4 Day Backpacking Glacier National Park – Exploring Glacier
Unplug and Recharge
Four day Glacier Park backpacking trips are very popular because for more people, they’re the “right” amount of time in the backcountry. You’ll visit parts of the park that most visitors don’t even know exist. Spend your days in sub-alpine and alpine meadows among Glacier’s towering peaks. On the trail, your guide points out features of interest, identify flora and fauna, and be on the lookout for wildlife. You’ll camp in Glacier’s beautiful and backcountry campgrounds. Almost all campsites are located near lakes or streams, offering opportunities for fishing and or swimming.
Price: $1120/person (15+)
Other: Glacier National Park Entrance Fee (not included in price)
Guide Tip: Industry rate is 18-20% (not included in price)
What’s the perfect amount of time for Glacier Park backpacking trips? For most people, we’ve found it’s about 4 days. This is a very popular trip.
Dates: Every Saturday between June st and September 14th, 2024.
Trip Duration: 4 Days
Minimum Age: 15
What Should I Bring?
Itinerary & Additional Details
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
- Our most common early summer trip is in Glacier’s Belly River area. The Belly River is filled with wildflower fields, beautiful rivers and backcountry lakes. These trips stay at a lower elevation but give plenty of opportunity to look up and admire towering, snow-capped peaks.
Late June – Late July: More Terrain Options
- Explore further in Glacier’s Belly River. In late June, this trip may include hiking over Redgap Pass and into the always beautiful Many Glacier area.
- On the other side of the park is another popular permit with a route in Glacier’s North Fork area. Enjoy rugged terrain and a few climbs when you travel from Kintla Lake to Upper Kintla Lake and back.
- One of our favorite routes is in the Two Medicine Valley where we will hike Dawson and Pitamakan Passes to the Cutbank area
Late July – Late August: Opportunities abound
- Hike over Dawson and Pitamakan Passes and into the Cutbank area. This trip may also start in Cutbank and make its way into Two Medicine.
- We love a beautiful climb over Gunsight Pass. Start at Jackson Glacier overlook and hike towards Lake McDonald Lodge. Go on this trip in August for a quick detour and a chance to see Sperry Glacier.
- An ever popular option is hiking the Highline Trail, past the historic Granite Park Chalet and onto Granite Park campground. We then continue this epic journey to Fifty Mountain and from Flattop Mountain to Packers Roost.
- This is another wonderful time to explore The Belly River in Glacier National Park. In late July and August, we will have the opportunity to hike over Redgap Pass, through Ptarmigan Tunnel and over into Many Glacier.
- Dust off that passport because we may start one of our trips in Waterton, Canada. Begin your adventure by boarding a boat on Waterton Lake, then embark on a hike from Goat Haunt, heading south and then east, traversing Stoney Indian Pass to reach the Belly River, or go west over Browns Pass to arrive at Bowman Lake.
September: Cooler Weather Arrives
- This could include a trip through The Belly River and over the pass into Many Glacier or a beautiful loop in The Belly River where you can experience several lakes, waterfalls and beautiful backcountry camping. Don’t forget your fishing pole and remember to look at Glacier’s fishing regulations before taking off!
Glacier Park backpacking trips meet 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 6-8 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.
On the subject of meals, you will be amazed by what our guides cook for you on our Glacier Park backpacking trips. 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.
Days 2 and 3
In the mornings, 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 12 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.
On the last day, you’ll hike out to the trailhead to meet your shuttle driver. A delicious deli lunch awaits you, which will be a fine treat after 4 days in the backcountry. Typically, we return to the Glacier Guides and Montana office around 5 pm, although that can vary.
Frequently Asked Questions About Glacier Park Backpacking Trips
Mileage ranges from 5-12 miles per day, with an average of 8 miles. 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 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, 6, or 8 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.
Glacier Park Backpacking Trips Meeting Notes
Guests should call our office the day prior to departure at 406-387-5555 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.