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!
For standard meeting places and times, see Dates & Fees tab.
Day 1: The trip officially starts in the afternoon at Apgar Campground in beautiful Glacier National Park. Set up camp and get to know your trip mates over a tasty dinner. In the evening, share expectations for the upcoming days while enjoying s'mores by the fire.
Day 2: After a hearty breakfast, head to the Trail of Cedars and Avalanche Lake trailhead. Hike through a grove of 500-700 year old western cedars. After lunch, continue hiking to Avalanche Lake and be greeted by waterfalls cascading down the hillside. Arrive back to camp in the evening for dinner and camp games.
Day 3: Spend the day at Logan Pass, the 6,646 foot backbone of Glacier National Park. As the crown of the continent, Glacier is home to the headwaters for streams that flow into the Pacific Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, and Hudson Bay. Whether it's the short but stunning walk to Hidden Lake or a trek along the Garden Wall, hiking opportunities and beautiful vistas abound!
Day 4: Get an early start and head toward the open and expansive eastern part of Glacier National Park in St. Mary Valley. Hike to the St. Mary and Virginia waterfalls for a picnic lunch and then explore along the pebble shores of St. Mary Lake for exquisite views of the surrounding mountains. Watch for wildlife along your hikes - marmots, pikas, and bears all make their homes here.
Day 5: Our final day of exploring may begin with a boat tour on Lake McDonald. See the mountains, glaciers, and forests from the vantage point of the water. Travel up the Going to the Sun road for a hike before returning to camp for a final dinner. Spend one last evening looking for shooting stars.
Day 6: Enjoy a final breakfast and then break down camp. If time allows, participate in one last hike near Apgar Campground or stop by the Visitors Center to pick up a souvenir.
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 and 5 miles.
TYPE OF TRAVEL: Within the park, we'll get around with a combination of trip participant vehicles, van shuttles, walking, and possibly a boat cruise. You will carry a small day pack with your lunch and other gear that you want access to during the day.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: No previous experience is needed to complete this family trip. You will be hiking in varied terrain and weather conditions.
WEATHER: Due to high elevations, temperatures in the summer months fluctuate from 35° F to 95° F. Temperatures often change quickly.
ACCOMMODATIONS: At night, you will sleep in 4 person tents with 3-4 other people (other arrangements can be made). Bathroom facilities at the campground have flush toilets and running water.
YOUR GROUP: The group size ranges from 12 to 21 participants, plus 2 or more Wilderness Inquiry staff. Each group consists of people of various ages, backgrounds, and abilities, including people with disabilities. 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 family friendly. You can expect hearty breakfasts served with fresh coffee, trail lunches, a variety of snacks, and delicious dinners with dessert. If you have special dietary restrictions, be sure to list them on your registration.
EQUIPMENT AND CLOTHING: Wilderness Inquiry will provide all group equipment. You will need to provide your personal gear as outlined in the packing list. If you are new to outdoor activities, you do not need to spend a lot of money. Wilderness Inquiry can usually arrange for you to borrow most items.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's 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 into the remote Glacier wilderness and took away a passion for the area that pushed him and others to create a National Park. Interesting to the park's conservation story is the role of the Great Northern Railroad which saw the area as an important tourism destination for their line. Because of this they were able to successfully lobby Washington to designate the park a National Forest 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:
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.
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.
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:
Standard Meetings Places and Times
Start: Apgar Campground Visitor Center at 3:30 PM (local time)
End: Apgar Campground Visitor Center at 12:00 PM (local time)
This trip begins at 3:30 PM at Apgar Campground in Glacier National Park. The trip ends at 12:00 PM in the same location. To get to the campground, you can take your own transportation or use WI’s van transportation from Kalispell. If meeting us in Kalispell, you will be picked up at the Hampton Inn at 2:00 PM on the first day of the trip. People who take the return shuttle on the last day of the trip will arrive at the Hampton Inn in Kalispell around 1:30 PM. Detailed meeting place instructions will be sent to you when you are confirmed for the trip. Booking a Flight? We recommend flying in to the Kalispell City Airport before noon on the day of your trip, and flying out no earlier than 4:00 PM on the last day of the trip.Want to Ride With Us?
We typically provide transportation for this trip from the following places (make your selection when you register):
- Kalispell, MT Hampton Inn FEE: $25 per person