Fat Girls Guide To: Glacier National Park

Goodbye March, and hello Spring! This month we’re excited to share another edition of our Fat-Friendly National Park Guide. Especially because April 17th is the First day of National Park Week. Which means you’ll have free entry into Glacier National Park and all National Park Service sites that charge an entrance fee. We want to encourage you to get outside, practice self care, and enjoy our new (socially distanced) world. 

Our mission at Fat Girls Traveling is to not only highlight our adventures, but to recognize Making National Parks Accessible to Native People Again and to other People of Color. Out of 292.8 million visitors to national parks in 2014, only 22% were People of Color. Which is precisely what makes initiatives like Diversify Outdoors so important. 

It is also important for us to mention that the lands that make up Glacier National Park were inhabited by Native American tribes long before it became a federally owned property. Several Native American tribes lived, used, and called the lands of Glacier National Park their home. These tribes include the Blackfoot/Nitsitapii, the Kootenai, the Salish, the Stoneys (Assiniboine), the Gros Ventre (Arapaho), and the Cree.

Photo by Tevin Trinh on Unsplash

Located in Montana’s Rocky Mountains, Glacier National Park  in the northern United States boasts remote wilderness and wildlife, over 700 miles of hiking trails, and glacier-carved lakes, peaks, and valleys to explore. One key feature, the “Going-to-the-Sun Road”  is open seasonally, which takes travelers over 50 miles throughout the heart of the park.

Entrance Fee: 

$35 (7 Day Permit)

$25 (7 Day Winter Permit, valid November 1 – April 30)

America the Beautiful Annual Pass: $80

Free Entrance Days:

January 20: Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 18: First day of National Park Week
August 5: Celebrating the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act
August 25: National Park Service Birthday
September 26: National Public Lands Day
November 11: Veterans Day

Best Time to Visit:

Mid-June, July, August, through September when temperatures average in the mid-70s and most amenities are available to guests.

Worst Times to Visit:

December – early April. Because of the remoteness of the park, it is prone to avalanches, meaning winter recreation there is limited. Many places, including lodges, campgrounds, and other facilities are inaccessible by vehicle during this time. 

COVID-19 Update:

Face masks are required in all buildings on Federal Lands and outside, when social distancing is not possible.

Glacier National Park is instituting an online reservation system and ticketed entry for their shuttle service which beings May 28 through September 6, 2021.

Spring plowing activities on park roads will begin in early April. Some areas may be temporarily unavailable to winter recreation, when plowing operations are ongoing.

Ariana:

“I highly recommend the Avalanche Lake hike! It’s about two miles and very doable for beginners. A bit of an elevation gain at the beginning, but nothing too hard.” For a list of easier hikes, check out the link here

Photo of Ariana

River Rae:

“Drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road! It has lots of good spots to stop and a few lake access points when you can swim in glacial melt!”

Photo of River Rae

Alexandra:

“If driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road is too much, try and take one of the red bus tours (when open). Their drivers are really great about stopping for wildlife. However, as a word of caution, they aren’t super fat friendly and you may be squished up against others. Consider booking two tickets if this aspect may bother you.” 

Photo of Sam Ortiz

In addition to glaciers, mountains, and miles of trails, Glacier boasts over 130 different named lakes, including two of its largest St. Mary’s and Lake McDonald that you can rent boats, fish, and swim in!

One facet of diversifying the outdoors is ensuring it is accessible for all individuals who want to visit. For more information about accessibility, including deaf, low vision, mobility, and other ADA compliance information, visit Glacier’s Accessibility web page for more information.

Want to be featured in our National Parks Guide? 

Comment below with tips for your favorite National Park or visit our Contact Us page to get involved. 

The Fat Girls Guide

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