It must be summer! The schedule for the ranger-led activities in Glacier National Park through July 7 has just been released. The activities include a variety of hikes, talks, boat tours, demonstrations, and evening programs. Hour-long to day-long hikes led by rangers are offered in many areas of the park, including Lake McDonald Valley, Two Medicine, Many Glacier, St. Mary, and Goat Haunt. Most programs are free of charge. The schedule of activities is available here, or may be obtained when entering the park.
Ranger-led programs cover a wide range of topics. Visitors are encouraged to discover the role fire plays in the surrounding ecosystem and explore the impacts of the 2003 Robert Fire by joining "Fire in Glacier Walk." This activity is a moderate two-mile hike beginning at the Rocky Point Trailhead north of the Fish Creek Campground. Visitors may view diverse habitats near the shores of Two Medicine Lake on the "Nature Hike," an easy one-hour hike led twice a week geared for the whole family. For a more challenging hiking experience, the public may participate in "Heart of Glacier," a moderately strenuous 10-mile hike that usually visits Iceberg Lake in the Many Glacier area.
Visitors, especially families, are encouraged to visit the Discovery Cabin, a historic cabin with hands-on activities and displays located near the Apgar Visitor Center. Rangers and volunteers are available to share information about the park's predators and prey, and provide an opportunity to touch a grizzly bear's claw or a wolf's coat. On the east side of the park, join the "Connecting Art with Nature" demonstration at the historic 1913 Ranger Station east of the St. Mary Visitor Center. Visitors can help paint a park mural with this year's volunteer artist. The 2011 mural, "Touched by Glacier," is featured on the 2012 annual park pass with artwork from over 700 visitors and park staff.
Glacier National Park's Junior Ranger Program provides a unique opportunity for children to experience the park. Free junior ranger activity guides are available for children of all ages, including a pre-reader version for younger children. The program offers an opportunity to explore the park, learn about park resources and discover how to protect the park for the future. After completion of the various activities, children will earn a junior ranger badge and certificate. Interested participants in the junior ranger program can stop by any of the visitor centers within the park, or the Discovery Cabin in Apgar Village.
Visitors are reminded to be prepared when participating in ranger-led activities, especially guided hikes. Sturdy foot wear, such as boots with ankle support, is essential for hiking. Bring plenty of water and food for the length of the hike. Weather can change quickly, so be prepared by dressing in layers and bring raingear. Children are welcome at all interpretive programs, but should be accompanied by an adult.
For more information on ranger-led activities in Glacier National Park, visit the park's website or call 406-888-7800.
Hiking in Glacier.com