Glacier National Park is located in the northwest corner of Montana in Glacier and Flathead Counties.
The closest airports are Kalispell or Great Falls, Montana.
Establishing the Glacier National Park
Around the turn of the century, people started to look at the land differently. Rather than just seeing the minerals they could mine or land to settle on, they started to recognize the value of its spectacular scenic beauty. Facilities for tourists started to spring up. In the late 1890’s, visitors arriving at Belton (now called West Glacier) could get off the train, take a stagecoach ride a few miles to Lake McDonald, and then board a boat for an eight mile trip to the Snyder Hotel. No roads existed in the mountains, but the lakes allowed boat travel into the wilderness.
Size and Visitation of Glacier National Park
The park encompasses approximately 1.4 million acres of wilderness and some of the most beautiful mountain scenery in the western United States. A combination of spectacular scenery, diverse flora and fauna, and relative isolation from major population centers have combined to make Glacier National Park the center of one of the largest and most intact ecosystems in North America.
History of Glacier National Park
Recent archaeological surveys have found evidence of human use dating back over 10,000 years. These people may have been the ancestors of tribes that live in the area today. By the time the first European explorers came to this region, several different tribes inhabited the area. The Blackfeet Indians controlled the vast prairies east of the mountains. The Salish and Kootenai Indians lived and hunted in the western valleys. They also traveled east of the mountains to hunt buffalo.
Wheeled vehicles are restricted to established roadways, bike routes or parking areas and are not allowed on trails.
Glacier National Park offers a variety of boating experiences. Boat launching ramps are available on Bowman and McDonald Lakes on the west side, and St. Mary and Two Medicine Lakes on the east side of the park.
Ten campgrounds provide just under 1000 sites. Most campgrounds are operated on a “first come first serve” basis.
Hiking opportunities abound in Glacier National Park. Over 700 miles of trails invite visitors to get out of the car and experience Glacier close-up.
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