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