Snowshoes a great way to enjoy winter
Snowshoeing is a fun and increasingly popular way to see Glacier National Park.
Free snowshoe tours are offered by the Park at Apgar, usually beginning after Jan. 1 and continuing into March.
Snowshoes are available for rental for these interpretive tours for a modest fee. Several local guide services offer snowshoe tours in Glacier Park and elsewhere, providing snowshoes, transportation to and from trailheads and lunch in one package.
Snowshoeing is an ideal way to get through rough and uneven terrain, but snowshoers need to be prepared for winter weather and snow conditions. It also can be a strenuous, aerobic workout, so people will need to shed layers.
Snowshoers should leave a message about where they’re going, travel in groups, take turns leading in deep soft powder, be aware of current weather conditions, carry a map if going into unfamiliar terrain, and mark the trail if snowfall is covering tracks.
Beginner snowshoers will want to stay on the valley floor, where flatter and safer terrain can be found, such as around Apgar, Lake McDonald Lodge, Polebridge, Marias Pass and St. Mary.
Trails used for hiking and mountain biking in the summer are also good destinations. More difficult trails can be found in the Flathead National Forest in the Middle Fork area along U.S. Highway 2, where snowshoers can blaze their own trail into the backcountry.
Popular destinations for snowshoers include the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the North Fork and Marias Pass. Snowshoers are asked to stay out of ski tracks, especially on the Sun Road.
Also, some areas of the Park are closed to protect wintering elk, moose and deer from Dec.1 to the middle of May. Most locations are marked at trailheads, but it’s a good idea to check with the Park before venturing out if you’re unfamiliar with the closure areas.