|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – August 2008
Scramble up class III peaks and cross late summer snowfields on this strenuous but straightforward trip through Montana's big-mountain country.
>> Getting there The nearest major airports are in Great Falls (200 miles east) and Missoula (156 miles southwest). Glacier has two main entrances: the bustling West Glacier, accessed from Whitefish and Kalispell, and the tranquil east side via St. Mary and East Glacier.
>> Season For low traffic and easier reservations–but snowier passes and higher river crossings–head to Glacier in mid-June (bring gaiters and an ice axe). July is best for wildflowers. The tundra turns to glorious tones of rust and gold by mid-September.
>> Best frontcountry campground Two Medicine Campground on Two Medicine Lake practically sits on the trailhead for your trip, ensuring you get an early start. It's 15 miles from groceries and restaurants in East Glacier. ($20, 99 sites, first come, first served)
>> Pre-trip breakfast Glacier Village Restaurant (406-226-4464), on Main Street in East Glacier, opens at 6:30 a.m. for espresso, homemade pastries, and box lunches that you can rebag for your pack.
>> Gear shop Get pepper spray and a holster at Sportsman & Ski Haus on US 93 in Whitefish, outside the West Entrance (406-862-3111). It's your grizzly country equivalent of peace of mind.
>> Permits Go to nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/backcountry.htm for an application, campsite map, trail mileages, and charts that show open reservation dates. Half of all backcountry sites are held for walk-ins, but reservations ($30/party) are recommended. Applications are processed beginning April 16. Backcountry office: (406) 888-7857 from March 15 to October 31