Saturday, April 18, 2015

Andrew Skurka Presents: "Ultimate Hiking Gear & Skills Clinic"

At more than an hour in length, this video is obviously rather long. However, it's extremely informative, especially if you're fairly new to hiking and backpacking.

In this clinic originally presented at the Google headquarters in 2012, renowned long-distance backpacker Andrew Skurka discusses the gear, supplies and skills necessary to make hiking fun, not an arduous chore. Skurka was named "Adventurer of the Year" by Outside and was described as "a Superman among trekkers," by National Geographic; he's also the author of The Ultimate Hiker's Gear Guide.

In this video you'll learn: (1) How to predict the environmental and route conditions you will encounter on a trip; (2) the best uses and limitations of lightweight equipment; (3) skills that will help keep you safe and comfortable with a minimum of possessions; and, (4) exactly what Skurka takes for a summer backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada, and why:

Grand Teton Hiking

Friday, April 17, 2015

Two Medicine Campground to Open Tomorrow

The road to Two Medicine and a loop of the Two Medicine Campground are anticipated to open by mid-day on Saturday, April 18. Services will be limited. Two Medicine is located on the east side of the park, approximately 13 miles from the community of East Glacier.

Glacier National Park Superintendent Jeff Mow said, “We are pleased to have the Two Medicine area accessible to the public this early in the year.” Mow said snow conditions across the park are varied and park personnel are busily working to provide public access.

The Two Medicine Campground is planned to open Saturday with limited sites, on a first-come first-serve basis. Water and restroom facilities will be available and the nightly camping fee will be $20. The recreational vehicle dump station will not be available.

The Two Medicine Lake is free of ice. The boat dock will not be available and boat inspections for Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) must be scheduled in advance by contacting the park at 406-888-7800. The restroom facility near the lake will be open. The general store will not be open.

Travelers may also want to note that entrance fees to Glacier National Park, as well as other units of the National Park Service, will be waived this weekend, April 18-19, in honor of National Park Week.

Grand Teton Hiking

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lake Hotel in Yellowstone Becomes Newest National Historic Landmark

Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis announced yesterday the designation of five new national historic landmarks, ranging from a 19th century reservoir in Massachusetts to a home in Indiana designed by Frank Lloyd Wright to provide affordable housing.

The new landmarks also include the Lake Hotel in Yellowstone National Park.

“These sites join more than 2,500 other landmarks that help tell America’s story,” said Secretary Jewell. “From the remarkable strides made in engineering during the 19th century to the vision of our great architects, they are an important part of the tapestry of our nation’s heritage.”

The Lake Hotel was initially constructed in 1891, the Lake Hotel was entirely re-conceived in the first decades of the 20th century as a grand resort hotel displaying the Colonial Revival style as adapted to the context of a national park in the western United States. Located on the north shore of Yellowstone Lake, the hotel expansion and redesign was spearheaded by noted architect Robert C. Reamer.

For more information on the other National Historic Landmarks announced yesterday, please click here.

Grand Teton Hiking

Throwback Thursday

And you thought the boys from the Discovery Channel’s Gold Rush were the only ones that never had a plan! If you’ve ever had the chance to hike the 6.3-mile trail to Cracker Lake in Glacier National Park, you would understand it travels through some very rugged terrain. Not a big issue if you’re a hiker. But try hauling a 16,000-pound concentrator up the canyon. That’s exactly what some miners did in the early 1900s in order to mine ore near the lake.

The miners used a large freight wagon and twelve mules to transport the concentrator on a 29-day trip from Fort Browning to the mine. The load was often hauled with block and tackle up the bed of Canyon Creek to its headwaters at Cracker Lake. Although hauled in and installed, the concentrator never operated. A mining expert from Helena determined that the site wouldn’t be profitable and discouraged further development! If you’ve ever seen Gold Rush, that sequence of events probably sounds familiar. Despite digging a thirteen hundred foot tunnel into the mountain, the miners, fortunately, didn’t spoil one of the most beautiful lakes you’ll see just about anywhere.

Hiking in Glacier National Park
Grand Teton Hiking

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

How To Pack For a Dayhike

In the short video below, Backpacker Magazine offers a list of items that should be included in your pack during a day hike. This is a great starting point for being properly prepared for a variety of conditions or circumstances that can be encountered while out on the trail, especially if you're new to hiking. However, you may want to check out the far more comprehensive list we've compiled on our hiking website. Our Hiking Gear Checklist is divided between essential and optional gear to bring on a hike.

Grand Teton Hiking

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Throwback Thursday

John Muir once said “If I were so time-poor as to have only one day to spend in Yosemite I should start at daybreak, say at three o'clock in midsummer, with a pocketful of any sort of dry breakfast stuff, for Glacier Point, Sentinel Dome, the head of Illilouette Fall, Nevada Fall, the top of Liberty Cap, Vernal Fall and the wild boulder-choked River CaƱon.”

Many of those places described by Muir are found along the Panorama Trail. In fact, Muir may very well have hiked this trail himself, as it's one of the older trails in the park, having been constructed in 1872. Today the Panorama Trail is still considered to be one of the premier hikes in Yosemite National Park.

Hiking in Glacier National Park
Grand Teton Hiking Trails

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Is June a good time to visit Glacier National Park?

Shhh! Don't tell anyone, but June is really a great time to visit Glacier National Park! Obviously July and August are by far the most popular months for visiting the park; however, if you wish to avoid the crowds, you may want to check-out the month of June. Sure, the Going-to-the-Sun Road likely won't be open all the way to Logan Pass until later in the month, but that doesn't mean there aren't plenty of things to do. In fact, all of the services outside of the park, as well as almost all of the concessioners within the park, will already be open.

So why visit in June? For one, June is an absolutely great time for observing wildflowers. Whitewater rafting is also at its best during this time period. Other popular activities include horseback riding, fly fishing, and as a result of far fewer motorists on park roads, June is also a great time for cycling. And there's nothing like taking a cruise on one of Glacier's lakes to soak in the splendid beauty of the snow-capped mountains. For more information on many of these activities and others, please visit our Thing To Do page.

Although the nights are still relatively cool, temperatures usually reach into the 70s during the day, which makes for nearly perfect hiking conditions. While trails in the higher elevations will still be closed due to snow, there are still a ton of great hiking opportunities around the park. Here are just a couple of suggestions (many of which are normally part of the June ranger-led hikes program - which, by the way, are free):

West Glacier / Lake McDonald:

* Avalanche Lake

* Apgar Lookout

* Johns Lake Loop

* Rocky Point Nature Trail

St. Mary:

* Beaver Pond Loop

* Virginia Falls

* St. Mary Area Waterfalls Hike

Many Glacier:

* Redrock Falls

* Swiftcurrent Lake Nature Trail

* Belly River

* Apikuni Falls

* Grinnell Lake

Two Medicine:

* Rockwell Falls

* Aster Park Overlook

* Running Eagle Falls

And in case you need one more reason to visit in June: rates on accommodations are much lower when compared to peak season! If you do plan to visit Glacier this June, or anytime this year, please note that our website offers a wide variety of accommodation listings to help with all your vacation planning.

Hiking in Glacier National Park