National Wildflower Week on May, 2024: backpacking in glacier national park?

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backpacking in glacier national park?

A couple years ago, some friends and I decided to do 5 night backpacking trip in Glacier and after reading the guidebooks and consulting the maps, we decided to do the section of the Northern Traverse trail that runs from Goat Haunt up to Boulder Pass and back.

Rather than backtrack, it would have been nice to continue to the west and come out of the park at the Kintla Lake ranger station but the logistics of that proved too challenging (it is a long long way between the trail heads). No complaints though as our trip was awesome - I have done a lot of backpacking and I would still say this ranks as my number one trip ever and it matches your requirements pretty close.

Here was our intinerary:

Started at Goat Haunt ranger station (south end of Waterton Lake, you have to go around into Canada and take tour boat across the lake to it - you need your passport on the hike because Goat Haunt is a US port of entry).

1st Day - Goat Haunt to Hawksbill camp (6.5 miles, mostly gradual climb up a pretty mountain valley past Janet Lake). Hawksbill camp is a little boring (would have stayed at Lake Frances, if a spot had been open).

2nd Day - Hawksbill to Hole in the Wall Camp (4 miles, mostly uphill). Hole in the Wall is an amplitheater carved into a high canyon wall by glaciers and now filled with little streams, fields of wildflowers and clumps of trees with jagged peaks rising all around. It is considered one of the most scenic camps in Glacier and I would agree.

3-4 Day - Hole in the Wall to Boulder Pass (3 miles with a lot of uphill) The trail works around the upper part of the bowl and into Boulder Pass on the top which feels like being at the top of the world. Boulder Pass camp was excellent with incredible views of glaciers, valleys and peaks. Another little hanging valley nearby made for excellent exploring. We spent 2 nights here so we could have a day to just relax and explore.

5th Day - Boulder Pass to Frances Lake (10+ miles, but all downhill). Lake Frances is a beautiful lake with an excellent camp right by the shore. A waterfall (coming from the glaciers and snow fields above) feeds into it and you hear it all through the night in the camp.

6th Day - Lake Frances back to Goat Haunt (7.5 miles, but mostly a nice gradual downhill through the valley).

During our trip, we saw a bear, moose, ptarmagins and marmots. We went in late August (the week before Labor Day) and the weather was nice without being too warm or cold (Glacier weather can be unpredictable though). Huckleberry and Thimbleberry bushes full of fruit were all over the place (especially along the lower valley).

Other 5-7 day routes that we also looked into at Glacier included starting at Cut Bank Trailhead, going to Atlantic Creek camp, up to Morning Star Lake camp, across Pitamankan Pass to Oldman Lake camp then over to No Name Lake camp and out at Two Medicine. We also looked at doing the Gunsight trail from Jackson Glacier trailhead (near Saint Mary Lake) up to Gunsight Lake and over Gunsight Pass to Lake Ellen Wilson, Sperry Chalet and down to Lake McDonald on the other side. Unfortunately, many of the ideal routes in Glacier are point to point and require some way of getting between trailheads (which sometimes can be much further apart by road than by trail).

Glacier is a beautiful place and whatever route you chose, I don't think you will be disappointed. Remember though that prime hiking season only lasts a few months (late July through early Sept) and so you want to get your permit reservations in as early as possible especially for the popular routes and camps which fill up fast.

Best place for $2k vacation roundtrip in U.S within 2 weeks?

Best place for $2k vacation roundtrip in U.S within 2 weeks?

First of all is it just the continental United States, or does it include Alaska and Hawaii or does it also include the territories?

It really depends on the stipulations of the voucher and what they want to see. Judging from what you said about their characteristics, I guess they wouldn't care to see New York or LA or Miami or the big amusement parks like Disneyland.

Outdoors wise, I would have to say that if they book a last minute cruise or trip to Alaska, they would highly enjoy that, or maybe even Hawaii- if they visit hawaii, I recommend that they stay on the island of Kauai. While the other islands are very beautiful, Kauai and Maui are known for being some of the less populated islands and having less of the congestion that Honolulu on Oahu has.

On kauai, they would really be able to explore the island- they could go on hikes, horseback rides, helicopter rides,etc. Kauai is just gorgeous and serene, perfect for outdoorsy people.

If they are restricted to the mainland of US, well, they are really restricted at all! I would suggest they visit one of the many beautiful national parks we have here.

Yosemite- Yosemite Valley was the sight of many of Ansel Adam's photography and rightly so. The peak of half dome as you descend onto the valley floor stands tall, over looking the lush valley of trees, rivers and meadows. The meadows, which are green with and speckled with wildflowers, are often the perfect setting to catch a sighting of majestic bear, hawk, or other wildlife that call it home.

The Awahnee is THE hotel to stay at in Yosemite- what could be better than staying at a lush hotel that just happens to be a beautiful wilderness.

There are various services and things to do in the valley and there are hiking trails for all ages and all abilities.

If they were to go now, they would miss the summer rush.

Yellowstone- Also beautiful. While there might be a hotel in the park, the charming small mountain town serves as the perfect headquarters for any explorers who plan to visit this park. This park is also abound with wildlife-bears, eagles, bison, foxes. Again, summer time usually gets busy, so right now is the perfect time.

the Southwest- Where else can you be in four states at the same time in the United States ? No where, except for Four Corners, which links four main states of the southwest. Besides the infamous grand canyon to marvel at, there are many other valleys, parks, sights and places to see. The simplicity of red orange soil, dotted with green cactuses, against the backdrop of a bright endless turquoise sky makes for a very relaxing atmosphere. Your friends can stay at one of the many spa and resorts that have popped up in Arizona, which often offer many deals and specials. Check out the Anasazi settlement, or the cool booths that sell Native American jewelry and items, or horseback ride the many valleys and canyons.

As a side note- Since it seems that your friends really like the outdoors, if you are ever in quandry in looking for a gift, I suggest you purchase for them a National Parks Passport. This small little notebook, features notes and pictures of various historical sites, monuments, national parks and other places for all 50 states in the US, in seperate categories. What your friends can do is that they take these passports wherever they go and get a stamp or seal at every sight they visit. A wonderful way to perserve the memories of the adventures they have had.

Planning to take a road trip to Yellowstone and Colorado?

Planning to take a road trip to Yellowstone and Colorado?

In South Dakota I would recommend at least hitting the Badlands and Black Hills National Forest. The Badlands offer a geological landscape of buttes, spires, and rolling grasslands along with the opportunity of seeing bighorn sheep, coyotes, black-footed ferret, swift fox, bison and mule deer. In the summer it does get hot with the average temperature in July being 92. To gain entrance into the park it is $15 for a seven day pass. There are also many ranger led programs, hiking trails of various difficulty and two campgrounds—Sage Creek Primitive Campground is free and Cedar Pass Campground is $15 per night. Check out the visitor guide for more information The Black Hills is a National Forest and there are no fees to enter it and hike its many trails. There are a range of campgrounds that range in price from $6 to $85 per night. I recommend checking out the NF website . In the Black Hills you’ll find Mt Rushmore (run by the National Park Service), which is free to visit, but you have to pay for parking at $11 per vehicle. Also if you’re into the Wild West I would suggest visiting the historic town of Deadwood which is located off of US HWY 85 in the Northern section of the Black Hills.

Wyoming is home to Yellowstone National Park, which is home to lots of different wildlife, Old Faithful, and thermal pools. It is on the North West corner of the state and can be extremely crowded in the summer time. The fee is $25 per vehicle for a 7 day pass. There are campgrounds in the park that range from $12-$28 a night and it is recommended that you make reservations early as you would be going during peak season. Check out the website for more information on planning your visit and for making campsite reservations. Also below Yellowstone is the Grand Teton National Park, which is stunning and the fee from Yellowstone covers both parks.

In Colorado there are a ton of National Forests to hike and camp in and Rocky Mountain National Park is a really easy and beautiful place to camp. A favorite hike of mine is Shrine Ridge which is near Vail; it is very easy, but has a great view, wildflowers and almost always has snow at the top. For a more challenging hike I recommend Mount of the Holy Cross, which is strenuous, but has a gorgeous view at the top. Also if you get the chance Leadville is a neat little historic town that is high up in the mountains.

There are so many amazing places in each state, but you have limited time, so I would definitely check out the National Park links above. Also the AAA website ( ) has great Road Trip tools for free that can help you plan your route and give you other tips

I was assuming a lot on what your interests might be, but I hope this information helps.


Library Science Graduate Student

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