Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park

Best time to visit Glacier National Park

Nestled in the heart of Montana, Glacier National Park is a rugged wilderness of towering mountains, pristine lakes, and diverse wildlife.  The remote wilderness is boundless with hiking, camping, and exploring opportunities.  The best time to visit Glacier National Park varies depending on the experience you want to have.

To make the most of your visit, it’s crucial to choose the right time to explore this stunning natural wonder. In this guide, we’ll help you plan your trip by breaking down the best times to visit Glacier National Park based on weather, crowds, and wildlife opportunities.

Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park Based on Weather

Glacier National Park experiences a range of weather conditions throughout the year, so choosing the right season is vital for an enjoyable visit.

Spring (April to June):

Spring brings melting snow and blooming wildflowers. High temperatures range from 50°F to 70°F (10°C to 21°C), while lows can drop to 30°F to 40°F (-1°C to 4°C). Be prepared for variable weather, including rain and lingering snow at higher elevations.

Summer (July to August):

Summer is the park’s peak season when temperatures in the valleys can reach 70°F to 85°F (21°C to 29°C). However, higher elevations remain cooler, with highs around 50°F to 65°F (10°C to 18°C). This is the best time for hiking, camping, and exploring, but also when crowds are most significant.

Fall (September to October):

Fall is a fantastic time to visit Glacier. The weather is still pleasant, with highs between 50°F and 70°F (10°C to 21°C) and lows ranging from 30°F to 40°F (-1°C to 4°C). The park’s vibrant foliage adds a stunning backdrop to your adventures, and crowds begin to thin out.

Winter (November to March):

Winter transforms the park into a snowy wonderland, with valley temperatures ranging from 20°F to 30°F (-6°C to -1°C). At higher elevations, temperatures can plummet to -10°F to 10°F (-23°C to -12°C). This is the quietest season, perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Seasonal Changes and Best Experiences of Each

  • Spring: Spring is the season of rebirth in Glacier. While some areas may still be snow-covered, lower elevation trails and lakes begin to thaw, and the first wildflowers make their appearance. It’s an excellent time for wildlife photography.
  • Summer: Summer offers the most extensive range of activities, including hiking, boating, and wildlife viewing. The Going-to-the-Sun Road, which crosses the park, is fully open, providing access to breathtaking vistas.
  • Fall: Fall showcases Glacier’s landscapes with a tapestry of red and gold foliage. Hiking and wildlife watching are at their best, and the weather remains pleasant for outdoor adventures.
  • Winter: While many park facilities close in winter, it’s a peaceful time to explore the park on snowshoes or cross-country skis. The park’s pristine beauty under a blanket of snow is a sight to behold.

Best Time to Visit Glacier Based on Crowds and Prices

  • Crowds: Summer, particularly July and August, is the busiest season in Glacier National Park. To avoid crowds, visit in spring or fall when there are fewer tourists.
  • Prices: Accommodation and tour prices are generally higher in summer. Booking well in advance can help you secure better rates during the peak season.

Best Attractions of Glacier and Best Time to See Them

  • Going-to-the-Sun Road: This iconic road is best enjoyed during the summer when it’s fully open, offering stunning views of glacial valleys and mountain peaks.
  • Grinnell Glacier: The hike to Grinnell Glacier is most accessible in summer, allowing you to witness one of the park’s dwindling glaciers.
  • Many Glacier Area: This area is ideal for spotting wildlife year-round, but summer offers the most extensive opportunities.

What Wildlife Can You See at Glacier National Park?

Glacier National Park is teeming with wildlife, and the best times to see them vary based on the species.

  • Grizzly Bears: Late spring to early summer is the best time to spot grizzly bears as they come out of hibernation in search of food.
  • Black Bears: Summer is a good time to see black bears, especially near rivers and lakes.
  • Mountain Goats: These animals are frequently seen throughout the year, often on rocky cliffs and slopes.
  • Bighorn Sheep: Summer and fall offer the best opportunities to see bighorn sheep, especially in the Logan Pass area.
  • Elk: Fall is the rutting season for elk, making it an ideal time to witness their mating rituals.


Glacier National Park’s pristine landscapes and diverse wildlife make it a must-visit destination. Each season offers unique experiences, from spring’s wildflower blooms to winter’s peaceful snow-covered wonderland. Consider your weather preferences, tolerance for crowds, and the type of wildlife you hope to see when planning your visit. Regardless of when you choose to explore this natural gem, Glacier National Park will leave you in awe of its beauty and majesty.


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