Frontier Adventure

Backpacking Glacier National Park—a Photo Gallery

By Michael Lanza

If you have ever backpacked in Glacier National Park, you know you want to return. If you haven’t yet, then isn’t it time? One of America’s flagship national parks, it’s a must-see destination for backpackers because of the eye-popping scenery, remoteness, and an extremely rare variety of megafauna—including mountain goats, bighorn sheep, elk, moose, and black and grizzly bears—as the photo gallery below from my numerous trips in Glacier shows. It includes images from my most-recent trip, a nearly 70-mile hike a week ago through some of the park’s premier scenery on its east side.

And it’s not too early to start planning a backpacking trip in Glacier for next summer.


Hi, I’m Michael Lanza, creator of The Big Outside. Click here to sign up for my FREE email newsletter. Join The Big Outside to get full access to all of my blog’s stories. Click here for my e-guides to classic backpacking trips. Click here to learn how I can help you plan your next trip.

A backpacker hiking the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail above Elizabeth Lake in Glacier National Park.
” data-image-caption=”Jeff Wilhelm backpacking the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail above Elizabeth Lake in Glacier National Park.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Ptarmigan-Tunnel-Trail-above-Elizabeth-Lake-in-Glacier-National-Park.jpg?fit=300%2C200&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Ptarmigan-Tunnel-Trail-above-Elizabeth-Lake-in-Glacier-National-Park.jpg?fit=900%2C600&ssl=1″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Ptarmigan-Tunnel-Trail-above-Elizabeth-Lake-in-Glacier-National-Park.jpg?resize=900%2C600&ssl=1″ alt=”A backpacker hiking the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail above Elizabeth Lake in Glacier National Park.” class=”wp-image-60182″ srcset=”https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Ptarmigan-Tunnel-Trail-above-Elizabeth-Lake-in-Glacier-National-Park.jpg?resize=1024%2C683&ssl=1 1024w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Ptarmigan-Tunnel-Trail-above-Elizabeth-Lake-in-Glacier-National-Park.jpg?resize=300%2C200&ssl=1 300w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Ptarmigan-Tunnel-Trail-above-Elizabeth-Lake-in-Glacier-National-Park.jpg?resize=768%2C512&ssl=1 768w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Ptarmigan-Tunnel-Trail-above-Elizabeth-Lake-in-Glacier-National-Park.jpg?resize=150%2C100&ssl=1 150w, https://i0.wp.com/thebigoutside.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/09/Jeff-Wilhelm-backpacking-the-Ptarmigan-Tunnel-Trail-above-Elizabeth-Lake-in-Glacier-National-Park.jpg?w=1200&ssl=1 1200w” sizes=”(max-width: 900px) 100vw, 900px” data-recalc-dims=”1″ />Jeff Wilhelm backpacking the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail above Elizabeth Lake in Glacier National Park.

There are many good reasons I rank Glacier as one of “America’s Top 10 Best Backpacking Trips,” a list I base on having backpacked all over the country for more than three decades, including 10 years I spent as the Northwest Editor of Backpacker magazine and even longer running this blog.

On every multi-day hike I’ve taken there—such as the 65-mile route I consider the best backpacking trip in Glacier—I have marveled at an ocean of mountains spreading out before us, soaring cliffs, some of the park’s 760 lakes, sightings of bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and bears (yes, including grizzlies)—and enjoyed a surprising degree of solitude even while hitting many of the park’s highlights.

See my expert e-guides to two outstanding backpacking trips in Glacier
and my Custom Trip Planning page to learn how I can plan every detail of your Glacier

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