Glacier Nature Walk and Float 2019-06-12T20:55:15-07:00

Glacier Nature Walk and Float –

The Most Relaxing Day in Glacier National Park

Morning Glacier Nature Walk and Float: The Walks

This easy half day trip in Glacier is the perfect introduction to the park. You’ll learn about Leave No Trace outdoor ethics, forest fire science, history of early settlers, and river ecology, while enjoying the views along two different, short trails.  

Difficulty: 2 short, easy walks in Glacier National Park 

Each walk is about 1.1 to 1.2 miles, minimal to 180 feet elevation gain and loss

Time: 9:00 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays, Memorial Day through Labor Day

Trip Duration: Approximately 3.5 hours

Let’s Go For a Couple of Short, Easy Nature Walks in Glacier National Park

Enjoy a ride in our van through the Lake McDonald Valley on the way to our Nature Walks in Glacier.  Then, we take a leisurely walk on a .6 mile paved path to the McDonald Creek Oxbow – 1.2 mile round trip.   Next, enjoy vistas into the park from the Camas Road. We’ll stop at several viewpoints, such as McGee Meadows and McDonald Creek. Finally, we end up at the Wild and Scenic North Fork of the Flathead River. There, we walk the Forest and Fire Nature Trail for about 1.1 miles.

What is provided on the Glacier Nature Walk and Float?

Interpretive Guide with first aid kit and bear spray, van transport, snacks, hiking poles.

What should I bring on the Glacier Nature Walk and Float?

Comfortable walking shoes, water bottle, camera/phone, binoculars, rain coat, fleece, and your Park Pass. Check out our extensive packing list for day trips here.

Nature Walk in Glacier Itinerary

Times are approximate!

9:00 a.m.  Meet your guide at our West Glacier office at 9 am. Next, your guide will do a quick orientation, check your gear, and go over last minute details. We drive into Glacier National Park via the West Glacier entrance, 1 mile from our office. Don’t forget your park pass!

Lake McDonald Valley

Once in Glacier, we will walk 1.2 miles round trip through the Lake McDonald Valley.  This is a glaciated valley, and we will walk on the terminal glacial moraine that dams Lake McDonald.  This area is characterized by lodgepole pine forest left from a 1927 fire. You’ll delight in seeing the aquamarine waters that flow from Lake McDonald. Don’t forget to keep your eyes peeled for this valley’s resident beaver and moose!

The Forest and Fire Nature Trail

Next, we’ll load up in our van and continue our adventure by driving the short distance to Glacier’s North Fork Valley. Along the way, we’ll stop at various viewpoints until we reach the Wild and Scenic North Fork of the Flathead River. Here, we’ll take another short, easy walk on The Forest and Fire Nature Trail. This 1.1 mile loop weaves in and out of new growth lodgepole pine and aspen forest.

The Forest and Fire Nature Trail area burned in 1967 and again in the 2001 Moose Creek Fire.  There are beautiful views and fantastic opportunities for interpretation along this loop. You will learn about a variety of tree and plant species, fire impacts, and wildlife inhabitants along the river corridor. Views include Glacier National Park, the North Fork of the Flathead River, and the Flathead National Forest.

This nature walk in Glacier is easy but not completely flat: the trail climbs gains and loses about 180 vertical feet in elevation.

Early Afternoon: Glacier Nature Walk and Float Lunchtime!

After we’re done walking, we’ll return along the same route by van to the Glacier Guides and Montana Raft office. As we drive, be sure to ask your guide any remaining questions that you might have.  Our guides are passionate and have encyclopedic knowledge about Glacier National Park — no matter your level of hiking experience, we promise they’ll teach you something new.  You’ll end the day knowing more about Glacier National Park than you ever expected!

1:00 p.m. Typically, we return to the Glacier Guides and Montana Raft office no later than 1:00 PM. A delicious, homemade sack lunch will be waiting for you. We like to eat, and eat well. Our kitchen sources locally and organically whenever possible. Enjoy our shaded pavilion while you eat, and volleyball, gift shop, and free Wi-Fi between trips! You’ll meet for the rafting portion of your trip at 2:45pm.

Afternoon Glacier Nature Walk and Float: The Float Scenic float trip

After a relaxing morning walking short, easy trails in Glacier National Park, get ready for a peaceful afternoon. Enjoy a half day scenic rafting trip on the Wild and Scenic Middle Fork of the Flathead River.

Difficulty: Easy, Family Friendly

Times: 3:15 pm launch 6/15 – 9/5 only

Trip Duration: Approximately 1.5 to 2.5 hours depending on time of the season

Description: Relax and rejuvenate on this calm, peaceful stretch of river with our friendly, interpretive river guides. Make memories to keep for a lifetime! This rafting experience is appropriate for nearly all ages and abilities.

After your Nature Walk in Glacier National Park, enjoy an extended lunch break and then a Wild and Scenic raft trip on Glacier National Park’s Middle Fork of the Flathead River. You’ll return from your walk around 1pm and meet for your rafting trip at 2:45pm. Next, relax under our shaded pavilion with a delicious, homemade trail lunch, and enjoy Wi-Fi, volleyball, or maybe a nap.

Glacier Nature Walk and Float

This Glacier National Park rafting trip will take you down the scenic section of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, from West Glacier to Blankenship Bridge. This river forms Glacier National Park’s southwestern border. If you would like to explore this gorgeous Wild and Scenic designated river, but are not interested in a whitewater adventure, then this mellow Glacier National Park Scenic Float Trip is for you! Learn more about Glacier Park, historical and cultural considerations, flora and fauna, environmental concerns, river ecology, and much, much more. Next, soak in gorgeous views of Glacier National Park from its stunning Wild and Scenic border river, the Middle Fork Flathead.

First, arrive 30 minutes prior to launch, at 2:45pm, to meet your guide and get fitted for lifejackets and any other necessary equipment. Next, if you have an epi-pen or other medication, your guide can stow it safely for you in a dry bag. At launch time, take a short bus ride — approximately 5 minutes — to the river put in. Finally, your guide will launch the boat and you’ll be floating down the stunning Wild and Scenic Middle Fork of the Flathead River!

Next, you’ll pass through a steep, walled canyon. Views from river right are of Glacier National Park. A highlight is passing through where the Middle and North Forks of the Flathead River come together to form the southern tip of Glacier National Park. Finally, your guide will take the raft out of the water just past the confluence, at Blankenship Bridge. From there, it’s about a 15 minute bus ride back to where you started.

How Long Is The Float?

The length of the trip depends on the flow of this stunning, undammed river. In June, the trip is approximately 1.5 hours long. Then, in July and August, the trip is approximately 2 hours long. By September, the trip is approximately 2.5 hours long.

Join Us For Dinner

Be sure to inquire about our Scenic Dinner Float! Our kitchen is often called the best kept secret in West Glacier. We don’t offer dinner as part of this package, but if you give us a call, we can add it on. Delicious steaks, salmon, chicken, and vegetarian options, with homemade salads and desserts. BYOB. 406-387-555

What to Bring for Your Glacier National Park Scenic Rafting Trip

Water bottle
River sandals or sneakers (wetsuit booties are provided at no additional cost if you don’t have the appropriate footwear.)
Fleece jacket/sweater (for trips in May and June or a rainy day)
Sun Hat or Ball Cap
Waterproof camera
Eyeglass retention strap

Safety First

Safety is always our #1 priority. Our guides undergo rigorous training each year in river rescue techniques, wilderness first aid, and more. Many of our guides return to us year after year, decade after decade. First, our new guides are required to run hundreds of miles of the Flathead River before they can graduate from our Guide School. We carry radios on all of our raft trips. All of our equipment is state of the art and impeccably maintained. And finally, if conditions call for wetsuits and river shoes, or if you would prefer to wear splash gear, it is always available at no cost.

Age Limits

Minimum ages for children will depend on the flow of the river, but generally speaking, there is a rafting trip for every age and ability between 3 and 103! For this combination Walk and Float, the minimum age is 4. This minimum may be higher if the river levels are higher, as they often are in the early summer. Be sure to call the office to inquire: 406-387-5555 or

Glacier Nature Walk and Float Meeting Notes

Guests should call our office the day prior to departure to check in: 406-387-5555. The day of the trip please arrive at our office by 9:00 AM. We are located 1.5 miles west of West Glacier on U.S. Highway 2. Next, look for our Glacier Guides and Montana Raft sign on the north side of the highway between mile marker 151 and 152. Our property is just off the highway, tucked in the trees. Finally, when you see our sign turn to the north and you will see us shortly thereafter. Detailed directions and maps are available here.

Dates and Pricing

Dates: Tuesdays and Thursdays, Memorial Day through Labor Day

Price Adult: $120 – Lunch is included and the Scenic Trip is offered at 10% off in this combination experience. Dinner is not included but can be added. See details above or email
Price Child (11 – 5*): $101
Additional Fees: $20 park entrance fee ($35 for family — see entrance fee details here), 7% River User Fee and gratuity for guide not included.

Reservations required in advance.

Please read more about age minimums on the river, above. Safety is always our #1 priority.

Rather just go on a Nature Walk in Glacier? Check this out.

Hiking Gallery

Rafting Gallery

Call Now Button