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Backpacker Magazine – June 2009

Natural Wonders: Three Treks to Life-List Phenomena

Check out the world's hottest hydrothermal fumarole, Glacier's grizzlies, and a venus flytryp in North Carolina.

by: Jayme Otto

Big Boiler (Thomas Hallstein)
Big Boiler (Thomas Hallstein)
Glacier Grizzly (Kerrick James)
Glacier Grizzly (Kerrick James)
Venus Flytrap (Brian F. Jorg)
Venus Flytrap (Brian F. Jorg)

Glacier's Grizzlies
Spy the Lower 48's most famous and feared bear.

The Wonder Grizzly bears once roamed all of the North American continent. Habitat destruction and direct conflict with humans have reduced their range by 99 percent in the Lower 48. The rugged backcountry of Glacier National Park forms one of the only large tracts of secure grizzly habitat south of Canada, and it contains the highest population of grizzlies in the contiguous U.S. A report from the U.S. Geological Survey estimates that at least 241 grizzlies live in or around Glacier. That's one griz for every 12 square miles.

The Way Drive up Many Glacier Road to the Iceberg Lake trailhead at the west end of the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn parking lot to access the Iceberg Lake Trail. Glacier's backcountry rangers say this 5.2-mile out-and-back is the best dayhike for grizzly-spotting. Bring 8x binoculars to glass the open meadows and go in the early morning or early evening, when the big bruins forage for berries and grasses. Make plenty of noise (clap your hands or sing) when you pass through densely forested areas and tight switchbacks. nps.gov/glac




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Bill Stansbury
Jul 17, 2009

It is best to do this hike after July 1st. We were there in the middle of June and encountered a great deal of snow on this trail. It is well worth the time and effort. A mini Yellowstone.

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