Hiking in Glacier National Park (BC)
Glacier National Park is located in the rugged interior of British Columbia, Canada. Because of the towering peaks, the area has never been fully developed making it a scenic & pristine nature reserve. Hiking in Glacier National Park is perfect for those who enjoy few crowds, mountainous terrain and big outdoor adventures.
The area is located in the wet interior region of British Columbia. Here, the tall mountains force the warm Pacific air to give up its moisture along the western front. So much rain and snow is deposited that giant cedars and Hemlock trees, abundant on the coast, flourish at these high altitudes. The accumulated snowpack has created over 400 glaciers - hence the name of the park.
Hiking trails range from short, level paths to rugged multi-day mountain treks. The valley bottom is around 1300 meters (4300 ft) and trails can go well over 2600 meters (8600 ft). People should learn tips for hiking at high altitudes before arriving.
There are 18 day hikes that start at various points along the Trans Canada Highway and the campground.
Easy - Riding the Abandoned Rail Trail
Moderate - Asulkan Valley Trail
Moderate - Balu Pass & Cougar Creek Valley
Other Hikes - See the full list of hikes at the official Glacier National Park website from Parks Canada.
Hazards on the Trails in Glacier National Park
- Avalanche - Snow-slides can happen anytime in the winter & spring. This is one of the most active avalanche zones in the world. Check current avalanche conditions before venture into the back-country.
- Bears – The remote location and low human population make this excellent habitat for these giants. Learn how to avoid a bear attack.
- Glaciers – Only experienced and trained outdoors people should hike on glaciers. Crevasse rescue training is highly recommended.
View Hiking in Glacier National Park in a larger map
Tips for Hiking in Glacier National Park
- The massive snowpack usually melts at the lower elevations by mid-June but still lingers at high elevation. Hiking season is from June to mid-September.
- Call the Glacier National Park office (1-250-837-7500) for trail conditions before heading out.
- A park pass is required when stopping in the national park. An annual pass is valid for all national parks across Canada.
- The area is remote and lacks full tourist amenities. The closest town for supplies is Revelstoke (70 kilometers west) or Golden (80 kilometers east).
- There is a gas station & hotel near the Rogers Pass summit but outdoor supplies are limited.
- Backcountry skiing is a popular winter sport (November to April) but there are plenty of avalanche hazards on the steep slopes.
- Watch for unexploded munitions on the slope as the Department of National Defense regularly does avalanche control.
- There are three campsites in the park. Bring rain protection as showers are frequent.
Distance to Glacier National Park
From Vancouver - 500 kilometers (6 hours)
From Calgary - 350 kilometers (4.5 hours)
Check out other things to do in Golden, BC.
Get more insider tips on Canadian Adventures at Scenic Travel Canada.