6 Days Backpacking in Glacier National Park – A Week in the Wilderness
A Week in the Wilderness
Glacier National Park has many different environments, ranging from mature forests, to grasslands, to alpine meadows, to high passes, to riparian river zones. On 6 day Glacier National Park backpacking tours, we make it a goal to weave our way through all of these areas.
Other Price: Glacier National Park Entrance Fee (not included in price)
Guide Tip: Industry rate is 18-20% (not included in price)
Dates: This 6 day backpacking trip happens every Sunday between the dates of June 18th and September 3rd, 2023
Trip Duration: 6 Days
Minimum Age: 15
What Should I Bring?
What’s provided? Do you need a sleeping bag? View our packing list for additional information.
Itinerary & Additional Details
There are over 700 miles of hiking trails in Glacier National Park, so the best way to see the park is on foot. The 6 day Glacier National Park backpacking tours are for those who wish to forget about civilization for a while and to visit the more remote parts of the park. You’ll spend your days in subalpine and alpine environments 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 be camping in Glacier’s beautiful and remote backcountry campgrounds. Almost all campsites are located near lakes or streams, offering opportunities for fishing or swimming.
Here’s the thing. Although we’ve been Glacier National Park’s exclusive, trusted backpacking partner since 1983, we have to stand in line for backcountry permits like everyone else. So, we can’t give you an exact itinerary for our Glacier National Park backpacking trips. We won’t know exactly where we’re going until the day before the trip. However, we can give you an example of what you might expect!
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 amongst 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. 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 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 6 days in the backcountry. Typically, we return to the Glacier Guides and Montana Raft office around 4 pm, although that can vary.
Frequently Asked Questions
- Mileage ranges from 5 to 12 miles a day, with an average of 8 miles/day. On longer trips we sometimes incorporate a layover day. That allows guests to explore without a heavy pack. 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. We usually have 1-2 strenuous days over the course of 6 day Glacier National Park backpacking tours.
- Weight of your backpack will depend on the weight of what you choose to bring. Upon arrival, your guide will give you 6-8 pounds of food to add to your bag. Most people end up with a pack weight of around 40 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 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 National Park Backpacking Trips 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.