4863
Montana

Trailside Glacier: Hiking in Glacier National Park

Experience Glacier National Park on expert-led hikes, traverse the historic Going-to-the-Sun Road, and explore the stunning Many Glacier Valley!
Program No. 4863RJ
Length
7 days
Starts at
2,149
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7 days
6 nights
17 meals
6 B 5 L 6 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Presentation
Kalispell
D
Hilton Garden Inn Kalispell

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

Afternoon: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m. Collect your Road Scholar Program Welcome Packet at time of check-in. It will contain an up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes and other important information. Program Registration: 3:30 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the noted meeting room and meet your Group Leader. 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, 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. For field trips, we will travel in 15-passenger vans to trailhead. Trail selections are made by the Group Leader on the day of the hike based on weather, trail conditions, and group ability. We will break into smaller groups so that you can select the hike distance that best suits you each day. Groups will be led by local experts who will share their knowledge along the trail. Restrooms are available at most trail heads. "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 our meeting room, we’ll have a catered buffet meal with an entrée, sides, and dessert. Coffee, iced tea, lemonade, and water are included; other beverages available for purchase. Enjoy the meal and get to know your fellow travelers.

Evening: A local expert will join us at the hotel for a presentation focused on the natural history of Glacier National Park.

DAY
2
Interpretive hikes in Lake McDonald Valley, Presentation
Kalispell
B,L,D
Hilton Garden Inn Kalispell

Activity note: Hiking up to 8 miles throughout the day on maintained dirt trails in mountainous terrain that may be rocky and uneven. Max elevation gained of 800 feet; max elevation reached 4,500 feet. We'll split into smaller groups with different distance choices; choose the option that suits your personal preference. Driving approximately 50 miles one way, about 1.5 hours. Restrooms available at most trail heads.

Breakfast: At the hotel, we'll use a voucher for the breakfast buffet which includes made-to-order omelets, pancakes, French toast, and waffles, fruit, pastries and breakfast breads, hot and cold cereals, and yogurt, plus an assortment of juices, milk, coffee, hot tea, and water.

Morning: Setting out from the hotel aboard our 15 passenger vans, we will travel to Glacier National Park and explore Lake McDonald Valley. Several hiking options will be offered. Each hike will be led by a local expert who will provide interpretation along the trail. Hike options may include the Avalanche Lake Trail, McDonald Creek Trail or Lake McDonald Trail. Trail selections are made by the Group Leader and Field Instructors on the day of the hike and subject to change based on weather, trail conditions and group ability. The Avalanche Lake Trail winds through an old-growth forest of western red cedar and western hemlock. The trail passes a narrow gorge carved by glacial water and ends up at an idyllic, subalpine lake rimmed with waterfalls. McDonald Creek Trail meanders through a mixed woodland of hemlock, larch and Douglas fir, passing by McDonald Creek's cascading turquoise waters and thundering falls. Observant hikers may get a glimpse of harlequin ducks that breed along McDonald Creek. The Lake McDonald Trail hugs the western shoreline of a glacially carved lake surrounded by towering peaks. The trail travels through the remains of recent wildfires, providing the unique opportunity to witness the rebirth of a forest.

Lunch: Along the trail, enjoy a pre-selected sack lunch with a sandwich or wrap, and sides. Please bring two reusable one-liter leak-proof water bottles to consume at lunch and throughout the day.

Afternoon: This afternoon, continue expert-led hikes through the beautiful Lake McDonald Valley where we will learn about the unique ecosystem west of the continental divide. After hiking, each group will load into their van and travel back to the hotel.

Dinner: In the hotel meeting room, enjoy a catered buffet.

Evening: At the hotel this evening, we'll learn more about Glacier National Park's ecosystems, culture and history, with a local expert. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
3
Going-to-the-Sun Road, Interpretive hikes, Swiftcurrent Inn
Swiftcurrent Valley
B,L,D
Swiftcurrent Motor Inn

Activity note: Hiking 7 to 10 miles throughout the day on maintained dirt trails in mountainous terrain that may be rocky and uneven. Starting hike elevation 6,660 feet, max elevation of 7,500 feet. We’ll split into smaller groups with varying distance choices; choose the option that suits your personal preference. Restrooms available at most trail heads. Drive to Swiftcurrent Motor Inn is approximately 105 miles; about 3 hours total drive time with stops along the way. Hotel is at 4,900 feet.

Breakfast: We'll have vouchers for the breakfast buffet at the hotel.

Morning: After checking out of the Hilton Garden Inn, we'll depart for Many Glacier Valley by way of the historic Going-to-the-Sun Road. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is a National Historic Landmark and it is the only road that crosses through Glacier National Park. The narrow and winding road hugs the mountainside and was designed to complement the landscape and give visitors the opportunity to enjoy some of the most spectacular scenery Glacier National Park has to offer. We will stop on the Continental Divide at Logan Pass, the highest point along the road. We'll embark on our expert-led interpretive hikes and we’ll 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: Sack lunch along the trail. Please bring two reusable one-liter leak-proof water bottles to consume at lunch and throughout the day.

Afternoon: After completing our hikes, we will continue our journey over the Going-to-the-Sun Road where we'll view sky scraping peaks, waterfalls and meadows teeming with wildflowers and wildlife. Later in the afternoon we'll check into Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. The motel is located at the end of the road in Many Glacier Valley and is just steps away from trails that lead into the heart of Glacier National Park.

Dinner: At a local restaurant located near the Motor Inn, we'll use vouchers to order off the menu. The menu features hearty home-style entrees, sandwiches, burgers, salads, and pizza. Choice of non-alcoholic beverages are included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. You may wish to relax and enjoy the scenery, scan the surrounding slopes for wildlife, or stroll over to the nearby campground to listen to an evening program by a park ranger.

DAY
4
Scenic Interpretive Hikes in the Grinnell Valley
Swiftcurrent Valley
B,L,D
Swiftcurrent Motor Inn

Activity note: Hiking 7-12 miles throughout the day in mountainous terrain on maintained dirt trails that may be rocky and uneven. Starting elevation 4,990 feet, max elevation of 6,550 feet. We’ll split into smaller groups with varying distance choices; choose the option that suits your personal preference. Round trip drive time to trail head is 20 minutes. Restrooms available at most trail heads.

Breakfast: In a restaurant near the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, we'll have vouchers to order a plated meal off the menu. Breakfast choices include omelets, pancakes, breakfast meats, granola, and oatmeal. Non-alcoholic beverages included, other beverages available for purchase.

Morning: We'll travel a short distance to the trailhead then set off on foot to explore majestic Grinnell Valley. We will have multiple hiking options to choose from so you can choose the hike that best suits you. Thousands of years ago, a massive glacier carved Grinnell Valley, leaving behind a picturesque landscape of towering mountains and a chain of pristine lakes. Tucked high along the slopes of the continental divide, two small glaciers remain from the mid-19th century. These glaciers feed waterfalls that cascade hundreds of feet into turquoise lakes below. A quiet forest covers the valley bottom providing abundant habitat for wildlife. While you hike, be on the lookout for bears, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and moose. Along the trail, your Field Instructor will share information with you about the geology, flora, and fauna that make this valley such a spectacular place.

Lunch: Sack lunch along the trail. Please bring two reusable one-liter leak-proof water bottles to consume at lunch and throughout the day.

Afternoon: Continuation of expert-led interpretive hikes. Based on the hike you choose, you will either hike around the lakes back to the trailhead or ride the boat back to the trailhead.

Dinner: We'll have vouchers to order a plated meal off the menu at a local restaurant located near the Motor Inn. Non-alcoholic beverages included, other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Rest up for tomorrow, scan the surrounding slopes for wildlife, or stroll over to the nearby campground to listen to an evening program by a park ranger.

DAY
5
Scenic Interpretive Hikes in the Swiftcurrent Valley
Swiftcurrent Valley
B,L,D
Swiftcurrent Motor Inn

Activity note: Hiking 7-12 miles in mountainous terrain on maintained dirt trails that may be rocky and uneven. Starting elevation 4,900 feet, maximum elevation about 6,200 feet. We’ll split into smaller groups with varying distance choices; choose the option that suits your personal preference. Most of today's trail choices leave directly from the hotel, otherwise round trip drive time 20 minutes.

Breakfast: We'll have vouchers for a plated meal from the menu at the motel restaurant. Non-alcoholic beverages included, other beverages available for purchase.

Morning: Today we’ll head out the front door and hit the trail - no driving required! Keep your eyes open for waterfalls and wildlife as we embark on an all-day expert-led interpretive hike in the Swiftcurrent Valley.

Lunch: Sack lunch along the trail. Please bring two reusable one-liter leak-proof water bottles to consume at lunch and throughout the day.

Afternoon: Continue to deepen your knowledge and appreciation of the ecosystem you are hiking through with trailside lessons from your expert Field Instructors. After the hike return to the Motor Inn.

Dinner: At at the restaurant in the Motor Inn we'll have vouchers to use for a plated meal from the menu. Non-alcoholic beverages included, other beverages available for purchase.

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

DAY
6
Return to Kalispell, Logan Pass, Interpretive Hike
Kalispell
B,L,D
Hilton Garden Inn Kalispell

Activity note: Hiking 5-12 miles in mountainous terrain on maintained dirt trails that may be rocky and uneven. Max elevation of 7,600 feet, max 1,850 feet of elevation gained. We’ll split into smaller groups with varying distance choices; choose the option that suits your personal preference. Driving approximately 105 miles; about 3 hours total with stops along the way. Restrooms available at most trail heads.

Breakfast: We'll use vouchers to order a plated meal off the menu at the motel restaurant. Non-alcoholic beverages included, other beverages available for purchase.

Morning: After checking out of Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, we'll travel back along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Along the way, we will stop for one final hike. Hike destinations may include Piegan Pass, Preston Park, or a trio of waterfalls consisting of Barring Falls, Virginia Falls and St. Mary Falls. The Piegan Pass and Preston Park hikes will take you through subalpine forests and meadows bursting with wildflowers. As the trail gains altitude you may get a glimpse of Piegan Glacier in the distance. The 'triple waterfall' hike will take you through a forest that burned in 2015 where new life is abundant and wildflowers abound. Along the trail you will enjoy stunning views of St. Mary Lake and visit three thundering waterfalls.

Lunch: Sack lunch along the trail. Please bring two reusable one-liter leak-proof water bottles to consume at lunch and throughout the day.

Afternoon: After completing our hikes, we’ll finish our transfer along the Going-to-the-Sun Road and check back into the hotel in Kalispell.

Dinner: In the hotel meeting room, we'll celebrate a week full of adventure and learning with a casual, plated farewell dinner consisting of an entrée, sides, and dessert, plus a complimentary glass of wine, 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.

DAY
7
Program Concludes
Kalispell
B

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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