Glacier National Park
Serene, picturesque Lake McDonald Valley awaits the day’s activity
Trekking through peaks, valleys and backcountry
Most park visitors spend their time on the east-west Going-to-the-Sun Road, which cuts a scenic 80 kilometer path through dramatic mountains, past shimmering lakes and around hairpin bends. But there’s lots more to see and do if you go off the beaten path and explore the 4,000 square kilometers of mountains, lakes and meadows. Head out on the 1,127 kilometers of hiking trails that wind through the backcountry from North Fork to Goat Lick. Make a stop in the Many Glacier region and get a close-up glimpse of the receding glaciers, or take a horseback ride through Logan Pass and watch mountain goats and bighorn sheep gallop through flower-filled meadows in spring.
In summer, water-lovers can cruise on Lake McDonald or raft down the Flathead River. Waterfalls are at their peak in spring, though some, like Banting Falls, are glacier-fed and flow year-round. In winter, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing are possible even though much of the park is inaccessible due to weather. Winter is a great time to get warm and cozy in one of the distinctive lodges and chalets, which were built in Swiss mountain style in the early 20th century. And due to Glacier’s position in the far north of the United States, it’s a great place to see the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) or the Milky Way on a moonless night.