September 8 to 15, 2018

Status FULL
Cost $1,285 (per person)
Travel Dates September 8-15, 2018
Description Glacier National Park preserves over 1,000,000 acres of forests, alpine meadows, spectacular mountains and glaciers, straddling the Continental Divide adjacent to the Canadian border, in northern Montana. It is the U.S. part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (the first International Peace park in the world) and is also a designated World Heritage site. Its diverse habitats are home to over 70 species of mammals and over 260 species of birds. The spectacular glaciated landscape, from which the park gets its name, is a hiker’s paradise containing 700 miles of maintained trails that lead deep into one of the largest intact ecosystems in the lower 48 states. All the original predator and prey animals are here: mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk, moose, deer, small mammals, grizzly and black bears, mountain lions, and wolves.

Our host, outfitter and guide is the Glacier Institute, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to sharing knowledge about and preserving this magnificent national treasure. ( This trip is intended to provide both a challenging recreational and a unique learning experience. Each day’s hike will feature a different educational subject or “program” pertaining to the park. Glacier Institute will provide a guide/instructor each day, with expertise in that day’s particular subject, who will lead us on an excursion designed to provide information and interpretation while experiencing the park’s spectacular wildlife and scenic splendor

We will be staying 7 nights at Glacier Institute’s Glacier Park Field Camp (GPFC) near the western entrance to the park. Accomodations at GPFC are in small, rustic wooden cabins, with 4 or 5 beds in each. This is group sleeping similar to the ADK Loj bunk room. We will try to arrange it so that the people assigned to each cabin are of the same gender (except for couples), although that cannot be guaranteed. There is electricity in the cabins, with a nightstand and lamp at each bed, but no heat or towels. You will need to bring towels, and a sleeping bag is recommended, as nights will be chilly. There is a bathhouse with hot showers and flush toilets near the cabins.  Simple, hearty meals will be provided by Glacier Institute and eaten at picnic tables near the kitchen, weather permitting, or in the kitchen building. Supplies for a trail lunch will be available at breakfast each day.

Hiking will be moderate to somewhat strenuous with distances of 4-11 miles at elevations of 5,000 to 8,000 feet with elevation gain and loss varying between about 500 feet on some hikes to around 2,000 feet or more on others.  September is the shoulder season so trails will be less crowded. There can be trail closures (and road closures) due to bear activity and/or forest fires, in which case alternative hiking trails or travel routes will be determined by the Glacier Institute. You will need to carry only a daypack on each day’s hike. Transportation to and from trailheads will be provided by Glacier Institute (15 person van).

This trip is intended for persons who are in good physical condition and are willing and able to hike distances of 4-11 miles at elevations of 5,000 to 8,000 feet with elevation gain and loss varying between about 500 feet on some hikes to around 2,000 feet or more on others.  Hikes will be guided, over marked and maintained trails, and may involve exposure to unprotected heights, wildlife, sun, wind, rain, cold (or heat), insects, and crossing of snowfields and cold water streams. Sturdy, waterproof hiking boots with good tread are essential. Participants must also be willing to accept lodging in rustic, dormitory style facilities with few amenities at Glacier Park Field Camp, but great ADK style atmosphere!

  •  7 nights lodging at GPFC in rustic 4 or 5-person cabins
  • All ground transportation (in a van owned and operated by Glacier Institute) from/to the Kalispell, MT airport, to and from trailheads
  • 7 breakfasts, 6 trail lunches, 7 dinners, and a daily naturalist/guide.
Not Included
  • Transportation to and from Kalispell, MT (Glacier Park International/airport code FCA)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • All items of a personal nature
  • Trip Insurance
  • Guide gratuities
Payment Policy A Deposit of $ 500 is due with the application forms to register for the trip.

Must have at least 12 registered by December 1, 2017 for the trip to go (if applicable). The Balance of $785 is due no later than December 1, 2017.

Cancellation Policy
  • If registrant cancels prior to December 1, 2017, all payments received by ADK minus $100.00 will be refunded.
  • After December 1, 2017, refund will only be made if the vacancy can be filled from a waiting list maintained by the leader, if any, and then all but $100.00 will be refunded.
  • Note that there is a $100 registration fee included in the trip deposit which is not refundable if you have to cancel for any reason whatsoever.
  • If the leader decides that this trip is not for you, or the trip is canceled by ADK, all payments received by ADK will be refunded.
Trip Insurance It is very strongly recommended that all participants have trip or travel insurance that will cover trip cancellation by the participant, travel delays, medical expenses and medical evacuation. ADK does not provide this insurance and does not cover medical expenses or evacuation in the event you are injured or become ill during the trip. Note that if you have to cancel after the date indicated above, and cannot be replaced from the leader’s waiting list, if any, you could be out the entire amount you paid for the trip.



Daily Itinerary Day 1:  Saturday, September 8, 2018

Kalispell Airport Pick Up by Glacier Institute.  Afternoon
Introduction to Camp

Day 2:  Sunday, September 9, 2018

Hidden Lake/Highline:  Snaking our way up the Going-To-The-Sun Road, we arrive at Logan Pass, the famous summit that straddles the Continental Divide at 6,647 ft. We will embark on two trails: Hidden Lake Overlook and The Highline.

The Highline: One of Glacier’s crown jewels that rises and falls above the famous Going-To-The-Sun Road, our Teacher-Naturalists will provide a portrait of the geological forces that gouged Glacier’s yawning valleys and sheer mountain walls, leaving behind tell-tale clues for today’s park enthusiasts. Additionally, the Highline doubles as a sub-alpine safari for some of Glacier’s most charismatic animal species, lending a discussion of animal adaptations and life histories. All of this framed by the paradisal Garden Wall, another coin by park pioneer George Bird Grinnell, replete with stunning visuals of wildflowers, berry-producing shrubs, and trees wreathed in mist, “enough to make you gulp.” This is the highlight haunt that those returning to Glacier hike year after year.  Note:  The Highline Trail is narrow with a wall on one side and a steep drop off on the other.

Hidden Lake: Punctuated by the peaks around Logan Pass, the Hidden Lake trail ranks highly on people’s must-see list. The Hanging Gardens, the alpine meadows evocative of the ancient variety in Mesopotamia, produce in eye-popping color the ground-hugging plants like mountain pink and glacier lily. What conditions beget these fairytale forms? What advantages do they confer? We’ll also examine the air of change in these alpine wonderlands as climate change shapes the landscape and redefines relationships. And there are few places better to catch a glimpse of the famous “beast the color of winter”—Glacier’s iconic mountain goats—as they cling to vertiginous ledges, dine on rock-draped lichens, and slake their thirst on mineral licks from fault exposures and forgotten trekking poles!! These wooly rock-goats are fascinating studies of the alpine and exemplify the park as a refuge for these treasured species.  Combined roundtrip distance:  10.2 miles.  Elevation Gain:  1,260 feet.

Day 3:  Monday, September 10, 2018

Firebrand Pass:  Reminiscent of a Diego Rivera-as-naturalist mural, the exuberant scene at the southern boundary of the park leaves one breathless before hitting the trailhead. This nexus of prairie, montane, marsh, and parkland, and ultimately reaching into the sub-alpine atop Firebrand Pass peering into Ole Creek valley, one is unlikely to miss the whistling songbirds and greater menagerie of wildlife that corridor through. In this transitional plant zone, one walks through an open short-grass meadow with a seasonal presentation of showy flowers, a window box of color leading to the aspen parklands, a fire-adapted tree that blazes in the fall and whispers in the blustery winds common to this area of the park. Moving past shrubfields and coniferous forest, the talus slopes above hint at the unhurried processes of soil formation and mark the great decline of the Whitebark Pine, the Rockies’ silver sentinels. This is a catch-all trail rare on the south side!  Roundtrip distance:  10.2 miles.  Elevation Gain:  1, 950 feet.

Evening Presentation: Dave Streeter—Bear Ecology & Behavior

Day 4:  Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Avalanche Lake:  A primeval forest nestled in the maritime climate of the McDonald Valley, where one can expect to find ancient markers of centuries past, the lush cedar-hemlock complex, is home to an explosion of life and awakens one to the grandeur and biological fullness of Glacier’s timeless spaces. Following mossy boulders and smoothed ravine walls of Avalanche Creek, the aquamarine waters guide a 4.5-mile round trip hike to Avalanche Lake, home to the Westslope Cutthroat trout who feed in the chilly clines of this lake and tell a remarkable tale of adaptation and change. Encountering the remnants of avalanche blowdown, colossal stones plucked out by pressures of ice, and finishing in a glacier-fed cirque basin leaves the gravest of hikers misty-eyed.  Roundtrip distance:  4.6 miles.  Elevation gain:  500 feet.

Day 5:  Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Grinnell Glacier:  A trail of astounding proportions, the Grinnell Glacier hikes through the Cataract Creek Valley, hugging the shoreline of sparkling lakes as it climbs through the strata of Precambrian Belt Rock. The ocher and brick-red hues contrast with the cerulean shimmer of Lower Grinnell Lake as you step through a terrace sprayed by waterfalls, slopes afire with the white-hot stalks of beargrass, and, hopefully, gaze upon a moose munching on sedge and willow in the marshy creek bottoms. Glaciers abound at the summit of the trail, a fraternity of icy expanse that belies the long-term effects of climate change on these and other glaciers throughout the park. In 1850, Glacier Park contained 150 glaciers–today there are only 25! We’ll explore these disappearing giants, their glacial impressions scoured into rock, and the palette of colors that animate this strenuous but rewarding ascent.  Roundtrip distance:  11 miles.  Elevation gain:  1,840 feet.

Day 6:  Thursday, September 13, 2018

Cobalt Lake:  Sinopah Mountain, meaning “kit fox” in Blackfeet, looms above the South Shore trailhead of Two Medicine Lake, a sedimentary monument of awe. With this peak and others watching over, hikers amble through a montane forest of Lodgepole Pine and Douglas Fir, checkerboarded with meadows, beaver ponds, marshy wetlands, and creek crossings. Staying dry requires the traverse of multiple suspension bridges, rickety old things that employ all four limbs and some wishful thinking (last piece added for “suspense”)! Halfway through hikers are rewarded with Rockwell Falls, a cascade of white water capellini, terraced in red argillite clay for your scrambling pleasure. Arriving at the lake, the cobalt blues of this subalpine basin are hemmed in by Chief Lodgepole and Painted Teepee Peaks, a day capped in the historical stories of the First Peoples.  Roundtrip distance:  11.2 miles.  Elevation gain:  1,450 feet.

Evening Presentation: Mark Biel and Gracie the “Bark Ranger”—Wildlife Management

Day 7:  Friday, September 14, 2018

Piegan Pass:  Sharing much of the Siyeh Pass Trail, Piegan Pass eschews the zigzagging switchbacks of Siyeh for a catenary stretched across Cataract Mountain, rising gently to an upper vertebra upon the “Backbone of the World,” the moniker used by the Blackfeet Tribes. At arrival, one is greeted by the rugged face of the Garden Wall and Bishop’s Cap, a chiseled mitre gracing the pinnacles of the Continental Divide. Beginning from the trailhead where Siyeh Creek rushes down over blocky slabs of limestone, our day touches on the hydrological significance of this eastern finger of the maritime Pacific climate, a crash course in wildflower and shrub identification, how the buzzing insectary in these climes waxes and wanes through the season, and grizzly tales of the alpha omnivore of the Rockies and how Ursus arctos horribilus eats high and low across the park.  Roundtrip distance:  9 miles.  Elevation gain:  1,750 feet.

Day 8:  Saturday, September 15, 2018

Kalispell Airport Drop Off by Glacier Institute.  Morning

Registration Procedure Please carefully read the above detailed trip description and itinerary, and contact me if you have any questions. Then, if you decide to join this adventure, please contact me (email or phone) and I will send you the registration paperwork, consisting of the Registration form, the Health and Physical Condition Questionnaire and Release of Liability form. Complete these forms and send them to me by U.S, Postal Service with the deposit (check payable to “ADK” or the Credit Card Authorization) to reserve a spot. Please note that original signatures are required on all forms. Spaces are reserved in the order that complete and acceptable registration forms and deposit payments are received, so don’t delay.
Trip Leader Sue Kenyon
917-613-2042 (voice/text)