95 mi (152km)
The Crown of the Continent
Glacier National Park is the center of the largest pristine ecosystem in the lower 48, it is so large it even encompasses parts of Canada. This large swath of preserved landscape is still home to 100% of the species that existed in North America before the arrival of Europeans.
If you are interested in experiencing rivers with arctic grayling, fields of Elk and Mule Deer, and of course, Grizzly Bears, then this is the park for you.
The best backpacking route through the wilderness of this beautiful area is called The Siyeh Bend to Lake Mcdonald trek. It's over 90 miles long and is for experienced backpackers only.
Hike through valleys, prairies, mountains, and tundra, taking in breathtaking views and absorbing some of the cleanest and purest air on the planet. The water quality is also incredible, receiving Montana’s highest standard; the high altitude lakes are considered pristine.
The first leg is a 69 mile loop of the northern half of the park. This hike takes you to the Fifty Mountains area, be careful, lots of bears call this area home.
The trail meanders through valleys and cuts across the mountains, making the hiking relatively straightforward. Enjoy the pristine lakes and try your hand at backcountry fishing, when the trout are biting, catches can be quite liberal.
Take advantage of the parks free shuttle service and resupply at Logan Pass. Start the second leg from Jackson Glacier Overlook and hike to Lake Mcdonald.
An incredible backcountry hike through one of the continents most epic landscapes, enjoy every second of it.
When to go
Spring, Summer, and Fall; snow in the Winter can make areas of the park unreachable. Try to avoid holidays as the crowds can be intense.
An hour and forty six minutes north of Kalispell, take US 2 East, following signs to the park. Take a left on Glacier Rte 1, driving through the park until you hit Siyeh Bend. You can also park at the visitor's center and use the free shuttles to navigate.
Know before you go
- This is a very long hike, be sure you carry enough provisions.
- Carry bear spray, there are both Grizzly and Black Bear, both are accustomed to being at the top of the food chain.
- Bring plenty of layers, at high altitudes the weather can turn in an instant.
For more information:
- Check out the NPS website for all your backcountry questions.