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Try These Incredible Activities at Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is an eye-catching feat of nature, encompassing over 1,500 square miles of majestic mountain ranges, pristine lakes, verdant forest, and diverse wildlife. Nestled in Montana and split into east and west along the Continental Divide, both sections feature hundreds of miles of untouched land yearning to be explored. From hiking to camping, fishing, hunting, and swimming, the park offers countless opportunities to explore, making it a true nature lover's paradise. Beware, however: one visit is rarely ever enough.

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01Trail of the Cedars

Woman carrying child while hiking on trail of cedars Noah Clayton / Getty Images

An excellent trail for hikers of every experience and endurance level, this 5.5-mile trail is one of the most popular in the park, and for a good reason. It's wheelchair accessible, suitable for strollers, and well-marked throughout, making it a go-to for visitors of every variety. Along the route, you'll catch views of towering western hemlocks and red cedars, with some dating back over 500 years. A footbridge over Avalanche Creek features striking views of the gorge below, and you can catch them close-up by walking just a short distance toward the Avalanche Lake Trail. From the banks of the creek, watch glacially melted water peacefully cascade down the gorge.

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02Backcountry camping

Campfire and Camp Chairs In Glacier National Park davidmarxphoto / Shutterstock

Discover truly uncharted territory with a camping excursion in the park's designated wilderness lands. Here, you'll discover how to live off the grid on grounds with minimal human influence, undeveloped terrain, and a fully intact ecosystem brimming with wildlife where you can set up camp and savor true solitude. Watch for bears, deer, mountain goats, marmots, and many other critters, go for a hike, or just relax as you take in panoramic views of the mountains surrounding you.

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03Going-to-the-Sun Road

Going-to-the-Sun Road SED Photography / Getty Images

Stretching over 50 miles of pristine terrain, the Sun Road is an absolute must-see for any Glacier park adventurer. Ample pullouts feature plentiful space to snap photos, and with these eye-catching views, you'll make use of them. At Logan Pass Visitor Center, the road reaches its highest elevation, taking you directly into the heart of the park. Majestic mountains, waterfalls cascading peacefully down the slopes, and forest as far as the eye can see: this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

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04Wild Goose Island pullout

Wild Goose Island in St. Mary Lake HaizhanZheng / Getty Images

A truly iconic location, this stop along the Going-to-the-Sun Road features the park's most postcard-worthy views. You'll get a breathtaking perspective of St. Mary Lake and the surrounding mountains, which rise nearly 10,000 feet in elevation. Gunsight Mountain, at the lake's far end, reaches an altitude of 9,258 feet, while Fusillade Mountain rises up to 8,750 feet. At the north side of the lake is the striking Going-to-the-Sun Mountain, which is the most spectacular of the range at an elevation of 9,642 feet. No matter where you look, photo-worthy moments abound.

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05Many Glacier

Many Glacier Hotel Vicki Jauron, Babylon and Beyond Photography / Getty Images

This hiker's paradise features over ten enthralling trails that lead you through mountains, lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers. Hikes in this area are on the longer, more strenuous side, with most clocking in around the 10-mile mark. Much more awaits here, however. Bask in that post-workout glow at Many Glacier Hotel, or use it as a launching point for lakeside adventures. This secluded stay features a lounge, snack shop, restaurant, and gift shop, along with a full spectrum of engaging activities. Take a bus tour, a boat cruise, or a horseback ride along the water's edge in this scenic setting.

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06Lake McDonald

Man Kayaking in Lake McDonald edb3_16 / Getty Images

The largest lake in the park, this expansive body of water extends over 10 miles long and over a mile wide. The historic Lake McDonald Lodge offers spectacular space to explore the area. Built in 1913, this rustic space provides a wide variety of cabins and rooms, but you can also rely on its decadent restaurants and lounges when the cravings kick in. Take a bus tour through the park from here, rent a canoe or kayak and hit the lake to experience panoramic views from every angle, attend an evening ranger program, or saddle up for a horseback ride along one of the area's many trails.

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07Red Bus tours

Glacier National Park Open Vintage Air Tour Bus leezsnow / Getty Images

Experience the park in an entirely new way with a vintage 1930's bus tour. As the world's oldest touring bus fleet, travel back in time as you check another item off your trip's bucket list. Tours vary in length, and you can select which parts of the park you want to see most. Routes include Rising Sun, Swiftcurrent, St. Mary's, and Swiftcurrent, but you can travel for up to 10 hours exploring the park's hidden gems. The buses themselves play a pivotal role in the park's history, so you'll learn little-known tidbits along the way.

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08Glacier Park boat tours

Waterton Tour Boat with Glacier National Park mountain background wwing / Getty Images

Take to the waters with an aquatic adventure aboard a historic wooden boat. Setting sail from the park's most majestic locations, your guided tour includes little-known information that will fully immerse you into your environment. Depart from Two Medicine, for instance, and you'll discover the history and heritage of the area's Blackfeet tribes while you traverse this hidden gem; spectacular views of the valley and surrounding mountains await. Other launching points include St. Mary Lake at Rising Sun, Lake McDonald, and Many Glacier. When the boat docks, you have the option to take a guided hike, explore the area on foot, and board a later boat back, transforming this into an all-day adventure.

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09Aquatic adventures at Avalanche Lake

father and baby daughter looking over Glaciers National Park Avalanche Lake Bkamprath / Getty Images

This pristine lake is renowned for its beauty, but its pebble beaches and plentiful benches also make it a go-to destination for swimming, water sports, and settling down with a picnic. The area offers full-day whitewater rafting adventures, so you can explore the rapids while savoring breathtaking views. Lunch is included, so once you work up an appetite, settle down to a delicious meal. Along the Avalanche Lake Trail, step outside your comfort zone and dive into the green waters of the peaceful falls and creeks along the way.

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10Wildlife spotting at Red Rock Falls

Redrock Falls in Glacier National Park Image by Erik Pronske Photography / Getty Images

Wildlife and waterfalls make for an enticing adventure at Red Rock Falls. The trail leads past Fishercap Lake and Swiftcurrent, so you can check off multiple stops. The falls themselves feature crystal clear waters that drift down toward the dark red rocks in Fishercap Lake, making for must-have photos. The area is known for its abundant wildlife, so keep an eye out for passing moose, bear, mountain goats, and deer as you traverse the area's trails.

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