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Backpacking Glacier National Park


Aaron Zagrodnick

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Seeing almost 3 million visitors in 2018, Glacier National Park isn’t a piece of public land that could be described as “under-appreciated”. Its spectacular scenery and excellent infrastructure beckons crowds of hikers and backpackers who often fill its trails and backcountry campsites to capacity. However, given its enormous acreage – over one million acres – backpackers who don’t mind spending some time hiking cross-country or doing out-and-back portions of their trip to corners of the park that are less popular can enjoy impressive landscapes as well as solitude. The five-night, six-day trip that I took during peak hiking season was planned by my hiking partner, Doug, who has a knack for putting together well-crafted trips that typically zig where the crowds zag. Unfortunately, this year Doug also had the misfortune of conjuring up rainy weather on the majority of his backpacking trips. Prior to the trip, he warned me about the Charlie Brown-esque rain cloud that had been following him around the backcountry and I offered the hope that my lucky streak of good weather backpacking trips would help balance things out...

In Issue 43, @Mark details this multi-night backpacking trip into Glacier National Park. Read the full article below:

A Journey through the Clouds: Scenery and Rain in Glacier National Park

Backpacking in Glacier National Park Article

Issue 43 Page 1

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Aaron Zagrodnick

Really enjoyed this article, dare I say epic scenery. I seems that we have inherited that rainy (and now snowy) weather here as of late!

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Mark Wetherington

Thanks, Aaron, glad you enjoyed it. It certainly was some world-class scenery, even if some of it was obscured by fogs and clouds. Sorry to hear that similar weather has settled in down your way. Winter has arrived pretty early here in Montana as well. Had two inches of snow yesterday morning on the valley floor at 3,500 feet and temperatures in the teens.

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Mark Wetherington

Sorry for the delayed reply -- I went in early August (8-13th, I think). That is usually a pretty great time to go, but unfortunately there was a lot of rain on this trip. We could have just as easily ended up with ideal summer weather, but so it goes.

Best of luck with your trip, there's no real "bad" trip in Glacier so even if you don't get your first choice of permits you should still have a great time.

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I did my first American backpacking trip starting from the Belly River trailhead in GNP three years ago. I drove from Alberta down to GNP and stayed overnight at Many Glaciers before starting my backpacking trip and, after completing that, heading back to Waterton National Park on the Canadian side.

I had two nights by myself at the Glenn Lakes Head campground and experienced the fiercest wind storm I've experienced while backpacking. My tent poles were flexing down close to my face in the middle of the night but never broke. Luckily I'm a deep sleeper and the rain/thunder/windstorm hardly bothered me at all!

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