Winter in the National Parks: Glacier

Cold enthusiasts rejoice, the national parks are open all season

Glacier National Park     Photo: Lijuan Guo/Shutterstock

Entrance Fee

$15 per vehicle

FOUNDED: 1910
SIZE: 1,013,322 acres

Ninety-three percent of this park is classified as wilderness. Its remoteness and lack of access may seem forbidding, but the winter is one of the most beautiful times in this park. Tourists dwindle, giving you a chance to commune with nature. Glacier is often called the Crown of the Continent because its waters feed the Pacific, the Caribbean, and Hudson Bay.

HOW TO GET THERE
Fly into Glacier International Airport to get to the park and rent a car from there. Roads are easily blocked by snow so make sure to check conditions before setting out. Many of the park's iconic roads are also closed.

WHERE TO STAY
Camping is available free of charge during the winter at the Apgar and St. Mary campgrounds, but a backcountry permit is required. The park also provides a long list of hotels on its outskirts if you don’t want to brave the cold.

WHAT TO DO
Visiting Glacier around this time of year is like entering the frosty home of the King of Winter himself. Snowshoeing is really the only way to get around the 700 miles of trails, and rangers offer guided trips that last about two hours. You can also spend some time cross-country skiing if you bring rentals with you. Just be advised that there are no marked ski trails and rangers recommend filling out a voluntary Day Trip Plan. If you’re up for a good hike or the road is plowed, we recommend driving up Going-to-the-Sun road, which will give you your best look at all of the beautiful mountains and valleys the park has to offer.

THINGS TO REMEMBER
⇢ Day Trip Plans: they can be a lifesaver.
⇢ You're in grizzly country. Take all necessary precautions.

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