Glacier National Park
Photo: courtesy of National Park Service
The Recovery Package: End Prohibition
Last December, the NPS proposed a mountain-bike rule that would allow park managers to open more trails to knobby tires. Proponents think the new rule could be passed as soon as this summer; early adopters could include Fort Dupont Park, in Washington, D.C., and Texas's Big Bend National Park, which are working with the International Mountain Bicycling Association to set up trail systems. For updates, check imba.com
THE INSIDER: Kyle Johnson, wilderness specialist and 27-year park veteran
THE BOTTLENECK: "You see most of the people in places like Avalanche Lake and Logan Pass, off Going-to-the-Sun Road," says Johnson. "These are people hiking a couple of miles or a few hundred yards."
THE BACK DOOR: "People always ask me what my favorite place in the park is," says Johnson. "My favorite place is where I am. There are a lot of great hikes, great fishing spots. Maybe I'm being vague. As soon as someplace is mentioned in Outside, it's not going to be off the path anymore. There are guidebooks." Thanks, Kyle! Anyway, here are a few good trip ideas from associate editor Abe Streep, who pumped gas in Glacier during college: For a scenic in-park hike that ends with a lot of trout and grayling on the line, try the ten-mile (one-way) trek in through the Belly River Valley to Elizabeth Lake. Bring bear spray. (Reserve backcountry campgrounds at the St. Mary visitor center; $5 per person; 406-732-7750.) In shape to climb one of Glacier's rugged peaks? Start with Mount Reynolds, a 9,125-foot glacial horn that's an eight-hour round-trip from Logan Pass. And if you have four days and want to get wet, call Glacier Raft Company and schedule a trip down the wild Upper Middle Fork of the Flathead ($1,500; glacierraftco.com). You start with a prop-plane flight to the put-in at Schafer Meadows, then paddle Class IIIIV rapids in the Great Bear Wilderness, just outside park limits.
THE LAUNCH PAD: Many Glacier Hotel (doubles from $142; glacierparkinc.com) is old-school, Swiss-style, and 12 miles from the finest 28-ounce ribeye in America, at the Babb Bar Cattle Baron Supper Club (babbbarcattlebaron.com), which pretty much constitutes the town of Babb.