Backcountry Hiking & Camping 

Before hiking or camping in the backcountry, obtain information provided by the National Park Service about how to avoid encounters with bears, mountain lions and other large mammals. Follow the rules to protect the lives of wild animals and yourself.

Many high passes may not be free of snow until late July. Trail maps are available at park information centers.

Over 95 percent of Glacier National Park is managed as wilderness. Trails are restricted to foot or horseback use.

Permits are required for backcountry overnight use and can be obtained at a visitors center or ranger station.

Reservations are available for a $20 fee.
Self-contained stoves are required in most areas, and pets are not allowed on trails.

All backcountry users camping overnight must register at the park information centre. Camping and open fires are permitted in designated areas only.




Horse Back Riding

West Glacier/East Glacier Scheduled, guided horseback trips are available at Many Glacier, Lake McDonald Lodge and Apgar. If you plan to ride your own horse, learn the regulations and restrictions from a free brochure available at the park’s visitors centers.

Waterton Guide services and horses for rent are available. If you have your own horses, contact the park information center for details, restrictions and regulations.

Boating and Fishing

Glacier Boating is permitted on some of Glacier’s lakes. Motor size is restricted to 10 hp on most lakes. Excursion boat tours are offered at Many Glacier, Rising Sun, Two Medicine and Lake McDonald. Fishing regulations are available on request. Boat rentals are available at several park lakes.


Canoes and rowboats are permitted on many of Waterton’s ponds and lakes. Motorboats, water-skiing and windsurfing are permitted on Upper and Middle Waterton lakes. An excursion boat offers tours on Upper Waterton Lake. Non motorized boats can be rented at Cameron Lake. Licenses and copies of regulations are available at park information centre,from park wardens or at service stations in the townsite.

Wildlife Viewing

You may see elk, whitetail and mule deer, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, grizzly and black bears, mountain loins, wolves, coyotes, pika, marmots, squirrels, chipmunks and other mammals. A mountain goat viewing site is provided a few miles east of Essex on US Hwy. 2.

Viewing Ethics: If your actions cause a wild animal to discontinue feeding, leave or otherwise alter behavior, you are too close.

  • Some animals may appear tolerant of your presence but are never less undergoing stress and will flee or charge unexpectedly.
  • Gather information at a park visitor center before viewing or photographing wildlife.
  • A fed animal is a dead animal. Please do not feed bears or any other wild animals.

Wild & Scenic Rivers

In 1976, congress designated 219 miles of the Flathead River system “Wild and Scenic.” Whitewater raft companies offer half-day, full-day and extended trips on portions of the Flathead River system.

Winter Activities Cross-country skiing, snow shoeing and wildlife viewing are popular wintertime activities in both parks.


Glacier Waterton National Parks Visitors Association

Park History


Exceptional natural beauty is preserved in Waterton- Glacier International Peace Park, and is a result of dynamic ongoing natural processes. Because of this the parks have been jointly designated a World Heritage Site, and honor shared with the Taj Mahal, The Great Barrier Reef and the Egyptian Pyramids.

In December 1995, Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park was designated a joint World Heritage Site. Several criteria make this area uniquely qualified for this designation.


Billion year old rocks allow a glimpse into the earth’s past. Dramatic glacier carved landscapes vividly illustrate the power of the earth’s erosional forces. Over 1200 species of plants and unusual wildlife associations highlight the area’s rich biological diversity.

This recognition by the world community celebrates the International Peace Park’s rich geologic history, biological diversity, and dynamic cultural heritage.