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Overview

Glacier National Park contains more than 1,500 square miles of extraordinarily scenic wilderness. Towering, glacier-pocked summits bend over mirror-like lakes. Wildlife — from bears and bald eagles to moose and ptarmigans — inhabits the park’s thick forests, streamsides, and rocky promontories; more than 60 species of mammals and 200 species of birds make their homes in Glacier. Easily one of the most spectacular drives in the country is Going-to-the-Sun Road, which climbs from lakes and forest, up the face of the Rockies, to a fragile, alpine meadow almost 7,000 feet above sea level. Glacier is a park for the outdoor-minded; as much as ...

Glacier National Park contains more than 1,500 square miles of extraordinarily scenic wilderness. Towering, glacier-pocked summits bend over mirror-like lakes. Wildlife — from bears and bald eagles to moose and ptarmigans — inhabits the park’s thick forests, streamsides, and rocky promontories; more than 60 species of mammals and 200 species of birds make their homes in Glacier. Easily one of the most spectacular drives in the country is Going-to-the-Sun Road, which climbs from lakes and forest, up the face of the Rockies, to a fragile, alpine meadow almost 7,000 feet above sea level. Glacier is a park for the outdoor-minded; as much as possible, you’ll want to leave the car behind. More than 700 miles of hiking trails link backcountry peaks and lakes. In winter the park’s roads double as cross-country ski trails. Sometimes called the “Crown of the Continent” for its staggeringly rugged skyline, Glacier, and its Canadian cousin Waterton Lakes National Park, forms one of the crown jewels of the national park system.

Judy Jewell
About the Expert

Judy Jewell and W.C. McRae are frequent collaborators: together they have written Moon Handbooks to Montana, Utah, and Zion-Bryce and updated the Moon Handbooks to Oregon and Coastal Oregon. Judy wrote the Compass American Guide to Oregon.

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Judy Jewell for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    September can be ideal, with fewer crowds and generally warm temperatures. However, this can be fire season. Many park facilities (including lodges) are closed from late September until late May, and hiking trails are sometimes snow-covered until late June.