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Montana

The Best of Glacier National Park

Program No. 21016RJ
Discover Glacier National Park as you raft Flathead River, explore alpine trails, visit pristine lakes and learn how glaciers carved this stunning landscape eons ago.
Length
6 days
Rating (4.93)
Activity Level
Starts at
2,399

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Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jul 10 - Jul 15, 2023
Starting at
2,399
Jul 17 - Jul 22, 2023
Starting at
2,399
Jul 24 - Jul 29, 2023
Starting at
2,399
Jul 31 - Aug 5, 2023
Starting at
2,399
Aug 7 - Aug 12, 2023
Starting at
2,399
Aug 14 - Aug 19, 2023
Starting at
2,399
Aug 21 - Aug 26, 2023
Starting at
2,399
Aug 28 - Sep 2, 2023
Starting at
2,399
Sep 4 - Sep 9, 2023
Starting at
2,399
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Jul 10 - Jul 15, 2023
Starting at
2,969
Jul 17 - Jul 22, 2023
Starting at
2,969
Jul 24 - Jul 29, 2023
Starting at
2,969
Jul 31 - Aug 5, 2023
Starting at
2,969
Aug 7 - Aug 12, 2023
Starting at
2,969
Aug 14 - Aug 19, 2023
Starting at
2,969
Aug 21 - Aug 26, 2023
Starting at
2,969
Aug 28 - Sep 2, 2023
Starting at
2,969
Sep 4 - Sep 9, 2023
Starting at
2,969

At a Glance

From our lodging inside Glacier National 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 along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. 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.
Activity Level
Outdoor: No Sweat
Hiking two miles daily over varied terrain. Possible optional hikes up to five miles some days. Some stairs; getting in/out of vans, bus, and water raft. Elevations of 3,153-7,200 feet.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Travel the historic Going-to-the-Sun Road for spectacular views of rugged peaks, vast valleys and idyllic waterfalls.
  • Float down the scenic Middle Fork of the Flathead River.
  • Touch the Continental Divide.

General Notes

Participants split into smaller groups of about 10 for daily field trips and hikes.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Wildflowers of Glacier National Park
by Shannon Fitzpatrick Kimball and Peter Lesica
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.
Grizzly Country
by Andy Russell
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.
Geology Along Going-to-the-Sun Road
by Raup, Earhart, Whipple, and Carrara
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.
Glacier - A Natural History Guide
by David Rockwell
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
by C.W. Guthrie
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.
Blackfeet Tales of Glacier National Park
by James Willard Schultz
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.
Moon Glacier National Park: Including Waterton Lakes National Park
by Becky Lomax
Writer, editor, and avid outdoorswoman Becky Lomax offers an insider’s perspective on Glacier National Park. From hiking through multi-color meadows filled with wildflowers to observing the Sperry Glacier, a victim of global warming that will vanish in less than two decades, Lomax knows the best ways to enjoy the park’s one million acres of wilderness. She also includes unique trip strategies for travelers with specific interests and restrictions, including a Wildlife-Watching tour and a whirlwind One Day in Glacier tour. Whether it’s biking up Going-to-the-Sun Road or watching a grizzly forage in huckleberries, Moon Glacier National Park gives travelers the tools they need to create a more personal and memorable experience.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Opening Dinner
Lake McDonald in West Glacier
D
Motel Lake McDonald

Activity note: Motel check-in from 3:00 p.m. Walking 300 yards to/from dining and meeting room facilities.

Afternoon: When you check in and get your room assignment, collect your Road Scholar welcome packet with the up-to-date schedule and other important information, and confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. Program Registration: 3:30 p.m. in the auditorium at Lake McDonald Lodge. Here we will meet the Group Leader, complete any necessary paperwork, and make meal selections. Orientation: 4:30 p.m. in the auditorium. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer questions. We will ride in 15-passenger vans to trailheads for field trips. Trail selections will be made by Group Leaders each day based on weather, trail conditions, and group ability. Each day, hikers will have a choice between hikes of different levels of difficulty. We will break into hiking groups based on preference and ability. Groups will be led by local experts who will share their knowledge along the trail. Bring a reusable, one-liter, leak-proof water bottle. Restrooms available at most trailheads. “America the Beautiful” passes cover entrance fees at national parks for up to 4 adults. If you have one of these national park passes, please bring it with you to the program and on field trips. Periods in the daily schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At a restaurant in walking distance of the motel.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow participants, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Lake McDonald Valley Hike, Glacier NP Lecture, Study Cruise
Lake McDonald in West Glacier
B,L,D
Motel Lake McDonald

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; driving about 6 miles, approximately 20 minutes each way. Hiking 2 to 5 miles; maintained dirt trails that may be rocky and uneven. Starting elevation approximately 3,200 feet, maximum elevation 4,000 feet. Bring reusable, one-liter, leak-proof water bottle. Restroom facilities available at most trail heads.

Breakfast: At a restaurant in walking distance of the motel.

Morning: Get ready for a full day packed with learning. We will be traveling in 15 passenger vans to the trailhead. We'll have a choice between hikes of different levels of difficulty, and break into groups based on preference and ability. Restroom facilities available at most trail heads. We’ll begin our exploration of Glacier National Park with an expert-led hike on the Trail of the Cedars, Avalanche Lake Trail, or McDonald Creek Trail. Each group will be led by a local expert who will share their knowledge of Glacier along the trail. As we hike, we will learn about the flora, fauna, and geology that characterize this unique ecosystem west of the continental divide. Trail of the Cedars follows Avalanche Creek as it winds through old-growth stands of towering western red cedar, western hemlock, and black cottonwood. Along the way, we’ll pass a narrow gorge carved by the tumbling glacial waters of Avalanche Creek. Avalanche Lake Trail continues along the rim of the gorge and ends at an idyllic subalpine lake rimmed with waterfalls. McDonald Creek Trail wanders through a mixed woodland of western hemlock, western larch, and Douglas fir, leading on a path to McDonald Creek’s turquoise waters and churning waterfalls.

Lunch: On the trail, we’ll have sack lunches.

Afternoon: We will continue our expert-led hikes through the beautiful Lake McDonald Valley. Returning to the motel, we’ll gather in the auditorium for an introduction to captivating Glacier National Park presented by a local expert. We’ll walk a short distance to the boat dock for a study cruise around Lake McDonald aboard a historic wooden boat. The boat captain will provide commentary that will help orient us to the terrain and history of the park.

Dinner: At a restaurant in walking distance of the motel.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
3
Going-to-the-Sun Road, Interpretive Hike
Lake McDonald in West Glacier
B,L,D
Motel Lake McDonald

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; driving about 60 miles, approximately 2 hours each way. Hiking 2 to 4 miles; maintained dirt trails that may be rocky and uneven. Starting elevation approximately 4,900 feet, maximum hiking elevation 5,200 feet; maximum driving elevation 6,700 feet.

Breakfast: At a restaurant in walking distance of the motel.

Morning: Another full day of exploration and discovery awaits. We’ll set out for the east side of Glacier National Park via the iconic Going-to-the-Sun Road, the only road that bisects the park. The 51-mile, narrow, winding road is built into the sides of sheer mountain cliffs and was carefully designed to complement the natural landscape. The Going-to-the-Sun Road showcases some of the most spectacular scenery in Glacier National Park, including panoramic views of rugged peaks, glacial lakes, and flower filled meadows. The road was completed in 1933 and is a National Historic Landmark. As we ride, we’ll learn more about the history of the road and the surrounding landscape. A choice of hikes will be offered and we'll break into groups based on preference and ability. Instructor-led interpretive hikes will be on beautiful trails that explore the ecosystems found east of the Continental Divide.

Lunch: On the trail, we’ll have sack lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll continue our exploration along the Going-to-the-Sun Road with hikes led by expert field instructors. As we observe evidence of historic glaciation and recent wildfires, we’ll gain an understanding of how these forces of nature shape the ecosystem. We’ll return to the motel with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At a restaurant in walking distance of the motel.

Evening: We’ll gather in the auditorium for a ranger presentation on Glacier National Park.

DAY
4
Logan Pass via Going-to-the-Sun Road, Interpretive Hike
Lake McDonald in West Glacier
B,L
Motel Lake McDonald

Activity note: Getting in/out of vans; driving about 22 miles, approximately 1 hour each way. Hiking 2 to 4 miles; maintained dirt trails that may be rocky and uneven, boardwalks with steep and deep stairs. Trailhead elevation is approximately 6,700 feet, hiking to maximum elevation 7,200 feet. Bring reusable, one liter, leak-proof water bottle. Restroom facilities available at most trail heads.

Breakfast: At a restaurant in walking distance of the motel.

Morning: We will ride along the spectacular western portion of the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass. At 6,646 feet, Logan Pass is the highest point along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and it sits on the Continental Divide. During our instructor-led hikes, we will explore the fascinating alpine ecosystem. We will learn about the hearty plants and animals that live here and the adaptations that help them thrive in this unforgiving environment.

Lunch: On the trail, we’ll have sack lunches.

Afternoon: We’ll keep an eye out for wildlife and wildflowers as we continue our expert-led hikes. Then we’ll return to the motel and say goodbye to our field instructors.

Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to have what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Evening: At leisure.

DAY
5
Natural History, Flathead River Interpretive Float Trip
Lake McDonald in West Glacier
B,L,D
Motel Lake McDonald

Activity note: Getting on/off a bus; on/off inflatable rafts, approximately 2 to 3 hours with opportunities to get out and stretch your legs, and paddle (elective). Life jackets, water shoes, and wet suits (optional) provided. Restroom facilities available at raft company. For evening, bring jacket or extra layer as it may be cool.

Breakfast: At a restaurant in walking distance of the motel.

Morning: We’ll be joined by a local expert for a presentation on more of the fascinating natural history of Glacier.

Lunch: At a restaurant within walking distance of the motel.

Afternoon: We’ll set out on a scenic, interpretive float trip down the Middle Fork of the Flathead River aboard inflatable rafts. Each raft will be led by a certified guide. As we float along the southern border of Glacier National Park, we will have a unique perspective on the landscape. We’ll gain an appreciation for the river’s “Wild and Scenic Waterway” designation and learn why this pristine river is such an important part of the ecosystem. We’ll also learn where the water comes from and where it is headed. Along the way, keep watch for wildlife that may be present along the shoreline.

Dinner: Immediately following the float trip, we’ll have a special outdoor barbecue. Share favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during our farewell dinner.

Evening: We’ll return to the motel via shuttle. The remainder of the evening is at leisure. Prepare for check-out and departure after breakfast in the morning.

DAY
6
Program Concludes
Lake McDonald in West Glacier
B

Activity note: Hotel check-out 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: At a restaurant in walking distance of the motel.

Morning: If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






Important registration tip:
If you want to attend the live lecture, please do not wait until the last minute to enroll.
If you enroll after a lecture is complete, we’ll send you a recording of the event.