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Glacier's Grandeur: Inside Glacier National Park

Program Number: 21016RJ
Start and End Dates:
7/14/2013 - 7/19/2013; 7/6/2015 - 7/11/2015; 7/13/2015 - 7/18/2015; 7/20/2015 - 7/25/2015; 8/3/2015 - 8/8/2015; 8/17/2015 - 8/22/2015; 9/7/2015 - 9/12/2015; 9/14/2015 - 9/19/2015;
Duration: 5 nights
Location: Glacier National Park, Montana
Price starting at: $1,655.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: National Parks; Walking/Hiking; Science & Nature
Meals: 13; 5 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 4 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian    

From our lodging inside the park, explore different areas of the park daily and return to relax on cool summer evenings on spectacular Lake McDonald. Experience the grandeur of Glacier National Park — so named because its dramatic landscape was carved by glaciers eons ago. Encounter the wonder and splendor within this “Crown of the Continent” during daily field trips to the Lake McDonald Valley, Logan Pass and Many Glacier areas of the park. Field trips are enhanced by instructors, naturalists, and other experts detailing the variety of life, mammoth lakes and serrated peaks in one of nature’s greatest works of art.


• Discover rugged, glaciated mountains that rise above stunning valleys and turquoise waters, home to a natural wealth of plants and wildlife in the Swiftcurrent Valley.
• Take a scenic float trip down the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.
• Travel the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road and touch the Continental Divide, where waters flow both toward the Pacific and the Atlantic.

Activity Particulars

Easy to moderate 1 - 5 mile walks and hikes on mountainous, uneven and rocky terrain; stairs, getting in and out of water raft. Hotel elevation 3,153 feet; highest elevaton 6,600 feet.

Participants split into smaller groups for daily field trips and hikes.

Coordinated by Black Hills Educational Institute.

Glacier National Park

This million-acre wilderness includes towering summits, mirror-like lakes, and hundreds of bird and mammal species, as well as the spectacular Going-to-the-Sun Road, a 52-mile narrow and winding journey through the heart of the park over the Continental Divide.

Comfortable and rustic motel with modest amenities resulting in a one-of-a kind, National Park lodging experience.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Ellen Horowitz

Ellen Horowitz is a freelance writer and field botany instructor at Flathead Valley Community College. She’s conducted field classes and natural history tours in and around Glacier National Park for more than 35 years, but she’s been peering through hand lenses and binoculars her entire life. Her work as a naturalist and writer has been recognized with numerous honors including Montana Audubon’s Outstanding Educator of the Year, Excellence in Craft awards from the Outdoor Writers Association of America, and National Wildlife Federation’s 2014 Trudy Farrand and John Strohm Magazine Writing Award. Ellen and her husband live on a farm in rural Columbia Falls with their Australian cattle dog and nine mules. When she’s not helping with chores or restoration of their century-old log homestead house, Ellen and her husband are riding and packing their mules in the mountains.
Brian Peck

Brian Peck is an independent wildlife consultant working with the Great Bear Foundation and Natural Resources Defense Council to bring about the recovery of grizzly and wolf populations in North America. His educational background is in wildlife biology and natural resource administration from the University of Massachusetts and Colorado State University, respectively. Brian spent 21 years with Boulder Colorado’s Mountain Parks and Open Space system, first as a Ranger and naturalist and later as natural resources and education coordinator. During the winter of 1986-87, Brian took a leave from his Ranger job to help the Wolf Ecology Project track the return of wolves to Glacier National Park’s North Fork of the Flathead River Valley. He later served as the wolf and grizzly recovery coordinator for the National Audubon Society before beginning his current career as a consultant.
Becky Lomax

Becky Lomax first saw Glacier National Park when she was three years old during a trip with her family. During college, she returned to work for two summers at Glacier Park Lodge, and later, led hiking and backpacking trips for more than a decade. She is author the Glacier National Park Moon Guidebook Series, which is now in its fourth edition. Currently working as a writer and photographer, Becky has published articles and images on Glacier’s wildlife, trails, history, lodges, melting icefields, and ecology in magazines such as Smithsonian, Montana Magazine, and Montana Outdoors.
Ashley Mason

Ashley Mason began her career in music in 1986 as a voice major at the North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, N.C. She was nearly finished with her degree in voice performance when she heard "the call of the wild.” Much to her parents’ confusion, she transferred to Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina to study geology. After finishing up in 1992 with a minor in field biology, Ashley came to Montana to teach for the Glacier Institute. Since then, she has been a familiar face in the conservation education field in Northwest Montana. Ashley has been the program director for The Glacier Institute, and has worked for Swan Ecosystem Center, Upward Bound, Flathead Land Trust, and as a Ranger Naturalist for Glacier National Park. She has been the conservation educator for Flathead Audubon Society and was the 2012 Audubon Educator of the year. Ashley loves to take the miraculous drama of the landscape and turn it into a story that will captivate her audiences.
Vicki Forristal

Vicki Forristal is a wildlife biologist and outdoorswoman. Over the last 13 years, she has participated in wildlife studies across the country, working with species that range from bugs to birds to bears. She received a B.A. in biology and psychology from St. Olaf College and a graduate degree in ecology at Montana State University where she focused on wildlife disease. Vicki has been working with Road Scholar programs in Glacier since 2011. She loves spending time outdoors, and in her free time can be found hiking, skiing, running and camping.
Josh Gubits

Josh Gubits is an environmental scientist for Whitefish Lake Institute. While in school, Josh worked as a fishing guide on the Blackfoot, Clark Fork, Bitterroot and Missouri rivers. After receiving his environmental studies degree from the University of Montana, he worked for the Audubon Society to develop education and outreach programs in Santa Fe, N.M. Before joining WLI, Josh worked for the Watershed Education Network as the field programs coordinator. Josh has spent the last six years teaching more than 10,000 teachers, students, and volunteers about water quality, through the collection of chemical, biological, and physical data on stream sites across Western Montana. Josh is a certified Montana Master Naturalist, and in 2009 he was the recipient of the Montana Water Teacher of the Year award presented by the Montana Environmental Education Association.
Leila Robinson

Throughout her lifetime, Leila Robinson has developed a great love of the outdoors and especially exploring it in hiking mode. Her love of travel and nature has taken her to every continent, and she is thrilled to see and experience each journey. She has been a high school and college educator in art and interdisciplinary studies and also a museum program developer for 13 years. Being able to live in Glacier for the past nine summers has given her a true appreciation of this incredible and favorite national park.
Candi Naylor

Candi Naylor is a retired elementary school teacher with 36 years of experience. Being a Montana native from Townsend, she loves to ski, hike, fish, garden, kayak, and take her two dogs, Ginger and Hoss, for walks. She spends most of her time outside no matter what season, and she especially loves Glacier National Park. She and her husband, Craig, have built a home on 10 acres – a remnant of her great grandparents’ homestead. She and Craig have recently returned from nine years in Fredericksburg, Va., where she taught elementary school and her husband was a college music professor. Both are very happy to be back in Montana!
Kim Eickman

Kim Eickman’s desire for the mountains, water and wildlife brought her to Montana 21 years ago. During her time in Montana, she has had the opportunity to teach in the local schools, work in hospitality, and explore the wonderful beauty of Glacier National Park as a seasonal Park Ranger. Her formal education includes an environmental studies degree and K-12 teaching degree. Kim enjoys people and likes to share information, which often includes on-location research. She was involved with Road Scholar several years ago and looks forward to returning to the program for its 2015 season. Kim is excited to see you in Big Sky Country!
Alisha Meyer

Alisha Meyer has spent the majority of her life in Montana. An avid hiker and camper who loves the outdoors during all seasons, Alisha spends as much time as she can in the beautiful vastness of Montana’s wilderness. She has been a teacher for more than 12 years, and began her career in St. Petersburg, Fla., teaching in a self-contained behavioral classroom. There, Alisha grew to love working with children with severe behavioral needs. She currently teaches a second grade class in Whitefish and works with students of all abilities, and also works with children during the summer months as a yoga instructor and tutor. Alisha holds a B.A. in elementary education with an endorsement in special education, and a M.A. in integrating art into education. She is currently working on a M.A. in art.
Adam Woods

A degree in recreation management taught Adam Woods a lot, but nothing more important than the need we all have to appreciate the wonder of nature. Adam finds no place that accomplishes that better than Glacier National Park. As a student at the University of Montana, Adam had the opportunity to learn about Glacier’s ecology, hydrology, geology, history, and management in the classroom, while also exploring the park during free time. He spent three years as a Forest Service park ranger at the Summit Nature Center on Whitefish Mountain, where he worked with Road Scholar groups and many other guests. Last May, Adam completed a bachelor’s degree in parks, tourism and recreation management, and a bachelor’s in political science. He has worked in Acadia and Death Valley National Parks, but is very excited about returning this summer to Glacier National Park.
Jay Mallonee

Jay Mallonee is a research biologist with a master's degree in neurobiology and animal behavior. Through his business of Wolf and Wildlife Studies, he conducted a 10-year study of the Fishtrap pack in northwest Montana: the longest behavioral study of wolves in Montana's history outside of Yellowstone National Park. Jay also taught college level science courses for 15 years with an emphasis in environmental science and anatomy and physiology. His research of the Fishtrap wolves was published in The Journal of American Science and includes pack behavior never before documented. More recently, Jay published a review in Nature and Science of the wolf population data collected by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, with findings that their data was flawed and not collected using scientific methods. Articles about Jay have appeared in newspapers across Montana and Idaho, and he has been featured on KCFW's local news (Montana) and several radio talk shows, including an interview by NPR.
Greg Fortin

Greg Fortin has more than two decades of experience in all aspects of mountain travel including hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, rock climbing, and mountaineering. He has been involved with numerous rescue teams over the years and his experience brings strength to any group he leads. Greg’s passion for Glacier National Park and its remote, out-of-the way places shows when he speaks about his adventures. He has made numerous technical ascents in the park, which adds a unique perspective to any venture into Glacier’s terrain. He is an avalanche educator through National Ski Patrol, a certified Interpretive Guide, and has many more outdoor certifications. When he’s not teaching on the trail, Greg is often hanging out and enjoying the shoreline of the Flathead River with his two sons.
Meals and Lodgings
   Lake McDonald Lodge - Motor Inn
  Lake McDonald in West Glacier 5 nights
 Lake McDonald Lodge - Motor Inn
Type: Motel
  Description: While the rooms are fully modern with individual bathrooms, they none-the-less hold on to their quaint charm with knotty pine interior walls.
  Contact info: 1 Going-to-the-Sun Road
Glacier National Park, MT 59921 USA
phone: 406-888-5431
  Room amenities: All rooms have hair dryers, irons and an ironing board, complimentary coffee (2 cups per day) is available in the dining room or in the nearby general store. There is a telephone in the room but it must be activated at front desk by providing your credit card information to them. There is a heater, but no air conditioning as it is seldom needed in the mountains. All rooms are finished with rustic knotty pine interiors.
  Facility amenities: There is a nearby General Store for incidental needs. The nearby Lodge (about 300 yards) has a full restaurant and bar.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Additional nights prior: call for date specific info Call central reservations for any pre or post night stays. 406-892-2525
  Check in time: 3:00 PM
  Additional nights after: call for date specific info Call central reservations for any pre or post night stays. 406-892-2525
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Check-in will be at the Motor Inn located in Glacier National Park. Their office is located in the Lake McDonald Lodge. Check-in anytime after 3PM. Orientation will take place at 4PM. You will be staying at Lake McDonald Lodge - Motor Inn that night.
  End of Program:
Program ends after breakfast. Hotel check-out by 11AM. You will be staying at Lake McDonald Lodge - Motor Inn the night before.
  Required documents:
The Participant Information Form is required. Because the program begins in the Park, you will need to purchase your own Park entrance pass to access the Lake McDonald Motor Inn. There will be a waiver for the float trip.
  Parking availability:
If you're arriving by car there is parking on site. You may arrive by car, air, bus or Amtrak.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Lake McDonald in West Glacier
  Nearest city or town:  West Glacier
  Nearest highway: Hwy 2
  Nearest airport:  Glacier International Airport
  From End of Program
  Location: Lake McDonald in West Glacier
    (Additional transportation information same as above)
Travel Details

Lake McDonald


From Airport




Iron Eagle Transportation
phone: 406-890-2099
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$60 for the 1st person, $2 for each additional person - prices subject to change.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


45 minutes 


To ensure availability of transportation upon arrival, contact Taxi service 1 week prior to program start. Return service can be scheduled upon arrival with the driver.


Lake McDonald


From Airport




Commercial Van/Shuttle
Flathead-Glacier Transportation Company
phone: 406-892-3390
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$55 for the first person and $3 for any additional - prices subject to change.
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


45 minutes 


To ensure availability of transportation upon arrival, contact Shuttle service 1 week prior to program start. Return service can be scheduled upon arrival with the driver.


Lake McDonald


From Train Station




Hotel Shuttle
Lake McDonald Shuttle
phone: 406-888-5431
Advanced Reservations Required


Per Person/One Way:


$10 Cash
Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


15 minutes 


The Hotel Shuttle can only pickup from the West Glacier Belton Train Stop. The only payment option is with cash. To ensure availability upon arrival, contact the Front Desk at Lake McDonald 1 day prior. Return service can be scheduled through the Front Desk upon arrival.

Driving Directions
  Kalispell Follow US Hwy 2 from Kalispell through Columbia Falls and Hungry Horse. Take a left in West Glacier on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Drive approximately 11 miles along the shoreline of Lake McDonald. Follow the signs to Lake McDonald Lodge and Lake McDonald Lodge Motor Inn.
Elevation Note: The Hotel is at 3,153'. The highest elevation you'll experience during the week is 6,600'.

Equipment Requirements: Warm waterproof clothing, sturdy hiking boots, waterproof shoes / sandals (for float trip), a day pack, collapsible walking stick, hat and a leak proof water bottle are highly recommended.
The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Independent Arrivals / Orientation
(Sunday, July 14)
 Afternoon: Check-in will be at the Motor Inn located in Glacier National Park. Their office is located in the Lake McDonald Lodge. Check-in anytime after 3PM. Orientation at 4PM in the Creekside Room by Lake McDonald Lodge about 300 yards from the Motor Inn.
 Dinner: Dinner in the dining room at Lake McDonald Lodge after Orientation.
 Evening: Free time to get settled in.
Accommodations: Lake McDonald Lodge - Motor Inn
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Interpretive Hikes in the Lake McDonald Valley / Presentation / Boat Cruise on Lake McDonald
(Monday, July 15)
 Breakfast: Lake McDonald Lodge Dining Room
 Morning: This morning we'll begin our exploration of the Park by hiking Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake (dependant on group ability, approximately 1 mile walk with an optional 5 mile RT hike). Trail selections are made by individual group leaders on the day of the hike based on weather and trail closures due to animal sightings (bear warnings), and trail construction.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the field.
 Afternoon: This afternoon we'll be treated to a presentation on the fascinating geology of the Crown of the Continent.
 Dinner: Lake McDonald Lodge Dining Room
 Evening: Following dinner we’ll walk a short distance to the boat dock for our cruise around Lake McDonald on a historic wooden boat. A narrative of the lake will help orient us to the terrain and history of the park.
Accommodations: Lake McDonald Lodge - Motor Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Field Trip to Logan Pass via the Historic Going-to-the-Sun Road / Interpretive Scenic Hike
(Tuesday, July 16)
 Breakfast: Lake McDonald Lodge Dining Room
 Morning: This morning we ascend the historic engineering marvel, the Going-to-the-Sun Road. We'll visit Logan Pass at over 6,600 feet of elevation. It offers a magnificent view over stunning Glacier National Park and sits on the continental divide. Moderate walks of 1 mile and hikes of 2-3 miles, with an option to 5 miles; elevations of 3,250' to 7,300'.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the field.
 Afternoon: We'll continue our exploration of Glacier with stops and walks along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
 Dinner: Lake McDonald Lodge Dining Room
 Evening: After dinner we'll have a presentation covering more of the amazing ecosystems and historic cultures of Glacier National Park and the surrounding area.
Accommodations: Lake McDonald Lodge - Motor Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Field Trip to Many Glacier / Interpretive Scenic Hikes / Free Evening
(Wednesday, July 17)
 Breakfast: Lake McDonald Lodge Dining Room
 Morning: After breakfast we'll depart for Many Glacier (WEATHER PERMITTING). Our instructors will lead us on walks / hikes to give us a taste of the park’s pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes.
 Lunch: Sack lunches in the field.
 Afternoon: After lunch we'll continue the exploration with instructor-led walks / hikes and talks. Afterward we'll return to the Motor Inn at Lake McDonald.
 Dinner: Tonight you're free to explore the full extent of the Lake McDonald Lodge menu for dinner on your own.
 Evening: Free evening to explore the Lake McDonald area.
Accommodations: Lake McDonald Lodge - Motor Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Presentation / Scenic Float Trip on the Middle Fork River
(Thursday, July 18)
 Breakfast: Lake McDonald Dining Room
 Morning: This morning we'll have a presentation covering more of the amazing ecosystems and historic cultures of Glacier National Park and the surrounding area.
 Lunch: Jammer Joe's Grill and Pizzeria at Lake McDonald
 Afternoon: This afternoon enjoy a scenic interpretive float trip down the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. It will be a 6 mile interpretive float.
 Dinner: Tonight, enjoy our final evening together with a BBQ at the Montana Raft Company.
 Evening: Closing and conclusion of program.
Accommodations: Lake McDonald Lodge - Motor Inn
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Independent Departures
(Friday, July 19)
 Breakfast: Meal Coupons will be provided for Breakfast at the Lake McDonald Lodge Dining Room, open from 6:30AM-10AM.
 Morning: Hotel check-out by 11AM.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

Glacier - A Natural History Guide

Author: David Rockwell

Description: A jewel in the national park system, Glacier National Park encompasses one of the richest and diverse natural regions in North America. The vast watersheds of the Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean, and Hudson Bay converge here, creating a dramatic landscape filled with plants and animals unique to those three basins. Author and naturalist David Rockwell presents in-depth descriptions of the geology, history, flora, and fauna of the park. He explains the park's evolution from the erosion of Siberian mountains more than a billion years ago to the glaciers that gave Glacier National Park its distinctive landscape. He examines the park's great predators-grizzly bears, mountain lions, and wolves-and their complex relationship with their prey. The result is a fascinating and intimate portrait of one of the world's last wild places.

Going-to-the-Sun Road: Glacier National Park's Highway to the Sky

Author: C.W. Guthrie

Description: Traveling Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road is an experience like no other. Laborers toiled for nearly 20 years to complete the 50-mile road that winds an impossible route through the heart of Glacier. One of the most scenic highways in the world, this marvel of engineering set the standard for all national parks. C. W. Guthrie tells the intriguing tale of the history and the construction of the epic Going-to-the-Sun Road. Includes more than 60 black-and-white historic and color photographs, maps.

Geology Along Going-to-the-Sun Road

Author: Raup, Earhart, Whipple, and Carrara

Description: With this colorful and lively guide, Glacier National Park visitors can tour the fascinating geologic events that created the park's majestic scenery. Complete with an easy-to-read map that offers a three-dimensional perspective on the area's geology, Geology Along Going-to-the-Sun Road gives lay readers and geologists alike a glimpse into Glacier's unique geologic summary.

Grizzly Country

Author: Andy Russell

Description: The grizzly bear has always inspired awe in man, but the animal's true nature and character has long been shrouded in myth. Few people know grizzlies as Andy Russell does, and in Grizzly Country he shares stories from a lifetime of experience observing them, first as hunter, then as cameraman. In wonderfully engaging prose, he reveals the life cycle of this remarkable creature.

Wildflowers of Glacier National Park

Author: Shannon Fitzpatrick Kimball and Peter Lesica

Description: Wildflowers of Glacier National park and Surrounding Areas is a user-friendly guide featuring over 300 of Glacier National Park's most common plant species. From wildflowers to trees to grasses and sedges, this book features beautiful photographs, detailed descriptions, notes on habitat and fun facts for each plant. It's a perfect plant reference for anyone with an interest in the natural history and splendor of Glacier National Park. The index lists plants both by their common and scientific names.

Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park

Author: James Willard Schultz

Description: The author writes a series of diary entries as his Blackfoot friends tell stories in the lodge or around the fire at the end of the day. He has managed to keep the compelling style of his original material, told by talented story tellers. The stories run the gamut from tribal history to legend and myth and convey something of Blackfoot culture, daily life, and beliefs.

Flathead Watershed Sourcebook, A Guide to an Extraordinary Place

Author: Lori S. Curtis

Description: This book serves as a primer to the Flathead Watershed. Viewed from a bioregional perspective, it discusses the many people and systems that make up the Flathead Watershed - one of the most biologically intact ecosystems in North America. This book weds science and art, nature and human nature into an appealing and informative publication. Call 406-862-1160 or visit to receive a copy

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