Raft, Ride & Slide in Glacier National Park With Your Family

Raft the Flathead River, look for wildlife, enjoy a gondola ride up Big Mountain and race down on an alpine slide on this national park adventure with your family.
Rating (4)
Program No. 22729RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 3 L 5 D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Hilton Garden Inn Kalispell

Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Hotel check-in: Available from 3:00 p.m. Collect welcome packet at the front desk at time of check-in, it will contain an up-to-date-schedule that reflects any last-minute changes and other important information. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. Program Registration: 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the hotel meeting room. After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar meeting room and meet your group leader. Here you will complete any necessary paperwork and make sack lunch selections. Please wear your Road Scholar name tag that you received in the mail. If you have not received your name tag one month prior to your program, please call Road Scholar at 1-800-454-5768. Orientation: 4:30 p.m. 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. This is a Road Scholar family program. Adults are responsible for their minor children. If/when separate age group activities are conducted concurrently, program staff will supervise. Children are never to be left unsupervised. "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 our 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: In the hotel meeting room, we’ll have a catered buffet meal with an entrée, sides, and dessert. Coffee, iced tea, lemonade, or water included; other beverages available for purchase. Enjoy the meal and get to know your fellow travelers.

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

Aerial Adventure, Gondola ride, Alpine Slide, Presentation
Hilton Garden Inn Kalispell

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile throughout the day on dirt trails that may be rocky, hilly, and uneven to access activities. Safety harness required for aerial adventure course. Aerial Adventure is physically demanding and requires climbing, crouching, and maneuvering through obstacles. Gondola ride to the Summit Top is 15 minutes to elevation of 6,800 feet. Periods of standing and sitting. Sitting on sleds down Alpine Slide course. Driving in motor coach about 25 miles, approximately 45 mins each way.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we'll use a voucher for the breakfast buffet which include eggs, pancakes, French toast, and waffles, along with self-serve fruit, Danish, bagels, hot and cold cereals, muffins, and yogurt. An assortment of juices, milk, coffee & hot tea will also be available.

Morning: The day opens with discovery and adventure as we travel to Big Mountain at Whitefish Mountain Resort with our Group Leader to take part in a fun bonding experience. Especially for kids: We’ll climb, slide, and “fly” on an aerial adventure obstacle course in the trees. Secured in safety harnesses, we’ll travel between the trees on suspended bridges, cable walkways, nets, ladders and other fun elements. You can choose to participate in the aerial adventure, or may choose to encourage your family members from the ground. Next, we'll board the "Glacier Chaser" gondola and chairlift, for a 15-minute scenic ride to the 6,800 foot summit of Big Mountain. At the top, we'll have breathtaking panoramic views of Glacier National Park, Flathead Valley, and surrounding areas.

Lunch: At the Summit House Restaurant on top of Big Mountain, enjoy a plated meal. Non-alcoholic beverage included. Other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we'll learn about this spectacular part of the Rocky Mountains and Glacier National Park during an interpretive talk led by a forest ranger. After the talk, we'll ride the gondola down the mountain to the start of the Alpine Slide. Especially for kids: To end our day on the mountain, we'll have an exciting ride down the 1,605 foot long Alpine Slide. The flat, wheeled sleds have hand brakes to control your speed while whizzing around curves, through a tunnel, under bridges, and on straightaways. Note: Kids under 48" (4 feet) tall must ride with an adult. We’ll return to the hotel tired but exhilarated, with some time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: In the hotel meeting room, a catered buffet will be provided just for us.

Evening: Enjoy a presentation by a local expert on the wild wonders of Glacier National Park and surrounding area.

Glacier National Park, Audubon Society Program & Hikes
Hilton Garden Inn Kalispell

Activity note: Hiking 2 miles on dirt trails that may be rocky, slippery, hilly, and uneven. 225 foot elevation gain, max elevation 3,410 feet. Standing during trail-side lessons and activities. We'll split into smaller groups for today's hikes. Driving in a motor coach approximately 50 miles, 1 hour 15 minutes each way.

Breakfast: We'll use a voucher at the hotel buffet.

Morning: We’ll head out for a full-day field trip in Glacier National Park, with interpretive walks and hikes led by local experts with the Flathead Audubon Society. While on the trail, participate in a variety of fun instructor-led activities that will capitalize on the natural curiosity of children. We'll focus on using different senses to experience the unique forest and explore the secrets of the natural, wild surroundings.

Lunch: Along the trail enjoy a pre-selected sack lunch which includes a sandwich or wrap and sides. Please bring your own reusable, leak-proof water bottle to consume at lunch and throughout the day.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we'll continue interpretive walks and hikes with the local Flathead Audubon Society instructors. After our hike we'll ride the bus to Lake McDonald where we will have some free time to relax. Spend it exploring the historic Lake McDonald Lodge, or just sit by the lake and enjoy the expansive scenery.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner tonight in Glacier National Park at Jammer Joe’s Grill and Pizzeria. We'll use a voucher and order plated meals from the menu which features pizzas, salads and sandwiches. Non-alcoholic beverages included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Once we arrive back at the hotel, feel free to enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Wetlands Program, Downtown Whitefish, Scenic Raft Trip
Hilton Garden Inn Kalispell

Activity note: Drive time to Whitefish approximately 1/2 hour in motor coach. Drive time to rafting less than 1 hour. Bring water attire, water sandals, and dry clothes for after. Required life jackets are provided. Optional water shoes and wet suits available. Rafting field trip is approximately 2 hours, with periods of sitting, paddling (according to personal choice), and opportunities to get out and stretch legs. Restroom facilities available at the raft company. Drive back to hotel less than 1 hour.

Breakfast: We'll have a voucher for the hotel buffet.

Morning: We'll travel to Whitefish and join a local environmental scientist to get a big-picture understanding of Whitefish Lake and nearby wetlands. We'll learn about the complex food web of the lake, the native and introduced fish species that are found there, and talk about the changes that caused by introduced species. Especially for Kids: We'll participate in some hands-on scientific research of our own and learn about insect indicators of water quality. Next, we'll have time for personal independent exploration in Whitefish. The historic downtown is full of western charm and is very pedestrian friendly. The nearby Whitefish Railway Depot was built in 1927 Great Northern Railway and is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like in Whitefish. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Whitefish has numerous restaurants to choose from.

Afternoon: Especially for kids: A fun and splashy adventure awaits! We'll go on an expert-led rafting trip down the beautiful Middle Fork of the Flathead River. If you choose, you can help paddle the boat through the rapids, be prepared to get wet! As we travel by raft along the southern border of Glacier National Park we will gain a unique perspective of the landscape. We'll learn about the geologic forces that shaped the landscape, appreciate the river’s Wild and Scenic Waterway designation, and discover why this pristine river is such an important part of the ecosystem. We'll learn about where all the water comes from and where it is headed. Along the way keep your eyes peeled for wildlife along the shoreline, you may even spot a bear.

Dinner: Immediately following the raft trip, we'll enjoy a special outdoor barbecue prepared just for us at the raft company. We'll be spending the evening outside so bring dry clothes and a warm layer for after the raft trip.

Evening: Returning to the hotel, the remainder of the evening is at leisure.

Going-to-the-Sun Road, Hiking at Logan Pass
Hilton Garden Inn Kalispell

Activity note: Hiking up to 2 miles on maintained dirt trails that may be uneven and rocky, and on boardwalk with steep and deep steeps. Elevation of 6,646 feet at Logan Pass, max elevation 7,200 feet. Driving 37 miles about 1 hour each way, to Glacier by motor coach. Then drive one way 30 miles, about 1 hour 15 minutes in 17 passenger Red Buses. Total round trip travel time 4-5 hours.

Breakfast: We'll use a voucher at the hotel buffet.

Morning: This morning we'll travel to the Apgar area of Glacier National park where we will hike with our expert instructors who will offer enriching interpretation as we explore the trail. We'll also stop at the base of Lake McDonald to take in the mountain views and learn about the glacial forces that carved this huge lake long ago.

Lunch: In the field, we'll enjoy a pre-selected sack lunch made with sandwich or wrap and sides. Please bring your own reusable, leak-proof water bottle to consume at lunch and throughout the day.

Afternoon: This afternoon, we'll travel the historic Going-to-the-Sun Road aboard an iconic Red Bus with expert drivers who offer narrative along the way. These fully restored historic “Jammers” were first used in the mid-1930s to transport visitors through Glacier National Park and they continue to delight passengers today. Their canvass roll-back tops allow for unsurpassed views of the towering mountains in every direction. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is a National Historic Landmark and it is the only road that crosses Glacier National Park. Switchbacks and tunnels were constructed to help visitors pass through some of the most spectacular scenery Glacier National Park has to offer. Our destination is Logan Pass, located along the Continental Divide, where waters flow either toward the Pacific or Atlantic Oceans. Logan Pass is the highest point on the Going-to-the-Sun Road with an elevation of 6,646'. At Logan Pass we'll partake in an expert-led interpretive hike in the subalpine ecosystem. We'll search for evidence of past glaciers by looking for geological features such as aretes, glacial horns, moraines, and waterfalls. We will also be on the lookout for special plants and animals with unique adaptations that allow them to thrive in the harsh, high elevation environment. Along the way we may be distracted by meadows teeming with wildflowers and towering snow-capped peaks! The trail starts at about 6,660 feet and climbs up from there. The trail consists of pavement, a boardwalk with steep and deep steps, and a dirt and rock trail. After our hikes conclude, we will complete our journey on the Going-to-the-Sun Road aboard Red Buses then we will return to the hotel in Kalispell.

Dinner: Back at the hotel, we'll celebrate a week full of adventure and learning with a casual farewell dinner together. Enjoy a buffet with entrée, sides, and dessert plus coffee, iced tea, lemonade or water; other beverages available for purchase. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and independent departures in the morning.

Program Concludes

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: We'll have a voucher for the hotel buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures Best Wishes for all your journeys!

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