Hike Glacier National Park

Trip Overview

In a remote corner of northwestern Montana deep in the Rocky Mountains lies an area of unparalleled scenic beauty: Glacier National Park. Recognized as one of the most outstanding wilderness parks in the world, Glacier National Park has truly been touched by a magic hand.

On this AdventureWomen hiking vacation to Glacier National Park, just for women, you will observe bear, bighorn sheep, moose, eagles, and more; cross the border into Canada’s awesome Waterton Glacier International Peace Park; experience superb Montana hiking to Glacier National Park’s Logan Pass and on Highline Trail, visit Grinnell Glacier, get to know wonderful local park guides; stay in comfortable and historic Glacier Park lodges; and try whitewater rafting on Montana’s scenic and exhilarating Flathead River. The vistas seen from our spectacular Red Bus guided ride on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, beautiful as they are, only hint at the riches of this mountain wilderness. Glacier is a hiking "trail park,” with relatively few miles of roads to preserve its primitive and unspoiled beauty.

A lofty landscape for high adventure and the perfect setting for a Montana hiking trip, this scenic destination in the northern Rocky Mountains sends the senses soaring and spirits singing. Aerial mountain ranges combine with sculptured glacial valleys, thundering waterfalls, emerald lakes and colorful alpine meadows, providing prime habitat for prolific Montana wildlife.

When you enter Glacier National Park you will have to set your watch to a different time, a time of mountains carved by prehistoric ice rivers, deep forests, and 50 ancient glaciers. Glacier NP contains outstanding examples of both the evolutionary and geologic processes, and is one of only two sites in the United States where runoff from the mountains drains into three different seas: from the Triple Divide Peak, water drains south into the Gulf of Mexico, north into Hudson Bay, and west into the Pacific Ocean!

This adventure vacation in Glacier National Park combines adventure at its best in some of the country’s most spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery. Join AdventureWomen in 2014 for one of the best hiking in Glacier National Park, and don’t forget to bring your camera!

Main Attractions

  • Stay in the historic Lake McDonald Lodge, Many Glacier Hotel, and Glacier Park Lodge.
  • Daily guided hiking in Glacier National Park’s world-class wilderness.  Hike among towering mountain peaks, alpine meadows, sapphire glaciers, emerald lakes, wildflowers, and prolific wildlife.
  • Travel into Canada’s Waterton International Peace Park, the world’s first peace park.
  • Ride the spectacular and world-renowned “Going to the Sun Road” on a guided tour in one of the famous "Jammers," or Red Buses.
  • Go white water rafting with experienced guides on the beautiful Middle Fork of the Flathead River.

What You'll See and Do!

Birding, Hiking, Natural History, Photography, Whitewater Rafting, Wildlife Viewing

What You'll See and Do

  • Birding
  • Hiking
  • Natural History
  • Photography
  • Whitewater Rafting
  • Wildlife Viewing

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Hike Glacier National Park

Trip Itinerary

In a remote corner of northwest Montana, deep in the Rocky Mountains, lies an area of unparalleled scenic beauty. Recognized as one of the most outstanding wilderness parks in the world, Glacier National Park has truly been touched by a magic hand. With top-rate guides, historic park lodge accommodations, whitewater rafting on the scenic Flathead River, plus Canada's awesome Waterton International Peace Park, this hiking week combines adventure at its best in some of the country's most spectacular Rocky Mountain scenery.

Day 1

Saturday, August 2, 2014: Arrive at Lake Mc Donald Lodge
Arrive at Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park where you meet your guides late this afternoon for orientation and suggestions for dinner tonight.

Situated on the west end of the Park, Lake McDonald Lodge has an intimate atmosphere of the Old West. Located on the shore of the Park’s largest glacial water basin, it was built in 1913 by Mr. John Lewis as a private lodge for early day visitors and friends. The hotel’s paneled lobby sports trophies of mountain goat, elk, moose, and sheep, and a fire burns throughout the season in the massive fireplace decorated by pictographs drawn by famed cowboy artist Charles Russell.

In 1901 this area of the Rocky Mountains was referred to as the “Crown of the Continent” by George Grinnell, an early conservationist and advocate for the formation of a national park in this area. Spanning the borders of Canada and the United States, Waterton Lakes National Park had been created by Canada in 1895. Then in 1910, Glacier National Park was formed on the United States side. In 1932, to commemorate the long history of peace and friendship between Canada and the United States, Waterton and Glacier were designated as the Waterton/Glacier International Peace Park, the first peace park in the world. The Crown of the Continent Ecosystem was thereby created, and both parks were combined into a jewel meant to be preserved and enjoyed by all.

Overnight Lake Mc Donald Lodge

Day 2

Sunday, August 3: The Highline Trail and the Going to the Sun Road 
After breakfast, we pack up and leave Lake McDonald Lodge for Logan Pass. From Logan Pass we hike the famous Highline Trail, which runs along the Continental Divide for almost 20 miles (don’t worry, we only do a portion of it today!). For most of its length, it wanders through alpine meadows, with snowy crags rising on all sides. Wildflower enthusiasts find the meadows along the trail bursting with a profusion of blossoms throughout the summer. The high, open slopes above the trail provide the finest wildlife viewing opportunities in the park. Bighorn sheep and mountain goats skirt the bases of towering cliffs, while marmots and pikas scramble around on boulder fields. We are hiking the Garden Wall section of the trail. A picnic lunch is enjoyed along the way.

After returning to Logan Pass, we have the opportunity to spend some time at the Visitor Center before being picked up by one of Glacier National Park's Red Buses, for a guided tour on the spectacular, and world-famous, “Going to the Sun Road” all the way to our accommodations at Many Glacier Hotel. Considered by many to be the oldest fleet of touring vehicles anywhere, the Red Buses are as much a part of Glacier National Park as the mountains they drive up and the wildlife which inhabit the park.

Called "Jammers" by the locals, our drivers take us on this awe-inspiring and majestic road, completed in 1932, and considered a great feat of engineering. The combination of its historic qualities, the pristine natural environment in which it is located, and the breathtaking views it affords make this one of the Park’s most unique features.

Many Glacier Hotel is located in the “Switzerland of North America” on the shore of Swiftcurrent Lake, at the foot of the Grinnell Glacier. The Swiss motif prevails here, from huge surrounding peaks that resemble the Matterhorn, to the hotel’s dining room, decorated by colorful flags representing each of the Swiss cantons. The hotel was built by the Great Northern Railroad in 1915. We stay at Many Glacier Hotel for the next three nights.

(Breakfast and Lunch)

Overnight Many Glacier Hotel

Day 3

Monday, August 4: Hike to Grinnell Glacier
After breakfast we hike to the Grinnell Glacier. From Many Glacier Hotel, the Grinnell Glacier trail accesses one of the largest remaining glaciers in the park. The trail winds around 2 lakes, rises through sub-alpine firs, ascends steep switchbacks on the southern flank of Mt. Grinnell, and emerges into alpine meadows high above the turquoise pool of Grinnell Lake. We continue on to upper Grinnell Lake, situated at the foot of the glacier. To celebrate your arrival, you’ll want to soak your feet (for mere milliseconds) in the freezing glacial waters of the lake!

This evening we meet for a 3-course dinner in the Many Glacier Hotel dining room.

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Overnight Many Glacier Hotel

Day 4

Tuesday, August 5: Waterton International Peace Park
Today we travel to the north end of Glacier National Park and over the International boundary into Canada’s Waterton International Peace Park, the world’s first peace park. This is an area of such magnificence that 2 national parks, one belonging to the United States and the other to Canada, were established to protect it. Due to the uniqueness of the ecosystem, both parks have been designated as a Biosphere Reserve as well as a World Heritage Site.

We board a boat at Waterton, Canada and disembark at Goat Haunt, U.S.A., for a lighter day of trail exploration. Our destinations are Goat Haunt Overlook and Rainbow Falls, with a picnic lunch on the shores of Waterton Lake.

After exploring Waterton’s shops and eating dinner at a local restaurant, we return to Many Glacier Hotel for the evening.

(Breakfast and Lunch)

Overnight Many Glacier Hotel

Day 5

Wednesday, August 6: Two Medicine Hiking
After an early breakfast, we depart for the lesser traveled southeast corner of Glacier Park to hike in the Two Medicine Valley. 2 hiking options are offered: Scenic Point, a moderately strenuous trail which provides a high overview of the valley, or Rockwell Falls, for those wanting a more leisurely day, with sightings of American Dippers. We have a picnic lunch at each destination.

After our hike, we check into Glacier Park Lodge in East Glacier, the historic headliner hotel whose lobby features large Douglas fir beams. Built in 1913 and steeped in culture and history of the Great Northern Railway and Blackfeet Indians, the hotel sits in a spectacular setting: glaciered faces of towering peaks crowd around a broad cirque that is blanketed with wildflowers and boulders.

The hotel’s swimming pool offers a refreshing post-hike dip after our hike. After dinner, we meet for a short orientation about tomorrow’s fun activity, whitewater rafting!

(Breakfast and Lunch)

Overnight Glacier Park Lodge

Day 6

Thursday, August 7: Rafting on the Flathead River
After breakfast, we leave Glacier Park Lodge, drive back to West Glacier, and switch gears for our exciting guided whitewater raft trip on the wild and scenic Middle Fork of the Flathead River. We begin with a leisurely float through a quiet stretch of river before lunch. Then, the afternoon takes us down several rapids, appropriately named “Screaming Right Hand Turn,” “Jaws,” “Pinball,” and “Could-Be-Trouble.” A great day of whitewater rafting fun!

After returning to West Glacier, we head to Whitefish for our last evening together and a picnic dinner celebration on the shores of Whitefish Lake.

This evening’s accommodations are at the beautiful Rocky Mountain Lodge in Whitefish. Its spacious lobby, warm rock fireplace, comfortable rooms, heated swimming pool, and hot tub are a wonderful way to end our hiking adventure. There is complimentary shuttle van service to the airport, and a complimentary continental breakfast.

(Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

Overnight Rocky Mountain Lodge, Whitefish

Day 7

Friday, August 8:  Departure
(complimentary breakfast and shuttle service to the airport are included)

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Hike Glacier National Park

Traveling to Glacier NP


Air Flights & Traveling to Kalispell, MT

It is very important that you work with our travel consultant at Montana Travel on your flight arrangements for this trip. You must arrive at Glacier National Park no later than the afternoon or early evening of August 2, 2014 before 5 p.m. is best). You are free to schedule your departure for any time of day on August 8, 2014.

By air: The closest airport to Glacier National Park is in Kalispell, Montana. Glacier Park International Airport (sounds BIG, but don’t let that fool you!) is 20 miles southwest of Glacier Park and is served by major U.S. airlines.

There is a van taxi service that will transport you from the airport to Lake McDonald Lodge. If we have your flight numbers and arrival times, we can help arrange your taxi pick ups. The taxi is quite expensive for just one person (approximately $55) however each extra passenger adds only $3.00. So, if we can combine 3, 4, or even up to 8 women in a taxi, your savings will be considerable. (It is your responsibility to contact us with your flight information if you want us to help arrange the taxi pickup. If we don’t hear from you, you’re on your own.)

By rail: Amtrak stops at both East Glacier (Glacier Park Station) and West Glacier (Belton Station is closest to our accommodations at the Lake McDonald Lodge, on the first 2 nights of the trip. It is also the closest to where we stay on the last night of the trip). Buses from Lake McDonald Lodge meet every train and the cost of the bus is approximately $5.00. For advanced information about pick up and return from the train station, call 406-226-9311 x609. This phone number is good from mid-May to late September.

If you will be leaving trip telephone numbers at home, please also include your itinerary with hotels and dates listed for each night. Phone numbers are as follows: August 2, Lake McDonald Lodge (406) 888-5431; August 3,4, and 5, Many Glacier Hotel (406) 732-4411; August 6, Glacier Park Lodge (250) 837-2126; August 7, Best Western Rocky Mountain Lodge in Whitefish, (800) 862-2569.

Important Information About Travel Arrangements

We suggest you book your air reservations with our travel consultant soon after registering for this trip! 

In order to facilitate group arrivals and departures, we ask that you work directly with our travel consultant at Montana Travel to make your travel arrangements. Either before or after booking your trip, please call Ciretta at Montana Travel, in Bozeman, Montana, at the following telephone numbers: 

1-800-247-3538

Email: ciretta@mttravel.com

FAX 1-406-586-1959

CANADIAN RESIDENTS, please call 406-587-1188

When calling, please identify yourself as an AdventureWomen Traveler. If you leave a message on Ciretta’s voicemail, she will return your call promptly. She will be happy to discuss your travel plans and help you decide when to purchase your ticket for the best rate.  If you purchase your ticket through her, she can also help you with hotels and rental cars, should you want to come early, stay longer, or share a rental car or hotel room with another participant. If you do not purchase your air ticket through Montana Travel, you are responsible for making your own arrangements for hotels, rental cars, trip extensions, transfers, etc. 

Note: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last minute registrants, we must often relinquish hotel space and air reservations 6 to 12 weeks prior to departure!  Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Passport

It is necessary to have a U.S. passport for travel to Canada.

Health Requirements & Health Insurance

You must have your own health insurance, and not have any physical problems or conditions that would be adversely affected by hiking at altitudes of 6-8,000 feet.

Hiking Experience & Physical Condition Required

This AdventureWomen vacation requires that you be in very good physical condition, and be able to hike approximately 7-10 miles per day in the mountains, on terrain that is not flat! The most you will carry on your back is a daypack, with your lunch, camera, rain gear, and drinking water. We will be hiking at elevations of approximately 7,000 feet, and will have 2 nights in the park to get acclimated to the altitude before we begin our hiking trip.

Being in very good physical condition for this trip will be essential to your enjoyment, as well as to your personal safety, and the safety of the group. Although it is not necessary that you have extensive hiking experience, it is necessary that you are in very good hiking condition prior to your departure. We recommend, with your Doctor’s okay, of course, that you begin a walking program as your “training” for this adventure. Begin by walking a few miles at least 4 times per week, and work up to walking about 10 miles or so.

Please Note: This is not a trip for women who are overly afraid of heights. For short periods of time, we will be hiking along paths with no handrails or guardrails! But, everyone helps each other and we’ve never had anyone turn back!

About Our Guide

Stacey Bengtson is a favorite AdventureWomen Associate and guide because she is one of the happiest people you will ever meet! She lives and works as a guide in Glacier National Park, so her expertise on this hiking trip is extraordinary. When not running hiking trips in Glacier, she is teaching skiing on Big Mountain, cycling through the Flathead Valley, or traveling on an AdventureWomen trip as the Associate/Guide.

Liability Form & Final Payment

Part of what AdventureWomen, Inc. hopes to foster is the taking of more self-responsibility for our own lives, health, and safety. Please read the Liability Form carefully, sign it, and return it with the remainder of your balance due by May 2, 2014.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Hike Glacier National Park

Included in your Glacier National Park Hiking Trip

  • 5 nights twin-bedded double occupancy accommodations in historic national park lodges.
  • 1 night accommodations in a Whitefish hotel.
  • Meals where specified in the itinerary.
  • Fully guided hikes each day with 2 Glacier-based naturalist-guides.
  • All transportation and luggage transfers within the Park.
  • Full day sightseeing, hiking, and boat trip in Waterton National Peace Park, Canada.
  • Fully guided whitewater raft trip on the Flathead River.
  • Shuttle service back to the airport from Rocky Mountain Lodge.

Not included in your Vacation to Glacier NP:

  • Round-trip air to Kalispell.
  • Taxi to our first night’s accommodations in the Park at Lake McDonald Lodge (we will help the group arrange this).
  • Park entrance fee (approx. $25).
  • Meals where not specified.
  • Drinks and liquor with meals.
  • Tips to hiking guides (we suggest about $100 to your guides and a $8 tip for your raft guide).
  • Horseback riding in the park or other optional activities.
  • Luggage transfer at Rocky Mountain Lodge (last night).

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Hike Glacier National Park

What to Pack for your Montana Hiking Trip

Since weather is always unpredictable in a mountain environment, you must dress accordingly and bring the proper clothing and outdoor gear to be safe and comfortable. August daytime temperatures in these mountains average in the 70s; evenings temperatures can cool off rapidly and sometimes drop into the 40s. Most days you will be comfortable hiking in a T-shirt and shorts. However, even in August, high elevation hikers must be prepared for rainstorms that can rapidly turn to snow. Warm clothes are essential, even if it is 80 degrees when you begin your hike.

Please note: All the National Park Lodges/Hotels in Glacier Park do not have elevators, air conditioning, televisions, irons, hair dryers, microwaves, or mini refrigerators.

  • Medium-weight hiking boots. It is best not to wear shoes, even if they are walking shoes, because ankle support is absolutely essential in mountain terrain. Please do not buy heavy leather boots as there are numerous medium-weight quality hiking boots on the market. Asolo, Garmont, Merrill, Vasque, and other makes are widely available and designed especially for women. Since they are waterproof, Gore-tex boots, although a bit more expensive, are our first choice. Other boots should be waterproofed with one of the excellent waterproofing products available such as Nikwax. Make sure your boots fit properly and are well broken-in. Wear them around town to thoroughly break them in. Please do not come on this trip with a pair of boots you have never worn before!
  • Rain gear: Weather in the mountains can be extremely variable, and you should be well prepared for whatever conditions occur. Therefore, it is very important that bring a good rain suit (jacket and pants). A rain parka or poncho will not keep your legs and feet dry, and it is important that your entire body remains dry in a downpour (be it rain or snow). Your rain parka can also act as a lightweight wind jacket. See attached “Resources” sheet for a suggested rain suit, or the TravelSmith catalog that will be sent to you in your registration packet.
  • One wool or fleece sweater, one wool cap, and gloves. The wool sweater or fleece jacket can be layered under your rain parka to act as a warmer jacket.
  • An extra pair of comfortable shoes, such as tennis shoes or Tevas to wear in the evenings...ahhh!
  • A day pack that is large and comfortable enough to carry your lunch, cameras, rain gear, drinks and two water bottles on all hikes. Please note that fanny packs are not suitable.
  • 2, one-quart water bottles. We recommend the 24 oz. Nalgene Everyday OTG Tritan Bottle. Made of Eastman Tritan™ copolyester, the bottle is completely BPA-free. Tritan™ copolyester provides excellent impact resistance and is suitable for both warm and cold beverages. Note: Drinking large quantities of water ensures that your body acclimatizes to high altitudes more easily
  • Several pairs of long pants and hiking shorts. Excellent hiking clothing is available though the TravelSmith catalog (sent in your registration packet).
  • Long-sleeved shirts and T-shirts, underwear, sleepwear.
  • Bathing suit for a refreshing dip in an alpine lake (or the hot tub at our last hotel, the Rocky Mountain Lodge).
  • Socks: It is best to wear 2 pair of socks inside your hiking boots, a pair of wool socks, and a thin pair of liner socks underneath the wool socks. We like Thorlo hiking socks and polypropylene liner socks which wick moisture and reduce blistering. Bring plenty of socks!
  • Sun hat and sunglasses, sun protection is crucial at high elevations.
  • 2 or 3 (100% cotton) Bandanas for instant sweat bands and other uses too numerous to mention, some of which you have never even dreamed! Besides, it’s a tradition around here!
  • Sunscreen, lip balm with SPF, insect repellent, lotion (Montana’s humidity is quite low) all with no fragrance.
  • Toiletries, including toilet paper. However, remember that absolutely all used paper must be carried out of the wilderness in small Ziploc bags. To cover all your bases, you can also include an ace bandage, Pepto Bismol, Immodium, and Correctol!
  • 6 quart-size Ziploc bags for waste paper and left over food.
  • Lightweight flashlight.
  • Swiss Army knife or equivalent with scissors (very handy for cutting duct tape). Remember to pack this in your checked luggage, not your carry-on!
  • Earplugs. for snoring roommates or howling coyotes! We recommend Mack's Pillow Soft White Moldable Silicone Snore Proof Earplugs, which you can buy at most drugstores. Good to 22 decibels!
  • Camera, more memory cards than you think you will need, extra camera batteries and battery charger. Disposable panoramic cameras are ideal for the raft portion of this trip!
  • Extra clothes for evenings. Nice, casual clothes for relaxed dinners out.
  • Regarding Foot Care: To prevent blisters, many hikers use moleskin. However, we recommend bringing a small roll of ordinary duct tape as an alternative. Applied when you feel a “hot spot” before a blister actually forms, duct tape reduces friction better than moleskin. If you do develop a blister, Spenco “2nd Skin” is a very comforting necessity. Your personal “foot first-aid kit” should also include: cloth Bandaids (not plastic), foot powder, about 10 individually wrapped alcohol pads, and a small tube of Neosporin or other antibiotic cream.
  • A passport from your country of origin for our trip over the border into Canada.
  • Optional: lightweight long underwear or tights, lightweight binoculars, journal, a relaxing book, and field guides to western wild flowers, mammals and birds.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.