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St. Mary's Area

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Wintering In
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Views of Glacier National Park
Wildflowers in Bloom

Glacier lilies are found on both sides of the park, and grow at elevations ranging from roughly 3000 feet to more than 7000 feet. Flowers in the lower-elevations bloom as early as April, while flowers in the higher-elevations tend to bloom around mid-July, or later, depending on how much snow fell in the mountains over the winter.

The color purple as the flowers bloom along the Sun Point Trail at St Marys Lake.

Purple asters are found in abundance during the late summer in the meadows on the east side of the park, especially in the Two Medicine area.

Beargrass, perhaps the most iconic wildflower in Glacier National Park, is not a grass, nor do bears eat it. The name was given to the plant by Meriwether Lewis while passing through the northern Rocky Mountains during his expedition with William Clark.

Bear Grass on the trail to Twin Falls in the Two Medicine Valley

"There is a great abundance of a speceis of bear-grass which grows on every part of these mountains," noted Captain Lewis in his journal on June 15, 1806.

Lewis likely gave the name because it resembled a species of beargrass that grew near his home in Virginia.

Because of the harsh winters in Glacier, which come early, and linger late into spring, the season for wildflowers is relatively short. Depending on your timing, some of the best hikes for seeing wildflowers include Preston Park, Highline Trail, Firebrand Pass, Iceberg LakeHidden Lake, Cobalt Lake, Medicine Grizzly Lake, Forest and Fire Nature Hike, Gunsight Lake and Upper Two Medicine Lake.

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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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