We know there’s a lot to plan in your perfect vacation to Glacier National Park, and we want to make it as easy and seamless as possible. Take a look at how we would rate our hiking and backpacking trips in terms of physical fitness and difficulty to ensure you’re well prepared and ready to have the best vacation ever. If you have any other questions, don’t hesitate to reach out via email at info@glacierguides.com or give us a call at (406) 387-5555


Day Hikes

Nature Walk: Easy [1]

  • Duration & Intensity:
    • 2-3 hours of walking with light elevation gain, covering about 3 miles between 2 flat walks
    • 180′ elevation gain
  • Trail Features
    • Flat, well maintained trails
  • Pack Weight
    • Day pack with water bottle and extra layers, about 5 pounds maximum depending on what you bring in your day pack
  • Footwear & Safety
    • Supportive & comfortable tennis shoes

Monday Day Hike – Two Medicine Valley: Easy to Moderate [2]

  • Duration & Intensity:
    • 2-4 hours of daily hiking, covering 4 miles.
    • 800′ elevation gain
  • Trail Features:
    • The trails in Glacier are single path, maintained by trail crew 1-2 times a year of brush, downed trees, and rocks.  
    • Stay alert for slipping, tripping and falling hazards.
  • Pack Weight:
    • Carry daypacks weighing approximately 5 pounds
  • Footwear & Safety:
    • Lightweight, comfortable hiking boots with ankle support or supportive & comfortable tennis shoes

Tuesday Day Hike – Highlilne Trail: Moderate [2-3]

  • Duration & Intensity:
    • 3-5 hours of daily hiking, covering 7.2 miles.
    • 825′ elevation gain
  • Trail Features:
    • The trails in Glacier are single path, maintained by trail crew 1-2 times a year of brush, downed trees, and rocks.  
    • Switchbacks and bridges are common at steep sections and water crossings.  
    • Stay alert for slipping, tripping and falling hazards.
  • Pack Weight:
    • Carry daypacks weighing approximately 5 pounds
  • Footwear & Safety:
    • Lightweight, comfortable hiking boots with ankle support.

Wednesday Day Hike – Virginia Falls: Easy to Moderate [2]

  • Duration & Intensity:
    • 3-5 hours of daily hiking, covering 6.5 miles.
    • 775′ of elevation gain
  • Trail Features:
    • The trails in Glacier are single path, maintained by trail crew 1-2 times a year of brush, downed trees, and rocks.  
    • Switchbacks and bridges are common at steep sections and water crossings.  
    • Stay alert for slipping, tripping and falling hazards.
  • Pack Weight:
    • Carry daypacks weighing approximately 5 pounds
  • Footwear & Safety:
    • Lightweight, comfortable hiking boots with ankle support.

Thursday Day Hike – Piegan Pass: Advanced [3-4]

  • Duration & Intensity:
    • 3-5 hours of daily hiking, covering 9.2 miles.
    • 1,850′ elevation gain
  • Trail Features:
    • The trails in Glacier are single path, maintained by trail crew 1-2 times a year of brush, downed trees, and rocks.  
    • Switchbacks and bridges are common at steep sections and water crossings.  
    • Stay alert for slipping, tripping and falling hazards.
  • Pack Weight:
    • Carry daypacks weighing approximately 5 pounds
  • Footwear & Safety:
    • Lightweight, comfortable hiking boots with ankle support.

Friday Day Hike – Iceberg Lake: Moderate [3]

  • Duration & Intensity:
    • 3-5 hours of daily hiking, covering 9.7 miles.
    • 1,275′ elevation gain
  • Trail Features:
    • The trails in Glacier are single path, maintained by trail crew 1-2 times a year of brush, downed trees, and rocks.  
    • Switchbacks and bridges are common at steep sections and water crossings.  
    • Stay alert for slipping, tripping and falling hazards.
  • Pack Weight:
    • Carry daypacks weighing approximately 5 pounds
  • Footwear & Safety:
    • Lightweight, comfortable hiking boots with ankle support.

Saturday Day Hike – Scenic Point: Advanced [3-4]

  • Duration & Intensity:
    • 3-5 hours of daily hiking, covering 8 miles.
    • 2,300′ elevation gain
  • Trail Features:
    • The trails in Glacier are single path, maintained by trail crew 1-2 times a year of brush, downed trees, and rocks.  
    • Switchbacks and bridges are common at steep sections and water crossings.  
    • Stay alert for slipping, tripping and falling hazards.
  • Pack Weight:
    • Carry daypacks weighing approximately 5 pounds
  • Footwear & Safety:
    • Lightweight, comfortable hiking boots with ankle support.

Sunday Day Hike – Firebrand Pass: Advanced [3-4]

  • Duration & Intensity:
    • 3-5 hours of daily hiking, covering 10.2 miles.
    • 1,950′ elevation gain
  • Trail Features:
    • The trails in Glacier are single path, maintained by trail crew 1-2 times a year of brush, downed trees, and rocks.  
    • Switchbacks and bridges are common at steep sections and water crossings.  
    • Stay alert for slipping, tripping and falling hazards.
  • Pack Weight:
    • Carry daypacks weighing approximately 5 pounds
  • Footwear & Safety:
    • Lightweight, comfortable hiking boots with ankle support.

Chalet Trips: Easy to Moderate [2]

  • Duration & Intensity:
    • 3-5 hours of daily hiking, covering up to 7.6 miles.
    • 1,800′ elevation gain or 2,200′ loss in a day.
  • Trail Features:
    • The trails in Glacier are single path, maintained by trail crew 1-2 times a year of brush, downed trees, and rocks.  
    • Switchbacks and bridges are common at steep sections and water crossings.  
    • Stay alert for slipping, tripping and falling hazards.
  • Pack Weight:
    • Carry daypacks weighing 15-20 pounds on Day 1 and Day 3.
    • Day 2 involves just day-hiking essentials.
  • Footwear & Safety:
    • Lightweight, comfortable hiking boots with ankle support.

You should be capable of hiking 3-5 hours each day (up to 7.6 miles) with as much as 1,800′ elevation gain or 2,200′ loss in a day.  You will need lightweight, comfortable hiking boots, with good ankle support (we strongly recommend that you break in any new boots prior to the trip). Participants will be carrying their own daypacks weighing about 15-20 pounds on Day 1 and Day 3 and just carrying day hiking necessities on Day 2.


3 Day and 4 Day Backpacking Trips in May and June: Easy to Moderate [2-3]

  • Mileage & Elevation:
    • 3-6 hours of daily hiking, covering 4-9 miles daily.
    • 400-1500 feet elevation gain and loss.
  • Backpack Load:
    • Participants carry 30-35 pound backpacks.
  • Exploration Opportunities:
    • Hike further without heavy backpacks after setting up camp.
  • Trail Features:
    • The trails in Glacier are single path, maintained by trail crew 1-2 times a year of brush, downed trees, and rocks.  
    • Switchbacks and bridges are common at steep sections and water crossings.  
    • Stay alert for slipping, tripping and falling hazards.
  • Experience Level:
    • Previous backpacking experience is not required.
    • Engage in a regular exercise regimen for optimal enjoyment.
  • Footwear & Safety:
    • Lightweight, comfortable hiking boots with ankle support.

Mileage will vary on average from 4-9 miles a day. A usual day of elevation will be about 400-1000 feet elevation gain.  Participants will be carrying their own backpacks weighing about 30 to 35 pounds. After camp is set up, there may be opportunities to hike further to a lake or a pass without carrying the heavy backpack. You will need lightweight, comfortable hiking boots, with good ankle support (we strongly recommend that you break in any new boots prior to the trip). Some of our trips will have stream crossings. We ask that you bring sandals so that your boots don’t get wet. It helps to have some camping experience, but is not a requirement.


3 Day and 4 Day Backpacking Trips in July, August and September: Moderate [3-4]

  • Mileage & Elevation:
    • 5-8 hours of daily hiking, covering 4-11 miles daily.
    • 400-1000 feet gain/loss most days, up to 2000-3000 feet one strenuous day.
  • Backpack Load:
    • Participants carry 30-35 pound backpacks.
  • Trail Features:
    • The trails in Glacier are single path, maintained by trail crew 1-2 times a year of brush, downed trees, and rocks.  
    • Switchbacks and bridges are common at steep sections and water crossings.  
    • Stay alert for slipping, tripping and falling hazards.
  • Experience Level:
    • Previous backpacking experience is helpful but not required.
    • Engage in a regular exercise regimen for optimal enjoyment.
  • Footwear & Safety:
    • Lightweight, comfortable hiking boots with ankle support.

Mileage will average from 4-11 miles a day. A usual day of elevation will be about 400-800 feet elevation gain, while a more strenuous day will be a gain of 2000-3000 feet. 3 and 4 day backpack trips usually have one strenuous day.  During early and late season trips we usually camp at lower elevations. Participants will be carrying their own backpacks weighing about 30 to 35 pounds. You will need lightweight, comfortable hiking boots, with good ankle support (we strongly recommend that you break in any new boots prior to the trip). Some of our trips will have stream crossings. We ask that you bring sandals so that your boots don’t get wet. It helps to have some camping experience, but is not a requirement.


6 Day Backpacking : Moderate to Advanced [3-4-5]

  • Mileage & Elevation:
    • 5-9 hours of daily hiking, covering 6-13 miles daily (occasionally 15).
    • 400-1000 feet gain/loss most days, 2000-3000 feet 2 plus strenuous days.
  • Backpack Load:
    • Participants carry 35-40 pound backpacks.
  • Trail Features:
    • The trails in Glacier are single path, maintained by trail crew 1-2 times a year of brush, downed trees, and rocks.  
    • Switchbacks and bridges are common at steep sections and water crossings.  
    • Stay alert for slipping, tripping and falling hazards.
  • Experience & Fitness:
    • Previous backpacking experience is helpful but not required.
    • Engage in a regular exercise regimen for optimal enjoyment.
  • Footwear & Safety:
    • Lightweight, comfortable hiking boots with ankle support.

Mileage will vary on average from 6-12 miles a day. A usual day of elevation will be about 400-800 feet elevation gain, while a more strenuous day will be a gain of 2000-3000 feet. 6 day trips usually include 2 or 3 strenuous days. During early and late season trips we usually camp at lower elevations. Participants will be carrying their own backpacks weighing about 35 to 40 pounds.

You will need lightweight, comfortable hiking boots, with good ankle support (we strongly recommend that you break in any new boots prior to the trip). Some of our trips will have stream crossings. We ask that you bring sandals so that your boots don’t get wet. Previous backpacking experience is highly recommended, this is not a beginners backpacking trip.

Depending on permitted routing, one or more days of this itinerary may trend towards the high end of the level 3-4 activity rating: including backpacking up to 13 miles, with up to 3,000 feet of elevation gain/loss. Participants will be carrying their own packs weighing 35-40 pounds throughout the trip. To maximize your enjoyment of the trip we suggest that you engage in a regular exercise regimen beginning at least three months prior to your departure. Most important to your enjoyment of the trip is your overall fitness level.


Glacier Challenge Short Option: Easy to Moderate [2-3]

  • Duration & Intensity:
    • 4-6 hours daily, covering 7 to 10 miles.
    • 1,800′ elevation gain or 2,200′ loss in a day.
  • Trail Features:
    • The trails in Glacier are single path, maintained by trail crew 1-2 times a year of brush, downed trees, and rocks.  
    • Switchbacks and bridges are common at steep sections and water crossings.  
    • Stay alert for slipping, tripping and falling hazards.
  • Pack Weight & Storage:
    • Daypacks weighing 10-15 pounds, with day hike essentials..
  • Footwear & Safety:
    • Lightweight, comfortable hiking boots with ankle support.

You should be capable of hiking 4-6 hours each day (7 to 10 miles) with as much as 1,800′ elevation gain or 2,200′ loss in a day.  You will need lightweight, comfortable hiking boots, with good ankle support (we strongly recommend that you break in any new boots prior to the trip). Any overnight clothing and gear will be kept in the vehicle throughout the trip. Participants will be carrying their own daypacks weighing about 10-15 pounds carrying day hiking necessities for each day.


Glacier Challenge Long Option: Advanced [4-5]

  • Duration & Intensity:
    • 6-9 hours daily, covering 12 to 19 miles.
    • Up to 3000′ elevation gain or loss in a day.
  • Trail Features:
    • The trails in Glacier are single path, maintained by trail crew 1-2 times a year of brush, downed trees, and rocks.  
    • Switchbacks and bridges are common at steep sections and water crossings.  
    • Stay alert for slipping, tripping and falling hazards.
  • Pack Weight & Storage:
    • Daypacks weighing 15-20 pounds, with day hike essentials.
  • Experience & Safety:
    • Previous hiking experience recommended.
    • Engage in a regular exercise regimen for optimal enjoyment.
  • Footwear & Safety:
    • Lightweight, comfortable hiking boots with ankle support.

You should be capable of hiking 6 to 9 hours each day (12 to 19 miles) with as much as 3000′ elevation gain or’ loss in a day.   You will need lightweight, comfortable hiking boots, with good ankle support (we strongly recommend that you break in any new boots prior to the trip). Any overnight clothing and gear will be kept in the vehicle throughout the trip. Participants will be carrying their own daypacks weighing about 10-15 pounds carrying day hiking necessities for each day. Previous hiking experience is highly recommended for the long option, this is not a beginners hiking trip due to the mileage and elevation gain/loss.