Visitor Centers and Information Resources
Glacier National Park
No matter how much pre-planning I’ve done before a National Park visit once I arrive one of our first stops is usually the nearest visitor center. Whether it’s watching an introductory film, learning from interpretive displays, getting answers to specific questions or purchasing a hiking guide or detailed map an official visitor center provides the orientation and background for a successful park experience.
Three centers provide information and visitor services in Glacier. St. Mary Visitor Center welcome those entering the park from the east, Apgar Visitor Center serves those arriving through West Glacier and Logan Pass Visitor Center stands atop the Continental Divide on Going-to-the-Sun Road. The parking lot for Logan Pass VC often fills to capacity mid-day in the summer. To ensure access plan to arrive early morning or late afternoon.
During our most recent visit to Glacier we found the rangers and information desk staff especially friendly and helpful. They were eager to share the latest trail conditions, wildlife sightings and even where to get the best cinnamon roll in Montana.
The Apgar center is extremely busy yet the personnel stayed cheerful and responsive to each individual’s specific questions. I recall the pleasingly plumb lady in front of me inquiring about a hike. She was from Ohio and had a four year old with her, the family clad in sandals. She had already selected a particular trail, insisting that she could walk at a rate of 5 miles per hour. The ranger tried his best to explain that altitude, elevation gain and trail conditions were not the same as circling a track in Ohio. He suggested attractive alternatives but she wasn’t budging from her decision. I only wished I could have applied a tracking collar to see how far she got.
In addition to the visitor centers there are two staffed ranger stations to provide information on specific areas, backcountry permits and book/map sales -Many Glacier, Two Medicine. Both are open from late May to late September, 7am-5pm. Backcountry permits are also available at the Polebridge Ranger Station.
Glacier joins with across-the-border neighbor Waterton Lakes National Park to form the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Parks Canada operates a Waterton Visitor Center.
Take advantage of the visitor centers and ranger stations during your Glacier National Park visit. You too may be directed to an appropriate trail or enjoy a yummy cinnamon roll.