Friday, December 30, 2022

The Top 6 Reasons to Visit Glacier National Park

I know this may sound a little over-the-top, but every person living in this country should visit Glacier National Park at least once in their lifetime. It will forever change them. John Muir once said of Glacier:
"Give a month at least to this precious reserve. The time will not be taken from the sum of your life. Instead of shortening, it will indefinitely lengthen it and make you truly immortal. Nevermore will time seem short or long, and cares will never again fall heavily on you, but gently and kindly as gifts from heaven."
I know I can’t, but I'm pretty sure there aren’t too many others that can quite sum-up the Glacier experience better than Muir did. Here are just a few of the reasons on why I think Glacier is so special:

Unparalleled Beauty
In my humble opinion, Glacier National Park is by far the most beautiful park I’ve ever been to. This includes almost every major national park in the lower 48. As a disclaimer, I should note that I haven’t had a chance to explore the interior of Alaska….yet. Having said that, my love affair with this park began immediately the first time I laid eyes on it. To be precise, it was during the drive from Browning along Highway 2 as we approached the East Glacier/Two Medicine area. My love and awe for the park has grown after every hike and after each subsequent visit. At every turn on any road or trail is one spectacular scene after another. In fact, there are no bad or boring hikes. Photographers could spend a lifetime here taking photos of scenes that normally show up in Backpacker Magazine or National Geographic. One of the most famous photo locations in the entire National Park System is at a spot known as Wild Goose Island Overlook. You may recognize the scene in the photo below:

Most people assume that Glacier received its name as a result of the 25 glaciers that are located throughout the park. However, the park was actually given its name due to the rugged mountains that were carved by massive glaciers during the ice ages. Fortunately, a few of the glaciers can be reached by trail. Some of the most popular hikes for enjoying front row views of these glaciers include Iceberg Lake and Grinnell Glacier.

The Highline Trail
The Highline Trail from Logan Pass is widely recognized as one of the best hikes in the park, if not the entire National Park System. At every step and every turn hikers will enjoy absolutely spectacular scenery as they follow along the Continental Divide. The exceptionally beautiful views, the excellent opportunities for spotting wildlife, and the wildflowers all combine to make this a hike you'll remember the rest of your life. If you can make it past the narrow ledge section near the trailhead you’ll have the option of traveling to Haystack Pass, Granite Park Chalet, or making the one-way hike which continues all the way to “The Loop”. You'll also have the option of taking the steep spur trail up to the Grinnell Glacier Overlook.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road
The famous Going-to-the-Sun Road is the only road to cross Glacier National Park from east to west. The epic route transports visitors through some of the most spectacular scenery the park has to offer. This engineering marvel spans more than 50 miles across the park's interior, takes passengers over the Continental Divide at Logan Pass, and treats visitors to some of the grandest sights in the Rocky Mountains. Along its course the road passes glacial lakes and cedar forests in the lower valleys, and windswept alpine meadows and sweeping mountain vistas atop the 6646-foot pass.

Several scenic viewpoints and pullouts along the way provide motorists with ample opportunities to stop for extended views and photographs. Once at Logan Pass be sure to visit Hidden Lake Overlook, a relatively easy hike that takes hikers across the Continental Divide just above the Logan Pass Visitor Center.

Some drivers (and passengers) might be a little intimidated by the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Portions of it hug the mountainside as it traverses over steep drop-offs and steers through tight curves. If this gives you any pause, you may want to consider letting the drivers of the iconic Red "jammer" Buses take you across the mountains.

Outside of Yellowstone, Glacier National Park is arguably the best park for spotting and viewing wildlife. Although wildlife are frequently spotted along the road, a venture into the wilderness is likely to bring better results. Trails such as Iceberg Lake, Ptarmigan Tunnel, Grinnell Glacier and Swiftcurrent Pass are excellent choices if you wish to possibly see a grizzly or black bear. Bullhead Lake, the Swiftcurrent Nature Trail, Dawson Pass and Cobalt Lake are all great choices for spotting moose. For bighorn sheep, check out Grinnell Glacier, Dawson Pass or the Highline Trail. For the best opportunities to possibly spot a mountain goat, check out Hidden Lake Overlook, the Highline Trail or Piegan Pass.

Backcountry Chalets
2014 marked the 100th anniversary of the Sperry and Granite Park Chalets. Both backcountry chalets were built in 1914 during a period when the Great Northern Railway was promoting Glacier National Park under the "See America First" campaign. Today the two backcountry chalets offer hikers the opportunity to trek to an overnight backcountry destination without being bogged down with a bunch of camping gear.

Perched at an elevation of more than 6500 feet, the Sperry Chalet sits high atop a rock ledge that offers visitors commanding views of majestic mountain peaks, waterfalls, as well as Lake McDonald in the valley far below. The Granite Park Chalet rests just below Swiftcurrent Pass, along the edge of a sub-alpine meadow that offers commanding views of Heavens Peak and the McDonald Valley. Day hikers and overnight guests commonly reach this chalet by one of three trails: the Highline Trail, the Granite Park Trail or the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail out of Many Glacier.

With more than 740 miles of trails meandering throughout the park, hiking is the absolute best way to see Glacier National Park. In addition to the hikes listed above, the park offers a variety of other outstanding hikes. If you do plan to visit Glacier this year, please note that our hiking website also offers a wide variety of accommodation listings as well as other things to do to help with all your vacation planning.


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

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Bear Spray Used on a Black Bear Caught on Camera

The SABRE Bear Spray company recently published this video on their Youtube Channel. It shows an interesting encounter between a black bear and wildland firefighter and nature photographer, Curtis Matishwyn. The bear is clearly acting aggressively - but was it acting aggressively to cause harm to Matishwyn, or was it simply being curious? Should Matishwyn held his ground instead of retreating in this circumstance?

For more information on what to do if you encounter a bear while hiking, please click here.


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

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

The National Park Service announces entrance fee-free days for 2023

The National Park Service will have five entrance fee-free days in 2023 that provide free admittance to all national parks for everyone. On these significant days of commemoration or celebration, and throughout the year, the National Park Service is committed to increasing access to national parks and promoting the advantages of outdoor recreation for public benefit and enjoyment. The free entrance dates for 2023 are: 

January 16 – Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 

April 22 – First Day of National Park Week 

August 4 – Great American Outdoors Day 

September 23 – National Public Lands Day 

November 11 – Veterans Day 

Detailed information about what there is to see and do at each park is available on or the NPS app. It is important for people to know before they go what is open and available, especially if interested in overnight accommodations.

Most national parks are always free to enter. Only about 100 of the 400+ national parks have an entrance fee. For parks with an entrance fee, the cost ranges from $5 to $35 and the money remains in the National Park Service, with 80-100% staying in the park where collected. The funds are used to enhance the visitor experience by providing programs and services, habitat restoration, and infrastructure maintenance and repair. 

The fee waiver for the fee-free days applies only to National Park Service entrance fees and does not cover amenity or user fees for camping, boat launches, transportation, special tours, or other activities.

The annual $80 America the Beautiful National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass allows unlimited access to more than 2,000 federal recreation areas, including all national parks, for the passholder and companions accompanying them. There are also free or discounted passes available for currently serving members of the U.S. military and their dependents, military veterans, Gold Star Families, fourth grade students, disabled citizens, and senior citizens.

Other federal land management agencies offering their own fee-free days in 2023 are the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  


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

Saturday, December 17, 2022

Glacier National Park Announces Plans for 2023 Reservations

Visitors to Glacier National Park in 2023 can expect to use a vehicle reservation system to access Going-to-the-Sun Road via the West Entrance and the North Fork area of the park from May 26 through September 10, 2023, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Vehicle reservations will also be required for Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys and the St. Mary Entrance to Going-to-the-Sun Road on the east side of the park from July 1 through September 10, 2023, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.

This will be the third year of the pilot reservation system in the park; designed to manage high traffic volumes within the park to protect natural and cultural resources while delivering quality visitor experiences.

The decision to add Many Glacier and Two Medicine valleys to the reservation system was based on review of data collected during the two previous years. Patterns show an increased need to restrict traffic when parking capacity was surpassed. Park officials held meetings with businesses and stakeholders this fall to share the data and solicit input. Based on feedback, park officials chose to limit the reservation time period at Two Medicine, Many Glacier, and the St. Mary Entrance to Going-to-the-Sun Road to July 1 through September 10 and to limit the hours of the reservation period to 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors to the east side of the park without a reservation will still be able to visit Two Medicine and Many Glacier before 6 a.m. and after 3 p.m. and will be able to visit the St. Mary visitor center for access to free shuttles to Going-to-the-Sun Road.

As in 2021 and 2022, landowners inside the park are not required to have a vehicle reservation to access their properties. Pursuant to the American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978, vehicle reservations are not required for tribal members throughout the park.

Vehicle reservations will be available on Each of the specified areas of the park will require a separate reservation. Like last year, visitors will need to set up an account on to obtain reservations. The only cost associated with booking a reservation is a $2 processing fee.

New for the 2023 season, vehicle reservations will be available through two types of booking windows. A portion of reservations will be available approximately four months or 120-days in advance, using a block-release system. The first block of advanced reservations will be available through at 8 a.m. Mountain Time on February 1, 2023. This round of reservations will be available to enter Going-to-the-Sun Road or the North Fork for May 26 through June 30. The next release will occur on March 1, 2023, for July 1 through July 31, including the reservation areas for Going-to-the-Sun Road, North Fork, Two Medicine, and Many Glacier. On April 1, 2023, reservations will be available for all areas for August 1 through August 31. On May 1, 2023, reservations will be available for all areas for September 1 through September 10. Like last year, a portion of reservations for all areas of the park will be available on a rolling basis at 8 a.m. 24-hours in advance.

One reservation per vehicle will again be required to enter Going-to-the-Sun Road at the West Entrance, and the Camas Entrance from May 26 through September 10, 2023. Reservations are good for three days. Like last year, Apgar Village and the Apgar visitor center are located inside the West Entrance and require a vehicle reservation to access. New in 2023, reservations will only be required until 3 p.m. In 2022, reservations were required until 4 p.m.

As in 2022, one reservation per vehicle will be required at the Polebridge Ranger Station to visit the North Fork area of the park in 2023. Reservations are good for one day. New in 2023, visitors can enter before 6 a.m. or after 3 p.m. without a reservation. In 2022, reservations were required until 6 p.m.

New in 2023, one reservation per vehicle per valley will be required to access Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys on the east side of the park from July 1 through September 10 from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Reservations are good for one day.

Also new in 2023, reservations will not be required at the St. Mary Entrance until July 1. Beginning July 1 through September 10, 2023, a vehicle reservation will be required to access Going-to-the-Sun Road from the St. Mary Entrance. Like last year, vehicle reservations will be checked at the Rising Sun check point, six miles inside the St. Mary Entrance, and visitors will have access to the St. Mary visitor center and park shuttle outside of the vehicle reservation area.

In addition to a vehicle reservation, each vehicle entering the park is required to have an entrance pass for any entry point into the park. These passes could include any one of the following: a $35 vehicle pass, good for seven days; a valid Interagency Annual/Lifetime Pass; or a Glacier National Park Annual Pass.

Visitors with lodging, camping, transportation, or commercial activity reservations within Going-to-the-Sun Road corridor, Many Glacier, or Two Medicine can use their reservation for entry in lieu of a $2 reservation to gain access to the portion of the park for which they have a reservation.

Prior to July 1, when the reservation requirements begin, the park anticipates congestion at Two Medicine and Many Glacier valleys. As in past years, entry will be temporarily restricted if these areas reach capacity. Visitors are encouraged to plan their visit outside of peak hours (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.). Visitors with service reservations (e.g., boat tours, lodging, horseback ride, guided hikes) in these valleys will be permitted entry during temporary restrictions.

Visitors should anticipate up to a 30-minute wait due to construction on Going-to-the-Sun Road along Lake McDonald starting in June. Additional details about construction will be posted on the park website as they become available. Entry to Going-to-the-Sun Road from the West Entrance before the 6 a.m. reservation period will not be possible due to construction activities. To avoid congestion-related delays, visitors are encouraged to use the St. Mary Entrance to access Going-to-the-Sun Road, including popular attractions such as Logan Pass and Avalanche.

Through the pilot process, the park is engaged in continued learning about the various strategies used. The park has also engaged with stakeholders and local communities to inform the design of the pilot each year. This information will help inform long-range visitor use management planning, which the park is expecting to begin in 2023. Through the long-range planning process, there will be opportunities for public input once the planning process is initiated.

Additional details about the vehicle reservation system are still in development. The park website will provide updates as more information becomes available.


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

Friday, December 16, 2022

Winter recreation begins on park roads in Grand Teton National Park

Opportunities for over-snow winter recreation are available on park roads in Grand Teton National Park. Enjoy activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and walking during this special time of year. The park’s winter recreation schedule is as follows:

* Teton Park Road: Open to over-snow winter recreation
* Signal Mountain Summit Road: Open to over-snow winter recreation
* Moose-Wilson Road: Opens Dec. 16 to over-snow winter recreation

Teton Park Road will be groomed between Taggart Lake parking and Signal Mountain Lodge, starting Friday, Dec. 9 through mid-March as conditions allow. The road will be groomed approximately three times a week on Tuesdays, Fridays and Sundays. Four lanes will be groomed from Taggart to South Jenny Lake and two lanes from South Jenny Lake to Signal Mountain Lodge.

Parking is available at Taggart Lake Trailhead, Cottonwood Creek Picnic Area and at the gate at the north end of the Teton Park Road near Signal Mountain Lodge.

Grooming is made possible through the financial support from Grand Teton National Park Foundation and a Federal Highway Administration Recreational Trails Program Grant managed by the State of Wyoming. For grooming updates, call the park’s road information line at 307-739-3682.

The use of wheeled vehicles including bicycles, snow/fat/electric bikes, are not permitted on roads designated for winter recreation activities. Bikes are only allowed on roadways open to motor vehicles.

Dogs are welcome to recreate alongside their owners on the Teton Park Road. For the safety of wildlife, visitors and their pets, dogs must always be leashed, are not allowed in the backcountry and must be picked up after. Dog sledding and skijoring are prohibited within Grand Teton National Park and the John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Memorial Parkway.

Additional Winter Recreation Activities:

* Backcountry camping permits are available 24 hours in advance. Call the park’s permit office at 307-739-3309 Mon.—Fri. On weekends, please call Teton Interagency Dispatch Center at 307-739-3301.

* Ranger-led snowshoe hikes are offered daily Dec. 27—30, 2022, and on Wednesdays and Saturdays Jan. 4—Mar. 11, 2023. Reservations are required by calling 307-739-3399 Mon.—Fri. Hikes are scheduled for 1:30—3:30 p.m.

* Winter activities at Colter Bay include primitive camping, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and ice fishing on Jackson Lake. Primitive winter camping is allowed in the Colter Bay Visitor Center parking lot from Dec. 1—Apr. 15, with a $5 per night fee (starting Dec. 15) which can be paid at the Moran Entrance Station.

Limited services and seasonal closures make a winter visit very different from a summer experience. Be sure to plan ahead, recreate responsibly and help ensure this iconic landscape may be enjoyed by future generations. Visit the Winter in Grand Teton webpage for helpful winter planning tools and follow Grand Teton on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more information.


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

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Help protect wintering wildlife in Grand Teton

Winter has arrived in Grand Teton National Park – an excellent time for recreation in the snow but also a challenging time for wildlife in and around the Tetons. Wildlife specialists are asking visitors to avoid disturbing animals by following all winter closures and voluntarily avoiding bighorn sheep winter zones. In all other areas of the park, visitors should still give wildlife plenty of space by maintaining 100 yards from bears and wolves, and 25 yards from other animals. Visitors can safely enjoy watching wildlife by being respectful of their need for space, staying clear of their sensitive habitats and allowing them to maintain their vital energy reserves.

Conserving energy is especially challenging for wildlife as temperatures plummet, snow buries food and travel is difficult. Animals like bighorn sheep, bison, deer, elk and moose survive the winter by using the least amount of energy so they can maintain fat reserves, which is especially crucial for females to successfully produce young in the spring.

“Bighorn sheep in the Teton Range are particularly susceptible to winter disturbances. The park is asking skiers and snowboarders to voluntarily avoid sensitive bighorn sheep winter habitat. Please help spread the word to conserve these iconic animals,” said Chip Jenkins, Superintendent of Grand Teton National Park.

A georeferenced map of bighorn sheep winter zones is available for download at Areas closed to the public to protect important ungulate winter range include:

* Summits of Mount Hunt, Prospectors Mountain, and Static Peak: Dec. 1 through Apr. 30

* Areas around the Snake River, Buffalo Fork River and Kelly Hill: Dec. 15 through Apr. 1

* Northern portion of Blacktail Butte (the open slopes on the southwest side of Blacktail Butte and the Practice Rocks climbing area at the northern tip of the butte remain open): Dec. 15 through Apr. 30

* Wolff Ridge and a portion of the Spread Creek drainage: Dec. 15 through Apr. 30


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

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Author Page For “Ramble On" Is Now Live

Over the past week or so I've announced that I will be publishing a new book on the rich history of hiking. Today, I wanted to let you all know that the author page for that book, “Ramble On: How Hiking Became One of the Most Popular Outdoor Activities in the World” is now live. The page provides some details on what the book is about, and why I decided to write this expanded, second edition. You can check it out by clicking here.


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

Friday, December 9, 2022

Wyoming State Parks’ First Day Hikes to Take Place New Year’s Day 2023

Wyoming State Parks, Historic Sites and Trails is pleased to announce the 12th consecutive year of its popular First Day Hikes on January 1, 2023.

First Day Hikes are part of a nationwide initiative led by America’s State Parks to encourage people to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors. On New Year’s Day, people of all ages can kick off the New Year out of doors with access to hundreds of free guided hikes organized in all fifty states.

“We are thrilled to take part in this nationwide initiative once again, inviting guests of all ages to experience the beauty of Wyoming’s state parks and the rich history of our historic sites,” said Laurel Thompson, Outreach Coordinator for the Wyoming Office of Outdoor Recreation. “We hope our passion for the outdoors will inspire participants to take advantage of the many local treasures and outdoor recreational opportunities across the state throughout the upcoming year.”

These events will be held at 15 Wyoming State Park and Historic Site locations statewide. Hikes are free and open to the public; all day use fees will be waived on January 1 as part of this initiative.

This year, participants at each site will also have the chance to win a 2023 Annual Day Use Certificate and enter a statewide Grand Prize drawing for a Coleman Roadtrip® X-Cursion™ Grill for participating.

Park staff and volunteers will lead the hikes, ranging from 1 to 4 miles. Details about hiking locations, difficulty, length, and terrain can be found here.

To learn more about First Day Hike events in your area, please find individual sites on Facebook and/or visit


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

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

FWP Seeks Public Comment On Draft Grizzly Bear Management Plan

Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is seeking public comment on a draft plan and environmental impact statement to guide the long-term management and conservation of grizzly bears across the state.

“For decades, FWP staff have worked with federal, tribal, and local partners, along with communities and landowners, to recover and then manage grizzly bear populations across much of Montana,” said FWP Director Hank Worsech. “This plan will put that experience into action and provide a framework for comprehensive management of grizzly bears in the state and ensure the populations remain sustainable and healthy into the future.”

The plan was informed by existing bear plans and conservation strategies for parts of the state, the federal recovery plan and the work of the Grizzly Bear Advisory Council, appointed under the previous administration in 2019.

The new plan would replace two existing plans – those for western Montana and for southwest Montana – with one statewide plan in which FWP commits to maintaining the long-term viability of grizzly bears while prioritizing human safety. The statewide plan will serve as a framework for the management of grizzly bears now and into the future.

Montana has petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to delist grizzly bears in the Northern Continental Divide Ecosystem and supports Wyoming’s petition to delist grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem, where they have surpassed recovery goals. Other recovery areas in Montana include the Cabinet-Yaak and Bitterroot ecosystems.

“Although grizzly bears are federally listed under the Endangered Species Act, having a plan like this in place will lay out Montana’s vision and general framework for management of grizzly bears, whether or not they are listed,” said Director Worsech.

The draft plan will guide management statewide, with particular focus on areas with documented grizzly bear presence, as well as in those places where they are expected to expand. The draft plan addresses how bears will be managed outside of federal recovery zones, including connectivity areas between the zones. The EIS addresses potential environmental impacts of implementing the plan.

To answer questions about the draft plan and EIS, FWP will host a statewide Zoom webinar on Dec. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. Details on how to join the webinar will be posted on the FWP website closer to that date.

The draft plan and EIS will be open for public comment until Jan. 5. To review the plan and comment, go online. To comment by mail, send to Wildlife Division, Grizzly Bear Plan and EIS, P.O. Box 200701, Helena, MT 59620. Comments can also be emailed to

Once the comment period is concluded, FWP staff will review the comments, make adjustments to the plan and EIS as necessary and then Director Worsech will issue a record of decision, in accordance with the Montana Environmental Policy Act. The department will then present the plan to the Fish and Wildlife Commission for their review and potential endorsement.

For more information, including the draft plan, EIS, supporting documents, and to comment online, please go to


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

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Winter Wildlife Closures Begin on Bridger-Teton National Forest

The Bridger-Teton National Forest is stressing the importance of winter wildlife closures and other closure areas. December 1, 2022 all the winter closure areas are in effect except areas in Lower Spread Creek and Coal Mine Draw, west of the Hatchet Road on the Jackson and Blackrock Ranger Districts. Closures for those will begin December 15.

Designated winter wildlife closure areas are essential to the survival of wildlife. When people or their pets enter closed winter range, wildlife is forced to move to new locations. This retreat requires animals, such as deer, elk and moose, to use energy they cannot spare. This leads to a weakened condition, which can have a direct effect on the animals’ ability to fend off disease or predators and can lead to reproduction problems.

Some high use recreation trails go through or directly along the edge of these closure areas. It is important to stay on the trails and keep pets leashed to minimize any impacts to our native wildlife. Some high use trails have leash requirements around the trailhead and the beginning of the trail not only to protect wildlife but to decrease the chance of user conflicts as well.

Winter travel maps and MVUMs (Motor Vehicle Use Maps) are available at district offices or online for your mobile device for Android and Apple operating systems. The free app is available for download through Avenza System Inc.: This application along with the PDF maps available on the Bridger-Teton National Forest website under the ‘Maps and Publications’ tab, will allow you to view your location as you move across a map.


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

Friday, December 2, 2022

Revealing My Upcoming Book Cover

The other day I “revealed” the title of my upcoming book. Today I wanted to reveal the cover of “Ramble On: How Hiking Became One of the Most Popular Outdoor Activities in the World”


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

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

My New Book Has a Title!

So some of you may have noticed my lack of activity on social media over the last several months. Truth be told, I’ve been working on a super-secret project! However, today, I wanted to let you all know that I've been working on my new book for almost a year now, and right now I'm in the process of putting the finishing touches on it. In the meantime, I thought I would “reveal” the title of the book: “Ramble On: How Hiking Became One of the Most Popular Outdoor Activities in the World”

More information will be coming in the next few days and weeks!


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

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Glacier National Park is Seeking Seasonal Help

Glacier National Park posted this on their social media today:
Looking for a new office? Consider working here!

Enjoy the grandeur of Glacier National Park as your summer office and home and spend your free time exploring glacially carved lakes and valleys. Affordable housing is available with most positions at Glacier National Park, and by gaining valuable experience, a seasonal job can be the gateway to establishing a career in federal service.

Positions available include but are not limited to Park Ranger, Visitor Services Assistant, Biological Science Technician, Forestry Technician, Dispatcher, Equipment Operator, Maintenance Worker, Laborer, Automotive Worker, Carpenter, Masonry Worker, Volunteer Program Assistant, and more.

All positions are advertised on To get started, create a USAJobs account at Browse currently advertised positions by typing “Glacier National Park” in the location search box at the top of the page.


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

Friday, November 18, 2022

Outdoor Recreation Economy Plays Strong Role in Wyoming’s Economic Future

The Outdoor Recreation Industry continued to thrive in 2021 as a strong economic driver across the nation and in Wyoming accounting for $1.5 billion or 3.6% of the state’s GDP according to the latest report from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The total value added by outdoor recreation rose from $1.2 billion or 3.4% in 2020, representing a $3 million or .2% overall increase to the state’s GDP from 2020 to 2021. In 2021, Wyoming ranked 6th among all states in outdoor recreation value-added growth. Since 2020, outdoor recreation value added has grown 28.6% in Wyoming, compared with an increase of 24.7% for the United States.

Employment in the sector also saw an increase from 14,187 to 15,285 jobs accounting for 5.4% of the state’s total employment. Since 2020, outdoor recreation employment has grown 18.4% in Wyoming, compared with an increase of 13.1% for the United States.

In 2020, Wyoming’s outdoors saw unprecedented visitation throughout the state and those high numbers have continued through 2021. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks both celebrated record numbers and hosted a combined 8,745,787 recreation visits. Wyoming State Parks and Historic Sites also hosted a combined 5,755,184 visitors in 2021, a 2% decrease from 2020, but 25% above the five-year average.

With record visitation, many outdoor recreation activities also saw significant growth in 2021 with some surpassing pre-pandemic value added. Snow activities saw an increased value added of $108,258 jumping from the 13th to 12th ranked state in value added. RVing, motorcycling and ATVing, climbing, equestrian, bicycling and recreational flying also saw steady increases across the board contributing a combined $166,423 in value added or an 11% increase.

In response to trending visitation growth and demand for new outdoor recreation opportunities and infrastructure across the state, Wyoming Outdoor Recreation has continued its efforts to help promote, enhance and expand responsible outdoor recreation in Wyoming through a variety of projects, programs, and partnerships at a local, state and national level.

In 2021, Wyoming Outdoor Recreation expanded its existing outdoor recreation collaboratives with the formation of 5 new initiatives for a total of 7 statewide. These initiatives bring together local community members, recreation stakeholders, businesses, conservation groups, federal and state agencies, and elected officials to identify and prioritize opportunities for the growth and enhancement of outdoor recreation in their region.

As participation in the outdoors continues to grow, strategic economic development will be crucial to improving the experience on public lands and taking the edge off overcrowding. New funding opportunities, investing in local recreation, and ensuring popular destinations have sufficient infrastructure will help reduce pressure and protect close-to-home recreation.

On July 1, 2022, Wyoming Outdoor Recreation announced the launch of the first Wyoming Outdoor Recreation Grant Program that will award funding to public outdoor recreation projects throughout the state. The program received nearly $72 million in requests for $14 million in available funding.

These projects and initiatives are part of a broader effort by Wyoming’s Office of Outdoor Recreation to diversify Wyoming’s economy and to have positive quality of life and economic impacts on local communities.

For more information about Wyoming Outdoor Recreation, please visit You may also view the full BEA Report at


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

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Yellowstone National Park’s Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel to remain closed for winter 2022-2023

Yellowstone National Park’s Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel will remain closed this winter season, Dec. 2022 through March 2023. The hotel closed immediately after the historic June flood because of damage to the area’s wastewater system. The hotel will be closed to overnight guests and food services will not be provided.

The hotel gift shop, coffee and beverage service, lobby and ski shop will be open. Regularly scheduled tours and snowcoach service between Mammoth Hot Springs, Old Faithful and other iconic locations will be available.

In June 2022, unprecedented amounts of rainfall caused severe damage to the North Entrance Road between Mammoth Hot Springs and the park’s North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana. In addition, a sewer line adjacent to the road that carried wastewater from Mammoth Hot Springs to a sewage treatment plant in Gardiner was ruptured. Staff quickly rerouted the wastewater into percolator ponds used between the 1930s and 1960s, allowing for summer day-use visitors and residents to stay in the area. Currently, a new wastewater treatment system is being built to serve the Mammoth area, however, the temporary system is not ready to support hotel operations this winter. Yellowstone staff are working diligently to make this system operational and anticipate a reopening spring 2023.

The hotel concessioner is in the process of notifying guests with reservations about the situation.

Visit Explore in Winter for information about planning a trip to Yellowstone this winter.


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

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

New lifetime pass available for Military Veterans and Gold Star Families to access public lands

This should've happened a long time ago:

The Whitehouse announced that starting on Veterans Day (Nov. 11), veterans of the U.S. Armed Services and Gold Star Families can obtain a free lifetime pass to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites spread out across more than 400 million acres of public lands, including national parks, wildlife refuges, and forests.

“We have a sacred obligation to America’s veterans. This new lifetime pass is a small demonstration of our nation’s gratitude and support for those who have selflessly served in the U.S. Armed Forces,” said Secretary Deb Haaland, whose father served during the Vietnam War. “I’m proud the Department of the Interior can provide veterans and Gold Star Families opportunities for recreation, education and enjoyment from our country’s treasured lands.”

Each lifetime pass covers entrance fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle (or passholder and up to three adults at sites that charge per person) at national parks and national wildlife refuges, as well as standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. 

Veterans can present one of the four forms of acceptable ID (Department of Defense ID Card, Veteran Health ID (VHIC), Veteran ID Card, or veteran’s designation on a state-issued US driver’s license or ID card) at participating federal recreation areas that normally charge an entrance fee. Gold Star Families obtain information, self-certify they qualify and download a voucher on

The Alexander Lofgran Veterans in Parks Act, passed in December 2021, authorized free lifetime access to federal lands to veterans and Gold Star Families. The new lifetime pass for veterans and Gold Star Families is in addition to the free annual Military Pass, which has been available to active duty servicemembers and their families since Armed Forces Day, May 19, 2012.   

Federal recreational land management agencies offer additional lifetime passes, including a Senior Pass for US citizens or permanent residents over age 62 and an Access Pass for US citizens or permanent residents with a permanent disability. More information is available on

The Interior Department and other federal land agencies also offer fee-free entrance days for everyone throughout the year to mark days of celebration and commemoration, including the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., National Public Lands Day, and Veterans Day.


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

Saturday, November 5, 2022

Fuel reduction burns planned in Grand Teton

Teton Interagency Fire personnel will burn slash piles created from fuel reduction projects in Grand Teton National Park in the coming weeks. Firefighters have focused on fuel reduction efforts in developed areas to reduce wildfire risk, and pile burning is the last step in this thinning process.

Fuel reduction includes thinning and removing lower limbs from trees and the removal of dead wood and brush from the forest floor. Firefighters place the slash from fuel reduction work into tepee-shaped piles and let them cure for a year before burning them. Firefighters will burn these piles under low fire behavior conditions resulting from wet weather and snow accumulation. Smoke may be visible from these piles during the day of ignition and may linger in the area for a few days.

Fuel reduction burns are planned to occur near the following locations in Grand Teton:

* Colter Bay
* Historic Bar BC Dude Ranch
* Beaver Creek
* Elk Ranch
* Kelly
* Murie Ranch
* Seligman South (near the south boundary at Poker Flats)
* Sky Ranch

It is difficult to predict exactly when the burning will occur because reduction piles are only ignited under certain conditions, including favorable smoke dispersal and weather conditions that limit the chance of fire spread.

Public and firefighter safety is always the number one priority in all burn operations. Fire management staff will monitor the piles to assure complete combustion and consumption of all fuels and to assess conditions for potential fire spread. If smoke lingers, signs will be posted along roadsides to remind drivers to use headlights for safer travel.


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

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

Elk reduction program begins Saturday, November 5

An elk reduction program begins Saturday, November 5, in Grand Teton National Park. The park’s enabling legislation of 1950 authorizes Grand Teton National Park to jointly administer an elk reduction program with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department when necessary for the proper management and conservation of the Jackson Elk Herd.

Respective federal and state resource managers have reviewed available data and concluded that the 2022 program is necessary. The need for the program is determined annually and is based on the status of the Jackson Elk Herd, including estimated herd size and composition and the number of elk on supplemental feed on the National Elk Refuge. A total of 475 permits are authorized for the 2022 program.

The only area open to the elk reduction program is Wyoming Game and Fish Elk Hunt Area 75, located mostly east of U.S. Highway 89. The Antelope Flats portion of this area closes November 21, and the remaining portions close December 11. The Snake River Bottom between Deadmans Bar and Ditch Creek is closed.

Wyoming Game and Fish Elk Hunt Area 79 is closed to limit harvest pressure on northern migratory and resident elk.

Participants in the program must carry their state license for Elk Hunt Area 75, conservation stamp, elk special management permit and 2022 elk reduction program park permit, use non-lead ammunition, and are limited in the number of cartridges they are able to carry each day. Harvest is currently restricted to cows and calves. The use of archery, handguns, or other non-center fire ammunition rifles is not permitted, nor is the use of artificial elk calls. In addition, participants, regardless of age, are required to carry a hunter safety card, wear fluorescent orange or pink, and carry and have immediately accessible a 7.9 oz. (or greater) can of non-expired bear spray. Information packets accompanying each permit warn participants of the risk of bear encounters and offer tips on how to minimize the risk of human-bear conflicts.

With detection of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in two mule deer and an elk within Grand Teton National Park since 2018, the National Park Service increased surveillance efforts to include mandatory collection of elk heads from all elk harvested during the program. Park personnel will collect biological samples from the heads and submit them to the Wyoming State Veterinary Laboratory for testing. Participants can check their results online.

National Park Service and Wyoming Game and Fish staff will monitor and patrol elk reduction program areas to ensure compliance with rules and regulations, interpret the elk reduction program to visitors, and provide participants with outreach regarding bear activity and safety. These areas remain open to park visitors, and wearing bright colors is highly encouraged during this time.

An information line for the elk reduction program is available at 307-739-3681. More information can be found at


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

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Yellowstone's North Entrance and road to Mammoth Hot Springs to open Nov. 1

Yellowstone National Park’s North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana, and road between the North Entrance and Mammoth Hot Springs (Old Gardiner Road) will open to regular visitor traffic Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 8 a.m.

Visitors should keep the following details in mind when driving the road:

* Yellowstone reminds the public of everyone’s responsibility to use the road carefully to avoid accidents.

* Steep grades and sharp curves exist and speed limits range between 15-25 mph.

* There are no length or weight restrictions on the road (see exceptions), however, oversized vehicles and vehicles with trailers must use caution in curves to maintain lanes.

* After opening to the public, the road will continue to be an active construction zone. Drivers will need to use caution and watch for crews and heavy equipment.

* During inclement winter weather, short-term (30 minute) closures may occur to allow for plowing.

* Clean-up efforts will continue beyond Nov. 1 for as long as weather permits.

Access between Gardiner and Mammoth Hot Springs has been limited since the historic flood event in June that resulted in significant damage to approximately five sections of the North Entrance Road. The park closed the North Entrance Road and immediately began to focus considerable time and funding to improve the Old Gardiner Road, the best and only option to quickly reconnect Yellowstone National Park to Gardiner.

Over the last four months crews modernized the historic Old Gardiner Road. Traffic-safety improvements include:

* Turning the 1880’s single-lane dirt road into two lanes,

* Paving and striping the entire road (4 miles),

* Installing over 5,000 feet of guardrail for traffic safety,

* Expanding road widths,

* Creating new pullouts,

* Building a new ¼ -mile approach road into Mammoth Hot Springs to avoid a 12-15% steep grade on the original road. The new approach required additional engineering and design to provide a safe road base to handle the 2,000-3,000 vehicles per day that enter the park from the North Entrance. This project is being completed with support from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and funded largely by FHWA Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO). HK Contractors, INC is the primary construction company under contract to complete this project.

Visitors are reminded that nearly all other roads in the park will be closed Nov. 1. Yellowstone annually closes roads at this time of year to prepare them for the winter season and snowmobile and snowcoach travel, which will begin Dec. 15.


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

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Nearly all entrances and roads in Yellowstone National Park will be closed Nov. 1

The West, South and East entrances and nearly all roads in Yellowstone National Park will be closed to regular vehicle traffic Nov. 1. The park annually closes roads at this time of year to prepare them for the winter season and snowmobile and snowcoach travel, which will begin Dec. 15. The last day for visitors to drive most roads will be Monday, Oct. 31.  

Park roads that will be closed Nov. 1 include:

* Mammoth Hot Springs to Norris
* Norris to Canyon Village 
* Canyon Village to Lake Village 
* East Entrance to Lake Village (Sylvan Pass)  
* Lake Village to West Thumb 
* South Entrance to West Thumb 
* West Thumb to Old Faithful (Craig Pass)
* Old Faithful to Madison
* West Entrance to Madison  
* Madison to Norris
* Tower Junction to Canyon Junction (Dunraven Pass) closed for the season Oct. 21 due to inclement weather.

Park roads open year-round

The roads between the North Entrance in Gardiner, Montana, and the Northeast Entrance in Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana (via Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Junction and Lamar Valley), will be open year-round. However, in June of this year, sections of the road were significantly damaged by floods and closed temporarily. The road between Tower Junction and the Northeast Entrance in Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana, reopened to regular traffic on Oct. 15. The road between the North Entrance and Mammoth Hot Springs will open to regular traffic no later than Nov. 1. For details - including up-to-date photos - about the June floods in the park and ongoing recovery, visit


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

Friday, October 21, 2022 Adds 5 New Hikes to Website continues to expand! Kathy and I spent several days hiking in the San Juan Mountains near Ouray a few weeks ago. We also stayed in Buena Vista a couple of nights, and were able to do a hike from Cottonwood Pass. As a result, we just added 5 new hikes to our website. Hopefully you'll find that this expansion will make your hike and trip planning a little easier as you explore Colorado's amazing backcountry outside of Rocky Mountain National Park.

Here's a quick rundown on what's been added to our site:

Sneffels Highline: The first two hikes on this list, both the Sneffels Highline and Bilk Basin Overlook, are among the best hikes I've ever done. Both offer exceptional views for extended periods. For example, the Sneffels Highline travels above the treeline for almost 4.5 miles. I highly recommend this hike during the fall when the aspens explode in brilliant shades of yellows.

Bilk Basin Overlook: This hike climbs to the base of the Lizard Head, the iconic peak that has been voted as one of Colorado's most dangerous and difficult climbs, according to the San Juan National Forest website. From the basin below the peak the trail ascends a low saddle where you'll enjoy spectacular views of 14,246-foot Mount Wilson, 13,913-foot Gladstone Peak and 14,017-foot Wilson Peak rising above Bilk Basin.

Horsethief Trail: Just outside of the town of Ouray is another outstanding hike that offers spectacular scenery. At just 6.5 miles in total roundtrip mileage, or even less if you have a 4WD, this hike offers some of the best bang for your buck.

Porphyry Basin: If you're comfortable walking off trail, and enjoy passing thru old mining country, this is a great choice if you're in the Red Mountain Pass area. The hike visits three lakes in the lower and upper Porphyry Basin, and includes many opportunities for exploring the expansive open terrain that surrounds them.

Cottonwood Pass South: This is a great hike if you're anywhere in the Buena Vista area. Big views are attained from the very first step. Although the total elevation gain is rather small, this is still a fairly strenuous hike for those that haven't acclimated properly. The hike begins from Cottonwood Pass, which means you'll be at 12,126 feet at the trailhead. The hike ends near the top of Wander Ridge, at 12,650 feet.

You can find several other hikes in the San Juan Mountains, and throughout Colorado, on our Other Colorado Hiking Trails page.

Hope you find these helpful! Happy trails!


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

Friday, October 14, 2022

Northeast Entrance Road in Yellowstone National Park to open Oct. 15

Yellowstone National Park’s Northeast Entrance Road (Tower Junction to the Northeast Entrance in Cooke City/Silver Gate, Montana) will open to regular visitor vehicle traffic on Saturday, Oct.15 at 8 a.m.

Visitors should keep the following details in mind when driving the road:

* All flood damaged sections on the Northeast Entrance Road will be paved by Oct.15, except for the section of road near the popular trailhead to Trout Lake, which will be paved in the upcoming 10 days. Traffic will be permitted on this segment of road while repairs continue. Anticipate traffic control in the area and short delays to facilitate one-way traffic through this section.

* A short section of road in Lamar Canyon will remain a paved, single lane through the winter season. A temporary stop light will be in place for traffic control and delays will be minimal.

* There will be no restrictions on the Northeast Entrance Road.

* After opening to the public, this road will continue to be an active construction zone. Drivers will need to use caution and watch for crews and heavy equipment.

* Repair efforts will continue beyond Oct. 15 for as long as weather permits. Additional repairs and clean-up will continue in the spring.

“We are very pleased to be restoring public access to the northeast corridor just four months after the June flood event,” said Superintendent Cam Sholly. “I commend the collective efforts of the National Park Service, the Federal Highway Administration and Oftedal Construction, Inc. to complete this monumental task in such a short amount of time.”

The Northeast Entrance Road has been closed since the historic flood event in June which caused significant damage to approximately five sections of the road. Reopening this section effectively opens 99% of the park’s roads.

This project is being completed with support from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and funded largely by FHWA Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO). Oftedal Construction, Inc. is the primary construction company under contract to complete this project.

Crews are completing extensive work on the Old Gardiner Road (a limited-access road between Gardiner, Montana, and Mammoth Hot Springs). Paving is currently being completed over the entire 4-mile road and over 5,000 feet of guardrail is being installed. This road remains closed to regular traffic and will open no later than Nov. 1.

For details, including up-to-date photos, about the June flood and ongoing recovery, visit


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

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Bureau of Reclamation will intermittently close Teton Park Road across Jackson Lake Dam

The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR), Upper Snake Field Office, is temporarily closing the Teton Park Road across the Jackson Lake Dam in Grand Teton National Park on an intermittent basis from Oct. 11 through Oct. 29 to perform crane work on the dam. The closures will occur Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for up to two hours for each closure. The road will remain open in the evenings and weekends.

Crane work will take place to set and move the bulkhead gate and inspect and perform maintenance work at the Jackson Lake Dam.

During this time, travelers will not be able to make a through-trip on the Teton Park Road. Those wishing to access the northern part of Grand Teton or Yellowstone National Park may want to take U.S. Highway 89/191/287.

Variable message boards advising visitors of the closures will be operational 24 hours in advance, staged at Jackson Lake Junction and near Signal Mountain Lodge. Flaggers will staff hard closures north of Jackson Lake Dam and south of Catholic Bay Picnic Area.

Further information about this project can be obtained by contacting Johnathon Owsley, BOR Upper Snake Field Office, 208-678-0461 ext. 18.

Work schedules may change or be delayed due to weather conditions or other extenuating circumstances.


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

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Pathway signs installed throughout Grand Teton

New signage has been installed at six biking hubs along the Grand Teton Pathway to improve recreationist’s experience and safety.

Biking is a popular sport in Grand Teton and while the pathway has been enjoyed for several years, updates on pathways signs were vital to meet the needs of increased visitation and the arrival of electric bikes.

New signs have been installed at these different hubs throughout the park: Gros Ventre roundabout, Blacktail Butte turnout, Dornans, Moose, Taggart Lake, and Jenny Lake. Each sign includes a pathways map, biking regulations, safety messaging, and information like pathway mileage and grade. All hubs have a bench and bike racks except the Dornans hub, which has facilities nearby.

Updated signs are part of a park initiative to provide a safer and more accessible experience for those who use the 17 miles of pathways in Grand Teton.

“Biking is a great way to explore Grand Teton and we want to encourage visitors and employees to get outdoors and have a safe and enjoyable experience while using the pathway,” said Chip Jenkins, superintendent of Grand Teton.

The Grand Teton Pathway runs from the south park boundary to Jenny Lake. Visitors on bikes, rollerblades/skates, and long/skateboards are welcome on the pathway.


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