320 Nucleus Ave
Columbia Falls, MT 59912
PO Box 1444
Columbia Falls, MT 59912
Join us for a hike to one of Glacier’s active fire lookouts! This outing will take a look into the past to help us understand the history of fire management in the park over the past century. During our strenuous hike to the lookout, we will learn about the role of fire in the forest and how it influences the plants, animals, and scenery of Glacier National Park and the surrounding areas. Once we reach the lookout, we will be provided with an unrivaled 360 degree view of this spectacular area. Choose from one of two lookout options based upon the level of your groups’ hiking ability.
Meeting Place: Outside of The Glacier Institute Field Camp Library/Office
Meeting Time: 9:00am *we will confirm this time with you leading up to your tour
Anticipated return time: 2:00pm – 3:30pm *depending on pace of group
Recommended booking dates: Mid-May through September.
Physical Requirements: Difficult
Distance (roundtrip): 7.1 miles / Total elevation gain: 1,845 feet
*This is your hike! If you wish to do just a portion of the trail we are happy to accommodate that
Food: Please bring a trail lunch, snacks, and at least one liter of water. Please bring a pack to carry your lunch as we will be having lunch out on the trail.
Equipment: Bring rain gear, warm jacket, 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. Please keep in mind that snow can linger at higher elevations in Glacier National Park well into the summer months. Binoculars are useful, but optional.
Transportation during course: We will be traveling in a Glacier Institute vehicle.
Weather: This course will not be canceled due to weather. Please check the weather forecast in advance and refer to the gear list for proper attire.
*Please note that times are approximate!
9:00am: Meet outside of The Glacier Institute Field Camp Library/Office.
9:00am - 9:30am: 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.
9:30am - 9:45am: We will depart Field Camp for a short ride to the trail head. As we drive we will see visible evidence of historical burns in the park.
9:45am - 12:00pm: Hike to the lookout! This hike is short and steep, but we will take frequent rests to learn about the history of fire in Glacier National Park. We will also discuss the ecological importance of wildfire, exploring how the trailside flora and fauna respond to fire in the forest. We will focus on how the plants and animals of Glacier have adapted to live with fire, and how many of these organisms actually depend on fire to survive and reproduce.
12:00pm - 1:00pm: Lunch! Our hard work will be rewarded with amazing panoramic views of Glacier Park and the Flathead National Forest. With such an expansive view we will touch a little bit on what created these expansive vallies.
1:00pm - 3:00pm: Return hike to the trailhead. On our descent we will continue our discussion of the implications of fire in this unique landscape.
3:00pm - 3:30pm: Return to Glacier Institute Field Camp.
3:30pm - 3:45pm: Arrival back at Field Camp. Wrap-up, Q&A, course evaluation forms.