Glacier National Park Lodge-Based Hike and Explore
Experience Rugged Mountains and Glacier-carved Valleys
Experience Glacier National Park’s pristine forests, rugged mountains, thundering waterfalls, and spectacular lakes from the comfort of a local lodge. Our guides will help you explore some of Glacier’s most spectacular trails. Raft the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, swim in Lake McDonald from a pristine beach, and sample huckleberry flavored treats. We’ll travel along the famous Going-to-the-Sun Highway, stopping to take in the scenic vistas. Learn more about the history, wildlife, and ecosystems of the Northern Rockies and Glacier National Park with informative, ranger-lead talks. Spend the evenings relaxing in the lodge, reveling in your daily adventures over dinner and a glass of wine.
DAY 1: The trip officially starts in the afternoon at West Glacier Lodge just outside Glacier National Park. Settle in and get to know your trip mates over a tasty dinner. In the evening, share expectations for the upcoming days.
DAY 2: After an early 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 where you will be greeted with waterfalls cascading down the hillside. Return to the lodge in the evening for dinner and relaxation.
DAY 3: Spend the day at 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 and beautiful vistas abound!
DAY 4: Enjoy a short hike through a recent burn area, admire the vistas of Lake McDonald at lunch, then head to the Middle Fork of the Flathead for a rafting adventure. You'll enjoy the scenery and thrill of whitewater rapids like "bone crusher" and the "can opener." We're convinced these names are given to keep rafters alert and ready for the big wave. Return to the lodge for a great bar-b-que.
DAY 5: 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. Travel up the Going-to-the-Sun road for a hike before returning for a final dinner at a beautiful lodge.
DAY 6: Enjoy a final breakfast before our departure. If time allows, participate in one last hike near Lake McDonald or stop by the Visitors Center to pick up a souvenir.
What To Expect
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 WI van, participant vehicles, NPS shuttles, and, of course, hiking. You will carry a small day pack with your lunch and other gear that you want access to during the day.
LEVEL OF DIFFICULTY: You will be hiking in varied terrain and weather conditions. No previous experience is needed to complete this trip.
WEATHER: Due to high elevations, temperatures in the summer months fluctuate from 35° F to 95° F. Temperatures change quickly.
ACCOMMODATIONS: At night, you will sleep in a single or double occupancy lodge room. Couples traveling together will share a private room, solo travelers will be paired with participants of the same gender. Single rooms for individuals can be guaranteed for an additional supplement fee.
YOUR GROUP: The group size ranges from 6 to 10 adults, plus 2 or more Wilderness Inquiry staff.
MEALS: The food we bring is plentiful and nutritious. You can expect great 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: You will need to provide your personal gear as outlined in the packing list.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:
What is your cancellation/refund policy?
Your 10% deposit is non-refundable. If you choose to cancel your trip:
For trips in the continental United States:
• 6 weeks prior to start date — we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 6 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 1 week— no refunds will be issued.
For trips outside the continental United States:
• 12 weeks prior to start date— we will refund fees paid minus deposit.
• Less than 12 weeks — we will refund 50% of the total trip fee, or 100% of fees paid can be transferred to a future trip.
• Less than 2 weeks — no refunds will be issued.
In the rare event that WI cancels a trip, or we are unable to serve you, all fees are immediately refunded, including the deposit. Unfortunately, we cannot be responsible for personal expenses such as airline tickets. To protect your investment in your travel plans we recommend purchasing travel insurance. Information on travel insurance is included in your trip confirmation packet. If after registering you wish to switch trips, you may do so subject to availability. Fees may apply.
Under certain circumstances, such as death of a family member, change in health status, loss of employment, etc., we may make exceptions to our refund policies. Please let us know immediately if your plans change!
Can people of any age attend a trip?
Yes. Adults of all ages join our adult trips. In most circumstances children under 18 years of age are only allowed on family trips. We do not recommend many of our trips for infants or children under age 3. If you have young children, or if you have questions about which trips are most appropriate please call our office at 612-676-9400.
For more information, visit these links:
Single Room Supplement
You can elect to guarantee a single room for the duration of the trip for $595 during the registration process.
Standard Meeting Places and Times
Start: West Glacier Lodge at 3:30 PM (local time)
End: West Glacier Lodge at 12:00 PM (local time)
This trip begins at 2:30 PM at the West Glacier Lodge just outside Glacier National Park. The trip ends at 2:00 PM in the same location. To get to the lodge, 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 1:00 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 3:00 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 5:00 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