Arts & Entertainment

Spring break 2017: Montana’s mesmerising Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park lies along the border of Canada and the United States, covering almost one million acres. It is bordered by the Flathead River to the west, the Flathead Provincial Forest to the north, and the Blackfeet Indian Reservation to the east. With two mountain ranges, thousands of species of plants and hundreds of species of animals, this park — located in Montana — is a diverse ecosystem that can be an adventurous spring break option.

The cost to enter the park is $12 per person without a vehicle, $25 with, and there are various activities you can do once in the park without paying any additional fees. Trails like the Hidden Lake and Apgar Lookout offer even the most amateur hikers brilliant views and even better photo opportunities. These trails have little climbing, so they don’t require much effort, but they receive great reviews from people who have previously visited the park. However, it takes some time for people to become acclimated to the weather and altitude change of this area, so it’s suggested for trails like this to be hiked a day after arrival. If you’re looking for a more difficult hike, Scenic Point Trail is a 7.8 mile hike with a demanding 2,000 foot overall altitude gain. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a glimpse at some of the wildlife that calls the park its home, such as the Big Horn Sheep.

For those who would like to try something other than hiking, the park also offers white-water rafting for around $60 per person and rock climbing with a guide. There are also guided tours around the park and bicycling spots to get the full experience. Other activities include a local museum to learn about the history of the park or a short ride to the Hungry Horse Dam — the eleventh largest concrete dam in the U.S. — located 11 miles away. While most of the offered activities are family-friendly, it’s better to check a trail’s difficulty before starting your hike.

Airfare is usually the most expensive part of a vacation. In this case, the easiest way to get into the park is by taking a flight to the closest airport — Glacier Park International Airport in Kalispell — then taking a shuttle. Flights cost around $150 to $250 depending on when you choose to book them. Flathead-Glacier transportation will get you to the park for around $60 one-way depending on the number of people. The cost of this option per person will be around $300 for a round trip. Another option is to rent a car after landing at the airport so you’ll have a way to get around the city for some extra sightseeing. If you cannot drive — or just don’t want to — read up on local transport near the park.

There are also many great options for lodging nearby that can be as little as $60 per night, but be sure to book well in advance for the best deals. As for food, you can take a few meals from home to save money or try some of the many restaurants around the park. If you want to stay on a small budget, the best option is to find a grocery store and buy necessities to avoid excess spending later on.

Glacier National Park is one of the many places you can head for your spring break. If you’re fascinated by wildlife, enjoy hiking and want to see amazing views, then this is the place for you.