Hiking the Trails

A group of hikers follow a ranger through the forest.
Consider joining a ranger led hike!

NPS PHOTO

Trail conditions and statuses change frequently. Please check the Trail Status page to see which trails are open.

With over 700 miles of trails in Glacier providing outstanding opportunities for both short hikes and extended backpacking trips, there’s something for everyone.

Hikers need to assume individual responsibility for planning their trips, staying safe, and reducing their impact on the park. Plan ahead and check out our Leave No Trace page to learn more.

 

Day Hike Planning

The links below provide individual area maps that include lists of recommended day hikes, including distances and elevation gain. There is no cell phone coverage outside of Apgar and St. Mary, so take screen shots and discuss plans ahead of time.

Visitor center staff are happy to assiste with trip planning and explaining popular trails in the park. Check the Ranger-led Activity page to find out when guided hikes are scheduled.


Hike Smart

In the wilderness, little mistakes can quickly become big emergencies. Follow our advice to stay safe and be prepared:

  • Hike as a group to reduce the likelihood of negative wildlife encounters.
  • Stay together. Separated parties make up more than 75% of our search and rescue incidents.
  • Expect not to have cell phone coverage.
  • Help may be hours or days away. Prepare to care for yourself.
  • Tell someone precisely where you're going, when you'll be back, what route you're taking, where your car is parked, what the license plate number is, and what you'll be wearing. This information reduces response time exponentially in the event of an emergency.
  • Stop at a visitor center or ranger station or check the website for trail and weather conditions.
  • Familiarize yourself with hazards so you will stay safe and have fun.

What to Bring Hiking
  • Sturdy footwear is a must.
  • Bring plenty of water, as surface water in the park may be unsafe to drink.
  • Carry bear spray and know how to use it.
  • Insect repellent is advisable.
  • Sunscreen and a hat help prevent sunburn. A day of hiking can expose you to much more sun than usual.
  • Pack rain gear and layers for warmth, as weather can change quickly.
  • Bring snacks or a lunch to eat on the trail. Remember, if you pack it in, pack it out.
  • Check out the NPS Ten Essentials page to learn more.
 
 

Trail Status

  • Trails, wilderness campgrounds, and other areas of the park that have closures, or are posted for safety reasons, are listed on our Trail and Area Closure page. The reports are updated each morning.
  • Detailed reports on each trail are available on our Trail Status page.
  • Early in the summer, lower elevation trails and trails near the boundary of the park are usually snow free. Trails in the higher elevations – over mountain passes and on the Continental Divide – are typically snow free by late July.
 

Day Trip Plan

Please consider completing the voluntary Day Trip Plan (pdf) and leaving it with the front desk of your hotel or a traveling companion who is not hiking. This optional form can help you plan your trip and could be a valuable tool for search and rescue efforts if needed.

Completion of this form does not imply that hotel or park staff will be monitoring your return, nor does it mean a search will be initiated. However, if you were to be reported overdue from a hike, this document would help search personnel concentrate efforts along your intended route, saving critical time and possibly reducing risks to staff involved. In such a case, the National Park Service will check with hotels to see if a Day Trip Plan (pdf) was filed and use it to help focus search efforts. All forms will be destroyed 30 days after the date completed.

Nature Trails

Some self-guided walks interpret trailside features with signs. The Trail of the Cedars, Forest and Fire, Hidden Lake, Running Eagle Falls, and Swiftcurrent Nature Trails encourage hikers to experience the park at their own pace.

The Trail of the Cedars and Running Eagle Falls trails are wheelchair accessible.

Additional Planning Resources

Flickr photo albums offer previews of some popular hikes.

Visitor center bookstores carry a complete line of trail guides, topographic maps, and field guides. Publications are also available by mail. Visit the Glacier National Park Conservancy online store for available maps and guides

 

Overnight Trips

Hikers planning to camp in Glacier's backcountry must stop at the Apgar Wilderness Permit Center, St. Mary Visitor Center, or other ranger stations to obtain a wilderness camping permit. Visit our Wilderness Camping page for in-depth information.

 

Guided Hikes

Hiking alone is not recommended and there are opportunites to join groups if you would like.

  • Check the Ranger-led Activities page for information on joining a hike with a park ranger.
  • Glacier Guides offers guided half-day, full-day, overnight, and chalet hikes. Equipment rentals and porter services to deliver your gear to wilderness campsites are available. See the Guided Hiking page for contact information.
  • Some boat tours in Many Glacier and Two Medicine offer optional guided hikes conducted by either park rangers or Glacier Park Boat Co. employees.
 
A bear warning on a table where people are eating.

Leave No Trace

Many people fall in love with Glacier and then want to learn how to reduce their impact.

A person stands on a trail with a big backpack surrounded by grass.

Wilderness Camping

Glacier's backcountry camping program is designed to minimize resource impacts while providing positive visitor experiences.

 
 

Last updated: October 31, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier , MT 59936

Phone:

406 888-7800

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