Thursday, April 30, 2020

Glacier National Park Cancels all 2020 Backcountry Camping Advance Reservations

Glacier National Park announced yesterday that it has cancelled all 2020 backcountry camping advance reservations. Here's the blurb they posted on their website:
Glacier National Park has modified operations in accordance with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities. Due to current and anticipated staffing and operational limitations related to the COVID-19 outbreak, combined with the uncertainty of trail and backcountry campground availability, all backcountry camping advance reservations for the 2020 season have been cancelled. This cancellation includes reservations previously processed. All advance reservation application fees will be fully refunded by May 31. The park will not accept or process advance reservations for backcountry camping for the remainder of 2020.

This web page will be updated when the park reopens and we can safely provide backcountry experiences. The park expects to issue overnight backcountry camping permits when conditions allow. Please monitor and park social media channels for updates on current park conditions.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Updates to COVID-19-related closures and suspensions in Montana

People looking to get outside and enjoy spring will continue to have ample opportunities with Gov. Steve Bullock's phased approach to reopening the state, which was announced April 22.

Most of Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks’ sites typically open and operational at this time of year remain so. This includes all FWP fishing access sites, most state parks and those wildlife management areas that don’t have seasonal closures.

People heading outside still need to keep in mind Montana’s social distancing directives. Per Gov. Bullock’s “Reopening the Big Sky” plan, all who recreate outdoors should “avoid gathering in groups of more than 10 people in circumstances that do not readily allow for appropriate physical distancing.” They are further asked to “exercise frequent sanitation protocols if public facilities are open” and continue to follow all previously established hygiene measures. For more information on Gov. Bullock’s plan, please visit

The following some of the FWP updates in response to Gov. Bullock’s plan:

* Overnight camping opportunities will resume at most FWP fishing access sites and state parks on May 1.

* Campers between May 1-15 may encounter reduced amenities or limited services that are typical for the opening of early-season recreational sites. Please check the FWP website for specific site restrictions or closures.

* Group sites, including fishing piers, will open May 1.

* At all sites, as in other aspects of life, social distancing guidelines must be strictly followed.

* Visitor centers, park offices and FWP lobbies are still closed to the public at this time.

* Out-of-state travelers are still required to follow the governor’s 14-day quarantine directive when they come to Montana, as they carry the risk of spreading COVID-19 to Montana residents. Guidance for those directives can be found at The directives include the requirements that those in quarantine cannot leave for groceries, recreation, work or any other activity.

As the governor’s plan progresses through its three phases, FWP will announce further updates. For more information on FWP’s response to COVID-19, please visit


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

USDA Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Region releases new online tool for recreation and fire restriction updates and information

The Rocky Mountain Region of the USDA Forest Service has released a new online tool as a place to find recreation updates and closures for any of the 24 national forests and grasslands across Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

This online tool provides a one-stop resource for learning about current USDA Forest Service recreation site status updates, alerts, warnings and fire restriction information within the states of Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wyoming.

The Rocky Mountain Region continues to ask all forest and grassland visitors engaging in dispersed recreation, such as hiking, mountain biking or river rafting, to take extra precautions and adhere to the following safety and responsibility guidelines.

* Stay close to home to keep other communities safe.
* Stay 6 feet apart from others.
* Avoid crowding in parking lots, trails, scenic overlooks and other areas.
* Take CDC precautions to prevent illnesses like COVID-19.
* Prepare for limited or no services, such as restroom facilities and garbage collection.
* Prepare to pack out trash and human waste.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Monday, April 27, 2020

Spring Recreation Reminders on the Bridger-Teton National Forest

Bridger-Teton National Forest reminds forest visitors that winter wildlife restrictions remain in effect until May 1, 2020. It is important that all users understand the importance of observing the critical winter range closure. Critical winter range areas have been designated as essential to the survival of wildlife. When people access closed winter range, the animals using the area flee to new locations. This retreat requires animals, especially ungulates like deer, elk and moose, to use energy they cannot spare. Further, it usually places them in areas less suitable for grazing and/or browsing, preventing them from gathering the energy they need to survive. This leads to a weakened condition, which can have a direct effect on the animals’ ability to defend itself, making it more susceptible to predation and disease, and can lead to future reproduction problems in individual animals.

Forest biologists also stress the importance of staying off freshly exposed slopes in and out of the closure areas. These muddy, tender slopes are prone to degradation from user traffic when wet. This type of degradation can lead to erosion problems that affect water quality, fisheries and the production of grasses and forbs used by grazing/browsing wildlife.

Remember; be responsible when using the great outdoors. Spring is in the air, but winter is still on the ground. With cold temperatures and heavy storms still a possibility, your wildlife populations need your respect. Stay on designated travel routes and learn the location of closed critical winter range before heading out into the Forest. The bears are also up and moving all across the Forest so bring your bear spray and practice bear safety when exploring the Forest.

Also, it is a good time to remember that we all have a responsibility to make conservative decisions when venturing out onto the Forest. Be sure to let someone know where you are headed and remember that creeks or roads frozen in the morning may be soft and impassable after the temperatures rise. Visitors are encouraged to only recreate locally, as in respecting public health guidelines and orders and remaining in the communities they live and work in.

With the increase in vehicle traffic due to social distancing measures, recreationists are asked to avoid times and places of high use as to not exceed parking area capacity and not cause resource damage by expanding parking areas in crowded locations. The Bridger-Teton is working very hard to make recreation opportunities available, but visitors must respect social distancing requirements and follow County, State and Center of Disease control (CDC) guidelines.

As a reminder there are no services on the Bridger-Teton National Forest right now as many of the Forest restrooms and developed areas are closed or inaccessible due to snow. Visitors are asked to practice Leave No Trace principles and pack out all trash


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Friday, April 24, 2020

Bridger-Teton National Forest Seeks Public Comment to Change in Dog Leash Requirements

The Jackson Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest is asking for public comment on proposed changes to dog leash requirements on area trailheads. The current requirements enacted in 2016 have shown a marked decrease in negative interactions with other dogs, humans, and wildlife as well as reducing waste left behind in high traffic areas.

Leash requirements are currently in effect only during the winter months (December 1 – April 30) and only apply in the trailheads/parking areas and on trails that parallel the winter wildlife closures. The proposed changes are intended to improve consistency in regulations while also reducing dog waste and reducing conflicts between people and dogs in the trailhead areas year-round. Additionally, the changes are proposed in order to protect wildlife, protect water quality, provide more enjoyable experiences, and to ensure the safety of people’s dogs in these heavily visited areas.

The full scoping document is available on the Bridger-Teton website Comments must be submitted in writing (either email or letter) by May 15, 2020.

Email comments can be submitted to: Tim Farris, Trails/Wilderness Supervisor at

Letters should be sent to:

Dog Leash Proposal
Bridger-Teton National Forest
Jackson Ranger District
PO Box 1689
Jackson, WY 83001


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Flathead National Forest: Public Input Sought on 2020 Recreation Events and Services

The Flathead National Forest is accepting public comment on a variety of short-term recreation and guiding permit applications for summer and fall of 2020.

All proposed events and activities would be required to comply with state and local COVID-19 related precautionary measures that may be in place at the time of the event.

The recreation events include Whitefish Trails Ultra-Marathon, Powdered Soul Fun Bike Ride, Kiwanis ATV & Motorbike Fun Run, and Foy’s to Blacktail Trail Marathon.

The temporary outfitting and guiding permit requests include Whitefish Shuttle Livery and Guided Services, Whitefish Bike Retreat Livery, Journey to Wellness Program, Northwest Adventure Sports Guided ATV Tours, and Spotted Dog, Adventure Cycling and Cycle House Bike Tours.

Both marathons would take place on Forest System roads and trails within identified focused recreation areas.

Scoping comments and subject matter expert review will determine whether the Forest issues a categorical exclusion for these activities under the National Environmental Policy Act, or if an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement is required.

For information about how to comment and descriptions of each event, please visit Flathead National Forest’s website.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Sunday, April 19, 2020

The Beartooth Highway

Charles Kuralt (you remember Charles Kuralt, right?), once said that the Beartooth Highway is “the most beautiful drive in America”. It's hard to argue with him - the 69-mile National Scenic Byway is absolutely spectacular! The road travels from Red Lodge, Montana to Cooke City, located just outside of the Northeast Entrance to Yellowstone National Park. Along the way it passes through the rugged Absaroka Mountains, and climbs nearly 5400 feet to reach Beartooth Pass, which sits at an elevation of 10,947 feet.

Below is short film the U.S. Forest Service produced a few decades ago. Though it's a little dated, it still provides a nice overview of what you'll see along the byway, a short history of the routing of the road, as well as plenty of great scenery:


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Best Waterfall Hikes in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park has more than 200 waterfalls scattered throughout the park. So with only a limited amount of vacation time, which falls should you visit on a day hike? Below are my top waterfall hikes that will hopefully lend some guidance as you develop your hiking itinerary.

Virginia Falls – Dropping more than 50 feet off a sheer cliff face, Virginia Falls just might be one of the most beautiful falls I’ve ever seen. Additionally, waterfall aficionados will get a chance to see St. Mary Falls, and two other very impressive, but unnamed falls along the way as well.

St. Mary Falls – If you’re looking for a very short hike to see an awesome waterfall, this should fit the bill.

Redrock Falls – An outstanding choice for an easy hike. In addition to a very impressive series of cascades and falls, you’ll also visit two picturesque sub-alpine lakes, and maybe even have a chance to see a moose along the way.

Running Eagle Falls – “Trick Falls” is a must see in the Two Medicine Area. It’s also a very easy, handicap accessible trail. You'll have to click on the trail link to find out why its also referred to as "Trick Falls".

Florence Falls – I would have to rank this as the second most impressive waterfall that can be reached on a day hike in Glacier. The reason it ranks 5th on this list is a result of the distance you have to walk to reach the falls. Additionally, the trail stays within the confines of the forest for most of its length. Having said that though, there is a point on the trail, at Mirror Pond, that just might be one of the most scenic spots in the entire park.

Johns Lake Loop – An easy loop hike off the Going-to-the-Sun Road that visits Sacred Dancing Cascade and McDonald Falls.

Apikuni Falls – Beautiful falls in a small box canyon.

Rockwell Falls – The trail travels through several open meadows in the Two Medicine valley. You’ll also have a good chance of seeing a moose along the way.

Baring Falls – Very easy hike off the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the eastern side of the park.

Ptarmigan Falls – This is one of the more impressive falls in the park. However, steep terrain around the falls makes it virtually impossible to get a close-up view. Moreover, trees block a full view of the falls from top to bottom. This waterfall, however, makes my top 10 list because the hike offers outstanding views of the Many Glacier Valley for most of its length.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Find Your Virtual Park During National Park Week April 18-26

Celebrate National Park Week from April 18 through 26 with fun and innovative digital experiences. While parked at home, journey to national parks through a variety of online activities including virtual tours, scavenger hunts, trivia contests and junior ranger programs.

“Although much has changed in recent weeks, an assortment of fun and engaging digital National Park Week events can help people connect to our shared heritage and natural landscapes,” said David Vela, National Park Service Deputy Director, exercising the authority of the Director.

To preview the celebration of National Park Week, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation will host a Twitter chat on April 16 at 1:00 PM EDT. Join the conversation and share favorite memories, tips and stories about national parks using the hashtags #FindYourPark and #NationalParkWeek. From April 16 through 26, a special limited-time park ranger emoji will appear with the use of these hashtags, in addition to #FindYourVirtualPark and #EncuentraTuParque on Twitter.

“Knowing that national parks can provide a source of comfort and strength, the National Park Foundation is focused on bringing the beauty and wonder of parks to people digitally during National Park Week,” said National Park Foundation President and CEO Will Shafroth.

The Find Your Virtual Park page on provides resources that feature the sights and sounds of parks, games, videos, webcams and kid-friendly activities. The National Park Foundation offers a series of virtual escapes as well as suggestions for home-based park experiences.

In addition, each day of National Park Week will highlight a specific theme:

Saturday, April 18: Junior Ranger Day

Sunday, April 19: Volunteer Day

Monday, April 20: Military Monday

Tuesday, April 21: Transportation Tuesday

Wednesday, April 22: Earth Day

Thursday, April 23: Throwback Thursday

Friday, April 24: Friendship Friday

Saturday, April 25: Park Rx Day

Sunday, April 26: Bark Ranger Day

For more information, please visit and

I'll be taking part on Twitter all week if you wish to follow me.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Outdoor Gear Retailers Offering Steep Discounts

Several outdoor gear retailers that we have affiliate relationships with are currently offering fairly steep off-season discounts on their inventory. By clicking/shopping from any of the banner ads below (including Amazon) you help to support our 4 hiking trail websites. As always, thank you very much!


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Friday, April 10, 2020

FWP removes grizzly bear wounded during attack on hiker near Dupuyer

On Thursday morning, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks euthanized a female grizzly bear that had been injured the previous evening during an encounter with a hiker just outside of Dupuyer.

The incident happened late in the evening when the hiker encountered a sow with a cub at close range. The sow attacked and bit the hiker in the thigh. The hiker had a pistol with him and shot the bear, injuring it. The injured bear moved off and the hiker walked back to his house in Dupuyer. He met emergency services along the roadway in route to the hospital.

The bear’s behavior indicated it attacked to protect her cub from a perceived threat posed by the hiker.

FWP wardens and bear specialists searched for the wounded bear late into the night. The search resumed this morning with an FWP helicopter and ground crews. The injured sow was found and euthanized by FWP personnel.

Though it is still early in the spring, people recreating outdoors in Montana need to be prepared to encounter grizzly bears as they emerge from winter hibernation. This time of year, bears are hungry and looking for food, and often sows have cubs close at hand. Also, with bears expanding their population and habitat, they can often be found in prairie settings, well away from the mountains.

In Montana, people should be prepared to encounter grizzly bears anywhere in the western half of the state.

* FWP strongly encourages people to carry bear spray.
* Travel in groups of people.
* Make noise to avoid surprising bears.
* Let people know where you’re recreating.

Keep a close eye out for fresh bear sign, including scat, tracks and overturned logs and rocks.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Thursday, April 9, 2020

A Day Hike up to Hallett Peak

Back in 2014 David Socky and friends took a hike up to 12,713-foot Hallett Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. The video below shows some of the highlights from that trip - which happens to be one of my favorite hikes in the park. Round trip, the hike travels 10.3 miles, and climbs roughly 3240 feet. But as you can see from this film the spectacular views make it all worthwhile. You can find additional information on this hike from our website by clicking here.

In addition to Hallet Peak, Rocky Mountain National Park has many other outstanding hikes that take-in the best scenery the park has to offer. If you do plan to visit Rocky Mountain this year, please note that our hiking website also offers a wide variety of accommodation listings and other things to do to help with all your vacation planning.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

The Cracker Lake Mine and the boom town of Altyn

If you’ve ever had the chance to hike to Cracker Lake in Glacier National Park, it’s likely you’re aware of the remnants of the old mine located near the far end of the lake.

The mine was established after copper ore was discovered near the shores of the lake in 1898. Although the Blackfeet Indians owned all of the lands east of the Continental Divide, they sold the mountainous portion of this area to the United States in 1896 for $1.5 million. This parcel, which became known as the “Ceded Strip,” would eventually become part of Glacier National Park. By an Act of Congress the transaction officially took place on April 15, 1898. On that same day the area was declared open, and a "rush" to stake mining claims took place. At the appointed hour a volley of shots rang out and the rush began with a wild stampede of miners on horseback, in wagons, and even on foot. Within a matter of hours hundreds of claims were staked in the Swiftcurrent Valley and in adjacent areas such as Rose Creek, Boulder Creek and Cracker Lake.

The Cracker Lake Mine was established on the southern end of the lake at the foot of Mt. Siyeh. According to legend the mine received its name when two prospectors, L. C. Emmonds and Hank Norris, after staking their claim, had a lunch of cheese and crackers at the site. Later that same year the two miners sold their claim to the Michigan and Montana Copper Mining & Smelting Company.

At the site, miners dug a thirteen-hundred foot tunnel, built a sawmill, and erected a steam driven concentrator to process the ore.

According to Through The Years In Glacier National Park, Charles Nielson used a large freight wagon and twelve mules to transport the 16,000-pound concentrator from Fort Browning to the mine, a roughly 275-mile trip that took 29 days to complete. As they ascended Canyon Creek to its headwaters at Cracker Lake, the “mule skinners” often used a block and tackle system to proceed up the roughest sections of terrain. Although hauled-in and installed, the concentrator was never operated. A mining expert from Helena determined that the site would never be profitable, and thus discouraged further development (and you thought the original boys on Gold Rush were the only ones that didn’t have a plan!).

The boom town of Altyn

One of the financial backers of the Cracker Lake Mine was Dave Greenwood Altyn. A town bearing his name was built near Cracker Flats, and was active from 1898 to 1902. During its peak it had an estimated population of 600-800 people, and boasted as having a post office, hotel, general store, newspaper, several saloons, and many other establishments typically found in a boomtown. Ironically, the September 1, 1900 edition of The Swift Current Courier ran screaming headlines prematurely declaring that “The Growth of Altyn Assured" and “No Doubt Now About the Permanency and Productiveness of the Swift Current Mines.” Over the next two years both the Cracker Lake Mine and the town of Altyn would go bust. The former townsite was eventually buried under water after the Lake Sherburne reservoir filled the valley in 1921.

After the short boom most of the mining claims were abandoned. Unfortunately for the miners who staked their fortunes in this area, little or no minerals were found. With the exception of a few diehards, most of the claims were abandoned by 1903.
The land surrounding the Cracker Lake Mine changed hands several times throughout the following years. It was finally picked up on a tax deed from Glacier County by the Glacier Natural History Association on September 22, 1953. During the following month the land was turned over to the Federal Government for $123.96, the cost of acquiring the parcel and clearing its title.

Today hikers can still find many of the remnants from the old mine. In addition to mine tailings, you can still see several abandoned machinery parts, including the boiler. The tunnel entrance is also nearby, though entry into the mine shaft is prohibited by the park. For more information on the incredibly beautiful hike to Cracker Lake, please click here.

Glacier National Park: The First 100 Years details the astonishing changes the park has undergone since its designation in 1910, including the Great Northern Railway's Swiss-style chalets & lodges. It features more than 200 historical photographs, as well as some of the finest artwork of the region and its people, including Charlie Russell.


Ramble On (2nd edition book on the rich history of hiking)
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Friday, April 3, 2020

National Park Service Proposes Regulations Governing the Use of E-Bikes

The National Park Service is seeking public input for a proposed regulation regarding the use of electric bicycles, or e-bikes, in national parks. This regulation aligns with the existing National Park Service policy that encourages park units to consider e-bike use where traditional bicycles are allowed.

“From urban areas to natural landscapes, bicyclists flock to national parks to exercise and soak in the scenery,” said National Park Service Deputy Director David Vela. “Allowing the use of e-bikes expands opportunities, especially to those with disabilities or other limitations, to access and enjoy the great outdoors.”

Currently, more than 380 national parks have evaluated e-bike use in response to the NPS policy. As e-bikes become more popular both on and off National Park Service managed lands, the agency has recognized the need to address this emerging form of recreation and active transportation in its regulations. The proposed regulation would define the term “electric bicycle” and allow superintendents to provide for e-bike use.

Visitors could use e-bikes in areas designated by the park superintendent where traditional bicycles are allowed, including public roads, parking areas, administrative roads and trails. Superintendents retain the right to limit, restrict or impose conditions on bicycle use and e-bike use in order to ensure visitor safety and protect resources.

The regulation would support Secretary’s Order 3376, from Aug. 29, 2019, that directed bureaus, including the National Park Service, to create a clear and consistent e-bike policy on all federal lands managed by the Department. The rule would also support Secretary’s Order 3366, issued April 18, 2018, that directed bureaus to increase recreational opportunities on public lands.

E-bikes have small electric motors (less than 1hp) that help to move the bicycle. The regulations would state that the operator of an e-bike may only use the motor to assist pedal propulsion, except in locations open to public motor vehicle traffic. E-bikes, like traditional bikes, would not be allowed in designated wilderness areas.

As an alternative to gasoline- or diesel-powered modes of transportation, e-bikes can support active modes of transportation for park staff and visitors. E-bikes would also decrease traffic congestion and reduce the demand for vehicle parking spaces.

After the proposed rule publishes, it can be found at by searching for “1024-AE61.” The public comment period will be open for 60 days.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Glacier’s Grand Loop Hike

Thanks to its topography, excellent trail system, and a favorable location of accommodations, hikers have the opportunity to experience an epic three-day loop in Glacier National Park that includes the absolute best scenery the park has to offer. And as a bonus, it doesn’t require lugging any backpacking equipment around, or camping under the stars. This “grand loop” starts from Logan Pass, visits Granite Park Chalet, drops down into the Many Glacier valley, climbs over Piegan Pass, and then heads back down to Siyeh Bend on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Every step along this trek offers awe-inspiring beauty!

The best way to do this hike is to park your car at Rising Sun on the east side, or at Apgar on the west, and take the free shuttle up to Logan Pass. From there you’ll hike 7.6 miles along the Highline Trail to the Granite Park Chalet. Due to its exceptionally beautiful views, the Highline Trail is likely the most popular backcountry trail in the park, and should be on the bucket list of any self-respecting hiker. With an elevation gain of only 975 feet, the hike to the chalet is also relatively easy.

If you feel this first leg of the loop is a little too easy, and you still have a little gas left in the tank, I highly recommend taking the 0.6-mile Garden Wall Trail up to the top of the Continental Divide. From this perch, 900 feet above the Highline Trail, you’ll enjoy commanding views of Grinnell Glacier lying on the other side of the divide.

That night you’ll stay at the historic Granite Park Chalet. The Chalet has 12 guest rooms, each with 2 to 6 bunks. Although very basic, and virtually no amenities, it’s still much better than camping if you’re not a fan of sleeping in tents. Be forewarned though, you will need to make a reservation several months in advance.

The next day you’ll make the short climb over Swiftcurrent Pass before making the 2300-foot descent down to Many Glacier. From the top of the pass, down to the head of Bullhead Lake, the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail drops nearly 2000 feet in just three miles. Once in the Swiftcurrent Valley the trail flattens out substantially. As you proceed down the valley you’ll pass Redrock Falls, Redrock Lake, Fishercap Lake, as well as several alpine meadows. In all, this leg of the trek covers 7.5 miles.

Before leaving Swiftcurrent Pass, however, you do have the option of visiting the Swiftcurrent Fire Lookout. The lookout is perched atop Swiftcurrent Mountain, which requires a climb of more than 900 feet in roughly 1.4 miles. As you might expect the panoramic views from this outpost are quite spectacular.

Once in Many Glacier you’ll have several options for overnight accommodations, including staying at the historic Many Glacier Hotel.

Your third day of hiking will be the longest and the toughest. Hikers will climb roughly 2700 feet as they make their way up to Piegan Pass, before dropping back down to Siyeh Bend on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The climb out of the Many Glacier Valley is 8.4 miles by itself, and then from Piegan Pass to Siyeh Bend is another 4.4 miles. Although Piegan Pass isn’t nearly as popular as the Highline Trail or Swiftcurrent Pass, it’s only because it’s overlooked by most people. If you still haven’t had enough of the mind-blowing scenery, I highly recommend taking the short and easy side trip out to Preston Park, located roughly 2.4 miles from your end point. I would have to rank this as one of the beautiful alpine meadows I’ve ever seen.

Upon returning to the Going-to-the-Sun Road simply take the shuttle to return back to your car.

The exceptionally beautiful views, the excellent opportunities for spotting wildlife, and the proliferation of wildflowers along most of the route, all combine to make this a hike you'll remember for the rest of your life.

The National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map for Many Glacier includes the entire route described in this posting. The sectional maps series for Glacier National Park have a scale of 1:50,000, and provide much greater detail such as backcountry campsites, footbridges, stream crossings, water and snow hazard locations, points-of-interest, as well as shuttle stops. All Trails Illustrated Maps are waterproof and tear-resistant.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Glacier National Park Reaches Two-Year Agreement to Provide Shuttles Services Along the Going-to-the-Sun Road

The National Park Service Contracting and Procurement Office has awarded the labor services contract for the 2020 Visitor Transportation Service in Glacier National Park to LC Staffing of Kalispell, MT. The contract, valid for up to two years, provides drivers, dispatchers, and supervisors for the park’s 35-bus fleet that provides shuttle service along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

“I would like to thank park staff and the NPS Contracting and Procurement Office for their expeditious work to award this contract following the termination of the cooperative agreement with Flathead County. We are pleased to be working with LC Staffing and providing visitors with such an important service in Glacier National Park,” said Superintendent Jeff Mow. Jim Foster, chief of facilities management, said, “LC Staffing has recruited and employed park shuttle drivers since 2009 and are well-positioned to support the park in 2020.”

If spring conditions and COVID-19 measures allow, the Visitor Transportation Service will operate a hiker-biker shuttle from Mother’s Day weekend until the Going-to-the-Sun Road opens to the public for the season. The hiker-biker shuttle operates on weekends and provides service from the Apgar Visitor Center to Avalanche Creek with stops at Lake McDonald Lodge. Once the Going-to-the-Sun Road opens for the season, park shuttles will provide service between the Apgar and St. Mary Visitor Centers from July 1 to Labor Day from 7 am to 7 pm, seven days per week.

“Glacier National Park will continue to follow the CDC guidance and other federal, state, and local health authorities for monitoring the situation related to the novel coronavirus outbreak. Decisions on park operations, including shuttle service, will be re-evaluated regularly to ensure the safety of visitors and park employees,” said Superintendent Mow.

The National Park Service initially planned a park public transportation system in 1999 to reduce vehicle congestion along the Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor. Major construction on the Going-to-the-Sun Road in 2007 served as the catalyst for the current transportation system. With the Going-to-the-Sun Road rehabilitation project now complete, and the popularity of the shuttle system growing every year, the park continues to explore opportunities to expand and improve its Visitor Transportation Service. This effort is an important step in reviewing transportation system operations and ensuring financial sustainability into the future.


Ramble On: A History of Hiking
Exploring Glacier National Park
Exploring Grand Teton National Park