Glacier National Park Information Home

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Going-to-the-Sun Road

Glacier National Park
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St. Mary's Area

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McDonald Area

Trail Map Here

North Fork Area

Southern Boundary

Two Medicine Area

Logan Pass Area

Many Glacier Area

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Trail of the Cedars
Avalanche Area

Cut Bank Area

Chief Mountain

Goat Haunt Area

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Wintering In
Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park
Camas Creek, Park Entrance,
Fire trail and Forest Loop Nature Trail
0.9 mile round trip

Camas Creek Entrance to Glacier National Park

Not only is Columbia Falls “The Gateway to Glacier National Park”, it is the pathway to a rustic and scenic alternative route to Glacier National Park at Camas Creek Park Entrance. County Road 486, also called the North Fork Road, follows along the North Fork of the Flathead River.

The North Fork of the Flathead river is the western boundary of the park and has been designated a Wild and Scenic River. It is about 20 miles north to Camas Creek entrance to Glacier. The last nine miles of the roadway are not paved.

There are many recreational sites along this rustic route, offering hiking, fishing, sightseeing, photography, canoeing/rafting and camping opportunities.

A paved road between the Camas Creek entrance and the Glacier Park entrance leads to the trailhead and parking area.
Winter at Camas Creek Entrance Map of the Camas Creek Entrance to Glacier National Park
We pick up a trail guide as we begin our walk and then follow the trail into the fire area. This walk shows us how a fire in the 1960’s started the beginning of another forest which provided food and shelter for the deer, bear and elk. The fireweed, which always grows after a fire, brings lots of color to the summer landscape and if looked at closely, the buds have delicate shades of pink and purple and are beautiful. The recovering forest area burned again in 2001 by the Moose Fire. This fire burned hotter than the 1960’s fire and destroyed some trees that survived the first fire. The new forest is mostly lodgepole pine. Lodgepole pine needs fire to release its seeds from the cones and grows quickly renewing the forest. Gradually, other trees also renew themselves and the area changes again. All the new growth provides food for the animals and we see and hear woodpeckers working the old burned trees searching for bugs and grubs.

Wild strawberry vines grow in some areas but we didn’t find any of the small-sweet berries. Some wildflowers are in bloom along the trail. A nice-easy walk to enjoy at a leisurely pace, interesting and educational.

The winter has been light on the north fork this year. Waiting for the winter snows to replenish the water supply, the land lays dormant. Silent splender surrounds us as we hike on to explore the winter wonderland of Glacier at it's best. The quiet seems to bring anticipation of what awaits us around the next corner. The sun stayed with us, moving in and out of the clouds, the icicles hang from the frozen rocks along the creek bed.

Camas Creek at the Entrance to Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is located in the northwest corner of Montana, just north of Columbia Falls. The park encompasses more than one million acres and is home to grizzly bear, moose, elk, along with 63 varieties of wild mammals. While most of the roads in Glacier National Park are closed off during the winter, this provides miles and miles of tracks for snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Visitors are seldom around in the dead of winter, so the muffled hush of the snow covered woods is especially enticing and serene.

A ski or snowshoe trip along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, which is one of the most scenic roads in North America, is a great option, according to park rangers. The road is closed to cars from September or October until snowmelt, usually in June. Several short hiking trails branch off from the road, which would be excellent for snowshoeing or skiing in the winter season.

 Once you have your gear, head up to Glacier National Park for an exciting adventure. Guided snowshoe trips are available, led by a park naturalist, and are highly recommended. If you are looking for an informative tour, snowshoeing is an easy way to explore the winter wonderland of this unique park. Snowshoeing will provide even the novice an effortless activity so your senses are more in tune with your environment and your guide's knowledge on the history, wildlife, geology, and biology of this precious ecosystem.

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