Morning Nature Walk in Glacier
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?
Interpretive Guide with first aid kit and bear spray, van transport, snacks, hiking poles.
What should I bring?
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. 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.
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!