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Glacier National Park Winter Adventure

Far away in Montana, hidden from view by clustering mountain-peaks, lies an unmapped northwestern corner- the Crown of the Continent.

Here is a land of striking scenery

George bird grinnell, 1901

While Glacier National Park, located in northwestern Montana, welcomes over 3 million visitors a year, a very small fraction of people experience the solitude and serenity of the Park in winter. Come explore this beautiful winter wonderland on snowshoes when we will most likely have the place to ourselves!

On our Glacier Winter Vacation, we snow-hike under the clear blue “Big Sky” on gorgeous trails through wooded forests, meadows, and alongside frozen creeks with breakout views of snow capped mountains surrounding glacial carved valleys.

If you can hike, you can snowshoe!  We welcome all ability levels including those who have never tried it before. Snowshoeing is a blast and easy to learn. With these “all-terrain vehicles” strapped to our feet we can follow a trail or make a trail of our own anywhere there is snow.

We spend two nights at the historic Izaak Walton Inn, built in 1939 for the use of railroad service personnel and Glacier National Park visitors. With it’s close proximity to the Park’s west entrance, cozy lodge rooms, sauna and large outdoor hot tub, it’s an ideal location for our Glacier home base. They also maintain over 30 kilometers of Nordic ski and snowshoe trails on the property we can explore as well. We spend two nights in Whitefish, one of the loveliest small towns in the country, to experience high-quality restaurants, breweries, shops, and of course more snowshoeing trails!

Snowshoeing in Glacier is truly an unforgettable vacation with quiet mountain streams, dramatic views, wildlife tracking, and miles of uncrowded trails to explore.

Private Tour Info

Private tours can be arranged for groups as few as four people.

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Details

Other Info: $150 optional snowshoe or XC skiing rental (or you can bring your own)

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Trip Highlights

  • Experience a national treasure – Glacier National Park – in a season where there are few other visitors
  • Enjoy serene uncrowded trails with flexible mileage to match your ability level
  • Snowshoe along glacial lakes and quiet streams with views of snowcapped peaks
  • Disconnect and recharge at the historic Izaak Walton Inn
  • Look for wildlife and their tracks in the snow
  • Stay in the cute small town of Whitefish
DAY 1

We meet you right after lunch in the cute western resort town of Whitefish, gateway to the craggy peaks, turquoise alpine lakes, and glacier-carved valleys of Glacier National Park. Your discovery of “Glacier Country” commences with our first snowshoe in a forested area west of town with views of the Whitefish Range. Afterwards, we'll check into our hotel and then head downtown, the shops and eateries lining the main street beckon — what are you hungry for? Chances are excellent we can find you something delicious for dinner!

Snowshoe Mileage: up to 4 miles

DAY 2

After breakfast, we'll grab our trail lunches and head to Glacier National Park, also known as the Crown of the Continent. Our trail weaves in and out of the forest and opens up as you approach Rocky Point, where there are beautiful views up and down the Lake McDonald valley. After soaking in the sights of snowcapped peaks, we head out of the Park and back to Whitefish for another wonderful meal and a good night's rest.

Snowshoe Mileage: 6 miles

DAY 3

It's another day in Glacier!  After breakfast, we check out and again steer toward the Park – looking for wildlife and their tracks, this time on the east side of Lake McDonald. We drive to the road closure at Lake McDonald Lodge and then strap on our snowshoes for a hike along the creek, viewing McDonald Falls and a series of smaller cataracts before we loop back to our starting point. If we have extra energy, we can continue our walk up the Going-to-the-Sun road to the Avalanche picnic area and the Trail of the Cedars area, a boardwalk that winds through old growth forest with frosty moss and icy Avalanche Creek. Upon departing the Park, we head to our lodging for the next two nights, the Izaak Walton Inn. The historic inn was built to bring visitors and goods to Glacier in the 1930's and it is still a stop on the Amtrak line. We can warm up with a soak in the large outdoor hot tub or a steam in the sauna before indulging in a locally-sourced and healthy meal at the Dining Car, an onsite restaurant adorned with classic train memorabilia. This is truly a place to unplug as there is no cell service or TV's in your room and wi-fi is only available in the main lobby lounge. Enjoy the peace and quiet and get a good night's sleep because another day in the outdoors awaits us tomorrow!

Snowshoe Mileage: 6-12 miles

DAY 4

After a hot delicious breakfast, we head out for one more day in the Park, this time to the east side and the Two Medicine Valley. The east side of the Park provides open, sweeping views of the prairies meeting the jagged mountains, the contrast is breathtaking. We will snowshoe up the closed park road to the boundary or beyond to Running Eagle Falls. We'll make our way back to the Inn for dinner. Afterwards, we can play billiards, foosball or board games in the bar downstairs. Or perhaps you prefer another soak before bed? 

Snowshoe Mileage: 6-10 miles

DAY 5

After a peaceful night’s rest and breakfast, you'll have the option of heading out into the Inn's "backyard" to snowshoe on their network of groomed and ungroomed trails. Or just relax and enjoy some free time. Afterwards we'll pack up and check out to head back to the Whitefish area and say our goodbyes.

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Trip Accommodations

NIGHTS 1 & 2 >> APRES WHITEFISH / WHITEFISH This boutique hotel is thoughtfully curated and located just blocks from downtown.

NIGHTS 3 & 4 >> IZAAK WALTON INN /  ESSEX This historic Tudor showcases genuine railroad heritage and offers cozy themed rooms where you can truly unplug, surrounded by 1 million acres of Wilderness. No TV's in rooms or cell service!

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Arrival & Departure

Your guide meets you in the cute mountain town of Whitefish, Montana the morning of the first day of the trip, either at your hotel (if you arrive early) or at the Glacier Park International Airport (airport code FCA). We’ll return to the Glacier Airport on the last afternoon of the trip, allowing you to fly out that day. It is served by many major airlines: Alaska, Allegiant, American, Delta, and United.

What's Included
  • One Zephyr guide will accompany each trip. Additional guides can be added depending on group size.
  • Our trip prices are based on double occupancy.
    • For private trips: If your private group has an odd number of participants, the single supplement for the person getting his/her own room becomes mandatory.  You also have the choice to put three people in one room.
    • For public trips: If you are coming on a trip solo, you have two options: 1) Pay the single supplement to receive your own room. 2) Ask us to try to find you a roommate of the same gender to share a room with; if we are not successful you will be charged the single supplement and receive your own room.
  • All of your meals are included from dinner on Day 1 through breakfast on Day 5. Gratuity for these meals is also included. Since we are out on the trail snowshoeing each day, we'll provide trail lunches for you.
  • All your transportation is included once you meet your guide on the first day.
  • All trail fees and permits are included.
  • NOT INCLUDED: Snowshoe rental, beverages, desserts, gratuities to your guides, personal expenses and travel to and from the destination.
When To Travel

The elevation in this area ranges from 3,100-4,800 feet, so winter in Glacier can be cold and snowy. The key for a snowshoeing vacation is to pick the time period when there is plenty of snow on the ground and yet temperatures are moderate. In the early winter, in December and January, daytime highs average only 27 degrees and the snowpack is not yet full. So we prefer late January through early March when there is usually more snow on the ground, temperatures are warmer, and we have more daylight hours. Keep in mind it is still cold and snowy in these months but that is what we expect with a winter tour!

Snow

Weather is always unpredictable and winter in Glacier is no exception! It is possible that there may be no snow, but don’t fret, as we will simply replace snowshoeing with alternate activities if there isn't enough snow.

Changes to Your Itinerary

While everything under “What is Included” will remain the same, the actual restaurants, hotels, and activities listed in our itineraries are subject to modifications. Changes that are out of our control are common – a restaurant closes or loses its awesome chef, a winery changes its visiting hours, a hotel gets remodeled, a road or trail undergoes construction. You are entrusting us to create an outstanding vacation for you and so it is possible we may take the liberty of making necessary changes (even at the last minute, during the guides’ scout trip) to the itinerary that will improve your overall trip experience. If there is any one experience that is going to make or break your trip, please discuss this with us in advance! We will attempt to keep our website itinerary as current as possible and communicate any major changes with you in the weeks prior to the tour.

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