The mountains of Glacier National Park began forming 170 million years ago when ancient rocks were forced eastward up and over much younger rock strata. Of the estimated 150 glaciers which existed in the park in the mid-19th century, only 25 active glaciers remained by 2010. Scientists studying the glaciers in the park have estimated that all the glaciers may disappear by 2030 if the current climate patterns persist beecause of global warming issues.
Glacier National Park has almost all its original native plant and animal species. Mammals such as the grizzly, moose, and mountain goat, as well as rare or endangered species like the wolverine and Canadian lynx, inhabit the park. Hundreds of species of birds, more than a dozen fish species, and a few reptile and amphibian species have been documented. The park has numerous ecosystems ranging from prairie to tundra. Notably, the easternmost forests of western redcedar and hemlock grow in the southwest portion of the park. Forest fires are uncommon in the park.
Glacier National Park is dominated by mountains which were carved into their present shapes by the huge glaciers of the last ice age. These glaciers have largely disappeared over the last 12,000 years. The last recent cooling trend was during the Little Ice Age, which took place approximately between 1550 and 1850. During the Little Ice Age, the glaciers in the park expanded and advanced, although to nowhere near as great an extent as they had during the Ice Age.
During the middle of the 20th century, examination of the maps and photographs from the previous century provided clear evidence that the 150 glaciers known to have existed in the park a hundred years earlier had greatly retreated, and in many cases disappeared altogether. Repeat photography of the glaciers, such as the pictures taken of Grinnell Glacier between 1938 and 2009 as shown, help to provide visual confirmation of the extent of glacier retreat.
As the park spans the Continental Divide, and has more than 7,000 feet in elevation variance, many climates and microclimates are found in the park. Average temperature usually drops as elevation increases. The western side of the park, in the Pacific watershed, has a milder and wetter climate. Precipitation is greatest during the winter and spring, averaging 2 to 3 inches monthly. Snowfall can occur at any time of the year, even in the summer, and especially at higher altitudes. The winter can bring prolonged cold waves, especially on the eastern side of the Continental Divide. Snowfalls are significant over the course of the winter, with the largest accumulation occurring in the west. During the tourist season, daytime high temperatures average 16 to 21 °C, and nighttime lows usually drop into the 4 °C range. Temperatures in the high country may be much cooler. In the lower western valleys, daytime highs in the summer may reach 30 °C.
Glacier National Park has a highly regarded global climate change research program. Based in West Glacier, with the main headquarters in Bozeman, Montana, the U.S. Geological Survey has performed scientific research on specific climate change studies since 1992. In addition to the study of the retreating glaciers, research performed includes forest modeling studies in which fire ecology and habitat alterations are analyzed.
Glacier is considered to have excellent air and water quality. No major areas of dense human population exist anywhere near the region and industrial effects are minimized due to a scarcity of factories and other potential contributors of pollutants. However, the sterile and cold lakes found throughout the park are easily contaminated by airborne pollutants that fall whenever it rains or snows, and some evidence of these pollutants has been found in park waters. The pollution level is currently viewed as negligible, and the park lakes and waterways have a water quality rating of A-1, the highest rating given by the state of Montana.
There are many hotels here.Some are as follows:
- Explorer Cabins at Yellowstone
- Belton Chalet
- Lodge at Whitefish Lake
- Gray Wolf Inn & Suites
- Best Western Dessert Inn
- One Horse Motel
- Comfort Suites Bozeman
- Super 8 West Yellowstone
- Big Sky Resort Village Center
- Rodeway Inn & Suitres
- The Lodge at Big Sky
There are many restaurants as well here.Some are as under:
- Many Glaciers Hotel
- Ptarmigan Dining Room
- Lucke's Lounge
- Russells Fireside Dining Room Lake McDonald Loung
- SwiftcurrentMotor Inn Restaurant
- Interlaken Lounge at Many Glaciers Hotel
- Two Dog Flats Grill at Rising Sun Motor Inn
- Glacier Village Restaurant
There are many things to do when you are at Glacier National Park. Some are like:
- Going to the Sunroad
- Grinnell Glacier
- Iceberg Lake Trail
- Logan Pass
- Highline Trail
- Avalanche Lake
- Lake McDonald
- Virginia Falls
- Waterton Glacier International Peace Park
Visit Glacier National Park and enjoy your trip here in vacations.