Glacier National Park in Montana will certainly captivate you with its sights, sounds, and smells. It truly is a paradise for any outdoor enthusiast. From the sparkling blue lakes and lush meadows to the flowing waterfalls and colorful rocks, you will find yourself completely immersed in nature. Glacier consists of approximately 1600 square miles and was created in the year 1910. Exploding with beauty and loaded with history, I hope to show you the magic of Montana and Glacier National Park.
Montana is one of my favorite states for outdoor adventure and exploration. I grew up in the neighboring state of North Dakota, but really didn’t make the trip to Montana much. The have set out to explore some of the most beautiful impressive mountain and prairie landscapes throughout the state. I am starting with Glacier National Park.
World’s First International Peace Park
Before I outline some of the unique areas and highlights of this extraordinary mountain park, I am sharing some of the important historical events and details that helped pave the way to how the park is today. This jagged edge mountain region in northwestern Montana is one of the first international parks in the world. With goals to commemorate friendship, a common boundary and numerous resources; the United States and Canada joined together to create Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.
Watch this related video next: A Sneak Peek at these Montana Mountains in Glacier National Park
These northern Rocky Mountains of Glacier make up the nation’s tenth national park. And it was designated as an International Peace Park World Heritage Site in 1995. Its diverse characteristics are so vast, that with every change of season, it comes alive. The park’s lowest elevation is at 3,150 feet at the Middle and North Forks of the Flathead River. The summit at Mount Cleveland is at the highest elevation reaching 10, 479 feet.
The Blackfeet Indian Tribe of Montana
The Blackfeet people lived on this land long before early settlers arrived. The northern plains are also home to the herds of American Bison or buffalo. Of which this northern plains territory were the hunting grounds for the Blackfeet during historical times. In 1895, the Blackfeet negotiated an agreement to sell 800,000 acres of the western mountain territory to the U.S. Government. In this agreement, the Blackfeet retain their rights to hunt, fish, and gather wood on this land as along as it remains public owned. The areas American Indians believe that spiritual beings live in every feature of the land. The animals embody spirits as well of which they believe can teach strength and wisdom to humans. (As stated by a Blackfeet elder).
More Unique Highlights of Glacier National Park
Hiking in Glacier can be an exhilarating experience. This mountain park consists of more than 730 miles of hiking trails. There are a variety of trails that consist of short and long with different levels of difficulty. Keep in mind, the short trails can be just as amazing as the longer difficult ones. One, for example, the Sun Point Nature Trail is sometimes underrated. This is a fairly easy interesting path consisting of slightly narrow ups and downs with rummaging through shrubs. As you emerge out of the trail you come upon a packed dirt trail area that leads to a higher view point overlooking the beautiful Saint Mary Lake.
As you explore the land and trails in Glacier, the likelihood of an encounter with wild animals is probably high. You must always keep an eye out for an encounter. Situational awareness is extremely important to have while visiting this park. Here are some of the species you may see:
- 276 species of birds
- 71 species of mammals
- 24 species of fish
- 20 major species of trees
Please be responsible with respect to wildlife by keeping all food and garbage stored out of reach of bears at all times. Glacier’s bears mostly consist of grizzly and Black bears; which may be black, blond, brown or cinnamon. Grizzlies can also be either very dark or very light as well. There are differences between these species of bears that include the following features and characteristics.
Grizzly Bears have a large shoulder bump and shorter rounded ears. The face is a dished profile. The front claws are 2 – 4 inches and light in color. Black Bears have no shoulder bump and their ears are taller. The face is straighter. Front claws consist of about 1.5 inches and are dark in color.
The Historical Glaciers of the Montana Rockies
The wildlife and plant life are some of the most special features of the park. But another characteristic that is extraordinarily important are glaciers, for what the park is named after. There are at least 35 named glaciers in the park, and 25 are active today. At one time, the region making up Glacier National Park contained 150 glaciers during the Ice Age.
In addition to the glaciers, the mountain range stretching through Montana is the Rocky Mountains. There are an amazing 150 mountain peaks over 8,000 feet in Glacier that make up three mountain regions. These include Clark, Lewis, and Livingstone mountain ranges.
The Diverse Landscapes of Montana
The state of Montana is truly unique in its landscapes. The flat plains on the eastern side of the state can be dry and almost appear like a desert. Moving west leading up to the mountain ranges display vast forest and greenery. You will also see meadows and valleys full of lush foliage and flowers in the summer season. Of course, in the winter time, you’ll have plenty of snow and cold conditions all over the state.
A Few Favorite Beloved Spots in Glacier
- Going to the Sun Road
- Many Glacier
- Logan Pass
- Avalanche Creek
- Lake McDonald
- Two Medicine
The Big Sky Country of Montana
The lands in the northern plains and the magical Montana Mountains are precious and I encourage everyone to help make sure it stays that way. A great way to show your effort in helping keep Montana beautiful is by being a responsible visitor. This includes respecting the land and animals, practice leave no trace (dispose of trash properly), stay your distance from animals, and follow the guide of the Rangers. The goal is to keep Big Sky Country and The Treasure State just exactly what it is; a precious treasure to us all. Please stick around, more Montana and Glacier National Park stories and videos coming.
I have been an explorer most of my adult life. Spending time in the military and traveling around the world gave me the travel bug. I added a little adventure to my travels by throwing in a 22 mile hiking excursion into the Grand Canyon in 2008 (Havasupai Falls), then later I really started trekking up the trails in 2017. Scrambling and climbing up Half Dome in Yosemite, hiking to Haiku Stairs (Stairway to Heaven), Angels Landing and Hidden Canyon in Zion. I feel truly blessed and am thankful for each and every day. So, I sincerely want to thank you all for coming along this journey. I hope somewhere along the way, I have inspired you too!