Majestic waterfalls, rugged peaks, spring meadows, and wildlife galore await visitors in Montana’s Glacier National Park. Aptly called the “Crown of the Continent,” the park is part of the wild Rocky Mountain chain and has long captured the imaginations of those who witness it. The park is especially popular with hikers, who can enjoy some 700 miles of trails sprawling through the park’s one million acres.
One can’t-miss hike the 10 mile Grinnell Glacier hike. The trailhead is on Many Glacier Road, and the route climbs to give hikers views of unbelievably blue mountain lakes, cascading waterfalls, and towering glaciers that can be walked on.
Another unbeatable trail is the trek to Iceberg Lake. The somewhat challenging 10-mile trail branches off from the Ptarmigan Tunnel trail and leads hikers past Mount Wilbur and Altyn Peak to a hidden crystal clear lake surrounded by cliffs in a bowl-like shape around the lake. As the name implies, the lake often has small icebergs floating around in it even in the summer.
After finding the mystical lake, hikers can make their way back on the trail and then trek down the branching 10-mile Ptarmigan Tunnel trail. This trail zigzags through meadows filled with flowers and berry bushes. While on the path, hikers can catch a glimpse of Ptarmigan Lake and nearby Ptarmigan Falls, two of the park’s most beautiful sights.
When hitting the trails, keep an eye out for some of the park’s many critters and creatures. Montana is home to some intimidating animals that can’t be found much elsewhere in the United States, such as their grizzly bears. Glacier National Park has the healthiest population of grizzly bears, outside of Alaska and British Columbia. The park is also home to wolves, wolverines, and other wild animals like mountain goats, moose, and bighorn sheep, so hikers should keep their wits about them and review hiking and camping safety tips.
The park is open year round but is busiest in the summer season. By late fall, the park is a winter wonderland with frozen lakes and snow-covered mountains. Conditions slowly warm up during the spring, and the weather is perfect by the summer.
No matter what season hikers visit or what trails they explore, Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana is one of the best parks in the nation.