Glacier National Park in Montana has many favorite areas. “Going-to-the-Sun Road,” a 50-mile track that offers some of the most amazing views in Montana, is the most famous destination in Glacier National Park. North Fork is only accessible by dirt road and has an incredible view of the park’s many lakes and a historic homestead site. Got Hunt is a remote and quiet location that crosses the U.S.-Canadian border.
History & Culture
Over time, people have explored the rugged peaks, glacial waters, and glacier-carved valleys of Glacier National Park in Montana; Its landscape provides the desired resources and inspiration to those who are endless enough to venture through it.
Evidence of human use in this area has been around for over 10,000 years. Several different tribes lived in the room when the first European explorers arrived. The Blackfeet Indians controlled vast prairies east of the hills, while the Salish and Kutenai Indians lived in the western valleys, traveling up hills searching for game and hunting vast herds of buffalo in the eastern plains.
Most early European explorers came to the region searching for beavers and other pellets. The miners soon follow them, and finally, the settlers search for land. By 1891, the end of the Great Northern Railway had sealed the area’s fate, allowing more people to enter the center of northwestern Montana. The Homesteaders settled in the valley west of Marius Pass, and small towns soon developed.
At the end of the century, people began to see the land differently. For some, the place has more minerals than land for mines or farms. They are beginning to recognize that the region has a unique natural beauty.
In the late 1800s, influential leaders such as George Bird Grinnell pushed for creating a national park. In 1910, Grinnell and others saw their efforts rewarded when President Taft signed a bill establishing glaciers as its 10th national park.
Glacier National Park in Montana; Weather
Bring the layers to the Glacier’s humid and windy climate with variable conditions throughout the four seasons due to the fast-moving weather patterns caused by gusty winds, and prepare accordingly.
Glacier weather can be very variable and extreme. In winter, most park parts are covered with a few feet of snow, and there are many cloudy, snowy days. In spring, rainy days and cool temperatures are standard, even throughout June. Hot days and cold nights are average throughout July and August. Hikers should travel on warm summer days to anticipate changing conditions and bring an extra layer of rain gear and clothing. In the fall, temperatures begin to cool, and low-altitude snowfall is possible in mid-September. Regardless of the season, the key to a comfortable visit is packing extra layers.
The climate in Glacier Park is humid and airy. As one of the wettest places in Montana, the park receives an average of 42 inches of rain annually, with the western park areas collecting the most moisture, drying out as you move east. It is due to the frequent chinook winds blowing from the south and south-west. Regardless of the time of year, when visiting a glacier, always be prepared for humid and windy conditions. Pack the layer and check the weather conditions before leaving.
- Summer: Glacier summers tend to be shorter and more relaxed. June is one of the wet months, so bring your rain gear; July and August are the warmest and sunniest times to visit. The average summer temperature is between 60º – 70º Fahrenheit, with occasional hot days reaching over 90º Fahrenheit.
- Autumn: With fewer crowds, more easily seen wildlife due to the seasons, and asparagus and other plants in vibrant colors, autumn is a valuable time to visit the park. September and October are considered autumn, with more relaxed, warmer temperatures and higher gusts (over 60 miles per hour) than summer.
- Winter: Glacier winters are long, but usually, mild-warm chinook winds carry the Pacific breeze over the rocks. Winter starts in November and is accompanied by heavy rainfall, mainly snow. Average snowfall can reach 225 inches at higher altitudes. The coldest months are January and February, when temperatures can drop to -40ºF, but mild temperatures are much more common, sometimes rising to 50ºF.
- Spring: Warm spring weather brings a run-off season to glaciers. April is marked as one of the wettest months, but warmer temperatures (average 40ºF) combine with humidity to stimulate the growth of friendly plants and animals.
How to go to Glacier National Park in Montana
It is located in the northwest intersection of Montana, along the spine of the Rocky Mountains. The park is located about 40 miles northeast of Kalispell, near the U.S.
Highways 2 and 89 and U.S. Highways 91 and 93. Visitors traveling by plane can fly to Glacier Park International Airport near Kalispell and Glacier National Park.
Glacier National Park in Montana; Animals
Larger mammals that make their home here include grizzly bears, lynxes, black bears, mice, wolverines, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, coyotes, and wolves. The area is home to badgers, beavers, otters, hedgehogs, mink, bats, etc.
Bear: Glaciers are home to both grizzlies and black bears. The park provides the bulk of the remaining Grizzly bear population in the lower 48 states. 90% of grizzly beer’s diet consists of grass, roots, berries, pine nuts, acorns, mushrooms, insects, and larvae. Only occasionally do they hunt large animals.
Mountain goat: Mountain goats live in rocky mountains at high altitudes in glaciers. They are found in the hills with dense undercoats covered by an outer layer of long hollow fur. Mountain goats can survive in temperatures up to -50 degrees Fahrenheit and wind up to 100 miles per hour.
Pika: Pikas live under rocks on the slopes of the Talus in glacial alpine terrain. These are small mammals, only 4 inches in size. Extremely sensitive to temperatures above 78 degrees Fahrenheit, Pika is seen as a susceptible species to climate change. Pikas do not hibernate or go low in winter. They spend the summer months collecting grass, seeds, stalks, algae, and flowers and storing them under rocks. This storage pile of plant material allows them to withstand the harsh climate of the alpine all year round
Bighorn sheep: Rocky Mountain Bighorn sheep live on the slopes of alpine meadows and grassy mountains in Glacier National Park. They can climb fast and steep terrain in the alpine to hide from predators. The large horns of a bulging sheep can weigh up to 30 pounds on males.
Moose: Moose live in forested regions of Glacier and spend their time in fields and wading in marshy areas in the summer. Their diet consists mainly of underwater vegetation and a variety of other plants. A male moose can weigh from 1,200 to 1,600 pounds.
Wolverines: The Wolverines spend their time in the sub-alpine forests of glaciers and remote desert areas with adequate spring snow cover. They prey on opportunistic predators and scavengers, deer and elk, and prey on squirrels, marmots, snowy rabbits, and rats.
Harlequin duck: Harlequin ducks specialize in fast-moving aquatic habitats in glaciers, including McDonald’s Creek. Male Harlequins are characterized by their capricious blue, brown, and white color. They are the only North American duck species specialized in fast-moving aquatic habitats. Harlequin migrates to the Pacific coast in winter and returns to glaciers in spring, usually seen in diving submarines to feed on insects and mollusks. Each year, the female Harlequins return to the fast-moving stream of their birth to breed and nurture their young.
Lynx: Canada Lynx are rare and elusive predators. They are adapted for hunting at high altitudes, thanks to their long legs and large claws helping them travel on deep snow. Carnivorous animals of this secret forest have been rarely studied in Glacier National Park in Montana, although the park comprises a significant portion of their habitat in North Rocky. Your support is funding a landmark project that documents large-scale distribution and abundance patterns of lynx within Glacier’s boundaries using remote cameras.
Great Gray and Braille Owl: Great gray and boreal owls existed in Montana before the first humans set foot here, but many remains have been discovered about this rare and elusive bird. These two owl species have rarely been seen in previous studies in Montana, leaving their status still in question and listed as one of Montana’s largest species in need. Glacier National Park plays a crucial role in conserving these birds, providing a safe habitat free from human hassles such as hunting, logging, and development.
Best Times Visit Glacier National Park in Montana
The best time to visit this park is in July and August. It is the highest season for visitors, with daytime temperatures averaging in the 80s and nighttime temperatures in the 40s (pack level and a good rain jacket). You can also see snowfall in June and July at higher altitudes; The east side of the park is more relaxed than the west side, and the wind is more inclined. The eastern side is also dry, while the western valleys see most rainfall. Although accommodation rates and entry fees will be higher during the peak season, most facilities will remain open, and the complimentary shuttle service will continue. You will also experience fewer road and trail closures than in the autumn, winter, and spring months. The park is available 365 days a year.
The Worst Time to Visit Glacier National Park in Montana
Although summers are busier, some activities such as running the whole Going-to-the-Sun Road are impossible in winter and spring. You may want to refrain from visiting during the winter season, with more limited accessibility (unless you are exposed to skiing).
Glacier National Park in Montana for the Cheapest Time
In the winter (November to April), prices drop when going to Glacier National Park. A seven-day private vehicle pass usually costs $ 35, but in the winter months, it falls to $ 25. And the per-person entry fee goes from $20 to $ 15.
Learn more about Glacier National Park in Montana