Glacier National Park in the United States and Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada have joined since 1932 in the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Although separated by the frontier, the two National Parks form a geographical unit, taking in a relatively unspoiled part of the Rocky Mountains in the area of the Continental Divide (Watershed). This grandiose mountain region, the "crown of the continent", is for the most part an empty wilderness with steep rock faces, more than 50 glaciers and over 200 lakes.
Here, in the Lewis and Livingston Ranges, the Rockies have a markedly alpine character. The highest peak is Mount Cleveland (10,470 ft). The landscape of this region was transformed during the ice ages.
Information: The two constituent parks are administered separately. Visitor centers for the Glacier National Park - much the bigger of the two - are located in St Mary (at the east entrance), Apgar (at the west entrance) and at the Logan Pass. The Waterton Visitors Center is on Highway 5 inside the Park. Both Parks have hotels, motels and sufficient camping sites. Anyone who can afford it should spend at least one night at the luxurious Prince of Wales Hotel on the Canadian side. The fantastic setting alone is worth the expense.
The park is open throughout the year, though many roads are closed from November to April. Most visitors come in the summer months, but it is also very pleasant in autumn (until mid-Oct).
The flora and fauna of both National Parks are still largely intact. During the short summer when the snow has gone the alpine meadows are a magnificent sea of blossom. The marshland areas (water birches, willows, reeds) are a refuge for beavers, mink, muskrats, ducks, geese and even elk. The narrow prairie zone in the east is the home of coyotes and bison. In the mountain valleys and in the pine and Douglas fir forests on the lower slopes there are red deer, black bears and pumas. The sub-alpine zone, the most important plants in which are spruce. Engelmann fir, larch, white pine, bear grass and gentian, is the habitat of grizzly bears, and higher up, in the mountain pine zone, there are marmots, Rocky Mountain goats and bighorn sheep. In recent years wolves have been heard howling again in remote mountain valleys. Prior to setting out on foot it is essential to take instruction from the park rangers about what to do in the event of meeting a bear.
Box 96, West Glacier, MT 59936-0096, United States
Entrance fee in USD:
Annual pass or membership $35.00, Vehicle plus all occupants $25.00