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Glacier, Goats and Going-to-the-Sun

Are you a Glacier Institute Member?
Please give us the 3 best date options for your Personalize Educational Outing.

Glaciers, Goats, and Going-to-the-Sun!

Personalized Educational Outings

Punctuated by the peaks around Logan Pass, the Hidden Lake trail ranks highly on people’s must-see list. The Hanging Gardens, the alpine meadows evocative of the ancient variety in Mesopotamia, produce in eye-popping color the ground-hugging plants like mountain pink and Glacier lily. What conditions beget these fairytale forms? What advantages do they confer? We’ll also examine the air of change in these alpine wonderlands as climate change shapes the landscape and redefines relationships. And there are few places better to catch a glimpse of the famous “beast the color of winter”—Glacier’s iconic mountain goats—as they grip craggy ledges, dine on rock-draped lichens, and slake their thirst on mineral licks from fault exposures and forgotten trekking poles!! These wooly rock-goats are fascinating studies of the alpine and exemplify the park as a refuge for these treasured species.

Meeting Time:  8:00 AM

Finishing Time: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM (depending on pace of group)

Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp Meeting Hall (see campus map)

Food: Please bring a sack lunch, trail snacks, and at least one liter of water.

Equipment: Be prepared for any kind of weather including snow. Bring rain gear, warm jacket or pullover, gloves, a hat, and comfortable hiking shoes. It can be cold, so plan on having lots of layers of warm clothes to add and shed as necessary. Binoculars are useful, but optional.

Physical Requirements:  Easy / Distance (roundtrip): 2.7 miles / Total elevation gain: 540 ft.

*Option for an extension down to Hidden Lake—Moderate / Distance (roundtrip): 5.4 miles / Total elevation gain: 1325 ft.*

Transportation during course:  We will be traveling in a Glacier Institute vehicle.

Weather: This outing will not be canceled due to weather.

Tentative Itinerary:

8:00 AM: Meet at the Glacier Institute Field Camp

8:00 AM - 8:30 AM: After we make our introductions, we will have an overview of the day’s itinerary followed by a brief training in bear safety procedures, Leave No Trace Ethics, and trail etiquette.  

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM: We’ll drive up the Going-to-the-Sun Road to Logan Pass while learning about the history of the road, engineering decisions and the establishment of Glacier Park. Along the way, we will stop at a small turnout to witness the oldest recorded life form in prehistory and the deeper meaning its presence reveals! We’ll also have time to break into the forces that carved Lake McDonald, the jagged peaks, and the massive valleys that surround us. 

9:30 AM - 11:30 PM: After reaching Logan Pass, we set off on the boardwalk trail towards Hidden Lake. Along the way, we will keep a sharp eye out for mountain goats, bighorn sheep, marmots, and other charismatic animals that frequent this area.  We will learn about the overall ecology of these animals to understand their habitat requirements, dietary needs, and threats to their survival.

11:30 PM - 12:30 PM: Once we reach the Hidden Lake Overlook, we will pause for a leisurely lunch while we take in the breathtaking scenery around us, on the lookout for grizzly bears!

12:30 PM – 2:45 PM: On the return to Logan Pass, we will identify plants of this area and look at the various forms they take in these high alpine meadows despite high winds, freezing temperatures, and a snowpack that persists for most of the year!

2:45 PM - 4:00 PM: Return to Glacier Institute Field Camp. 

4:00 PM - 4:15 PM: Wrap-up, Q&A, course evaluation forms.