Glacier National Park Family Adventure

Experience Rugged Mountains and Glacier-carved Valleys

Experience Glacier National Park's pristine forests, rugged mountains, thundering waterfalls, and spectacular lakes with your family. Glacier contains hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Our guides will help your family explore some of these spectacular trails, with options for all ability levels. We'll travel to trailheads along the famous Going to the Sun Highway, stopping to take in the scenic vistas that make this National Park an American icon. Spend the evenings around the campfire with your family, enjoying s’mores in the Lake McDonald Valley. Learn more about the history, wildlife, and ecosystems of the Northern Rockies and Glacier National Park with informative, kid-friendly Ranger talks at the Apgar Lake campground. Share the wonders of Glacier with the whole family!

Sample Itinerary

Day 1: Your trip officially starts in the afternoon at the Apgar campground in Glacier National Park. Set up camp and get to know your trip mates over dinner. Share your expectations for the upcoming days while enjoying s'mores by the fire. You have several options for activities within the park. Your trip leaders will share those options with you daily.

Day 2: After a hearty breakfast, take a short drive to the Trail of Cedars and Avalanche Lake trailhead. Hike through a grove of 500-700 year old western cedars. After lunch, continue your hike to Avalanche Lake and be greeted by waterfalls cascading down the hillside. Arrive back to camp in the evening for dinner.

Day 3: We'll spend the day at or around Logan Pass, the 6,646 foot backbone of Glacier National Park. Whether it's the short but stunning walk to Hidden Lake or a trek along the Garden Wall, hiking opportunities abound!

Day 4: We'll get an early start and make our way from the lush forest of west Glacier to the open and expansive eastern part called the St. Mary Valley. You will explore along the shores of St. Mary Lake and hike to the St. Mary and Virginia waterfalls.

Day 5: Your final full day, we will head to a day hike destination based on the ability and interests of the group. Destination options include Many Glacier, Siyeh Bend, or even a return visit to Logan Pass. We'll have a final campsite dinner to celebrate our time at Glacier National Park.

Day 6: Enjoy one final breakfast as a group. You will then break down camp and participate in one last hike near Apgar campground or stop by the visitors center to pick up a souvenir. Your trip officially ends at noon.

Travel, Terrain, Etc...

TERRAIN/ROUTE CHOICES: Glacier National Park offers a wide range of hiking route options from very easy to difficult. Come prepared for easy to moderately difficult day hikes, which will involve distances between 1 to 5 miles, depending on the ability of the group.

TYPE OF TRAVEL: Within the park, we'll get around with a combination of trip participant vehicles, van shuttles, walking, and a boat cruise within the park. During our outings within the park, you will carry a small day pack with your lunch and other gear that you want access to during the day--rain gear, camera, sunscreen, etc.

WEATHER: Due to high elevations, temperatures in the summer months fluctuate from 35° F to 95° F. Bring your rain gear and warm clothes with you when we leave camp for the day. Temperatures often change quickly.

ACCOMMODATIONS: This is a family outdoor camping trip. At night, you will sleep in tents. Typically, there are 3 people per 4 person tent (other arrangements can be made). Bathroom facilities at the campground have flush toilets.

YOUR GROUP: The group size ranges from 12 to 20 participants, plus 2 or more Wilderness Inquiry staff. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds and abilities, including people with disabilities. If you are looking for a family-friendly outdoor vacation Glacier National Park is a great choice. Our trips are cooperative in nature. WI staff will assist you in whatever areas you need, however most people pitch in where they can.

MEALS: The food we bring is plentiful, nutritious, and geared for families. You can expect meals like burritos, spaghetti and meat balls, and chicken stir-fry for dinner; sandwiches, fruit, and gorp for lunch; pancakes, eggs, bacon, and pancakes for breakfast--and plenty of good coffee! If you have special dietary restrictions, be sure to list them on your registration.

EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: You need to provide your own personal gear such as clothing, lightweight hiking boots or sturdy shoes, a sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and a day pack. A detailed clothing list will be sent to you upon confirmation of your participation.

LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: No previous experience is needed to complete this family trip. The pace is designed to be moderate–you should be prepared to hike 4-miles per day carrying a day pack. You will be hiking in varied terrain and weather conditions.

A note about the itinerary: Our trips are real adventures in the outdoors. While we'll make every effort to follow the itinerary listed here, elements may change due to weather or reasons beyond our control.
Glacier National Park is located in a remote part of Northwestern Montana. Known to Native Americans as the "Shining Mountains" and the "Backbone of the World", Glacier National Park preserves more than a million acres of forests, alpine meadows, lakes, rugged peaks and glacial-carved valleys in the Northern Rocky Mountains. The park takes its name from its most prominent features, which are the deeply carved glacial features and remaining glaciers from the last ice age.

Native Americans first arrived in the Glacier area some 10,000 years ago. The earliest occupants were the Salish, Flathead, Shoshone and Cheyenne. The Blackfeet arrived around the beginning of the 18th century and soon dominated the eastern slopes of what later became the park, as well as the Great Plains immediately to the east. The park region provided the Blackfeet shelter from the harsh winter winds of the plains, and supplemented their traditional bison hunts with other game meat. The bands of Indians were followed by European western expansion and soon miners and homesteaders entered the area. Finally in 1891 the Great Northern Railway was completed and the area quickly became a tourist destination.

Glacier National Park preserves more than a million acres of forests, lakes, mountain peaks and glacial-carved valleys in the Northern Rocky Mountains. Its diverse habitats are home to nearly 70 species of mammals including the grizzly bear, wolverine, gray wolf and lynx. Over 270 species of birds visit or reside in the park, including such species as harlequin ducks, dippers and golden eagles. Glacier provides the core of one of the largest remaining grizzly bear populations in the lower 48 states and is the center of important research on the large land mammal. Just as diverse as the park's animal life is the park's plant species. The park's plant cover is largely divided between moist and dry coniferous forests, and sparsely vegetated rock, snow, and ice. To a smaller extent the park has dry meadows and prairies and even some small deciduous forests.

Conservation efforts for the park began in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. People began to recognize the area for its scenic beauty and a need to protect it from commercial interest. In 1885 George Bird Grinnell went on an expedition in to the remote Glacier wilderness and had taken away a passion for the area that pushed Grinnell and others to create a National Park. Interesting to the park's conservation story is the role of the Great Northern Railroad who saw the area as an important tourism destination for their line. Because of this they were able to successfully lobby Washington in to creating a National Forest of the park in 1897. Because of its forest designation it was still open to mining and logging. It was only a few years later that Glacier became the 10th National Park and today one of the most visited.

Frequently Asked Questions:

 What is the minimum age for kids on your family trips?

There is no minimum age requirement to participate on a WI trip. For a paddling trip, we require participants to wear a personal flotation device (PFD) at all times when on the water for safety. The smallest PFD we provide for children requires a minimum weight of 30 pounds. A child smaller than this weight limit would need to provide their own PFD or would be unable to participate on the trip. For most family trips, children should be able to sit comfortably in a canoe or kayak for 1+ hour at a time. This should guide whether or not a child would be a good fit on any particular trip.

For a non-family trip, youth under the age of 18 must attend with an adult family member or friend who is over the age of 18.

 Is there a discount on family trips?

Yes. All youth participants under the age of 18 pay 50% less than the adult rate on all family trips. Adult fees are typically lower than on our "adult" trips to the same destination to help family affordability. Click here to see a list of our available family trips.

 Will age-appropriate activities be offered for children on a family trip?

Absolutely. Your trip leaders will offer age-appropriate activities for children at different points during the trip.

For more information, visit these links:

Glacier National Park Website

Glacier National Park Conservancy

National Park Foundation - Glacier

Visit Montana - Explore Glacier

National Geographic Feature

Glacier National Park Conservation Corps - Legacy Project

National Parks Conservation Association

2017 Dates Fee Registration
7/17-7/22/17  $795 ($395 Youth) Register Now
7/24-7/29/17  $795 ($395 Youth) Register Now
8/20-8/25/17  $795 ($395 Youth) Register Now

Transportation

Your trip officially begins in the late afternoon at Apgar Campground in Glacier National Park. You can take your own transportation or use WI’s van transportation from Kalispell. If meeting us in Kaliuspell, you can expect to be picked up early in the afternoon the first day of the trip. Detailed meeting place instructions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip.

Want to Ride With Us?
We typically provide transportation for this trip from the following places (make your selection when you register):

Click any thumbnail to expand and begin slideshow:

  • Beautiful gray mountains behind a lake in a grassy valley on a clear, sunny day in Glacier National Park.
    Stunning views of Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park. photo by: Garubanda, J
  • A large, white mountain goat looks inquisitive in western Montana.
    Mountain goat near Hidden Lake. photo by: Garubanda, J
  • Five participants jump into the blue waters of Hidden Lake in Glacier National Park.
    Hidden Lake is a great place for a dip! photo by: Schefcik, S
  • A man and woman pose for a picture with an incredible, mountainous background.
    Amazing views are everywhere in Glacier! photo by: Schefcik, S
  • Beautiful alpine lakes and mountains at Glacier.
    Pristine lakes and towering peaks abound. photo by: Schefcik, S
  • A woman using binoculars to get a closer view of the lake and mountains.
    Explore Glacier National Park with your Family! photo by: Bulger, H
  • mother and son smile for photo by a mountain peak with snow at Logan's pass
    Snow in August up at Logan's Pass. photo by: Glazer, D
  • The Glacier family trip includes an awesome ferry ride on Lake McDonald. photo by: Glazer, D
  • two young siblings stand on a pebble shore next to a calm lake with mountains in the background as the sky displays pastel blue and pink colors
    Twilight on Lake McDonald. photo by: Glazer, D
  • Good eatin' at the campsite. photo by: Schweitzer, J
  • Extraordinary views abound in one of America's most picturesque National Parks. photo by: Schweitzer, J
  • Follow the leader! Our staff are very knowledgeable about the hundreds of miles of trails in Glacier. photo by: Schweitzer, J
  • Taking a quick break from hiking to enjoy the view. photo by: Schweitzer, J
  • Groups form lasting bonds that extend well beyond the trip. photo by: Schweitzer, J
  • Glacier is a great destinations for all ages! photo by: Schweitzer, J

Quick Trip Facts:

  • 6 days, 5 nights
  • Children 17 and under go for 1/2 price
  • 2-3 Wilderness Inquiry Staff
  • All trail meals and snacks included
  • Tents, all camping gear
  • Toys, games, children's activities
  • Adaptive gear as needed
Register Now!
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