When's the best time to visit Glacier National Park?
Replies: 16 - Last Post: Jul 15, 2010 4:06 PM Last Post By: lennyhowell
Apr 22, 2010 12:17 PM
When's the best time to visit Glacier National Park?I'm planning my first trip to Glacier National Park, but I wasn't sure when the best time is to visit. I love hiking and am an amateur photographer, so I'm really looking forward to exploring park. I plan on taking the train from Oregon and staying in the Glacier area for little over a week. Right now the dates I'm looking at are either in mid to late July or mid to late August, does it make a big difference when I go? Does anyone have any suggestions when it's best to visit the park?
Thanks in advance for any tidbits or knowledge you can pass along.
Apr 22, 2010 2:23 PM
1The later in the summer, the higher the snow level will be. In mid-July there may still be some drifts across trails under north-facing mountains, but you could probably slog throgh them. By August, they'll probably be gone (along with the last of the glaciers).
Another couple years and they'll have to change the name of the park.
Apr 22, 2010 5:16 PM
Apr 22, 2010 5:25 PM
Apr 22, 2010 10:47 PM
Apr 23, 2010 12:30 PM
5I find that there really isn't a bad time to be in Glacier Park. I have been there in May, June, July, August, September and January. It is true that the park is most heavily occupied by humans during June and July but wildlife is abundant regardless. The more aggressive animals are transplanted by late May but I have never visited the park when I didn't see a bear (except the winter).
There are always hikes where you can see beautiful flowers, snow and cascading water features. The glaciers are slowly melting, but their name will not change as the true beauty comes from the amazing size of the park and the rugged mountains carved out by sliding glaciers starting at the end of our last Ice Age. There is no place on this earth that can make me feel as small and in-significant as Glacier Park regardless of time of year.
Apr 24, 2010 6:14 AM
Apr 24, 2010 1:06 PM
7I was there in September and loved it. Almost no other people around. A LOT of bears though! It was very beautiful, just exquisite. If you plan on hiking alone --not a great idea, actually---make sure you wear bells or sing and make a lot of noise. When I was last in the park a man went hiking alone and surprised a bear who ended up mauling him - nearly tearing his whole scalp off. He lived but the bear was killed. And it orphaned her two cubs. So, be careful with yourself and don't end up responsible for getting a bear shot. Good luck and happy travels!
Apr 26, 2010 9:55 AM
8Thanks for all the input. It's sounds like no matter when I go, I'll be surrounded by wonderful scenery. I can't wait for my vacation.
Leileilia - Thanks for the heads-up. I'm going to Glacier with my boyfriend, so I wont be along but I'll be sure to make lots of noise while I'm hiking around. (I already feel bad for the animals and other hikers I'll encounter on my trip if I'm going to be singing while I'm out there. LOL.)
Apr 26, 2010 10:05 AM
9Many people tie bells to their hiking shoes to make noise for the bears. Personally, that would drive me crazy! It's a little quieter than singing and you really don't need to make a lot of noise. There a joke that the rangers tell at the campfire naturalist talks. So many people wear bells, it attracts the bears when they are hungry:) How many saw some bear scat today with little bells mixed in?
Apr 26, 2010 10:59 AM
10All of these responses are accurate. I still haven't found a way in which I like to hike where I scare away the bears. I have certainly encountered them and still have my face and scalp (knock on wood). Luckily, I tend to be fast on my feet. Just keep in mind, you can't outrun a bear, but you don't need to if you can out run whomever you are hiking with. I have always strategically picked my hiking partners with this in mind ;-)
And yes, I would marry GNP if I could... she will always have a special place in my heart as my first love!
Apr 26, 2010 1:00 PM
11Yeah the bear bell thing drives me crazy too. Whenever I'm in heavy bear country I just walk noisily and sing unless I have good visiiblity, then I don't worry about it.
Have jumped many a bear in the North Cascades, Rockies, Siskyous, Northeast Oregon, Yukon and Alaska and never had a problem yet. They always get distance between me and them. Best one was a sow with three cubs last year in Mount Rainier National Park - first time I've seen three cubs with one sow. Spotted a "ghost bear" in the Yukon a few years ago. Worst I had was a solo trip into the North Cascades - spilled smoken salmon juice all over me and my clothes one night - washed'em out, but slept with one eye open that night, but no one came by to investigate.
In particularly heavy bear country I'll make a double camp (one camp for cooking, eating, washing up - another camp a good 100 yards away upwind for sleeping).
Apr 28, 2010 3:35 PM
12the issue really is based on what you want and what you like. . . anyone who tells you that they know what's going happen in july or august is only guessing. . . in general, august is the "best" month meaning dryest. . . that said i've seen it snow in august, i've seen it burned up in august and i've seen years when the monkey flowers did not bloom it was so cold . . . this year there is a lack of snow as compared to the average. That said there's a huge storm on the way that could change things. . . If you go the first week of august, and it does not snow or rain all week, you should be fine . . . come ready for any weather . . . check out my blog as i regularly update local conditions . . .
Glacier Impressions Gallery
East Glacier Park, MT
Apr 28, 2010 3:37 PM
13I have been in late July and the wildflowers were SPECTACULAR. fall will also be beautiful but the bears will be more active as they prepare for winter (just something to keep in mind). if you can get to the Granite Park Chalet - there is an online booking system and it will say that it is all booked up but there are cancellations that you can take advantage of. Absolutely fabulous. My profile picture is from the Grinnell Glacier overlook just above the GPC. It was one of the most spectacular weeks I have ever spent in nature and that is quite a superlative as I have backpacked and hiked in many many parts of the country.
May 1, 2010 4:12 AM
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