Hut to Hut in Glacier National Park

Destination: Glacier National Park

| Activities: Hiking

Glacier National Park is truly one of the crown jewels of the National Park System and now you get to experience it in a way that most others don't! Wake up surrounded by jagged peaks, wildflowers and abundant wildlife. Sip your coffee while watching a postcard perfect sunrise, away from the crowds. Experience the best of Glacier National Park while staying at the historic backcountry huts and chalets. Maximum group size: 11. NOTE The dates are subject to change within the month of July as we wait for permits to be released in early January 2022. Please do not purchase flights until we confirm dates according to our permits!

Highlights

  • Experiencing the breathtaking beauty of Glacier National Park on foot
  • Staying overnight in historically registered National Park Chalets
  • Seeing the abundant wildlife and flora of the park
  • Star gazing far from city lights

Inclusions

  • 1 experienced AGC guide and 1-2 local guides
  • Two nights lodging in charming western lodges and 5 nights in both backcountry and frontcountry National Park chalets.
  • All meals from breakfast on Day 2 through breakfast on the last day. Meals while in the backcountry will be prepared by your guides or by chalet staff. We'll have a midweek dinner at the gourmet Belton Chalet and our final dinner 'out on the town' as a group in a restaurant in Kalispell.
  • Transportation to airport for departure at the end of the trip

Not included: Travel to Glacier National Park at the start of the trip, National Park Entry Fee, Day 1 dinner, alcoholic beverages, guide gratuities and travel insurance

Trip Intro

This trip is designed for women who want to experience the backcountry without having to haul everything they own. We'll trek in to the chalets carrying just the basic necessities in our backpacks (45-50 L is ideal). Our lodging is both stunning and at times rustic but don't worry - we're never more than 48 hours away from a hot shower! We will be hiking 5 - 10 miles a day in hilly terrain with steep ascents and descents, along rocky and uneven terrain where the weather can be unpredictable. Previous hiking experience is extremely useful, as is having a sense of adventure and a good level of physical fitness. A rating of 4 requires aerobic conditioning for at least 40-50 minutes 4-5 times a week. Additional endurance exercise (e.g. going for a 2-hour hike once a week) and/or strength training is appropriate.  Rating: 1 2 3 [4] 5.

This trip has all the best parts of trekking without having to carry everything with you! Immerse yourself in this gorgeous setting, we've got all of the details covered for you. Some of the hikes are quite challenging in terms of terrain and elevation gain. This is an excellent trip for fit intermediate and experienced hikers who like moderately challenging alpine hikes.

The lodging on this trip will vary as much as the landscape. The accommodations include: a charming modern lodge, a world class front country chalet, and two historically registered backcountry chalets. Bathrooms range from ensuite hotel bathrooms with 21st century plumbing to backcountry pit vault toilets. All accommodations are shared on this trip (the frontcountry hotels and chalets will have two queen beds in each room and you'll be with several other AGC participants in bunks or rooms with two twin beds in them while staying in the backcountry chalets). Bring your earplugs and your sense of adventure!

Below is the proposed itinerary for the trip. As is true on any adventure travel trip, plans for any specific day may be modified due to weather considerations, unforeseen circumstances, new opportunities, and group interests.

DAY 1
Glacier National Park is an incredible place to visit for many reasons including that the 71 species of diverse mammal and other wildlife here have not changed much since the park’s inception; thanks to over one million acres of preserved land and early protection efforts! Our trip starts today at our lodging in West Glacier, where you’ll be able to check in by name any time after 4PM. The group will officially meet the following morning for breakfast and orientation. If you arrive early, you can check your bags and stretch your legs on the nearby trails or take a Red Bus Tour around the park (advanced reservations recommended). Dinner is on your own tonight, a great chance to explore downtown West Glacier.
DAY 2
We’ll meet our local Glacier guides at 7:30AM at their West Glacier headquarters for a brief orientation before driving up the historic Going to the Sun Highway to Logan Pass. What used to be a washed out wagon trail described as “a combination of quagmire, corduroy and misery” is now the most scenic road in all of Montana! Behold what the Blackfoot tribe have called “the backbone of the world” in the razor-sharp escarpments and finely-etched peaks of Glacier National Park. We’ll hike 7.5 miles on the Highline Trail to the famous Granite Park Chalet. This rustic lodge is registered as a National Historic Landmark and offers breathtaking views.

Elevation gain: some short climbs of 100-400 feet at a time. Chalet elevation: 6,693 feet. Overnight: Granite Park Chalet. (B, L, D)
DAY 3
Since we’re staying at Granite Park Chalet another night, we can day hike toward Ahern Pass (8.5 miles round trip with not much elevation gain/loss) or toward Swiftcurrent Lookout (4 miles round trip with 2,500 elevation gain/loss). We can split into two hiking groups so you can select how long your hiking adventure is today. Keep your eyes peeled and your binoculars at the ready, in this area we may see mountain goats, bighorn sheep and even bears! Overnight: Granite Park Chalet (B, L, D)
DAY 4
Relax on your own in the morning, sipping coffee and enjoying the spectacular views or join us for a short hike to Grinnell Glacier Overlook (3 miles round trip, 1,500 feet elevation gain/loss). In the afternoon we’ll hike 4.5 miles down from the Chalet on the Loop Trail (2,200 feet elevation drop). Our shuttle (stocked with ice cold beverages!) will meet us at the bottom and transport us back to West Glacier where we can freshen up at the modern and luxurious Belton Chalet. This lodge, also a national historic landmark, was built by the Great Northern Railway in the early 1900s and displays charming Swiss Chalet architecture. Dinner tonight consists of fine dining at the elegant Belton Chalet restaurant from a pre selected menu. Chalet elevation: 3,169 feet. Overnight: Belton Chalet (B, L, D)
DAY 5
We meet bright and early back at the office in West Glacier to saddle up for Sperry Chalet, allowing us to take in the fantastic views from a new perspective - by horseback! You’re also welcome to hike the 6.5 miles and 3,000 foot elevation gain. Once we get settled in at Sperry Chalet we can optionally day hike out and back 2 miles to Lincoln Pass, which gives us an incredible view of Mount Jackson (one of the tallest peaks in the park at over 10,000 feet). Overnight: Sperry Glacier (B, L, D)
DAY 6
Since we are spending a second night at Sperry Chalet, we can day hike up to Comeau Pass and Sperry Glacier. Here we can observe the scouring effects of the glacial movement and even get to touch the glacier itself. The trail to the Pass rises 1,600 feet over 3 miles making it a challenging hike, but well worth the effort (6 miles round trip). Overnight: Sperry Chalet (B, L, D)
DAY 7
On our final hiking day we walk 6.5 miles downhill to Lake McDonald through gorgeous cedar forests, full of bird life. At 10 miles long and almost 500 feet deep, Lake McDonald is the largest lake in the park and its waters are refreshing for anyone that dares to brave the cold! Under the crystalline surface, you’ll see rocks in striking hues of red, green and blue. We’ll have time to get checked into our lodging and get cleaned up before our final celebratory dinner in Kalispell tonight. Overnight: lodging in Kalispell. (B, L, D)
DAY 8
We have trekked through the vast beautiful wilderness of Glacier National Park, seeing sights other travelers only dream of, now it’s time to say goodbye. Fly out any time today. Check out is at 11AM and the hotel shuttle runs throughout the day to the airport. (B)

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  1. Why are the dates going to change?

    Dated permits release in early January from Glacier National Park for the Chalets. Once we get the dates from them, we can post the official dates on our website. For now, we are posting "hold dates" for July, knowing that the exact start and end date in July could be different.
  2. Where do we eat?

    Meals while in the backcountry will be prepared by our guides. There are two dinners eaten as a group out at restaurants and most of our lunches will be simple but delicious picnic lunches.
  3. What dietary preferences or restrictions can you accommodate on this trip?

    We can accommodate vegetarians on this trip.
  4. Can I hike instead of horseback ride on Day 5?

    Yes! On Day 5 there is an optional horseback ride into Sperry Glacier. You're welcome to hike the route instead.
  5. Can I drink the water at the backcountry chalets?

    Yes, the water is potable at all the chalets where we stay.
  6. What's the weather like in Glacier National Park in the summertime?

    Summer days are long and beautiful at this latitude. We'll most likely still see snow on the distance peaks and maybe even near the trail depending on spring snowfall. Average daytime temperatures are in the 70's F during the day and in the 40's F at night. There are lots of lakes and streams around so don't be surprised if there are mosquitoes (they feed the beautiful birds!)
  7. Is there cell phone service or showers at the backcountry chalets?

    While at Sperry and Granite Park Chalets there is little if any cell phone service and there is no electricity for you to recharge your device. (Please bring a headlamp for nighttime use). There are no showers either, however there is running tap water in the bathroom for you to freshen up. Rustic living isn't for everyone, but any perceived hardship is definitely worth the incredible views!
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