Photo: Glacier National Park

A scenic overlook in Glacier National Park

Photograph by Jaesu Jung, My Shot

By Doug Schnitzspahn

With its sheer peaks, wildflowers, alpine lakes filled with trout, grizzly bears, and, of course, glaciers, Glacier National Park is the ideal place to lose yourself for days. The park typifies the Rocky Mountain experience and yet has cathedrals of loose-rock mountains and yearlong snowfields that make it unlike anywhere else on the planet. This means backpacking options abound. Simple trips, like an overnighter to Akokala Lake, deliver a real wilderness experience, while a ten-day traverse of the Continental Divide across the backbone of the park is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Then there are the grizzlies. Glacier is home to an estimated 300 of the big beasts, and chances are good that you will at least get a glimpse of them if you spend time in the backcountry. That’s why you’ll hear so many hikers wearing tinkling bear bells. Grizzlies are not the only wildlife you may bump into here: Wolves, moose, mountain lions, black bears, mountain goats, and over 260 species of birds call Glacier home. Go soon, however. Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey believe the park's glaciers will be gone by 2030.

Need to Know: Hire Glacier Guides and Montana Raft Company (www.glacierguides.com) for a ten-day trip on the Continental Divide, starting at $1,350. For more information on Glacier National Park, visit www.nps.gov/glac.


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