Backpacking advice?

Planning Many GlacierOne day you have winter, while another, you have teases of spring. This is the time of year that gets us looking at summer pictures of Glacier National Park and dreaming of trails, mountains, lakes, birds, bears and huckleberries. It’s also the time of year that I get a lot of people emailing me, asking me for help in planning a trip, which I love!

I’m feverishly working on getting out helpful information and creating some sweet products. I would love to have you help me, help you! As you are sitting down and planning your trip, what questions do you have? What sorts of things trip you up in your trip planning? What information can’t you find? What secrets do you want to know? (I know, I know… all of them)

Some items that I get questions about are:

  • Transportation
  • Routes
  • Reservations
  • What else?

I can’t tell you all of what I’m planning, but I am planning on taking my familiarity with the Park and its system to help you have a better trip. Any questions you can throw at me helps me make something better. Heck, I’ll even shoot you an answer! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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17 responses to “Backpacking advice?”

  1. Tanner Starr Avatar
    Tanner Starr

    I would like to plan a honeymoon trip with a stay in a lodge along with a couple day backpacking trip. I would also like some areas with good flyfishing.

    1. The lodges are great! Don’t expect to get the same amenities for your dollar. These are old places and they have more of that “old-fashioned” luxury. You do have showers and such, but it’s definitely more rustic. As it stands today, Glacier Park Inc. runs them, but they fill up pretty fast. Depending upon when you are getting married, you may or may not get a room. I’d book sooner than later.

      I’ve not been a fly fisherman, but my wife and I have been chatting about doing more of it. A great spot to backpack and fly fish would be in the Belly River and Mokowanis drainages. You can get away from it all and I know there are fish in those lakes! (and the wind isn’t as bad as it is on other east side lakes) Off the top of my head, that’s one of the better balance of backpacking and fly fishing. Lemme think about some more and I’ll work on putting something out!

      1. Tanner Starr Avatar
        Tanner Starr


        First of all thanks for getting back to me. We’re both fairly simple people and can live without some amenities so the lodge sounds right up our alley.
        As far as permits for backpacking how far in advance do I need to apply for one?
        Looking forward to hearing back from you and when I’m out that way I’d like to meet you. Maybe we could catch some trout.
        I’m a pretty huge fan of your vids by the way so keep them coming!

        1. Well if you have specific dates and a specific trek in mind, then put in your application for the lottery. That being said, I’ve not had much luck. My preference is to wait until after they process all the lottery applications, then look on the advanced reservation page and see what’s available when you’ll be there. At that point, you can send in your application and have a way better chance of getting what you want. That’s my strategy. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Beaux Pilgrim Avatar
    Beaux Pilgrim

    One of the questions I looked into for my trip was regarding option for transportation from Glacier Int Airport to Glacier and back. Also I was looking for option for transportation to different trail heads. I didn’t find much. But I did find Flathead Glacier Transport. If there were more options I would love to know them. With the little info I found it makes it hard to do much other than a loop or out and back trail.

    1. For sure. I’m not as keen on the traveling back and forth from the airport, but there is the shuttle system that the Park has going over Going-to-the-Sun Road and Glacier Park Inc runs a shuttle on the east side from Waterton all the way down to East Glacier. The cost is $10 per person per leg which can get spendy if you’re going all the way, but you won’t have to rent two rental cars.

      Thanks for the feedback. I might also mention the train option and I think that if you stay at Belton Chalet, they’ll bring you to the transit center.

  3. Debra Franciosi Avatar
    Debra Franciosi

    It would be great to get a “beginners guide to overnight hikes”. What are your gear “must haves”? What shoes/boots do you recommend? What are all logistical the to-dos (permits, reservations, etc)? Are there good publications to help? Assume your audience has no experience ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. You’re thinking right where I’m at! I haven’t thought of putting in some gear recommendations.

  4. Carl Hancock Avatar
    Carl Hancock

    Assuming a person was in good physical shape and only had three days (two nights) in the park, what trails and campsites would you recommend?

    1. Nice one! I’ve been thinking about this sort of thing. Stay tuned for a blog about this soon. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Adam Johnson Avatar
    Adam Johnson

    I’ve entered this year’s lottery with the hopes of hiking the Northern Circle in early September. I know that bear spray is a necessity but because my group would be flying in and out of Great Falls, we would probably only be able to purchase it for one hike before donating it to a local or another hiker. Is there a local spot that bear spray can be rented? Thanks.

    1. That’s a tricky one for sure! The Glacier National Park Fund has rented bear spray in the past, but with the merger with the Glacier Association, they might not any more. Check back right before you come and I’ll let you know. I also need to see what other options there are because I hate it when people don’t bring it. Expect to see a bear or two on that loop if you get it…. it’s AMAZING!!

    2. better late than never on this post. Hope it helps someone else. Glacier Outfitters rents near spray.

  6. Hello, I will be arriving in Glacier with my girlfriend on May 22, 2015 and hopefully be staying about four or five days. I know this might be early in the season but we would like to do some backpacking in the backcountry away from alot of people. we would like to lodge the first night, then start our adventure. Where would be the absolute best trail or trails we should take to see plentiful wildlife, get some fishing in and be able to put alot of miles on our boots? Should we go east or west glacier?! Thank you for advice!

    1. hike734 Avatar

      I think your biggest concern will be finding a suitable route for four or five days. I would look into the Belly River to explore. Potentially Elizabeth Lake Foot and up the Mokowanis River drainage. I think it’ll be easier to see what’s available, then plan a trip around that.

      1. Josh ritz Avatar
        Josh ritz

        Hello hike734,
        I was definitely looking at the belly river drainage and that look like a real good area to do some backpacking for a few days. I did see that Elizabeth lake had some potentially good fishing and some wonderful wildlife viewing around that area. I will definitely research further into that. Thank you for your response!

      2. Josh ritz Avatar
        Josh ritz

        Hello hike734,
        I was definitely looking at the belly river drainage and that look like a real good area to do some backpacking for a few days. I did see that Elizabeth lake had some potentially good fishing and some wonderful wildlife viewing around that area. I will definitely research further into that. Thank you for your response!

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