Glacier

Glacier national Park     Photo: PhotoDisc

Stats

>EST. 1910
>ACREAGE 1,013,572
>VISITORS 1,964,399 (2006)

Before global warming renders it the "Park Formerly Known as Glacier," visit this northern Montana refuge to appreciate its 700-plus miles of trails, 653 lakes, dozens of glaciers, and hundreds of animal species, including bighorn sheep and gray wolves. The North and Middle forks of the Flathead River are magnets for both fly-fishermen looking to hook cutthroats and rainbows, and whitewater kayakers and rafters after thrills on Class III rapids with names like Jaws and Bone Crusher. What's more, the park has a foreign flair: Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park, in southern Alberta, linked up with Glacier in 1932 to form the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park.

EXPERT ADVICE: "You can take hiking trails all the way to the Canadian border," says Denny Gignoux, co-owner of local outfitter Glacier Guides. The best route begins at Logan Pass, a popular trailhead off the park's main road, and runs for 33 miles to the remote Goat Haunt ranger station, near the Canadian border. From there, you can either hike ten miles around or take a 45-minute boat ride across Waterton Lake to the Canadian town of Waterton. Don't forget your passport.

CRASH PAD: En route to the border, spend a night at the Granite Park Chalet, 7.4 miles up the High Line Trail. One of the mountain lodges built by the Great Northern Railroad Company in the early 1900s, it has 12 rooms with little more than bunk beds and a large, shared kitchen where guests can cook their own food. $70 per person; graniteparkchalet.com

DETAILS: nps.gov/glac, 406-888-7800; Glacier Guides, glacierguides.com

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