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Glacier National Park Hiking Vacation

“The main thing is the whole thing. Which is why it seems to me that although Glacier lacks a logo-like defining attraction, it perhaps better than any other place defines the general purpose and value of our National Park System…a monument to the underlying forces of nature, not to the unusual features of it.”

Life Magazine

Glacier National Park, located in northern Montana, captures the imagination of visitors thanks to its stunning “supermodel” alpine scenery, its outstanding hiking (voted best in the country), and its (sadly) disappearing glaciers. Come visit GNP with us to see what all the hullabaloo is about!

This is a trip for hikers, by hikers. And although we can’t even come close to covering the more than 700 miles of hiking trails in the park, our days here are mostly devoted to wandering the best trails in the park. You need not carry more than a daypack with water, snacks, and an extra layer or two. You will have a professional Travel Montana guide with you on this five-day exploration of Glacier National Park plus, on two of those days, an additional professional Glacier Park mountain guide. All our trip leaders are extremely knowledgeable about the area’s flora, fauna, and geography — adding a richness to your days you wouldn’t be able to create on your own. 

To provide a little respite from hiking we take time to explore the cute town of Whitefish, take a chairlift ride up to the top of Whitefish Mountain and have a fun and splashy rafting experience down the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.

What will be revealed each day is simply inspirational beauty: glacier-carved peaks, steep valleys, an abundance of wildflowers, pristine forests, perfectly clear alpine lakes, and wildlife such as mountain goats and grizzly bears. Trust us, you can try to capture it all on your camera but the images in your mind will be the true repository for this rejuvenating loveliness.

Private Tour Info

Private tours can be arranged for groups as small as four people.

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Details

  • Activities: Hiking
  • Duration: 5 days
  • Price Per Person
          4 - 5 people: $3,250
          6 - 7 people: $2,950
          8+ people: $2,800
  • Single Supplement: $700
  • Other Info:
    Lodging in and near Glacier National Park sells out FAR in advance and it is possible we will not get our first choice in lodging. This may cause a change in trip pricing or itinerary and we will discuss any changes with you.

  • Public Tour Date: n/a

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Past Traveler Tour Rating

4.89/5 stars

Trip Highlights

  • Experience the stunning scenery of one of America's best National Parks
  • Enjoy several of the top day hikes in the park, with flexible mileage to match your ability level
  • Look for wildlife such as mountain goats, marmots, pikas, and grizzly bears
  • Take a ride up the famously scenic Going-To-The-Sun Road
DAY 1

We meet you right after lunch in the cute western resort town of Whitefish, gateway to the craggy peaks, turquoise alpine lakes and glacier-carved valleys of Glacier National Park. Your discovery of “Glacier Country” commences with a beautiful wildflower-filled hike up the Danny On Memorial Hiking Trail at Whitefish Mountain Resort (3.8 miles). You can also choose to ride the chairlift up and hike back down. Heck, it’s your vacation — you can ride the chairlift both ways if you like!  On the way back to town, we’ll stop at the sandy City Beach and have a dip to cool off in the clear waters of Whitesfish Lake before checking in to our hotel. Downtown, the shops and eateries lining the main street of Whitefish beckon — what are you hungry for? Chances are excellent we can find you something delicious for dinner! 

DAY 2

Today we’ll arise early and enter Glacier National Park, also known as the Crown of the Continent, to hike one of the park’s most popular trails: the Trail of the Cedars. This is one of the easiest hikes in the park. It takes us through a stunning gorge and old-growth forest then rewards us after only 2 miles with the eye-popping beauty of Avalanche Lake, surrounded by steep walls chock full of waterfalls!  If you have the desire to take a dip in a glacial lake (it should be on everyone’s list, we think! And yes, it’s cold!), we’ll take you to the other side of the lake to a lovely beach away from the crowds. This afternoon, we’ll share an exciting raft trip down the Middle Fork of the Flathead, a Wild and Scenic River that helps form the southwestern border of Glacier National Park. In between the Class II and III rapids, we’ll be exposed to the brilliant backcountry beauty of the park. Tonight, we sleep and have a fabulous dinner at a National Historic Landmark — the first of the iconic lodges built by the Great Northern Railroad, and which served as the original gateway to Glacier National Park for over a century. 

DAY 3

The drive to today’s trailhead may be almost as incredible as the hike itself! We take the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road all the way up to Logan Pass, the highest point of the road, at 6,646 feet. From there we embark on a 7.2-mile roundtrip hike on the Highline Trail, which has been called the most scenic hike in America. With every step there is a “Wow!” — whether it is from looking down upon the tiny cars below on the Going-to-the-Sun road, enjoying the spectacular sweeping views of the valley, or seeing a mama and baby goat frolicking in the day lilies and bear grass. You should also keep an eye out for bighorn sheep, marmots, and even wolverines. Grizzly bears are also occasionally seen in the area. There is absolutely nothing not to love about this hike...unless you have a fear of heights (in which case, we can help you through a short section that hugs a vertical wall and has a steep dropoff on the other side, or arrange a different hike for you). Once we get to Haystack Butte, we’ll unpack our lunches, enjoy the view while we eat, and then head back the way we came, all the way to Logan Pass. From there, it is just a short ride down the other side of the pass to Saint Mary Lake, where we’ll spend our next two nights. St. Mary is where the great plains of Montana stretch to the east and the mountains of Glacier National Park rise up the sky to the west. In other words, it's pretty scenic.

DAY 4

After a peaceful night’s rest and a hearty breakfast, we shuttle to the Many Glacier area of the park, commonly known as the “Switzerland of North America.”  Today is “hiker’s choice” and you have the option of many five-star excursions. We recommend starting off with a boat ride across Swiftcurrent Lake, where you’ll then have your choice of a multitude of routes in the Grinnell Glacier Complex, another ultra-scenic area of the park and a place where you can see an actual glacier in Glacier National Park. Whatever you choose will be wonderful as the entire Many Glacier area is magnificent. You can also opt to rent canoes or kayaks and paddle on Swiftcurrent Lake if you’d like to give your feet a break. We’ll visit the historic Many Glacier Hotel, on the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake and built over 100 years ago by the Great Northern Railway before returning to St. Mary for a farewell dinner. 

DAY 5

You’ll have the option to enjoy a beautiful early morning hike to a waterfall before making the two-hour shuttle back to the Whitefish area and saying our goodbyes.

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Trip Accommodations

NIGHT 1 >> GROUSE MOUNTAIN LODGE / WHITEFISH  Located just outside downtown Whitefish, our lodge offers mountain views and expansive grounds.  You'll love the cozy lobby and large comfortable rooms.

NIGHT 2  >> BELTON CHALET / WEST GLACIER The first of the iconic lodges built by the Great Northern Railroad, the Belton Chalet has served as the original gateway to Glacier National Park for over a century. Your room for the night is a perfect mix of history and modern decor with its original light fixtures and wood flooring paired with comfortable, plush beds.

NIGHTS 3 & 4 >> ST. MARY VILLAGE TINY HOMES /  ST MARY We saved some of the best views for last — this is one of the most dramatic backdrops of all Glacier National Park hotels. For the next two nights, you'll be staying in the newly built adorable tiny homes.

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Arrival & Departure

Your guide meets you in the cute mountain town of Whitefish, Montana the morning of the first day of the trip, either at your hotel (if you arrive early) or at the Glacier Park International Airport (airport code FCA). We’ll return to the Glacier Airport on the last afternoon of the trip, allowing you to fly out that day. It is served by many major airlines: Alaska, Allegient, American, Delta, and United.

What's Included
  • One local Travel Montana guide will accompany each trip. Additional guides can be added depending on group size.
  • Our trip prices are based on double occupancy. You have the option to pay the single supplement to get your own room if you don’t want a roommate.
    • For private trips: If your private group has an odd number of participants, the single supplement for the person getting his/her own room becomes mandatory.  You also have the choice to put three people in one room.
    • For public trips: If you are coming on a trip solo, we will find you a roommate of the same gender. Many tour companies require you to pay a single supplement if they can’t find you a roommate. We don’t!  If we can’t find you a roommate then you may end up getting your own room at no charge (although this is pretty rare).
  • All of your meals are included from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 5. Gratuity for these meals is also included. Since we are out on the trail hiking each day, we'll provide trail lunches for you.
  • All your transportation is included once you meet your guides on the first day.
  • All trail fees and permits are included.
  • All costs for extra activities listed in itinerary (rafting, chairlift ride, boat ride) are included.
  • NOT INCLUDED: Beverages, desserts, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.
When To Travel

In general, Montana's best outdoors weather for summer sports is from May to October. However, on this tour we are limited because the Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park is usually only open from early July through the third Monday in October. Given it can easily snow in the park in October, the best months for this tour are July, August, and September with the fewest crowds being after Labor Day. However, if you are looking to avoid the crowds and can be flexible in our Glacier itinerary, the months of May, June, and early October can be excellent too.

Changes to Your Itinerary

While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.

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