On the northern border of the U.S. and Canada is the Glacier National Park. It is one of the best and most popular national parks in North America. It is a massive 1,583 square miles of land, which includes hundreds of lakes and trails. The park got its name from the glaciers that are in the mountains. The glaciers have been around for hundreds of years and continue to attract the attention of tourists worldwide.
As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve, it is a haven for nature lovers. Hundreds of species of wildlife can be found walking around freely in this park. Glacier National Park is open all year round, but it attracts the most visitors from May to September.
Why Summers Are Better
Summer is the best time to visit Glacier National Park. It is the perfect time to explore the park and try outdoor activities. In this part of the country, nature takes the lead. Visitors and park rangers have reportedly seen mountain animals like bears, moose, and mountain goats.
The first step to get to the park is to book a flight to Montana via Bozeman (BZN) or Kalispell’s Glacier Park International Airport (FCA). Expect the prices to be higher during summer, so take advantage of promos and discounts if you can!
Glacier National Park is open all days of the year, including holidays. However, some facilities and areas may be closed due to the season and weather conditions. Listed below are the entrance fees. Keep in mind that all fees are non-transferrable.
- Car Entrance Fee: $35, Validity: 7 days
- Bicycle or On Foot Entrance Fee: $20
- Motorcycle Entrance Fee: $30
- Going to the Sun Road Entrance Fee: $2
- Reservation is required and guests can book through the official website.
- Open from late June to the 3rd week of October (depending on the weather).
- Annual Pass Entrance Fee: $70
Summer temperatures vary at Glacier National Park. Here are some approximations (in Celsius):
- June – high average: 19, low average: 4
- July – high average: 24, low average: 7
- August – high average 24, low average: 6
Preparing For A Hike
Glacier National Park is home to hundreds of trails. For easy and moderate trails, start early because it gets crowded. Also, check with the visitor center before heading out because certain trails or sections may be closed down due to bear sightings or weather conditions.
The Highline Trail is a challenging trail spanning 11 miles. It is not recommended for children because of the constant element exposure. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and enough water to last about 6 hours. As a precaution, pack some bear spray because of the presence of grizzly bears and black bears. It is best to start before sunrise to avoid the heat.
Sunpoint Nature Hike
The Sunpoint Nature Trail is an easy trail that spans 1.7 miles. The mostly flat trail is ideal for children. Make sure to start early to avoid crowds.
Iceberg Lake Trail
The Iceberg Trail is a moderate-hard trail that spans 5 miles. This trail will take you through the best mountain views and give access to the pristine waters of Iceberg Lake. The trail starts steep but becomes relatively flat afterward.
Glacier National Park is a massive property. The park offers in-park tours that visitors can book or join for free. Some activities are free but may require a reservation.
The park has various camping sites open during summer. These are located in Apgar, Bowman Lake, Kintla Lake, Logging Creek, Quartz Creek, Sprague Creek, Two Medicine Creek, Fish Creek, and Many Glacier. It is a first-come, first-served basis for most of the sites, but reservations are required for Many Glacier and Fish Creek. Fees range from $10 to $23 per night during summer.
Many lakes surround Glacier National Park, but not all are open for fishing. The park has strict guidelines about fishing practices to protect and preserve fish in their natural habitat.
The park offers guided tours via bus, boat, rafts, and guided hiking. These are led by rangers and concessionaires that are partnered with the park.
Going to Glacier National Park is a worthy hiking trip, especially during summer. The sun is up, the wind is warm, and everything seems brighter amid the lush greenery of the park. Although the park is open all year round, it is prettiest when the vibrant colors of nature pop against the clear, bright skies and deep blue waters. The park itself is well designed—it preserves the park’s natural beauty while remaining safe enough to have visitors. The Glacier National Park has something for everyone. It’s no surprise that it is the 10th most visited national park in the United States!
PS: Check the website for updates about schedules about your plans. Policies and protocols are subject to change due to factors like COVID-19 restrictions and the weather.