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Glacier National Park: A National Treasure

7 days with Natural Habitat Adventures   Rating: Deluxe

Click for Dates and Prices Day 1: Kalispell, Montana
Arrive in Kalispell and transfer to our hotel in nearby Whitefish, where our Glacier National Park tour begins with a welcome dinner this evening.

Days 2 & 3: Glacier National Park—Two Medicine Valley
This morning we drive east to Glacier National Park, commencing our foray into one of the United States' most treasured natural landscapes, where glacially carved valleys and dramatic mountain peaks beckon. Glacier boasts the most intact natural ecosystem left in the lower 48 states, and we'll have abundant opportunity to view many of the species that call it home, including the mountain goat, the park's emblematic animal. Along the way, learn about the Lewis Overthrust fault and the region's tumultuous geological history, studied by scientists from around the world.

A boat cruise on Two Medicine Lake reveals Glacier's sweeping grandeur as we glide across the jade-green waters to reach the trailhead for our hike into Two Medicine Valley. Situated on the eastern edge of the park, the valley borders the Blackfeet Indian reservation. As we walk through the winding valley, once an important site for sacred Native American rituals, we admire the multicolored rock layers on the mountain walls. While our hike is moderate in grade, the breathtaking beauty of the sheer cliffs and mountain peaks surrounding us offers scenic rewards usually reserved for more strenuous efforts. At every turn of the trail, we look for the great array of wildlife frequently seen here. Moose, elk and deer graze on tall grasses and wildflowers in sunny meadows, while grizzlies, black bears, coyotes, wolves and mountain lions seek refuge from the summer heat in shady aspen groves. We may also spot bald eagles, which share Glacier's intensely blue skies with a wide variety of other birds. In fact, up to 230 bird species call this mix of aspen, prairie, and coniferous forest home, and their many different calls and songs provide a delightful backdrop to our day in the valley.

This evening, retire to majestic Glacier Park Lodge, one of the country's most famous national park hotels. Built by the Great Northern Railway in 1913 to attract visitors to the park's wonders, the hotel's grand lobby features log pillars more than 40 feet high and 40 inches in diameter, crafted from Douglas fir trees hundreds of years old. The Blackfoot Indians, awed by the size of the timbers, called it Omahkoyis, or "Big Tree Lodge."

Days 4 & 5: Glacier National Park—Many Glacier Valley
This morning we drive through the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and stop to learn about the tribe's rich culture and history. We then enter Many Glacier, one of the park's iconic valleys. Scoured into a broad U-shape by rivers of ice that retreated some 10,000 years ago, Many Glacier features granite crags, waterfalls glissading from icy ledges high above, and alpine lakes set like jewels in the rocky backdrop. We readily see why the Blackfeet gave the name "Backbone of the World" to the greater Glacier Park ecosystem. Keep an eye out for black bears and grizzlies feeding among the bushes in avalanche chutes, mountain goats and bighorn sheep perched on cliffs, and elk grazing in the meadows. Many Glacier Hotel, where we'll spend the night, was built in 1915 as a grand Swiss-style chalet meant to complement its setting in the "American Alps," in the vision of the rail barons who constructed it. It sits regally on the edge of Swiftcurrent Lake, overlooking a panorama of crenellated peaks. Walks, hikes and boat rides take us right into the natural environs and close to an active glacier, an experience that future visitors may be less likely to have as global climate change hastens the melting of the park's permanent ice features.

Day 6: Glacier National Park—Going-to-the-Sun Road / Lake McDonald
An engineering marvel completed in 1932, Going-to-the-Sun Road twists and climbs around Glacier's granite spine all the way to the Continental Divide. Waterfall spray creates rainbows as streams pour off rock precipices, while serrated peaks poke the blue sky. On the summit atLogan Pass, we wander trails through alpine tundra thick with white bear grass and avalanche lilies, listening for the whistle of marmots darting among the rocks. Cresting the divide, we descend to the wetter west side of the park, where thick forests of fir and cedar hug the mountain flanks and fern and mosses grow in their shadows. At Lake McDonald Lodge, another historic hostelry evocative of Swiss alpine architecture, there's time to relax in front of the soaring stone fireplace and muse on the week's wonders.

Day 7: Kalispell / Depart
This morning our Glacier National Park trip concludes as we get an early start back to Kalispell for flights home.
All This Included
When naturalist John Muir visited Glacier in 1901, he wrote, “Get off the tracks at Belton Station [now West Glacier] and in a few minutes you will find yourself in the midst of what you are sure to say is the best care-killing scenery on the continent.” Muir’s words are still valid today in this beguiling landscape of peaks, meadows, wildflowers and meltwater lakes fed by rills tumbling down off the park’s namesake ice shelves. Subalpine forests and granite ridges are home to grizzly bears, mountain goats, elk and more. This rare small-group foray into the natural bounty of Glacier—plus Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park, which shares a border and an ecosystem—will refresh and energize contemporary spirits just as it did a century ago.
  • Accommodations
  • Meals from dinner on Day 1 to breakfast on final day
  • Purified drinking water
  • Services of NHA Expedition Leader
  • Most gratuities
  • Airport transfers on Day 1 and final day
  • Permits and entrance fees
  • All taxes
  • Join expert guides on intimate adventure in two of North America's most stunning national parks—you won't find this small-group natural history combination anywhere else
  • Traverse the alpine heights of the Continental Divide on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and scout for bears and other wildlife in out-of-the-way reaches where visitors are few 
  • Relax at grand lakeside lodges, replete with history, rustic log furnishings and Old West atmosphere, each a national park icon in its own right
Whitefish: Grouse Mountain Lodge
Glacier National Park: Glacier Park Lodge
Glacier National Park: Many Glacier Hotel
Glacier National Park: Lake McDonald Lodge
  • Group Size Limit: 14 Travelers Divided into Two Vehicles with Two Expedition Leaders.
  • Not Included: Travel to and from start and end point of trip, alcoholic beverages, some gratuities, passport and visa fees, optional activities, items of a personal nature (phone calls, laundry, etc.), airline baggage fees, airport and departure taxes, optional travel insurance.
  • 2020 dates and prices are subject to change.
  • Physical Requirements: Moderate. This adventure does not require a particularly high degree of physical fitness, and included hikes are easy to moderate in terms of physical exertion. However, please be aware that hiking is the main activity on this trip, with two or three excursions per day taking place at an altitude of 4,000-5,000 feet above sea level. In order to participate, travelers should be able to walk unassisted for at least three miles over rough terrain and inclines, with some gain in altitude (no more than 500 feet) required in certain locations. Our days generally start quite early and are very full with activities, including a few long drives. Note that all hikes/activities are completely optional, and travelers should only participate in those activities in which they feel comfortable. While travelers are not required to participate in all activities, should you opt out of the day’s scheduled activities, we cannot always guarantee that alternatives will be available. Those travelers who would like to take longer or more strenuous hikes may have opportunities to do so at their leisure.
  • We recommend that you arrive in Kalispell by 5 pm on Day 1 in order to join your group orientation at the hotel at 6 pm. You are free to depart any time after 12 pm on the final day.
  • Please ask your Vacations To Go travel counselor for more information.
Terms and Conditions
For Natural Habitat Adventures terms and conditions, please click here.

* The prices shown are U.S. dollars per person, based on double occupancy, and subject to availability. Prices quoted for land/cruise arrangements are subject to increase without notice. Once we have received your deposit, land/cruise prices are guaranteed. Air prices quoted via phone or email are subject to increase and are guaranteed only from the time that full payment is received. Also, air prices or air promotions mentioned on this site or on the phone do not include baggage fees imposed by airlines.