December 13, 2017

Glacier National Park – Overview, History, & Attractions

Glacier National Park, located in the state of Montana, covers more than one million acres of amazing wilderness. It has become a favorite destination of countless Americans, attracting more than 1.5 million visitors each year. It offers a combination of soaring snow capped mountains surrounded by lakes, forests, meadows, and an array of wildlife.

Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park was given protected status in 1910. The American and Canadian governments designated the Glacier National Park and Waterton National Park the Waterton-Glacier peace park in 1932. In 1976 both regions were given special Biosphere reserve status, and 1985 were deemed a world Heritage Site.

Glacier contains one of the nation’s most scenic roads. The Going to the Sun Road was completed in 1932 and is still considered to be an amazing feat of engineering. It is possible to travel the route today and soak up the majestic beauty of the surroundings.

The road covers a distance of fifty miles and is well worth the effort of exploring. If you are heading eastwards, you will skirt along the shore of Lake McDonald, past the Garden Wall bluff, then over Logan Pass at a height of more than 6,400 feet. Finally the road drops down to Saint Mary’s Lake where you can rest and enjoy the stunning vistas. The Going to the Sun road typically opens at the start of June and then closes around the middle of October, depending upon weather conditions.

There are a wide range of activities on offer at Glacier. You could choose to go hiking, boating, camping, wildlife spotting and horseback riding. To get up to date information on tours and recreational pursuits, pencil in a visit to one of the visitor centers that are located in the park. It is important to have the latest information relating to regional closures and dangers.

It is possible to go boating on many of Glacier’s tranquil lakes. Those of us that are more adventurous can enjoy kayaking, canoeing, or rafting on Flathead River. Organised tours are available from Two Medicine Lake, Rising Sun Lake, and Lake MacDonald, though there frequency varies depending upon the time of the year. Horseback riding is on offer from Many Glacier Lake, Lake MacDonald lodge, and the Apgar visitor center.

Many visitors plan a trip to Glacier during the winter months. At this time of the year you can enjoy cross country skiing and other alpine pursuits. If you are to visit between October and March, make sure you are fully prepared for the cold temperature, ice, and snow. Skiers need to register themselves at each trailhead for safety reasons, and make sure they are up to date with weather forecasts and avalanche warnings.

For a seven day vehicle permit between the start of May until the end of November, you will need to pay a fee of $25. During the winter season, the charge drops to a modest $15. If entering on foot or by bicycle, the fee for summer and winter is $12 and $10 respectively. The price for snowmobile entry should be enquired prior to making arrangements.

For more information visit http://www.uwsp.edu/geo/faculty/lemke/gnp_vft/home.html

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