- Join a naturalist and search for bears, moose, bighorn sheep, and mountain goats in Glacier National Park.
- Ascend the Going-to-the-Sun Road and go rafting on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River.
- Cross over the border to spend a day amid the stunning mountains of Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park.
- Keep an eye out for local wildlife—including birds, elk, moose, and bear—while enjoying a variety of spectacular hikes.
One of America’s most spectacular ecosystems, Glacier National Park encompasses nearly 1,600 square miles of snowcapped mountains, emerald-hued lakes, forests, and rivers. Discover the park’s glacially-carved landscapes on a variety of excursions, and stay in historic park lodges. Then head north into the Canadian Rockies to spend a day exploring Waterton Lakes National Park, and cap off your journey with a rafting trip on the Flathead River.
Arrive in Kalispell and transfer to the town of Whitefish, located in the heart of the northern Rocky Mountains.
Designated a national park in 1910, Glacier National Park was named for the ice masses that carved these valleys roughly 20,000 years ago. This primordial wilderness boasts some of the most stunning scenery in North America: snowcapped peaks and high alpine meadows, emerald-hued glacial lakes and rushing rivers, and numerous species of mammals and birds. Today begins at Big Mountain--as locals call Whitefish Mountain Resort--for a ride to the scenic summit. From the top, set off on a hike overlooking Flathead Valley, Whitefish Lake, and Glacier National Park. In the afternoon, we begin our exploration of Glacier on the west side of the park, learning about the park’s wildlife and natural history along the way. This evening, stay at the historic Lake McDonald Lodge, built in 1913 along the shores of the park’s largest lake.
Spend the morning exploring Lake McDonald Valley. Hike the Trail of the Cedars to Avalanche Lake, passing through hemlock and cedar forests to arrive on the shores of a beautiful, mirror-like lake that reflects the mountain peaks above. After a picnic lunch, take to the waters of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River on a fun float trip. As we travel along the southern border of Glacier National Park through steep-walled canyons, keep an eye out for birds, elk, and other wildlife.
Today we are joined by local guides for an unforgettable journey along the Going-to-the-Sun Road—a 50-mile feat of engineering which crosses the Continental Divide at Logan Pass. Take in awe-inspiring vistas of waterfall-laced mountains and valleys, and look for mountain goats and bighorn sheep foraging on the slopes. As we make our way to the east side of the park, we'll stop for various hikes and a picnic lunch. Arrive in Many Glacier Valley, home to abundant wildlife and some of the park’s last visible glaciers. Continue to Many Glacier Hotel, a national historic monument situated on Swiftcurrent Lake. Settle into your room and enjoy some free time to explore the lodge’s rustic architecture or relax on its expansive lakefront deck.
Watch the rugged, picturesque mountains of Glacier light up with the rising sun before setting out on a full-day excursion to the Many Glacier area. Today begins with a scenic cruise across Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes aboard a classic wooden boat. Then set out to experience the spectacular scenery of Many Glacier Valley, choosing from a variety of shorter or longer hikes. Trace the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake, spotting birds and wildflowers. Or embark on a more vigorous hike on the Grinnell Glacier Trail, ascending through a series of switchbacks to be rewarded with incredible views of alpine lakes, soaring mountains, and one of the parks's remaining glaciers. Keep an eye out for the numerous wildlife species that reside in the valley, including bald eagles, moose, and bears. Return to the hotel this evening to enjoy sunset over the lake and dinner.
In 1932, Glacier National Park was combined with Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada to form the world's first International Peace Park—later designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. In the late 1800s, conservationists dubbed this region the "Crown of the Continent" with Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks representing the crown's shining jewels. Today, we head north into Alberta, Canada to explore Waterton Lakes National Park and its remarkable ecosystem of prairies, forests, and glacial landscapes. Take a boat ride on Upper Waterton Lake, whose emerald waters stretch southward into Montana. As we cruise beneath the soaring Rockies, view striking geological formations and waterfalls, and watch for osprey, mountain goats, and bears along the shores. After lunch, visit the Prince of Wales Hotel, one of the grand hotels built by Louis W. Hill of the Great Northern Railway. Constructed in the 1920s in classic Swiss-chalet style, the hotel sits on a bluff overlooking Upper and Middle Waterton Lakes. Enjoy a classic “high tea” while soaking up the majestic scenery.
Linger over breakfast this morning, enjoying our last views of the mountain peaks beyond Swiftcurrent Lake before saying goodbye to Glacier and returning to Kalispell for afternoon flights home.