Cosley Lake, Glacier National Park - 3-day Backpacking Glacier Guides & Montana Raft

3 Day Backpacking Trip in Glacier National Park – A Taste of Glacier

A Taste of Glacier Trip Details

“A Taste Of Glacier” is a fun filled 3 day backpacking trip to Glacier National Park’s rugged backcountry. It’s perfect for those with limited time to venture into wilds of Glacier. You’ll visit parts of the park that most visitors don’t even know exist. You’ll spend your days in sub-alpine and alpine meadows amongst Glacier’s towering peaks. On the trail, your guide will point out features of interest, identify flora and fauna, and be on the lookout for wildlife. You’ll camp in Glacier’s beautiful backcountry campgrounds. Almost all campsites are located near lakes or streams, offering opportunities for fishing or swimming. You’ll be hard pressed to find a 3 day itinerary that packs as much Glacier National Park adventure as this one! Take a look below for more details on itinerary, suggested fitness level and typical routes we take!

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Price: $840/person (15+ years)

Other: Glacier National Park Entrance Fee (not included in price)

Guide Tip: Industry rate is 18-20% (not included in price)

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Trip Details

This 3 day guided backpacking trip in Glacier is jam packed with fun and is perfect for those with limited time to venture into the backcountry!

Difficulty: Moderate

Dates: This 3 day guided backpacking trip in Glacier leaves every Wednesday between the dates of 5/29/2024 and 09/25/2024.

Trip Duration: 3 Days

Minimum Age: 15

Want to know how we determine the physical rating of this trip? Visit our ratings page here!

What's Included, What to Bring

  • What’s provided? Do you need a sleeping bag? View our full packing list.
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Itinerary & Additional Details

Example Itinerary

For trips starting in mid June onward, we will have permits in early February. Feel free to ask us what we have scheduled for a particular date. For trips in late May and early June we won’t know exactly where we’re going until the day before the trip.

May and June: Early Season (Difficulty 2: Easy to Moderate)

  • We spend most of the early season exploring Glacier National Park’s Belly River. You’ll experience fields covered in wildflowers, towering snow-capped peaks and plenty of backcountry lakes to admire. 

Late June – Late July: More Terrain Options (Difficulty 3: Moderate)

  • We love the Cutbank area of the park both for the beauty and serenity. This is the perfect time of year for a peaceful few days spent in Glacier’s backcountry and typically our first chance to go over Triple Divide Pass and into St. Mary. Total elevation gain for this pass is about 2,400 feet! 

Late July – Late August: Opportunities abound (Difficulty 3: Moderate)

  • We’ve made it to that time in Montana’s short summer window where we can reach higher elevation areas and see the Glacially carved valleys below. Many times, we will begin in the Two Medicine area and hike over Pitamakan Pass to Cutbank, or vice versa.  Another amazing option that occurs frequently in August is hiking over Gunsight Pass from Jackson Glacier Overlook to Lake McDonald Lodge

September: Cooler Weather Arrives (Difficulty 3: Moderate)

  • As we drift back into cooler weather and early fall, high alpine areas or passes may receive snowfall. In this case, we venture back to The Belly River or hike from Cutbank to the Two Medicine area.

Here is a general description of what you might expect!

Day 1

Arrive at our West Glacier office at 8:30 am to meet your guide. You’ll go over your gear and split up food and equipment among the group. Depending on the itinerary, you may expect a 1 to 3 hour van shuttle to the trailhead. We should be on trail between 11:30 to 12:30! Expect to hike approximately 4-6 miles the first day. Our guides are passionate and encyclopedic about Glacier National Park — no matter your level of hiking experience, we promise they’ll teach you something new as you hike. Our first night’s camp is likely to be on the shore of a beautiful alpine lake, surrounded by majestic snow-capped peaks, or nestled in a secluded valley next to the peaceful sounds of a babbling creek. After setting up camp, your guide will prepare an incredible backcountry meal.

Let’s eat!

On the subject of meals, you will be amazed by what our guides cook for you. We like to eat, and it shows. Our in house kitchen staff, who assists our guides in trip preparations, believes in sourcing locally, purchasing organic when possible, and fueling your body with the best available, homemade food. You won’t find commercially freeze dried one bag meals on this trip! We can also accommodate nearly any dietary restriction or preference – just ask.

Day 2

The next morning you’ll awaken to a cup of fresh, organic, fair trade coffee or tea and a hearty breakfast. In late summer, your guide might sprinkle freshly picked huckleberries onto your protein packed pancakes! After breaking camp, expect to be on the trail between 9:00 am to 10:00 am, depending on the mileage for the day. The average backpacking day is about 8 miles. A longer day could be up to 10 miles – in that scenario, expect to break camp a little earlier. Lunch is usually made along the trail next to a relaxing creek or on a scenic pass. After arriving at that night’s campground, you will set up camp and refill water while your guide prepares another delicious dinner.

Day 3

On the last day, you’ll hike out to the trailhead and meet your shuttle driver. A delicious deli lunch awaits you, which will be a fine treat after 3 days in the backcountry. Typically, we return to the Glacier Guides and Montana office around 5 pm, although that can vary.


  • Mileage covered on our 3 day backpack trip ranges from 4-10 miles per day. Early season (through June and into first few days of July) our backpacking trips tend to base camp more, and then day hike to explore the alpine passes. This is due to winter snows lingering in the high country.
  • Elevation gain and loss on an average day will be about 500 to 800 feet, while a more strenuous day will be 2,000 to 3,000 feet, i.e. if you are hiking over a pass.
  • Weight of your backpack will depend on the weight of what you choose to bring. Upon arrival, your guide will give you 5-7 pounds of food to add to your bag. Most people on a 3 day backpack trip end up with a pack weight of around 35 pounds. Remember, ounces make pounds!  Not comfortable carrying a heavy backpack?  Send us an email to inquire about porter availability and add a porter to your guided trip.
  • Our guides pack and prepare all meals and are great backcountry cooks. You’ll enjoy delicious, largely locally sourced and organic meals. We are happy to accommodate special dietary needs upon advanced request. Please let us know what they are when you book your trip.
  • Group size will be no larger than 8 people per backcountry trip. 7 guests per guide.
  • Don’t forget your passport, because some of our trips during mid July through early September either start or end in Waterton, Canada!


Add an Overnight Rafting Trip to your backpacking adventure in order to see even more of Glacier. Her southwestern border is formed by the Wild and Scenic Middle and North Forks of the Flathead River. Don’t miss your chance to relax by these turquoise waters after your backpacking trip! You’ll receive a 10% discount on the 2 Day Raft Trip if you make your reservation for the 5 Day Hike/Raft Trip, which includes the discount. Or just give us a call at 406-387-5555 and we’ll get you set up.

3 Day Guided Backpacking Trip in Glacier Meeting Notes

Guests should call our office the day prior to departure at 406-387-5555 or 1-800-521-7238 to check-in. The day of the trip, you should arrive at our office at 8:30 AM to meet your guide. Click on directions for how to find us.

  • Hiking Testimonial

    What an amazing experience! Just finished a four day backpacking trip with guide, Jen. Jen was extremely professional and so “in tune” to the group. Her knowledge of the surroundings we walked through was incredible. It’s clear she holds a passion for what she does that really shines through. She went above and beyond to help give me a most memorable first time experience at Glacier. Thank you!

    — Jessica Wolf

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  • Hiking Testimonial

    Glacier guides was more than I could’ve imagined! My Friends and I did the 5 day glacier challenge and it was amazing! They offer longer hikes and shorter hikes. I thought I would do all the long hikes but I didn’t every day. Every hike you take is absolutely stunning!! definitely do what your body will allow, you’ll still be very satisfied! Best part of the challenge is most certainly the guides… TOM MATELICH is awesome! he is a wonderful leader, cook, guide, absolutely hilarious and all around great guy! ARI MELINGER-COHEN is super chill and very calming to be around, extremely knowledgeable and very caring. MAKETE ROESCH is magical, super helpful and can pretty much answer anything you want to know (especially about bears and flowers). All these guys are seriously the best and when I go back I will 100% be requesting them. Glacier guides couldn’t have made this experience any better! Forever grateful for their guidance and the love they have for this beautiful place!

    — Britney Doe

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  • Hiking Testimonial

    We did the 3 day backpacking trip with Tom a few weeks ago. It was the BEST experience we could have asked for! We will book again if we get the chance. Unforgettable views and experience. Not to mention the food Tom made with just one little burner was perfect.

    — Ashley Marie

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  • Hiking Testimonial

    I went on a six day hike with four guys and our guide, Maketa. It was amazing. We had a wide range of ages 35-70 and our guide was able to create the perfect trip for all of us. It is an unbelievable park and we were able to optimize our time there because of the expert planning from Maketa. Glacier Guides was helpful throughout the experience and I wouldn’t have had the same trip any other way. Definitely a FIVE STAR rating. Best trip of my life!

    — Andrew Rocca

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  • Hiking Testimonial

    Went on a guided hike to Avalanche Trail yesterday with our guide Tom. Perfect way to experience the Park for the first time. I learned so much about the Park as Tom pointed out many interesting points that I would have not known if I went alone. Enjoyed the company of 5 other guests. Took a van ride about 16 miles in to access the Trail. Tom brought lunches for each and we ate halfway through on the shore of a beautiful lake. I enjoyed asking questions to learn and Tom had the answers. I would highly recommend taking a guided hike with Glacier Guides even if you’ve been to the Park before. Glad I did.

    — Peter Lemp

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