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Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park






Description of Glacier National Park

Location: Kalispell, Montana  Map

Area: 1,013,322 acres (4,101 km2)

Official site


Glacier National Park is located in Montana, United States, bordering the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia. This is composed of two mountain systems, 130 named lakes, more than a thousand plant species and hundreds of animal species. This vast ecosystem of 4,101 square kilometers is the centerpiece of what has been called the "ecosystem crown of the continent," a set of protected areas of 44,000 square kilometers. The famous Going-to-the-Sun motorway crosses the heart of the park, passing through the North American Continental Divide. From the highway visitors get good views of the Lewis and Livingston mountain ranges as well as dense forests, waterfalls, two large lakes and areas of alpine tundra. Along with the highway, five historic hotels and chalets are included in the catalog of historical landmarks. A total of 350 points are included in the national registry of historical places.

The Glacier National Park borders the Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. Both parks are also known by the name Pacific Waterton-Glacier Park, the first international peaceful park that was established in the world, in 1932. The United Nations established a biosphere reserve in 1976 and in 1995 were named a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO.




Fees and permits

All private vehicles entering the Glacier National Park must pay a $25 fee that is good for seven days. Individuals on foot or on bicycle must pay a $12 fee, also good for seven days. A Glacier National Park Pass is available for $30 and allows unlimited entry for one year.

There are several passes for groups traveling together in a private vehicle or individuals on foot or on bike. These passes provide free entry at national parks and national wildlife refuges, and also cover standard amenity fees at national forests and grasslands, and at lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management and Bureau of Reclamation. These passes are valid at all national parks including Glacier National Park:

The $80 Annual Pass (valid for twelve months from date of issue) can be purchased by anyone. Military personnel can obtain a free annual pass in person at a federal recreation site by showing a Common Access Card (CAC) or Military ID.
U.S. citizens or permanent residents age 62 or over can obtain a Senior Pass (valid for the life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation site for $80, or through the mail for $90; applicants must provide documentation of citizenship and age. This pass also provides a fifty percent discount on some park amenities. Seniors can also obtain a $20 annual pass.
U.S. citizens or permanent residents with permanent disabilities can obtain an Access Pass (valid for the life of the holder) in person at a federal recreation site at no charge, or through the mail for $10; applicants must provide documentation of citizenship and permanent disability. This pass also provides a fifty percent discount on some park amenities.
Individuals who have volunteered 250 or more hours with federal agencies that participate in the Interagency Pass Program can receive a free Volunteer Pass.
4th graders can receive an Annual 4th Grade Pass that allows free entry for the duration of the 4th grade school year (September-August) to the bearer and any accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle. Registration at the Every Kid in a Park website is required.
In 2018 the National Park Service will offer four days on which entry is free for all national parks: January 15 (Martin Luther King Jr. Day), April 21 (1st Day of NPS Week), September 22 (National Public Lands Day), and November 11 (Veterans Day weekend).

Be sure to always have your receipt or permit card handy as there are several entrances to Glacier, and most people leave and re-enter several times. This is true even if they're lodging inside the Glacier National Park, and have no intention of visiting other destinations. Several popular locations such as Many Glacier, and Two Medicine are only accessible by car from the Going to the Sun Highway if you leave and re-enter. US Highways 2, 89, and 93 do not run through Glacier, but provide indirect access. (A small portion of US Hwy 2 and the Chief Mtn. International Hwy are within the park's borders, but there are no services or entry gates there.)

Although U.S. and Canadian currency is accepted, mixed payments are not allowed (except in the rare case when the exchange rate is exactly one-to-one). Be sure to have the full amount due in one currency or the other.