If you are ready to embark on the experience of a lifetime, consider a camping trip to Glacier National Park. Camping anywhere is a great way to enjoy bonding time as a family and learn more about nature and all it has to offer. But camping in the 1.4 million acres of incredible wilderness at Glacier National Park is so much more, perhaps something along the lines of a magnificent adventure!
This fantastic park in the rugged Rocky Mountains of Montana has 13 major campgrounds and a variety of backcountry sites for more experienced backpackers. It was once the home of the Blackfoot and Kootenai Indian tribes and many sites in the park are still part of their sacred culture. There are over 50 glaciers, 200 lakes and streams, a wonderful variety of wildlife and over 730 miles of trails for hikers and backpackers. You can only imagine the amazing experiences awaiting you there.
Here are some tips we hope will help to make your vacation there a very safe and memorable one.
1. First, be sure and get permits and other necessary information taken care of ahead of time. Some camping areas may be reserved and others are first come first served. Some campsites require permits and fees, while others are free. It is also important to camp only in the designated camping areas. For reservation information you can call the National Park Reservation Service at 1-800-365-2267.
2. NEVER FEED OR APPROACH WILD ANIMALS UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES.
3. There are several types of bears as well as mountain lions common in Glacier National Park. It is the instinct of such animals to be alert for food and as they tend to be curious by nature, visitors must be very careful not to attract them by leaving out food or food scraps. Tightly secure all food after meals and clean up all possible clothing, utensils, or personal toiletries that might draw animals to the site. Bring bear resistant containers or be prepared to hang food stuffs at 10 feet off the ground.
4. For various ecological reasons you are not allowed to gather firewood from the woods or roads near the campgrounds. There are a few designated areas where campers can collect firewood or it can be purchased at stores within the park. Camp fires should only be built inside the fire grates provided.
5. Be aware that pets are not allowed on any of the parks walking trails, backcountry, or on the shores of the lakes. For the safety of your pet and your fellow campers, you must keep them on a leash of no more than 6 feet, or else in a cage or a vehicle at all times. If necessary, kennel space is available near the park. As is common in any park you should scoop up any pet wastes and deposit in a garbage can.
6. Be sure you pitch your tents only on pads provided or areas designated as campsites and not in areas where camping is prohibited. While there are group campsites available, most are limited to eight people and two vehicles per site. Drinking water and flush toilets are available at most of the campgrounds, but no utility hookups are provided. Disposal stations are available at some of the larger campgrounds.
7. Remember to plan for trash and waste products. The motto at the park is "pack it in, pack it out". Bury human waste and pack out all toilet paper, food litter, empty containers, etc. Try to leave your campsite and the surrounding area as clean and natural as you found it.
8. Bike riding, sports fishing and other such activities are permitted at the park but there are specific rules you must follow for each. Be sure to know what is acceptable before beginning your particular adventure for the day.
9. The temperatures in higher altitudes like Glacier National Park get down near freezing most nights of the year. Also the weather can change from clear skies and sunshine to thunderstorms very quickly so be prepared for a variety of conditions so you can have a good time regardless of the weather.
10. Make sure you have maps and exact information from the campground where you intend to stay. Be prepared in the areas of emergency gear, footwear, tent equipment, cooking utensils, insect repellents, non-refrigerated foodstuffs, etc. Know what to expect in as much detail as possible so as not to be unpleasantly surprised. Learn as much as you can about the Park, the habits of the wildlife present there, and any activities you would like to participate in, so that you will have the best possible experience.