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Glacier NP planning help
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Douglas Raymond
(Dougr320) - F

Locale: Indy
Glacier NP planning help on 04/03/2013 11:12:46 MDT Print View

We'll I've been bitten by the bug. I NEED to get to glacier, its not an option! This will be the the first time I've flow to a hiking destination and want to make the most by planning out my days as best I can. I'm thinking mid to late july time frame for getting out there. I'm a complete newb to hiking out west so we'll probably focus on day hikes. Start off easy and go a little more moderate during the week. Is there a book anyone can recommend or some of the must see hikes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9OoAIF-jes&list=PL9C8CA4F8F01AA686

I saw this video on and really want to repeat this hike. We will only have one car, how can I get a shuttle from the motor inn to logan pass on the going to the sun road so i can do a point to point hike.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Glacier NP planning help on 04/03/2013 11:49:02 MDT Print View

The later in July you come, the more trails will be open. The Falcon Guides book by Eric Molvar is a good start.

With the Highline Trail, you can start early (really early, 7:00 or so), leave a car at the Loop, take the shuttle to Logan Pass, and you can hike down from Granite Park Chalet to your car. Otherwise, you can hire a shuttle to St. Mary from Many Glacier, and then you can take the free park shuttle to Logan Pass.

Some of my other favorite dayhikes include:

Siyeh Pass (leave a car at Sunrift Gorge, take the shuttle to Siyeh Bend)
Ptarmigan Tunnel/Iceberg Lake (do them together)
Dawson-Pitamakan (a true loop, though I prefer to do it Pitamakan Dawson, counterclockwise)

If you can, though, getting into Glacier's backcountry is worth it, even if only for a night. If you have time, put in a permit request by April 15, and you can make the lottery. If not, there is still plenty of walk-in options, but you'll have to be flexible.

If you want PM me, and I can give you more details. Have a great trip. Glacier is an amazing place.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Logan Pass>Swiftcurrent Pass>Swiftcurrent Lodge on 04/03/2013 12:12:12 MDT Print View

The hike you want to do is maybe my favorite route in the Park--great choice! In 2006, a high school buddy was the host at the Granite Park chalet, so I spent 2 nights up there to see him. The middle day involved a grunt up to the Swiftcurrent lookout, which offers perhaps the Park's finest views.

Logistics for the hike are fairly easy. There is a Park shuttle bus that will take you from the Swiftcurrent lodge to Logan Pass. So your car will be waiting for you when you get down S'current Pass. The way I did it was to leave my truck at the SC lodge, and shuttle to the Rising Sun motor lodge where I spent the night (closer to Logan Pass for an earlier start). The next morning I took the shuttle to the pass and hiked the garden wall to Granite Park. The descent from S'current pass can be a real knee workout, and I was glad to have my hiking poles to help ease the strain.

If you are planning to stay in the Many Glacier/Swiftcurrent area for a few days, you'll have some of the best hiking choices of the Park--Iceberg Lake, the Ptarmigan Tunnel, Cracker Lake, and the Grinell Glacier. All of these are very popular trails, for good reason. I rather like to have the company on those trails, as these 4 valleys are popular with griz as well. More hikers means more noise, which in this case is a good thing. Don't forget to carry your pepper spray at all times.

Probably the best GNP guide book is Erik Molvar's Falcon Guide. It was "updated" a few years ago, and in my opinion it's not as good as the 5th printing edition I bought in 2004. Hit a used book store and try to find the older version if you can.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Glacier on 04/03/2013 12:55:05 MDT Print View

Seriously consider backpacking at least a little. You can't really see Glacier without doing so, and with the trails so well maintained its pretty darn easy.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: Logan Pass>Swiftcurrent Pass>Swiftcurrent Lodge on 04/03/2013 14:55:48 MDT Print View

Gary, there is a new version of the guide that came out this last year. I believe that they include a lot of the stuff that was left out of the previous edition. IIRC, they include the elevation charts, which were in the one before that.

Douglas Raymond
(Dougr320) - F

Locale: Indy
re on 04/03/2013 16:46:07 MDT Print View

Thanks for all the sugestions guys. I really would like to do at least an overnight trip. I'm sure will squeeze on in. I'mgongto do a little reaserch on thoseday hikes so I have a soild plan of what I'm going to do out there.

How difficult is the hike from logan pass to swift current trail head. The you tube video said it was about 15 miles. My party is in decent shape and all in our mid 20's but im stationed in Louisiana right now 100feet above sea level so I'm sure the elevation is going to hit hard. Highest hiking I've done was on clingman's dome on the AT (6600 ft) Really didn't hurt me too bad. But i'm a flat lander for sure.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Logan - Swiftcurrent on 04/03/2013 19:08:29 MDT Print View

If you're fit its pretty easy. The descent down into the Swiftcurrent valley is what gets most folks. The trails in Glacier tend to be very hard and thus rough on the feet. If you can swing the distance and logistics this is a better hike than the normal way down to the Loop.

Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
2012 Molvar Falcon book? on 04/03/2013 21:30:49 MDT Print View

Thanks for that, Clayton. It was in 2011 that I had several gripe sessions with the rangers about that edition not including the elevation charts, which is why I like my 2004 edition. I'll buy a new one when I'm up there this summer. But I'll probably miss all the precious notes I scribbled in my old one...

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: re on 04/03/2013 23:19:06 MDT Print View

>My party is in decent shape and all in our mid 20's but im stationed in Louisiana right
>now 100feet above sea level so I'm sure the elevation is going to hit hard. Highest
>hiking I've done was on clingman's dome on the AT (6600 ft) Really didn't hurt me too
>bad. But i'm a flat lander for sure.

Well, seeing as how Logan Pass is at 6600 feet, you won't be much above that on the Highline. I think you'll be fine with elevation as long as you are reasonably fit.

Clayton Mauritzen
(GlacierRambler) - F - M

Locale: NW Montana
Re: 2012 Molvar Falcon book? on 04/07/2013 21:46:15 MDT Print View

Gary, I had a chance to check the new GNP guidebook, and it does indeed have the elevation charts. In fact, it's all in color, and the new topos in the book are much better than in any version before (full color, actually readable as topographic maps).

If I could find any reason, I might pick one up for myself. It really is a strong edition, and it looks like Molvar, et al. listened to feedback from the previous versions.