3 Tips for Glacier National Park

Upper Two Medicine Lake and snow covered mountains at Glacier National Park
Upper Two Medicine Lake and snow covered mountains at Glacier National Park. Bonus tip: this is not the best backpack for hiking.

Glacier National Park is breathtaking. I went there and ran a half marathon which was an amazing experience. It was beautiful! But I did learn some lessons, some which should have been obvious and could have easily been avoided. Here are my top 3, possibly obvious, tips for Glacier National Park:

1. Give yourself enough time

First mistake, the most rookie mistake: I only had five days total in the Park. Five days is not enough time there. Not even close! I recommend spending at least 7 days there, if not more. The weather can be unpredictable, a lot of cool trails are closed on certain days because of weather, visibility, or other reasons. Plus you need enough time to drive to different parts of the park before hiking, which can take up a good portion of the day. If you are making the effort to go there, do yourself a favor and set aside enough time to enjoy all that the park has to offer.

2. Prepare for unexpected expenses

Hoping a camping trip is a cheap alternative? Unless you are used to paying for 5 star hotels, a trip to Glacier might surprise you in the way it can add up. Flights can be expensive as the airport is small (I flew into Kalispell). You will definitely need a rental car and pay for gas, and buying supplies adds up. Not just camping supplies that you pack with you, but food, water, bear spray? Things that you wouldn’t be able to fly with. The experience would probably be different if you had a camper, or drive your own car there, and investing in these kind of trips if that’s your jam.

3. Bring Every Kind of Layer

I went in the dead of summer (end of June) and it was still pretty chilly! It rained a lot, and when the sun came out it was very warm. Pack various types of clothing, and especially when hiking on mountains it can get cold higher up, or once you start climbing and moving you start to get warm. Pack all of these layers for day trips as well!

Those are my top 3 tips for Glacier National Park, especially for first-timers. Do you camp national parks often? Do you love Glacier? What are your tips? Let me know in the comments!

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