Regional Guide

Glacier National Park and Northwest Montana - Hiking

Get away from it all. Take a hike. Do both in the Bob Marshall Wilderness—one of America's largest and best-known wilderness areas. Together with the Great Bear and Scapegoat wilderness areas, the "Bob" offers more than 1.5 million acres of backcountry—and 1,800 miles of trails—to explore. The Continental Divide winds down the center of the wilderness for about 60 miles, twisting and turning atop massive limestone cliffs. The biggest and most famous of these cliffs is the 1,000-foot-high, 13-mile-long Chinese Wall, which bears a strong resemblance to the man-made Great Wall of China.

Get a taste of the thru-hike experience on the Glacier National Park section of the Continental Divide Trail. The 3,100-mile CDT stretches from New Mexico to Canada, entering Glacier at Marias Pass. The hike follows well-maintained trails through the heart of the park and features spectacular views of Glacier. Allow about 10 days for this trek.

For another hike in Glacier National Park, try the climb to Cracker Lake. This moderate, 6.1-mile trail ascends 1,400 feet to a large, wildflower-filled meadow. There you'll enjoy an incredible view of Cracker Lake's iridescent, glacier-fed waters.

With nearly 1,700 miles of trails, Lewis and Clark National Forest has something for every hiker. Prefer a path without ATV and mountain-bike traffic? Check out the hikers-only Our Lake Trail, a moderately difficult four-miler to a pristine Alpine lake. Look for mountain goats on the cliffs above the lake or cast your line for trout.

Head for Kootenai National Forest in Montana's northwest corner and explore the amazing trails below treeline. Wander among stands of Alpine larch in the 19,000-acre Northwest Peaks Scenic Area. Pass through a hall of stately fir on the Fisher Mountain Tepee Lake Trail. Gnarled whitebark pine trees greet you in the beautiful 15,700-acre Ten Lakes Scenic Area. And finally, see some of the grandest trees anywhere in North America by paying a visit to Ross Creek Cedar Grove.

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 7 Jul 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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