|Glacier National Park is a United States National Park and a UNESCO World Heritage site that is located in the state of Montana in the United States of America. |
Glacier National Park was created on May 11, 1910 by an act of Congress, but did not become a tourist destination until James J. Hill's Great Northern Railway began advertising Glacier National Park as a destination. Hill's advertising suggested that Americans see Glacier National Park before traveling abroad. The campaign worked and two rail stations were used to bring train loads of tourists to the park.
In 1932 Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park and the America's Glacier National Park were united to create Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.
In 1850 the park was home to 150 glaciers, now, only 35 glaciers are still in existence at the park. Most glaciers are 1/3 the size of the glaciers in 1850. It is estimated that the all the park's glaciers will have melted by 2030.
To get around Glacier National Park requires walking, biking, boating, or car. Some tour buses to run inside the park. Bicycles are restricted to specific areas.
• Going to Sun Road. The most spectacular viewpoints in the park are along this road. It is closed to traffic in Winter and open from June - Oct. Depending on weather, it will be open as early as Memorial Day weekend (May 27-30). You can check the road status online at .
• US Hwy 2 on the south side of the park. Also crosses the Continental Divide, though at a lower elevation than Logan Pass on the Going to the Sun Road. This is the route used by the Amtrak trains. The view of the forest, river, train tracks and a railroad tunnel all together in one location is very scenic. Several wilderness areas (no roads) are just to the south.
• Looking Glass Hill Road (State Hwy 49) has an excellent view of Lower Two Medicine Lake from the top of the hill. Also, it's a shortcut (though narrow and winding) from East Glacier to the east side of the park, so you don't have to go all the way to Browning and back.
• US Hwy 89 connects with roads going into the park at St. Mary (Going to Sun Road) and Babb (to Many Glacier). It then continues north where it intersects with Chief Mountain International Highway (see below). Excellent views of St. Mary and the lake from the hills north and south of the town.
• Chief Mountain International Highway (State Hwy 17) connects Glacier Nat'l Park with Waterton Lakes in Canada.
• Inside North Fork Road is an unpaved road running north on the west side of the park. Facilities are primitive, and this area is only for the most adventurous. Begins just north of Apgar at Lake McDonald.
• Biking - Bicycles are restricted to bike paths, roadways, and parking areas. Check the National Park Service's Glacier website for path, and road closures. Bikes are forbidden on trails. Bicycle rental is not available in Glacier National Park.
• Boating - There are boat tours and boat rentals on St. Mary, Two Medicine, and Lake McDonald
• Camping - There are several dozen backcountry campgrounds along the trail system, as well as frontcountry campgrounds available to motorists and RVers
• Cross Country Skiing -
• Fishing - Glacier is famous for its great trout fishing. No fishing license is required to fish in the park.
• Hiking - Over half of the visitors to Glacier National Park report taking a hike along some of the park's 700 miles of trails. Hikers can purchase topographical maps, trail guides, and field guides at visitor centers.
The Trail of the Cedars, Huckleberry Mountain, Hidden Lake, Sun Point, and Swiftcurrent Nature Trails are hiker friendly and have signs that dot the trails to help hikers. The Trail of the Cedars is wheelchair accessible.
• Horseback riding - Most of the park's trail system is open to horses.
Best place to eat is the Cattle Baron Supper Club in Babb, serving great steaks. A must when you're in this part of Glacier National Park. You'll hear about this place on the trail. Also the interior decor is way cool, and stories of Blackfeet Indian history, and the family of the owners are offered on interesting placemats with a native flute playing lightly which enhances the ambiance.
Charlie's Place in Babb is the preferred watering hole for party crazy Glacier area summer workers. The bar is home to various bands who play bluegrass, jam/funk and reggae nearly twice a week. It also serves a damn good pizza pie!
• Glacier Park Lodge - Glacier Park Lodge is located across the street from the East Glacier Park AMTRAK train station on Highway 2 in East Glacier, Montana. The hotel has a heated swimming pool and nine-hole golf course. Televisions, elevators, and air conditioning are NOT available.
• Lake McDonald Lodge & Complex - Lake McDonald Lodge & Complex is located eleven miles inside the park from the west entrance on the Going To The Sun Road. This hotel has 100 rooms. Televisions, elevators and air conditioning are NOT available.
• Many Glacier Hotel - Many Glacier Hotel is Glacier National Park's largest hotel with 208 rooms and is located in the northeast area of the park and is eleven miles west of Babb, Montana on Highway 89.
• Thronson's Motel - Babb, MT, eight miles north of St. Mary on Hwy 89, at the turnoff for Many Glacier. Thronson's has TV, phone, and the best rates in the park. (406) 732-5530. Plus, Thronson's has a charming general store, 24 hr gas pumps, the delicious Babb Press (breakfast, lunch, and dinner; very reasonable prices), and is within stumbling distance of Charlie's Bar, which hosts live music throughout the summer and serves delicious homemade pizza and the stiffest drinks on the East Side. Also within walking distance of Charlie's more refined cousin, The Cattle Baron Supper Club. Best steak in Montana.
There are thirteen campgrounds located within the park.
Glacier National Park is one of the most popular parks for backcountry camping. Permits are required and can be obtained from the visitor centers.
Blackfeet Nation Indian Reservation - The reservation is home to the Blackfeet Nation and borders Glacier National Park to the west. Its northern border is shared by Canadian province Alberta. The seat of government is Browning.
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Rocky Mountain lake view, Glacier National Park
All private vehicles entering the park must pay a $20 fee that is good for seven days. Individuals on foot or on bicycle must pay a $10 fee, also good for seven days. A Glacier National Park Pass is available for $25 and allows unlimited entry for one year. The National Park Pass costs $50 and allows free entry to all national park areas for one year.
Amtrak's Empire Builder train service stops at two different stations that service Glacier National Park.
• West Glacier Park Station (Amtrak station code: WGL) - This station is opened year round, however, according to Amtrak's website the station does not have a ticketing office or automated ticketing machines.
Hwy 2 and Going-to-the-Sun Rd., West Glacier, MT 59936
• East Glacier Park Station (Amtrak station code: GPK) - This station is open from mid-spring through mid-fall.
400 Highway 49 North, East Glacier Park, MT 59434.
Visitors to the park may fly to Calgary on the Canadian side with an optional closer destination of Lethbridge, Alberta (YQL), and on the American side to Glacier Park International Airport near Kalispell, Montana (FCA) (25 mi/40 km from West Glacier). Calgary has a few non-stop flights from Europe. It's possible to rent cars at the airport or take a shuttle (inquire first before making reservation to a particular airport if you do not wish to drive). Also, the destination of Missoula, Montana (MSO) is possible, though an additional 120 miles (190 km) must be driven.
U.S. Airlines and their connection cities include Delta Air Lines (Salt Lake City), Northwest Airlines (Minneapolis & Seattle), United Airlines (Denver), America West Airlines (Phoenix), and American Airlines/Alaska Airlines via Horizon Airlines (Seattle). Calgary and Lethbridge are served by Air Canada. Also, WestJet is based in Calgary and has flights to both Canada and the USA.
Those already residing in the Inland Northwest have few options besides driving or taking Amtrak, although there is one small turboprop flight from Spokane, Washington (the largest city in the region) to Kalispell via Big Sky Airlines. Airline service to Calgary from the Inland Northwest has been suspended since 2001.
Visitors should take normal travel precautions - especially in the wilderness. Ask about dangerous areas, keep a look out for wild animals, and always tell someone where you go in case you get lost or are injured.