There is no doubt that July and August are the most popular times to visit Glacier National Park. After all, the high country is melted out, the wildflowers are incredible, and the weather is generally just about perfect, in the summer.
However, I’d like to let you in on a little secret: early season in Glacier National Park will blow your mind!
First: what is early season in Glacier? Depending on snowpack, early season, or spring, is sometime-in-May through mid-late June. Summer typically starts around July 4. Lots of people ask us about March and April – we’ll see you at Whitefish Mountain Resort during those months! Yes, we’re still skiing in April. Your opportunities to raft, hike, fish, and bike in Glacier are pretty limi in March and April.
Again, say it with us: early season in Glacier is sometime-in-May through mid-late June.
But early season is fantastic. So, why do the locals love the early season? I’ve got 7 reasons for you.
7 Secrets Locals Know About Early Season in Glacier National Park
- Biking is a great way to get around early season.
- Early season is great for wildlife viewing.
- You’re more likely to see northern lights.
- You can have some of the hottest spots in Glacier all to yourself.
- The rivers are a blast early season.
- Waterfalls are incredible this time of year.
- And so are the wildflowers.
1. Biking is a Great Way to Get Around Early Season.
Early season in Glacier National Park means miles of riding through stunning scenery without having to worry about cars. For hikers who don’t like crowds, it means that having a peaceful trail all to yourself is only a bike ride away. Bike traffic is allowed on most of Glacier Park’s roads long before cars are permitted. If you need a bike or an e-bike, we rent them. Also, when the Going to the Sun Road is closed to vehicle traffic, we guide bicycle tours of the Going-to-the-Sun Road! And other roads, too. Just ask.
#2. Early Season in Glacier National Park is Great for Wildlife Viewing.
Glacier is home to all sorts of incredible wildlife, and we definitely see animals all times of year. However, since spring isn’t as warm or busy as midsummer, animals are more active in lower elevations, and often easier to spot.
#3. You’re More Likely to See Northern Lights.
You can see aurora borealis any time of year in Glacier National Park, of course. But in the spring, the nights are a bit longer and darker than in summer, and so it is prime time to catch an incredible light show! (That being said, let’s remember that all things are relative, and that Montana is not Alaska or Iceland.)
#4. You Can Have Some of the Hottest Spots in Glacier Park All to Yourself.
Glacier is popular in the summer because it’s one of the most gorgeous places on earth. But if you can get here a little earlier, you can see a lot of the same beautiful scenery, but without the masses of people.
#5. The Rivers are a Blast Early Season!
Snowmelt means higher water, and higher water means bigger rapids and faster trips. If you’re feeling adventurous, book an early season whitewater rafting trip and take on the rapids yourself.
Pro Tip: Glacier Guides and Montana Raft provides wetsuits, river shoes, and splash gear at no additional charge. This gear is designed to keep you warm while you’re on the river. Be sure to bring extra non-cotton layers to wear under your splash gear, and leave some dry clothes in the car to put on after your adventure.
#6 Early Season in Glacier National Park is Waterfall Season …
I’ve talked a lot about snowmelt in this blog, but that’s because virtually everything about springtime in Glacier revolves around the snow melting. If you’re into waterfalls, let me let you in on a little secret: there are waterfalls EVERYWHERE around here this time of year.
# 7. Last But Not Least: Wildflower Season.
All the spring moisture and sunshine leads to incredible fields of wildflowers everywhere you look early season in Glacier National Park.
Early Season in Glacier National Park: You Won’t Know If You Don’t Go!
One of the things I love about Glacier National Park is that every season is incredibly different. Every season has a magic all its own. Living and working in the park has given me a chance to get to know those different seasons, and I hope you get a chance to experience spring here. Early season in Glacier National Park is truly something special.
If we can help you plan your rafting, hiking, fishing, and biking adventures, please reach out to us – that’s our job, and we love what we do.
See you out there!