By Robert Lucke
Want to hike in Glacier National Park but worried about bear attacks? The answer might well be to walk with a park naturalist. Not only is there protection from bears, but naturalists are a wealth of information about the areas of the park they are showing.
Hikes are broken down into areas of Glacier and clearly marked as to difficulty. They range from short with no elevation change to drastic mountain experiences and everything in between.
In the St. Mary/Rising Sun area of the park, there are the Siyeh Pass hike, three falls and a boat trip hike, St. Mary boat trip and a hike, a sunset cruise of St. Mary's lake, and several evening campfire presentations.
At Many Glacier, hike to Iceberg Lake, Grinnell Glacier and Lake, Redrock Falls' hike and one of the most popular, two boats, two lakes and a hike. At Many Glacier, there are several campfire-type programs.
Lake McDonald has a host of naturalist activities. There are an early morning stroll of the Apgar area, an Avalanche Lake hike, Huckleberry Mountain hike, Sacred Dancing Cascades walk and Lake McDonald launch tours. A special treat at park headquarters is a tour of the native plant nursery to see how plants are grown for use in revegetation projects.
There are ranger naturalists on duty all day long to answer questions at the visitor center atop Logan Pass. They give short alpine talks as well.
Goat Haunt on the U.S. end of Waterton Lake has dock talks, an International Peace Park walk, Goat Haunt overlook hike, a hike to the Kooteni Lakes and to Rainbow Falls.
At Two Medicine, travel across Two Medicine on a launch and stroll to Upper Two Medicine Lake or to Twin Falls. There is a Dawson Pass hike which lets hikers peek into the Nyack valley.
There are hikes to No Name Lake, Cobalt Lake, Scenic Point, Firebrand Pass and Rockwell falls. Two Medicine offers campfire programs, too.
Best of all, the hikes with ranger naturalists are free, although, when boats are involved, there is a fee charged for the boat ride.
There are special activities at the park hotels throughout August, many having to do with Native American history and culture.
These naturalist activities are updated from time to time, particularly as the season changes from summer into fall. Latest information is always available at park entrance stations.