Experience Hiking in Glacier National Park
Come and experience Glacier’s pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes. With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier is a hiker’s paradise for adventurous visitors seeking wilderness and solitude. Relive the days of old through historic chalets, lodges, transportation, and stories of Native Americans. Explore Glacier National Park and discover what awaits you.
Glacier National Park
In 1910, Congress established Glacier National Park in Montana. Conservationist George Bird Grinnell played a key role in the creation of this park in order to preserve the land’s natural beauty. Indians have always revered this region. The Blackfeet, Salish, and Kootenai Indians, who have lived in the area for hundreds of years, consider it a sacred place.
Glacier National Park is named for the glaciers that produced its landscape. A glacier is a moving mass of snow and ice. It forms when more snow falls each winter than melts in the summer. The snow accumulates and presses the layers below it into ice. The bottom layer of ice becomes flexible and therefore allows the glacier to move. As it moves, a glacier picks up rock and gravel. With this mixture of debris, it scours and sculptures the land it moves across. This is how, over thousands of years, Glacier National Park got all its valleys, sharp mountain peaks, and lakes. There are more than 50 glaciers in the park today, though they are smaller than the huge ones that existed 20,000 years ago.
Glacier National Park is served by three Visitor Centers; Apgar, Logan Pass and St. Mary’s. Ranger-guided-naturalist activities are available throughout the park from mid-June through September. Call 406-888-5441 for details. You might like to enquire about having lunch on a glacier! The park has more than 700 miles of trails ranging from day hikes to extended treks. Trailheads for popular day hikes can be found near the visitors’ centers
National Bison Range
The National Bison Range is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. It was established in 1908, making it over 100 years old, and one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the nation.
The 18,500 acre range was established to support a population of American bison. It is home to about 350-500 of these animals. Other large wildlife found on the Range include elk, white-tail and mule deer, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, black bear, coyote and ground squirrels who share the area with 350 to 500 bison. Over 200 species of birds also call this home including eagles, hawks, meadowlarks, bluebirds, ducks, and geese. Because of its open grasslands, the Bison Range is a place for the public to enjoy some excellent wildlife observation and photography.
Hiking in National Parks
Other nearby areas administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service include Ninepipe National Wildlife Refuge and Pablo National Wildlife Refuge. These areas contain irrigation reservoirs located on Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal lands. There are excellent opportunities to view waterfowl, bald
eagles, herons, cormorants, and a wide variety of song birds.
The best place to start your visit is at the Visitor Center. Here you will find informative displays and handouts, restrooms, videos, a bookstore, and staff to answer your questions. Pay entrance fees here.
Fees are charged during the summer (mid-May to late October). The Range is part of the U.S. Fee System and accepts Golden Passes and Federal Waterfowl Stamps. Pay fees at the Visitor Center. Camping is not allowed and the Range is closed at night.
From Missoula: Travel north on US Highway 93 to Ravalli, turn left(to the west) on to State Highway 200, travel approximately 5 miles to the junction of Highways 200 and 212, turn right(to the north) and travel approximately 5 miles to the entrance of the Range at Moiese.
From Kalispell: Travel south on US Highway 93 or State Highway 35 to Polson, then travel Highway 93 through Pablo and Ronan to the junction of Highway 93 and State Highway 212, travel 12 miles (through Charlo) to the entrance of the Range at Moiese.
From the west: Travel Highway 200 through Dixon to the junction of Highways 200 and 212, turn left(to the north) and travel approximately 5 miles to the entrance of the Range at Moiese.