Why Now is the Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park

Last updated on: Apr 16, 2021

(Last Updated On: April 16, 2021)

Sure, there are best seasons to visit different places around the globe.  However, now is the best time to visit Glacier National Park, because soon, its namesake, the glaciers will be gone.

Politicians might feel like they have to argue about whether climate change is happening, but in the high mountain passes of Montana, there is no debate.  It’s real and it’s eliminating one of the natural wonders of our world.

In 1910, President William Howard Taft signed a bill setting aside this area of Montana as Glacier National Park.  There were 150 glaciers that covered at least 25 acres.

Today, there are only 30 glaciers left and estimates are those, by 2030, in just 11 years, all will be gone.  All that will be left, after over 10,000 years of permanent glaciers in the area will be piles of rocks.

Many of the existing glaciers are deep in the backcountry but a few are in the “front country” accessible via roads.  The front country is the area that easy to access from the lodges and ranger stations.

Although much of the park is not accessible for folks who struggle to walk, there are places to see the glaciers that are breathtaking for those who can get there.

What to see

Sperry Glacier is only a nine-mile hike that climbs 4,000 feet.  The shortest route is steep, but worth the hike to see this amazing glacier.

Jackson Glacier is easy to spot since there is a pull-off and sign that points to it from Going-to-the-Sun Road, one of the main roads through the park.  Binoculars will make it a lot easier to see. Going-to-the-Sun Road is the best road to travel to see many attractions, especially if you have limited time to visit Glacier National Park.

Many Glacier (yes, that its name) is considered by many to be the heart of the park.  While the trail is rough and can be pretty damaging to a car, it’s a great place to see several active glaciers, huge mountains, and even bighorn sheep in the summertime.

Lake McDonald - Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park

Lake McDonald Valley is a place where glaciers once roamed and have left a long time ago.  The park’s biggest lake is 10 miles long and about 500 feet deep.

There is a lodge there to stay in and some of the most beautiful country in the world to explore. Because of how easy it is to access from the road and the variety of trails and sights, it’s a great place for adventurers of every age and ability.

How to get there

One of the best ways to visit Glacier National Park is ride the train.  Amtrak’s Empire Builder, one of my most memorable train rides ever, arrives there twice a day, once from the east and once from the west.

Amtrak offers 15 Glacier National Park vacations great for travelers of all ages.  Taking a train to the park is one of America’s greatest traditions.  And it’s good for the environment.

There are few places where the impact of climate change is as clear as at Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park, in Montana, USA, might be endangered, but there is still time to see one of the most beautiful places on earth.  Whether with the whole family or on a romantic vacation, Glacier National Park is a breathtaking place.

What are your thoughts on the best time to visit Glacier National Park? Have you visited before?

Author Profile

Bob Peryea
Bob is freelance writer based in Wisconsin. He spent decades in the hospitality business and has traveled extensively in the US. He lives with his wife and two cats in a quiet town in the land of Cheeseheads.

23 thoughts on “Why Now is the Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park”

  1. Wow! What a trip. I have heard of Glacier National Park but I have never actually looked into the beauty in the park. It’s beautiful!

  2. Glacier National Park is just undeniably beautiful and a must-see for all who love nature and the great outdoors. It is so sad what climate change is doing and the fact that so many people are still in denial and wanting to avoid taking necessary and urgent action. We can only hope that people will wake up to this global problem and work together on a solution before it’s too late.

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Nicole! So many of our beautiful treasures and species are being lost due to human action…or inaction, at this point. I also hope a solution can be pursued quickly.

  3. I have always wanted to go to Montana to see the glaciers. We live in Kentucky so going anywhere in the west is something I want to do. We are going to have to make a trip there soon from the looks of it. The pictures are beautiful!

  4. I’ve heard wonderful reviews about Glacier National Park. This time of year it must be freezing cold there, though!

    1. So true that it is really cold during winter, Lisa! Skiing and snowshoeing are good this time of year. All in all, I just want to encourage everyone to go sooner rather than later. 🙂

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