Places to Visit: Glacier National Park

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Glacier National Park

With peaks towering over 10,000 feet, pristine mountain lakes and breathtaking backcountry, Glacier National Park and its wondrous landscape is a must-see on your West Yellowstone vacation.

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  • See the pristine mountain lakes and breathtaking backcountry of Glacier National Park
  • Less than a day’s trip from West Yellowstone, Montana
  • Summer entrance fees are only $25 for vehicles and $12 for individuals on foot, bike or motorcycle
  • View grizzly bears, mountain goats, black bears, moose and bighorn sheep

Overview

Glacier National Park, situated in northwestern Montana, has awesome and dramatic scenery in its 2,000 square miles. Outdoor recreation, wildlife viewing and camping here is some of the best around.

Seasons

Glacier National Park is open every day of the year. Winter weather dictates when most of the visitor facilities open, however. Usually you’ll find facilities open from late May to early September.

Fees

Entrance fees -

  • Vehicle permits: $25 from 1 May to 30 November and $15 from 1 December to 30 April
  • Individual permits: $12 from 1 May to 30 November and $10 from 1 December to 30 April (individuals on foot, bicycle or motorcycle)
  • Annual Pass: $35
    (Vehicle and Individual permits are good for 7 days)

Camping -

  • Fees range from $10 to $23 a night, depending on the campground you choose.

Highlights

The entirety of Glacier National Park (known as Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park) encompasses over one million acres with two mountain ranges running through. There are more than 130 named lakes, and hundreds of species of animals that make their home here.

The southern part of the park is known as simply Glacier National Park. Park headquarters is in West Glacier, Montana. You’ll find naturalist-led activities that are free of charge, like informative hikes, slide shows and campfire programs.

A scenic highway (Going -to-the-Sun Road) is open from the middle of June to mid-October and crosses the park, making the surrounding beauty accessible to the casual traveler. More than 700 miles of trails await backpackers and horseback riders.

Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy many adventures within Glacier, from climbing, hiking and biking to horseback riding, boating and fishing.

Wildlife watching couldn’t be better. It’s not unusual to spot grizzly bears in the park. You’ll also see mountain goats (the park symbol), black bears, moose, bighorn sheep and elk. Some catch a glimpse of a mountain lion, but these spottings are rare.

Glacier has 13 campgrounds that provide nearly 1,000 campsites. Most are on a first-come, first-served basis, although two campgrounds allow for advanced reservations.

Getting Here

To get to West Yellowstone, starting in Essex on the southern border of Glacier National Park, take US Highway 2 to US 89. Follow that to US 287 and get on I-15 South. Take exit 164 to Boulder and turn left to get on MR 69. In 32 miles, you’ll come to MT 2, which in a little over 13 miles takes you to US 287. Follow US 287 to US 191 which takes you right into West Yellowstone. It’s approximately 394 miles or a bit over 6 hours to drive this scenic route.

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