Ranger Guided

Students on a field trip in Glacier

Students on a field trip in Glacier National Park

NPS Photo


Ranger-led programs offered during the school year are conducted in a variety of locations on both the west and east sides of the Continental Divide and must be scheduled in advance.

PROGRAM RESERVATIONS BEGIN each year the week before schools starts, AUGUST 24, 2015 for the 2015-2016 school year. As of Nov. 23, 2015, the WEST side winter program dates are filled. We have started a waiting list. Also, the WEST side spring 2016 program dates are very limited. Complete a reservation program using the links below and we will add you to the winter waiting list or contact you in 2016 to let you know if your spring request can be filled.

Fall 2015 Programs Dates:
Monday,September 14, 2015 - Wednesday, October 14, 2015.

Winter 2016 Program Dates:
January 11, 2016 - March 16, 2016. WEST side programs are being added to a waiting list.

Spring 2016 Programs:
April 25, 2016 - May 27, 2016. Limited WEST side programs are available.

All of the current options are listed below with links to more information about that program and the reservation form for scheduling the trip. You can view, download and print the Educational Opportunities Mailer in pdf format of all of the 2015-2016 field trip options. Travel grants available for schools with restricted transportation budgets thanks to donations to the Glacier National Park Conservancy and a grant from the National Park Foundation (made possible, in large part, through the generous support of DISNEY).

Guidelines For Your Trip
Before your group arrives, it is important to be aware of some basic guidelines. Regardless of the season, students and chaperones will have a more enjoyable experience if they are well-equipped for the day. The following handouts will help inform everyone of the expectations for the trip:

Tips for a Successful Field Trip (pdf format)
Chaperone Responsibilities (pdf format)

Ranger-Led Field Trip Options - Spring 2016 dates are very limited. Complete the reservation form and we will contact you in 2016 to let you know the status of spring requests.

Sensory Exploration (Grade K)
Wild Animals and Wild Places (Grade 1)
Exploring Habitats (Grade 2)

These programs use the forest, aquatic, grassland, and prairie/aspen parklands habitats found in Glacier National Park to help young students learn about habitat requirements, wildlife signs, plant and animal changes as they grow and age, and the national park mission of protecting habitat. Hikes are less than one mile and are combined with other hands-on learning activities. Note: Kindergarten programs are half-day with a ranger and the rest of the day with teacher-led activities.

Forest Processes and Native Plants (Grades 4-8)
One to two-mile hikes with a ranger into the old growth coniferous forest or aspen parkland provide opportunities for students to learn about photosynthesis, nutrient cycling, succession, disturbance, forest ecology, wild flowers, and American Indian uses of both plants and animals.

Earth Science Hike (Grades 5-12)
The Avalanche and Lake McDonald Valleys and the Grinnell Glacier Valley provide evidence of a range of geologic processes that have shaped the landscape. Rangers lead students on a 4+ mile hike and explore sedimentation, mountain building, glaciation, rocks and minerals, erosion, weathering, and soil formation. The length of these hikes and level of information is geared toward secondary age students and is a challenge to fit into a regular school day schedule. The ability to have an extended field day is recommended for this program.

Fire Ecology (Grades 4-9)
Rangers guide students through activities such as: scavenger hunts, using dichotomous keys to identify fuel types, examining tree rings for fire scars, and/or watching demonstrations of fire behavior. Groups consider the history of fire in Glacier and its role as a natural process on these 2-3 mile hikes.

Plant Invaders-Citizen Science (Grades 6-12)
Students will become "Citizen Scientists" and hike less than 2 miles to permanently established research plots to collect data on the percent cover of native and non-native, invasive plants. Students will return to school and enter their information into a Google Document to add their data to the information from previous visits of other schools. They will analyze and look for patterns as the database builds each year.

Winter Ecology (Grades 1-2). We have started a waiting list for 2016.
Winter Ecology (Grades 3-5). We have started a waiting list for 2016.
Winter Ecology (Grades 6-12). We have started a waiting list for 2016.
All winter ecology programs on both west and east sides of the park include snowshoe hikes. The park provides all the snowshoes for students and chaperones free of charge. Depending on the age of the group and the area visited, students may also explore the physical properties of snow, animal tracks, winter adaptations, snow caves, snow metamorphism, variations in snow density, and the importance of snow surveys.

Did You Know?