Glacier Waterton Hiking

Glacier National Park is the best place to get your hiking groove going! Hike remote trails past turquoise lakes, stunning peaks, and abundant wildlife. A hard-core mountain trek adventure awaits!

From the historic lodges to the abundant wildlife, Glacier’s unparalleled beauty is best experienced along its 700 miles of hiking trails. 

Spend the days hiking over remote mountain passes, around crystal alpine lakes, and along massive peaks – having fun, enjoying the outdoors, and learning why Glacier earned the title “Crown of the Continent.”

After each day’s trek, relax, renew, and just hang out in the cozy rooms and savor the fine cuisine of Glacier’s historic lodges and chalets. Each lodge is nestled in the alpine environment with jaw-dropping views from sun-drenched porches.

Glacier appeals to avid hiking enthusiasts who enjoy spending active days hiking and mellow evenings relaxing.

 

For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.

Day 1, Saturday. Arrive at Kalispell Airport, transfer to Lake McDonald

Today, you start your Glacier adventure with the airport pickup at Glacier International Airport in Kalispell. Sit back and relax as you enjoy the scenic drive through the Flathead Valley and along the shores of Lake McDonald for your first day in Glacier National Park.

This afternoon, you have time to explore the Trail of the Cedars and Avalanche Lake hikes or take a refreshing swim (glacier-fed cold, but invigorating) in Lake McDonald.

Tonight, enjoy the comfy accommodations at the world famous Lake McDonald Lodge. Built in 1914, the lodge retains its hunting lodge charm with a huge log frame lobby, stone fireplaces, hunting trophies and spectacular setting on the shore of turquoise Lake McDonald. (L, D)*

Airport transfer (1 hour)

 

Day 2, Sunday. Hiking the Highline Trail

This morning starts with a drive to Logan Pass, the crest of the renowned Going-To-The-Sun Highway, an engineering marvel of the 1930s. From here, begin your hike of the Highline Trail, a classic mountain track that parallels the base of the Garden Wall, a glacial arête that forms the Continental Divide ridge.

The steep flower-filled meadows and sub alpine forests frame some of the best panoramic views in the center of the park. Wildlife sighting can be common with mountain goats skirting the towering cliffs above and elk, grizzlies and marmots foraging on the hillsides.

For those who choose to hike the entire Highline Trail to the Loop, you will pass by the historic Granite Park Chalet, a backpacker hut with picturesque views of Heaven’s Peak.

From the chalet, the four mile trail to the road descends quickly where you continue your afternoon with a drive over Logan Pass and on to lovely enclave of the Many Glacier Valley.

Tonight, stay at one of the great national park lodges, Many Glacier Hotel, another of the Great Northern Railroad’s architectural masterpieces from the early 1900’s.

The hotel, set along the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake, has stunning panoramic views of the Garden Wall, Mt. Wilbur and Mt. Gould making it hard not to take great photographs.

The convergence of five glacially-carved valleys makes viewing of grizzly bears, mountain goats, elk and bighorn sheep on the trails and alpine mountainsides a common occurrence. (B, L, D)

Transfer to Logan Pass trailhead (30 minutes)

Entire Highline Trail (12 miles; 800 feet of elevation gain, 3,000 feet of elevation loss) 

Haystack Butte option (8 miles roundtrip; 800 feet of elevation gain, then loss)

Transfer to Many Glacier Lodge (1.5 hours with scenic stops)

 

Day 3, Monday. Hiking the Grinnell Glacier Trail 

Today, you get to hike one of the most scenic hikes in the Many Glacier Valley, the Grinnell Glacier trail.

Beginning from the front door of the lodge, the trail is mostly flat for the first two miles. The trail then begins to climb through a forest of sub-alpine firs, then ledges of sedimentary red and green argillite, which open broadly to breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks, while Mt. Gould and Grinnell tower above.

With the distinctive milky flow of glacial meltwater, Grinnell Falls cascades into Grinnell Lake below. Wildlife sightings are likely as you travel through the habitat of bighorn sheep, mountain goats, bear, and moose.

The turnaround point at Grinnell Lake Overlook is remarkably picturesque and allows for a leisurely pace on the return along the wildflower-studded shores of two lovely lakes (elevation gain of 600 feet).

For those who continue onward and upward, the trail is demanding, but rewarding, and provides access to one of the largest remaining glaciers in the park (elevation gain of 1,400 feet). Since you are this close, “touch a glacier”, if conditions allow.

You return by the same route and get to enjoy the late afternoon and evening .Dinner is served in the lodge’s dining room. (B, L, D)

Grinnell Glacier (11 miles; 1,600 ft. elevation gain, then loss)

 

Day 4, Tuesday. Hiking the Iceberg Lake Trail

After a breakfast buffet, you set out for the striking aquamarine tarn known as Iceberg Lake. The trail climbs steadily for the mile then continues on a gradual ascent to the lake (elevation gain of 1,200 feet).

Ptarmigan Falls provides a refreshing rest spot on warm summer days. For a shorter walking option, you may turn back here and enjoy a leisurely afternoon at the lodge.

For the longer option, you continue on to the glacial cirque that supports the frigid turquoise waters and ice flows of Iceberg Lake (elevation 6,094 feet).

Late afternoon you return to the lodge with time to refresh before reuniting for dinner at a local restaurant. (B, L, D)

Iceberg Lake via Ptarmigan Falls (9.0 miles, 1,200ft of elevation gain/loss)

Ptarmigan Falls Option (5 miles, 700ft of elevation gain/loss)

 

Day 5, Wednesday. Transfer to Waterton, Hiking the Bertha Lake Trail

This morning you travel into Alberta and enter the stunning Waterton Lakes National Park where you will continue your hiking adventure with a hike to Bertha Lake.

The trailhead begins from the town of Waterton and ascends steeply through the alpine slopes of Mt. Richards. On the way you are graced with views of Upper Bertha Falls, a bridal veil type waterfall originating from Bertha Lake. The lake sits in a high alpine cirque surrounded by Bertha Peak, Mt. Alderson and Mt. Richards.

After a late lunch at the lake, you will descend the same trail down to Waterton and check-in at the Waterton Lakes Resort, your home for the next two evenings. (B, L, D)

Transfer to Waterton Village: 1.5 hours

Bertha Lake hike (7.0 miles, 1,600ft of elevation gain/loss)

 

Day 6, Thursday. Hiking the Carthew-Alderson Trail

After a hearty breakfast and half hour shuttle to Cameron Lake, the Carthew-Alderson trail awaits you. From Cameron Lake you ascend through an old growth evergreen forest with some of the largest trees in the park.

This spectacular forest gives way to alpine slopes filled with bear grass and wildflowers. The steep and loose scree field is the last obstacle before you summit the backbone ridge of Carthew Pass to enjoy a quiet lunch and gaze upon the 360 degree alpine views that stretch into British Columbia.

You can choose to shorten your hike by descending back to Cameron Lake or enjoy the long descent past Carthew and Alderson Lakes, lush meadows and back to Waterton village.

Wildlife sightings are common with grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, elk, moose and all inhabiting the area.

Tonight, enjoy another incredible dinner and evening in Waterton. (B, L, D)

Cameron Lake transfer (30 minutes)

Cameron Lake to Waterton Village (13 miles via Carthew Pass; steep 2,200 feet of elevation gain, 3,600 feet of elevation loss) 

Cameron Lake to Carthew Pass option (9 miles round trip; 2200 feet of elevation gain, then loss)

 

Day 7, Friday. Boat shuttle, Hiking the Crypt Lake Trail, transfer to East Glacier

Crypt Lake is one of Dean’s favorite hikes in Waterton Lakes National Park. This trail has a little bit of everything – major waterfalls, a beautiful cirque lake backed by a massive headwall, a cave tunnel and a near vertical cliff face to navigate after the tunnel (cable assisted).

If that’s not enough, the international boundary cuts across the south end of Crypt Lake making it the only international lake on our tour!

This morning, you’ll travel by boat across Waterton Lake and immediately begin a steady ascent through the forest. On the way the roar of Hell Roaring Falls accompanies you as emerge from the trees and enjoy magnificent open vistas all the way to Crypt Lake.

The final approach to the lake is memorable and includes a scramble through a tunnel and beyond to the glacial amphitheater in which the lake is nestled

The goal is to return to the dock in order to catch the 4:00pm boat back to Waterton town (last boat is at 5:30pm). Upon arriving back in Waterton, you depart for the transfer back to the United States and your next lodging destination, Glacier Park Lodge. (B, L, D)

Crypt Lake boat ride (30 minutes each way)

Crypt Lake Hike (11 miles, 2300ft gain/loss)

East Glacier transfer (2 hours)

 

Day 8, Saturday. Depart from Kalispell Airport

This morning, you have the option for an early morning excursion into the Two Medicine Valley where you can explore with a boat ride on Upper Two Medicine Lake or a casual hike around the lake.

Later this morning, you transfer back to Kalispell for your flights home. We suggest not booking departing flights earlier than noon.

Airport transfer (1.5 hours)

*(B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner)

While the above information describes a typical itinerary, the tour’s actual itinerary may vary due to changes in transportation, weather, lodging availability, local events or safety conditions. We reserve the right to alter the tour due to these circumstances should the need arise.

 

For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.

Tour Dates:

(Custom dates available upon request)

Prices (based on double occupancy):
Call for Pricing

Price Includes: Lodging (double occupancy), airport transfers Day 1 and Day 8 of the tour, transportation on tour, local naturalist and professional guides, bellboy and maid tips, meals as indicated on the tour (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner, does not include alcoholic beverages), and park fees.

Price Excludes: Airfare, alcoholic beverages, travel insurance, meals as indicated in the above itinerary, personal expenses in hotels (phone, laundry, room service, etc.), gratuities for guides and other gratuities, and costs incurred as a result of bad weather, delayed flight or other situations beyond our control.

Single Supplement Policy:  All tour pricing is based on double occupancy lodging. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability.

If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender.  If you reserve your tour at least 90 days ahead and a roommate is not available, you will only be charged a “forced” single supplement of half the standard single supplement (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary). 

Single accommodations are limited so you are encouraged to reserve early.

 

For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.

Activities:  Hiking, sightseeing

Rating: Moderately to Challenging

Group Size:  6-12 guests

Length:  8 days/7 nights

Meeting Time & Place:  Glacier Park International Airport (airport code FCA) on Day 1. We recommend arriving between noon and 2:00pm in order to explore parts of the park on Day 1.

Departure Time & Place:  Glacier Park International Airport (airport code FCA) on Day 8. Do not book departing flights earlier than noon.

Best Time To Travel:  July – September

Weather and Climate: Due to the alpine environment, weather is variable throughout the day and by elevation. Dressing in layers will be essential to your comfort throughout the day.

Rain is possible at any time and weather conditions can change rapidly in the mountains, so having rain gear is highly recommended. At the same time, the sun is strong at higher elevations, and therefore adequate precautions should be taken to prevent sunburn, even on cool, sunny days.

On average, the temperature in July through August range from highs in the 70’s and 80’s Fahrenheit and lows in the 40’s and 50’s Fahrenheit. 

More detailed weather information is available by visiting www.weatherbase.com.

Physical Preparation:  This tour is designed for energetic and flexible individuals who like to be active, have a spirit of adventure and possess a positive attitude.

Most activities are 3-4 hours in either the morning or afternoon with a lunch stop in between. It is very important that you realistically assess your physical condition with regard to the demands of this trip. All participants must be in good overall physical condition. 

The more physically prepared you are for this tour, the more you will enjoy this unique, adventure experience. We encourage you to call us and talk more specifically about any questions you have on the activities, your fitness, and any other aspects of the trip – please don’t be shy!

 

For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.

All accommodations have private rooms and private bathrooms.

Day 1 (Saturday). Lake McDonald Lodge

Lake McDonald Lodge is located on the shores of scenic Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park. Lake McDonald Lodge offers you a choice of room types including – lodge, motel, and cabin style accommodations.

Located on the west side of Glacier National Park Montana, Lake McDonald Lodge is on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, one of the most scenic drives in the northwestern United States. If you come in June you will see a wild flower spectacular.

Throughout the season you will be privy to amazing views of the Rocky Mountains, wildlife and the unparalleled pristine beauty that is Glacier National Park.

Day 2, 3, 4 (Sunday–Tuesday). Many Glacier Hotel

Many Glacier Hotel is located along the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake inside Glacier National Park. The great northern railroad built this historic hotel in 1915 to accommodate the many tourists passing through Glacier National Park.

Many Glacier Hotel is built in the Swiss Chalet style and the Swiss theme is carried through the interior of the hotel as well.

This quaint hotel offers world famous scenery, with panoramic views of nearby Grinnell Point and Mt. Henkel, keep visitors coming back. Both of these spots are some of the park’s best locations for taking pictures at sunrise and spotting mountain goats, big horn sheep, and bears.

A cozy sitting area in the massive lobby makes the perfect setting for fireside socializing, reading and writing postcards.

Day 5 and 6 (Wednesday, Thursday). Waterton Lakes Resort

Waterton Park’s full service destination resort… let your spirit soar! Unique chalets, scenic balconies, unique dining, a heated salt water pool, and a world class recreation center. A mountain atmosphere with an urban flare encompassing today’s modern conveniences. A fun place to be!

The Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort is an 80 suite resort. The newest property in the park, this all service facility on 4 acres of land is situated in the center of the mountain village of Waterton Park. 11 separate buildings featuring chalet style guest rooms and suites with spectacular mountain and valley views… a destination resort with an array of amenities!

Our guest rooms are designed to complement the natural surroundings of Southern Alberta and showcase a variety of art created by local artists and unique wood carved fixtures in a comfortable and contemporary setting.

Many of the chalets have fireplaces, jetted tubs, and kitchenettes… perfect for families, groups, friends, or people who just want to relax and escape from the every day!

Gaze at the stars on your private balcony, dine in our contemporary restaurant or enjoy the spectacular scenery from our lounge patio, and refresh your mind, body, and spirit in our health club! Comfort and relaxation is what you will find at the Waterton Lakes Lodge Resort!

Day 7 (Friday).  Glacer Park Lodge

 

Glacier Park Lodge is located on the eastern gateway of Glacier National Park. Glacier Park Lodge and Resort is a rustic western theme lodge that was built along the main line of the Burlington Northern Railroad, making it a perfect stopping point for visitors touring the park.

The highlight of Glacier Park Lodge are the Huge Douglas fir pillars that are over 40 feet high and 40 inches in diameter that form the supports in the distinguished lobby.

Glacier Park Lodge offers a heated outdoor swimming pool, nine-hole golf course and close proximity to Glacier National Park.

 

For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.


“In 2004, Dean led our hiking group of four through Glacier National Park. We enjoyed it so much, we arranged a second Glacier trip in 2006 with our four adult kids making our group a hardy eight travelers.

This time we wanted Dean to “show us the Glacier we haven’t seen”. Our second experience topped the first! Not only were the lodging, culinerary experiences and travel arrangements flawless, but we got to experience hiking the high ridges and valleys of Glacier with our kids.

An unforgettable adventure!”  Mark P. Lexington, Kentucky

 

For more information about this tour or to book your next group adventure, contact us today and we will create a fun and exciting adventure you will cherish forever.

Testimonials

In 2010, Dean created a three week Alaskan tour for my two sons and me. For all the trips I`ve ever taken in my life, and I`ve traveled quite a bit, this was by far the most customized trip I`ve ever taken. He did a great job of challenging us and catering it to our desires. The whole thing was exquisitely coordinated. — David K. New York, NY

Your next trip needs to be this one! The highest place in Africa is absolutely spectacular!! Excellent service and attention to detail. Incredible guide and support. Great food. Quality gear. I would highly recommend Return On Adventure. There was excellent service and attention to detail throughout. — Andrea D. San Francisco, CA

I have traveled with Dean on more than one occasion and I cannot speak highly enough about his professionalism, friendliness and dedication to his guests. Dean is an excellent guide and he makes every trip an adventure. His excellent attitude ensures that every guest will have a great time. I am looking forward to traveling with Return On Adventure because I know any trip that Dean facilitates will exceed my expectations. — Janet H., San Diego, CA

I would like to express appreciation to Return On Adventure for an absolutely perfect ten-day trip to Guatemala a couple of years ago. The hotels, were very nice and the guides were always on time, provided excellent information, answered questions, and escorted me to wonderful sites in the country. I highly recommend this company, as my experience was wonderful! — Lee W. Fort Collins, CO

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