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The Best Backpacking Trip in Glacier National Park

A backpacker above the Belly River Valley in Glacier National Park.

A backpacker above the Belly River Valley in Glacier National Park.

With vertiginous cliffs and peaks, numerous waterfalls and cascades, crack-riddled glaciers plastering mountainsides, and raw wilderness where a range of wildlife long gone from most of the continent thrives in shocking abundance, Glacier National Park embodies the highest aspirations of backpackers. And if you’re looking for the ultimate backpacking trip in Glacier, the classic, 65-mile, five- to six-day Northern Loop is arguably the single best trip. It hits much of Glacier’s best scenery, including the entire Highline Trail, the Many Glacier area, Piegan Pass and Stoney Indian Pass, the Ptarmigan Tunnel, and some of the park’s finest lakes and most-remote wilderness. It’s not uncommon to see mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and moose along this route, and possibly even black and grizzly bears, and long stretches of this hike also deliver amazing solitude.

Read my blog story about this trip, “Descending the Food Chain: Backpacking Glacier National Park’s Northern Loop” (which is premium content, requiring a subscription), in which I share the story and many photos from the multi-day hike described in much greater detail in this e-guide; or see my story “The Best Backpacking Trip in Glacier National Park” (which is free for anyone to read). See a menu of all of my stories about Glacier National Park, or scroll down to Glacier on my All National Park Trips page.

Purchase this e-guide NOW to begin planning your backpacking trip on the amazing Northern Loop in Glacier National Park!


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photo of Michael Lanza

Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside and former Northwest Editor at Backpacker magazine. Click my photo to learn more about me and my blog. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside now to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. And click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

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