"Glacier National Park" Top 5 Page for this destination United States of America Things to Do Tip by richiecdisc

United States of America Things to Do: 953 reviews and 1,331 photos

  a new friend crosses our trail in Glacier NP
by richiecdisc

Glacier National Park is a study in contrasts. While it does have what is possibly the most scenic drive of any US National Park, its most incredible spots can only be reached on foot. The park does its very best to make these spots accessible, from shuttles to shorten hikes to extremely useful free trail descriptions and sketch maps, but in the end, Glacier National Park is a vast wilderness, one that cannot be tamed. But even in a park noted for grizzlies and even their attacks, people of all walks of life are hitting the trail. Why? This has to be in part due to the rangers that man this rugged park, doling out information, rules, and warnings matter-of-factly, not so much to make them less pertinent but less frightening. We live on this planet with many creatures and as a rule, man has dominated and taken everything for himself. Glacier National Park is that rare glimpse of a world where we share it. The thought of seeing that is enough to make even the wary abandon caution, and march into a world where man is just part of the universe and not the center.

In a park called Glacier, you might expect to see one every time you turn around but sadly glaciers in the park as with those around the world are steadily shrinking. The Going-to-the-Sun Road offers only a glimpse of a few but you can hike to a couple of fairly impressive ones complete with glacial pools with floating icebergs, something extremely rare at this latitude. Grizzlies, however, are on the rise with the largest population in the Lower 48. It would not be unreasonable perhaps to rename it Grizzly National Park once all the glaciers have totally disappeared, predicted by the year 2030. Or perhaps more poignantly, Where Glaciers Once Flowed National Park.

Glacier National Park is a vast area and with limited time, one can only hope to scratch its surface. I was here for three days in 1994, camping on the Going-to-the-Sun Road and doing hikes strictly from there. To be fair, the hikes in the Many Glacier area were closed due to bear activity at the time.

I returned in 2008 to show the park to my wife and camped in the Many Glacier area, finally getting to to some of the hikes there, amongst the best day hikes in the park. We also explored Two Medicine. We did not see much of the west side of the park aside from Lake McDonald and its historic hotel. We did get into the park's interior with two multi-day backpacking trips. These were by far the highlight of our time in this very special place. They were not easy trips, nor necessarily relaxing times, but it did give us a real sense of sharing this wilderness with the creatures who call it home.

Directions: Montana

Review Helpfulness: 1.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jun 17, 2010
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