IN THE LATE SPRING AND SUMMER SEASONS, Glacier National Park attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors, all swarming the majestic “Crown of the Continent” to drive its famous Going to the Sun Road, hike one of its many spectacular trails or enjoy the ambiance of its classic national park lodges.
In winter months, however, the park transforms into an entirely different world. Snowfall brings a hush to the land. The Going to the Sun Road closes down (only a fraction at both ends are plowed in winter), and lodges shutter for the season. But one place attracts those who come to enjoy the beauty of winter in this wilderness: Apgar Visitor Center near the park’s west entrance, accessible by plowed road.
Check in with the ranger at Apgar Visitor Center, rent a pair of snowshoes and get ready for a guided snowshoe walk that winds through meadows, forests and along a riverbank. This two-hour excursion with a naturalist guide will introduce you to a silent landscape blanketed in snow and to the wildlife you’ll inevitably spot. Watch for animal tracks and the critters that make the park home year-round, such as raptors, ducks, beavers and possibly some larger park residents.
Guided snowshoe hikes are conducted on weekends from January through March; they are not recommended for children six or younger. The trail is ﬂat and easy, perfect for most abilities. And walking in snowshoes is a great way to take some exercise and get the blood ﬂowing. Dress warm and in layers; waterproof boots and snow pants will help you stay dry.
Apgar Visitor Center is located approximately 18 miles from Whiteﬁsh, Montana, making a Glacier National Park snowshoeing adventure an easy day trip while visiting Whiteﬁsh. Stop for a sumptuous brunch at the historic railroad hotel, Belton Chalet. Also stop at Lake McDonald, near Apgar, for a dramatic winter view of the scenic lake and the mountains beyond.
To learn more about Glacier National Park guided snowshoeing, go to nps.gov/glac. To reserve a table for brunch at Belton Chalet, visit beltonchalet.com. To plan your stay in Whiteﬁsh, go to explorewhitefish.com.