5 Day Glacier Challenge

The Glacier Challenge Adventure

We know the best hikes in Glacier National Park, and we know they’re on your list. Are you ready for the Highline, Piegan Pass, Iceberg Lake, and Dawson-Pitamakan all in one week? Does the idea of sleeping under the star-studded Montana skies without carrying a heavy pack appeal to you? Read on to find out more about one of our most popular trips. Pro tip: this one always sells out early!

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Pricing

Price: $1900/person (13+ yrs)

Single Supplement for solo travelers: $50

Other: Glacier National Park entrance fee and guide gratuity not included

Specials Plan Your Trip

Glacier Challenge Details

Difficulty: Moderate, Advanced

2023 Dates:
July 20th
July 27th
August 15th
September 2nd

Trip Duration: 5 days

This trip is for strong hikers wanting to experience the very best hikes in Glacier. We call this trip “Glacier’s Greatest Hits!”

All of these hikes are challenging and meant for advanced hikers. The mileage for each hike ranges from 12 to 19 miles, with shorter options of about 7 to 10 miles available. This trip is geared toward full days of hiking, traveling over stunning mountain passes, along the Continental Divide.

Any gear not needed while hiking can be kept in our gear trailer. Most nights we come back to hot showers, camp-style cooking, and our comfy tents! On the last night, camping may be more primitive.

Are you looking for backpacking trips? Learn more about those here.

What Should I Bring?

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Itinerary & Additional Details

Day 1 – Logan Pass to Loop, via the iconic Highline Trail

Meet at our office just outside of West Glacier at 7:30 AM. You’ll meet your guide and go over your gear. Then, enjoy driving Glacier’s historic Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass. Surrounded by glacially carved peaks, hike the Highline Trail to Granite Park Chalet and then down to the Loop. The full Highline Trail experience is 11.9 miles.

If you prefer a shorter day hike, you can choose to hike the Highline Trail to Haystack Butte and back. This option is about 7 miles round trip. Whether you opt for the long option or the short, we’ll be hiking along the Garden Wall through meadows of wildflowers. Your guides will help you look for bighorn sheep, marmots, and mountain goats along the way. After our hike, we will drive the Going-to-the-Sun-Road to St. Mary. We’ll make camp in St. Mary, Montana. Hot showers are available. Your guides will prepare dinner after your arrival.

Let’s Eat!

On the subject of meals, you will be amazed by what our guides will cook for you on this trip. 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 in advance. Meals are prepared by your guides using fresh ingredients and exclusive Glacier Guides and Montana Raft recipes. Guides are trained each year in safe food handling practices.

Day 2 – Siyeh Bend to Many Glacier Valley, via Piegan Pass

After a cup of steaming, organic coffee or tea, and a hearty breakfast, we’ll drive a short distance back along the Going to the Sun Road to the Siyeh Bend trailhead. From there, we’ll hike to Piegan Pass and then down to the Many Glacier Hotel. This fabulous hike is about 14.3 miles long.

If you prefer a shorter distance today, you may choose to hike to Piegan Pass and back. That option is about 9 miles roundtrip. Expect fantastic views of glaciers, open meadows, and alpine lakes along either route! We’ll also get a rare glimpse of the eastern face of the Garden Wall. At the end of the day, we’ll return to our camp in St. Mary for a second night. Hot showers available!

Day 3 – Explore Waterton Lake, Canada. Rest Day!

After breakfast we’ll head to Canada and spend the day exploring the quaint town of Waterton. We’ll set up camp and provide shuttles twice a day for drop off and pick up for various on your own activities. Explore the Prince of Wales hotel, bring a chair and relax by the lake and or go on a cruise with Waterton Shoreline Cruises. Watch for wildlife and take short walks and take lots of photos. At the end of the day, enjoy dinner at one of the local restaurants. (This meal is not included in the price.) Camp in Waterton, Canada for the third night. Hot showers available!

Day 4 – Iceberg Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel

Today, we’ll head back into the US and explore the exquisite Many Glacier valley. We’ll hike to Iceberg Lake, a trail known for its abundance of wildlife and wildflowers, and of course, its turquoise, iceberg studded lake, tucked into a glacial cirqueThe hike to Iceberg and back is 9.8 miles round trip.

If you’re looking for an even bigger Glacier challenge, add an additional 6.4 miles to your day by trekking on to Ptarmigan Tunnel. Ptarmigan Tunnel was blasted through the solid rock of the Ptarmigan Wall in 1931 and overlooks the remote backcountry of the Belly River. It offers majestic views of Elizabeth Lake with Natoas Peak rising above it.

After hiking, we drive further south to the Two Medicine area of Glacier. We’ll camp in the East Glacier area. The campsite may be primitive on this final night, and showers may not be available.

Day 5 – Two Medicine Area, via Dawson-Pitamakan 

If you’ve read much about the best hikes in Glacier, then you’ve definitely heard about Pitamakan Pass and Dawson Pass, commonly called Dawson-Pitamakan. Today’s hike will traverse the Continental Divide between these two incredibly beautiful alpine passes. This is a 18.9 mile loop hike and an amazing way to top off your Glacier Challenge.

Today’s short option is to Scenic Point and back, for a total of 7.6 miles.

So Long, Farewell

We will return to West Glacier in the late afternoon or early evening, so be sure to inquire about late check in at your hotel. And let us know if you need a recommendation on West Glacier lodging!

Glacier Challenge Meeting Notes

Guests should call our office the day prior to departure at 406-387-5555 to check-in. The day of the Glacier Challenge departure, arrive at our office at 7:30 AM to meet your guide.  Click on directions for how to find us.

  • 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

    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

    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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