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Cowboy Heaven Consulting, LLC
6116 Walker Road
Bozeman, MT 59715
406-587-9563
1-877-613-0404
info@cowboyhvn.com

 

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Many Glacier 

A Personal Favorite

C.gif (914 bytes)amping can involve anything from sleeping on the ground in a tiny tent after a grueling backpack trip to carefully adjusting the satellite dish on a luxury RV’s roof for best TV reception. Although both theseGrinnell Point. jpg.jpg (12390 bytes) scenarios have their advantages, most people are happy with something that falls between these extremes. But no matter where on the adventure scale your preferences lie, you'll be able to find something to suit you in Glacier Park.  Whether you're camped in a remote backcountry area or a roadside campground, you'll find they share stunning scenery and available activities ranging from casual to high adventure.

Glacier has many excellent campgrounds, but one of our favorites is at Many Glacier in the northeast part of the park. Surrounded by gorgeous scenery, it provides access to great hiking trails and fishing. A spectacular Alpine style lodge on the shore of Swiftcurrent Lake has a gift shop and restaurant as part of its amenities. Guided horseback rides are available and Glacier Park boat company offers launch tours of Swiftcurrent and Josephine lakes. Bighorn sheep and mountain goats are often visible on nearby Altyn Peak and Mount Henkel, and lucky visitors may glimpse a majestic grizzly bear. Unlucky visitors may get chewed on by one. Just kidding! (Sort of).

Bears are an issue that we should probably look at right away, because it tends to weigh heavily on people’s minds. Glacier has one of the highest concentrations of grizzlies in the U.S. It is also an undeniable fact that people have been injured and killed by bears in the park. With that said, visitors should remember that following a few common sense precautions will minimize the already slight risk. Food and cooking equipment should be stored in a vehicle or suspended from one of the available hoists when not in use. Hikers should not travel alone and should make noise to avoid startling a bear at close range. I generally carry Counter Assault bearHotel.jpg (26261 bytes) repellent spray, although I’ve never had to use it and hopefully, never will. More detailed precautions to follow in bear country are given to all visitors upon entering the park. Bear in mind, (so to speak), that seeing a grizzly is not a common experience. I have camped and hiked in Glacier for about 35 years and can still count the grizzlies I’ve seen on my fingers. They are awesome animals and seeing one is one of the greatest thrills the park offers. My family and I were once watching a herd of elk near St. Mary lake when several of them became agitated and stared into the timber. A large black grizzly emerged and chased the herd across the meadow. Both the bear and the elk appeared to be casually loping along, and after about a hundred yards of pursuit, the bear stopped and watched the elk depart. If one of the elk had appeared crippled or otherwise vulnerable, though, I’m sure the outcome would have been different. We had a great view of the whole affair through our binoculars, and I’ll never forget watching the bear’s muscles rippling under his glossy black hide as he ran. For me, the great bear’s power and grace absolutely personify the spirit of wilderness that pervades this wonderful country.

The Many Glacier campground lies nestled in the timbered valley bottom beneath the cliffs of Grinnell Point. Most of Glacier’s campgrounds tend to fill up by late in the day, so for a good choice of spots visitors should try to arrive no later than mid-afternoon. A nearby campstore and cafe offer supplies and meals, and cabins are also available for rent.

Most visitors will want to tour the surrounding area, and several excellent trails start from the vicinity of the campground. One of the great thingsMount Wilbur.jpg (14060 bytes) about the Many Glacier area is that most of the trails lend themselves to use by hikers of varying age and physical condition. Worthwhile attractions are within reach of an easy walk, while longer hikes lead to alpine high country that will satisfy the most ardent adventurer. Those unable or unwilling to hike should consider going on a guided horseback trip. Organized group hikes led by a Ranger Naturalist lead to most of the area destinations and are a great idea for those who don’t wish to venture out on their own. Information and schedules for these trips is available at any of the area facilities. See our hiking page for more details on area trails.

The Many Glacier area holds special memories for me. It’s where I was introduced to the joys of camping. Art and June Madsen, a retired couple who were friends of my parents, spent most of each summer at Many Glacier and quite often took me along. The daily routine usually began with pancakes loaded with fresh huckleberries, followed by a day of fishing and berry picking. Dinner was often fresh trout, followed by an evening campfire and visits with their ranger friends. Simple pleasures, but they recharge the soul in a manner often missing in most people’s harried existence. To this day, I much prefer my pancakes with huckleberries. The Madsen’s have long since passed on, but whenever I look at Swiftcurrent Lake, in my mind’s eye I see them, roll casting what they jokingly called "garden hackle" (worms) with their split cane fly rods. Treasured memories, and a trip to Many Glacier will likely create some for you.

 

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