Glacier National Park

It is regarded as The Crown of the Continent.

“Wander here a whole summer, if you can. Thousands of God’s wild blessings will search you and soak you as if your were a sponge, and the big days will go uncounted…

Here – at the border of Montana and Canada – glacier carved snow capped mountains of the Lewis and Livingston Ranges stand tall on the horizon, casting shadows over 1 million acres of the protected wilderness of Glacier National Park.

Inside its boundary exists what many consider to be among the most beautiful mountain regions of the world, as well as an estimated 130 sapphire lakes and a completely intact ecosystem of more than 1,000 species of plants, and hundreds of species of animals.

…find yourself in the midst of what you are sure to say is the best care-killing scenery on the continent – beautiful lakes derived straight from glaciers, lofty mountains steeped in lovely nemophila-blue skies and clad with forests and glaciers, mossy ferny waterfalls in their hollows, nameless and numberless, and meadowy gardens abounding in the best of everything …

Find yourself this summer (or next) at Glacier National Park with Backcountry Journeys, and find yourself truly in the midst of ‘America’s Switzerland,’ ready to create images with both your camera and your mind, that will last the rest of your life.

We’ll travel in summer months to take advantage of the abundant flora such as Glacier’s signature Beargrass and wildflowers blooms like Paintbrush, Glacier Lily and Fireweed. Few scenes are more aesthetically pleasing than an avalanche slope or an alpine meadow aglow with the color of wildflowers amidst the backdrop of towering peaks.

Glacier National Park has almost all its original native plant and animal species. Large mammals such as Grizzly bear, moose, and mountain goat, as well as rare or endangered species like wolverines and Canadian lynx inhabit the park. Hundreds of species of birds, more than a dozen fish species, and a few reptile and amphibian species have been documented. The park has numerous ecosystems ranging from prairie to tundra.

The longer days of summer provide longer ‘magic-hour’ photography sessions in the mornings and evenings. The Park is brimming with life in summer as the various microclimates have only three short months without snow-cover. There is never a shortage of color during the brief growing season. The wildlife is active this time of year and the skies are dramatic as are the incredible mountain reflections we’ll be able to capture in the Parks lakes and rivers.

The mountains of Glacier National Park began forming 170 million years ago when ancient rocks were forced eastward up and over much younger rock strata. These sedimentary rocks are considered to have some of the finest examples of early life fossils on Earth.

The current shapes of the Lewis and Livingston mountain ranges and positioning and size of the lakes show the telltale evidence of massive glacial action, which carved U-shaped valleys and left behind moraines which impounded water, creating lakes.

Of the estimated 150 glaciers in existence in 1910, when Glacier was set aside as a National Park, only 25 active glaciers remain (as of 2010).

One way to see up close the best features of the Park, is by driving the famous ‘Going-To-The-Sun Road,’ so that is exactly what we’ll do. The road is a 50+ mile scenic mountain traverse that spans the width of the Park between the east and west entrance stations, reaching its highest elevation of over 6,500 feet while crossing the Continental Divide. The road was one of the first National Park Service projects specifically intended to accommodate the automobile-borne tourist when it broke ground in 1921, and is the first road to have been registered as a National Historic Place, National Historic Landmark and Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.

Sidenote: You may remember this road, combined with the backdrop of Saint Mary Lake, were featured in the opening sequence of Stanley Kubrick’s ‘The Shining.’ We’ll post up at sunrise to shoot this lake, probably one of the most photogenic lakes in the world.

Lake McDonald, which is the largest lake in Glacier National Park, is approximately 10 miles long and over a mile wide and 472 feet deep. It lies on the west side of the Continental Divide at an elevation of 3,153 feet, and we’ll plan to visit this lake for sunrise, as well.

Glacier National Park is a visual cornucopia and one of the most surreal and colorful places on the planet. It’s stunning peaks, roaring waterfalls, brilliant night skies and summer storms allow for virtually endless photographic possibilities.

So join a trip and you’ll gain a wealth of knowledge about the history of the Park, as well as the flora and fauna, and of course you’ll depart with an impressive collection of new images of ‘The Last Best Place.’ Remember, we offer this trip in both “standard” and “hiker” versions, so be sure to choose the version that best suits your style. To hike, or not to hike… That is the question!

…Give a month at least to this precious reserve. The time will not be taken from the sum of your life. Instead of shortening it, it will indefinitely lengthen it and make you truly immortal. Nevermore will time seem short or long, and cares will never again fall heavily on you, but gently and kindly as gifts from heaven.” -John Muir