View Full Version : Glacier NP in November

steve hiker
11-14-2004, 14:58
I'm heading to Glacier Nat'l Park in Montana in a few days. Any suggestions of especially good lower elevations trails? I can't go too high b/c of the snow. I've heard the Many Glacier area is stunning.

Also, for those of you in the area, what are road conditions in the area this time of November? I'll be coming up through Kalispell and am wonding if I'll need chains to get to Polebridge and other areas of the park.

11-14-2004, 15:38
There is (was?) a great little trail guide called "Hiking the Great Smoky Mountains" by Rodney & Priscilla Albright, The Globe Pequot Press. isbn 1-56440-378-5. Mine is a third edition, 1994. If there is an updated version it is worth a look. I confess I do like trail guides but this one has good maps as well as descriptions.

steve hiker
11-14-2004, 15:41
There is (was?) a great little trail guide called "Hiking the Great Smoky Mountains" by Rodney & Priscilla Albright, The Globe Pequot Press. isbn 1-56440-378-5.
Thanks Jim, but I'm not going to the Smokies, I'm going to Montana.

11-14-2004, 17:02
Clear what I am think about! I read that as GSNP.

The CDT site has a pretty good guide on Montana. www.CDTrail.org

11-14-2004, 18:02
The border crossing along Waterton lake isn't very high and the Canadian (and so presumably the American) side is very pretty. You'll have to be able to access Goat Haunt ranger station (it will be closed). You may have to snowshoe in.

Bandana Man
11-14-2004, 19:10
Hope you bring back lots of photos and post them here at WB. Also, any tips or advice from your trip would be appreciated. My wife and I want to go in 2006 for two weeks, but not November. We want to go in peak wildflower season.

steve hiker
11-15-2004, 02:46
You better watch out Steve they got lots of real big grizzler bears there and some of them dont den until December, they're eating 24 hours a day now to get as fat as they can before hibernating and if they see you walking around they'll scarf you up fastern a box of 4 jumbo hot wings for $1.25. :eek:

steve hiker
11-15-2004, 22:09
10-4, BearScared.

Iíve heard the roads will be clear up to Polebridge. Which is good since I donít have the slightest idea how to attach tire chains.

The hostel will have snowshoes for rent. Anyone with suggestions for good trails, let me know. Iíll be staying on the west side of Glacier but will drive over to the east side on Saturday to the Many Glacier area.

Chris I assume the border crossing area near Waterton Lake is on the CDT? How high is that? Thereís snow on the mountain tops now and a little lower, but not a lot. So this may be doable if thereís reasonable trailhead access near a road. I wonít be backpacking, since I don't have a 0 bag.

Will take pics and post. Just wish I could be there longer.

11-16-2004, 09:07
The Boarder Crossing on the East side of Glacier Park is on the Chief Mountain Highway (Route 17). Elevation is about 5000 feet. I don't know where the CDT crosses. I biked through there last summer.

11-16-2004, 11:00
I've got the border at 1265 meters, which is something around 4000 ft. The CDT runs up from Goat Haunt to monument 276 along Upper Waterton Lake. I think it is something like 12K. Waterton is about 6 K further into Canada, but I think the town will be closed soon. Immigration might look sideways at you if you dally around the border for very long, as it is a popular place to smuggle Asian sex trade workers into America from Canada. I don't think there will be too strong a presence there, however.

steve hiker
11-23-2004, 02:18
Just got back from Montana yesterday. How to describe Glacier National Park? Stunning, dramatic, come to mind. And I only saw a little piece of it.

Anyway, I've loaded a few pics in the gallery (the rest didn't load on my first attempt), but pics don't do justice to what I saw. A tip, however: look at the pics in the larger view size. Look in the box at the bottom of the pic and click on the larger file size. Here's a quick link to the gallery.


steve hiker
11-23-2004, 16:08
Added a few more photos.

I had two full days of hiking. First day, I hiked the Bowman Lake loop. Bowman Lake is impressive, but most of the surrounding views were obscured by clouds. It snowed in the afternoon, but fortunately didnít get deep enough to be postholing.

Next day, I did the Avalanche Lake trail. Avalanche Lake is awesome. I donít know if this is a "glacial lake" or not, but itís basically a bowl surrounded by steep mountains. Together with the snow and partially frozen lake water, it looked like something out of Alaska. Stunning, and very different from anything in the eastern U.S.

After hiking to Avalanche Lake, I hiked up the Apgar trail. It was late in the afternoon when I started, and the sun was setting by the time I got up to the lookout. When I saw it, it looked familiar. It looks exactly like the lookout cabin in Doug Peacockís book Grizzly Years. Which I highly recommend, by the way Ė one of the best books Iíve read. Snapped a few photos but they didnít come out since it was too dark. Later, I looked on a Glacier map and saw there are several lookouts in the park, so this may not (or may) have been the one in Peacockís book.

Then it was time to hike out, in the dark, in Glacier National Park which has the highest concentration of grizzlies in the continental U.S. Even though it was November, the locals said that quite a few of the male bears were still out. The females had denned, but males will often stay out till early December. Especially if there has been poor foraging. This year, the huckelberry crop failed, and there has not been much snow so far. So, with the bears still hungry from a failed huckelberry crop, itís a virtual certainty that several bears heard me bellowing YO BEAR! on my way back down. Lucky for me, they decided to stay away instead of making a meal out of a protein-rich hiker.

Glacier is a stunning place. But donít take my word for it, go and see for yourself.