer half-day or full-day guided fishing trips, providing not only fishing gear, but a wealth of knowledge about the fish species and their ecology in the park. Remember, fishing in the park requires adherence to specific regulations to protect the aquatic ecosystem.

Winter: Frosty Adventure Awaits

Cross-Country Skiing and Snowshoeing:

When winter drapes Glacier National Park in snow, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing become wonderful ways to experience the park’s serene beauty. Popular routes include:

  • Going-to-the-Sun Road: Closed to vehicular traffic in winter, parts of this route are ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, offering breathtaking snow-blanketed landscapes.
  • Apgar Village: The gentle terrain here provides excellent trails for beginner-level cross-country skiers or snowshoers.
  • Two Medicine: This area, with its challenging terrain, appeals to experienced cross-country skiers looking for a backcountry skiing adventure.

Ensure safety by checking the avalanche forecast, weather conditions, and road status updates on the park’s website before setting out.

From ranger-led tours that delve into the park’s abundant natural and cultural treasures, to boat tours that glide over glacier-carved lakes, to the peaceful solitude offered by winter snow sports, Glacier National Park remains a year-round gem for nature lovers. So, go ahead and dive into the endless possibilities for adventure, discovery, and awe amid this remarkable haven of nature.