Glacier National Park
Glacier National Park is considered to be the crown jewel of the
National Park System. Located in the northwest corner of
Montana, near Kalispell to
the west and Great
Falls to the east, Glacier National Park is visited by
about 2 million people a year. Unlike many National Parks,
Glacier is primarily a wilderness park. While several roads,
including the very scenic Going-to-the-Sun road, provide
outstanding views and help provide a taste of the park, the
secrets and incredible beauty of the park is best appreciated
off the road on many of the excellent hiking trails.
Glacier National Park is known for its steep, towering mountains,
deep valleys and many large lakes. During the last ice age,
huge glaciers, often over three thousand feet thick, scoured
away the mountains, creating deep valleys and knife-like
mountain ridges. As the glaciers gradually slid down from
the peaks, the glaciers moved a tremendous amount of material
in front of them, known as a moraine. As the ice age began
to end, the glaciers in the lower elevations began to melt.
The melting water collected in the depressions where the
glaciers previously were, and, trapped by the moraines deposited
by the glaciers, formed massive lakes that run right up into
Glacier National Park still has some small glaciers, although
they do not date from the last ice age. Some of these glaciers,
such as the Grinnell Glacier, are relatively easily reached
by trail. Others are situated in very remote and rugged corners
of the park and are rarely explored.
The heaviest used attraction in Glacier National Park is
the Going to the Sun road, a windy, twisty road built during
the 1920's and 1930's that slowly makes its way over Logan
Pass and connects the east side of the park to the west side.
The road is very narrow and is built right on the sides of
the mountains, with steep drop offs all along the roads edge.
Due to the roads narrowness, no trailers over 20 feet are
allowed going over Logan Pass.
There are a number of other roads in Glacier National Park
as well. These roads are well worth traveling, as they frequently
end up on the shores of scenic lakes such as Bowman
Lake and Two Medicine
Lake. One thing to keep in mind, though, is that the
roads in the North Fork area, which lies in the northwest
corner of the park near the town of Polebridge, are all dirt
roads and can provide for a rough and long ride.
The fishing in Glacier National Park is not known for its excellence.
The water is very cold and the rivers and lakes are quite
sterile. Still, some excellent fishing can be had at several
backcountry lakes, and is worth the time and effort spent
getting to them. While Glacier National Park may not be a
destination spot for fishing trips, fishing is a wonderful
activity to do while visiting the park to do some hiking
or taking in the sights.
Wildlife is quite abundant in the park, although not as
readily and easily seen as in Yellowstone
National Park. Grizzly Bears are frequently seen along
the roads, particularly in the Many Glacier area. However,
the best bet for seeing a bear is by going off the roads
onto some of the trails that cut through prime grizzly bear
For the person who will be Hiking
in Glacier National Park, especially in prime bear
areas, it is highly advised to pick up a can of bear spray
before heading onto the trail. Bears can be found in almost
all areas of the Glacier, including near trailheads. As
guns are not allowed in Glacier National Park, bear spray
offers the hiker the best chance of intimidating a charging
bear. Learn more about surviving a
Hiking Gear & Equipment Guide for Glacier National
Boots : Buyers guide to getting the
right boot for hiking
Website : A friend who has a woodworking
business right outside of Glacier Park.
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