June 15 to September 15. Snow, river crossings, and closed campsites complicate earlier travel.
Steep trails, loose rock, slick snowfields, and unbridged river crossings combine with Glacier’s formidable weather to make hiking here an activity for the well-prepared. Take a well-stocked first-aid kit and bear spray, and leave your itinerary with a friend who will know what to do if you’re delayed. Bears and cougars are present, making food storage and noisy travel critical. (The park loans bear canisters; inquire when picking up your permit.) Mountain goats may seem tame, but approaching them might get you gored. Give all wildlife plenty of room.
Permits & Regulations
The reservation process goes like this: Acquire a Backcountry Camping Guide from www.nps.gov/glac/activities/bcguide1.htm for the rules and procedures, then a Backcountry Camping Application, which must be submitted by mail or fax along with your payment. The reservation fee is $20 (nonrefundable); backcountry campsites cost $4 per night. Reservations are accepted April 1. Walk-in requests begin May 1, and a certain number of sites are kept open for day-of-trip requests. You may pick up your permit one day before departure. Unclaimed permits free up at 10 a.m. on the day of departure. The park can be very proactive about closing areas, so plan on being flexible.Map USGS 1:100,000-scale topo Glacier National Park (1998 waterproof edition) is available from park visitor centers for $10.
Call (406) 888-7800 or visit www.nps.gov/glac.