Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park

Description

Overview: Straddling the international border between Montana, U.S.A. and Alberta, Canada, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park protects some of the most stunning mountain scenery in western North America. Throughout the ice ages, the monumental movement of glaciers carved sharp peaks out of the Continental Divide and gouged deep valleys where hundreds of lakes now glisten. Though not of ice-age origin, today more than 30 glaciers grace this stretch of the Rocky Mountains. A haven for a wide variety of flora and fauna, Waterton-Glacier boasts more than 1,800 plant species, over 260 species of birds, and at least 60 native mammal species. White mountain goats are often seen within the parks, and hikers also may catch glimpses of coyotes, marmots, moose, bighorn sheep, and grizzly bears. Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park was established in 1932. The first park of its kind, Waterton-Glacier is a cooperative effort of the U.S. National Park Service and Parks Canada. Although the two nations work together in certain areas, such as wildlife management and coordination of some visitor services, Waterton-Glacier is actually two parks, administered separately by each respective government. Waterton Lakes National Park was established by Canada in 1895, while Glacier National Park was designated a United States National Park in 1910.To contact Glacier National Park, write Glacier National Park, West Glacier, MT 59936. To contact Waterton Lakes National Park, write Waterton Lakes National Park, Box 200, Waterton Park, AB, T0K 2M0, call 403-859-2224 or 403-859-5109, or FAX 403-859-2650.What to see and do: There are many ways to plan your trip before setting out. Glacier National Park's web site lists shuttle schedules, lets you take virtual e-hikes to decide on favorite routes, and even has driving podcasts. Park highways, such as Going-to-the-Sun Road, Chief Mountain International Highway, Akamina Parkway, and Red Rock Parkway bring motorists into the heart of the mountains, but these are rugged roads and not super-highways. Vehicles that exceed 21 feet in length (including bumpers) and 8 feet in width (including mirrors) are not permitted to drive the steepest parts of the Going-to-the-Sun Road; Glacier Park, Inc. and Sun Tours, concessionaires, provide guided tours to those unable (or unwilling) to negotiate this narrow, winding highway. Other undeveloped roads lead farther into the backcountry. If you have time and stamina, the best way to experience the beauty, scale, and power of the mountains is to hike them. There are more than 700 miles of trails available to park visitors, ranging from short, relatively easy nature paths to long, difficult mountain treks. Both parks offer a variety of ranger- or interpreter-led hikes and presentations to enhance your understanding and enjoyment. Both parks experience their heaviest visitation during the summer, and an extensive schedule of interpretive programs is in place for the months of June through September. Campgrounds contain just over 1000 campsites. Most are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Advance reservations are available at Fish Creek and St. Mary campgrounds and may be reserved through a central reservation system (800-365-2267). Glacier also has some of the country's highest-ranked backpacking campsites. To stay at two hike-in chalets, reservations must be well in advance due to their popularity. You also can stay or dine at historic lodges, including Many Glacier, Glacier Park and Prince of Wales Hotel, with stunning views and stately architecture from the golden era of railroad travel. Many of the glacier-fed lakes within the park are open to swimming and boating. The average temperature for park lakes is 45 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Canoes and rowboats are allowed on many of the larger lakes, while motorboats are restricted to Upper and Middle Waterton Lake, St. Mary Lake, Bowman Lake, Lake McDonald, Two Medicine Lake, and Sherburne Lake.

Address

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936

Lat/Long

49.06486900, -113.90413800
Visit Website
(406) 888-7800

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