Hiking the Crown of the Continent

Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks

Trip Details

marmot in the rocks

What’s Included? Everything you need, plus everything you want.

  • Ditch the herd: Revel in the remote backcountry of Glacier National Park, far from the minivans and overlooks, and into the heart of the wilderness.
  • World peace: Glacier and Waterton Lakes together formed the first International Peace Park in the Americas in 1932. You’ll explore both these magnificent parks and appreciate our friendly ties with our neighbor to the north.
  • Fuzzy laces: After all the fantastic hiking opportunities in Glacier, Waterton, Fernie, and Whitefish, you may just have worn out your boots! Each stop on this route could be considered true hiker heaven.

Hiking the Crown of the Continent

Trip Type: Custom-Made Travel

Territory: North America

Region: Rocky Mountains

Trip Price: $3,600

Duration: 14 days/13 nights

Trip Begins/Ends: Kalispell, MT / Kalispell, MT

National Parklands: Glacier NP;Waterton Lakes NP

Select Terms & Conditions

All custom travel is tailored to the desires and interests of our traveling clients (see How Custom Travel Works tab). Trip pricing detailed is an estimate of the per person pricing for the sample itinerary detailed and includes all of the lodging, activities, and guided experiences described. Actual pricing for the trip designed expressly for you and others traveling with you will depend on the features and elements developed during the trip planning process. Travel with Off the Beaten Path requires agreement to our standard Terms & Conditions.

Energy Index

Energy Index Spectrum

No Sweat - 1-2 miles of walking or kiking per day, plus easy activities

Nice & Active – 3-6 miles of hiking or walking per day, plus physically active exploration

High Five! – 5-12 miles of hiking per day, plus possible peak bagging or other action-oriented fun

Hiking the Crown of the Continent

Hiking the Crown of the Continent - Energy Index

The Energy Index detailed above relates to the level of exertion associated with the sample trip detailed. This would be modified to fit the style and ability of your group as a part of the custom trip planning process

How custom-made travel works at Off the Beaten Path

We’ve been tailoring custom journeys for clients since our very inception in the mid-1980s! The process is all about connecting the interests of the travelers with the best that a given destination has to offer. To achieve this, we rely upon good ol’ fashioned conversation! Our geographically focused travel designer love to meet new people and learn about their interests for travel. Understanding your goals informs the process immensely and serves as the foundation for the development of a bespoke travel experience for you and yours.

The trip detailed on this web page is a sample of something we’ve done for other clients over the years. In order to start the process of designing your own custom travel experience, just call us at (800) 445-2995 and ask to speak with one of our Travel Advisors. After a bit of time on the phone, you will then have the opportunity to connect with one of our travel designers.

The entire planning process is very personalized and works in an iterative fashion until a final, perfect trip has been created. We then secure all of the lodging, activities, and guided experiences associated with your trip and send along abundant trip materials capturing these details – and much more about your travels!

Itinerary

Days 1-3: Glacier’s West Side

Arrive into Glacier International Airport and make the short drive to West Glacier, your base for exploring the west side of Glacier National Park. Settle in to a friendly, small lodge with forest, river, and mountains at your doorstep. Introductions to this pristine country will be made on a full-day whitewater rafting adventure on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, floating downstream in comfortable rafts with a combination of flat and wild water, in the company of expert, entertaining river guides. A second day will be spent on a private, naturalist guided day hike into the wilds of Glacier along beautifully-maintained national park trails that will be chosen based on your interests and abilities. 

Days 4-5: Glacier National Park Backcountry Lodge

Trek into the backcountry on a fully-guided, three-day, true “off the beaten path” expedition. A combined horseback ride and hike gets you to your home for the next two nights, at a beautifully situated backcountry lodge, perched on the side of Gunsight Mountain, with access to beautiful, backcountry trails leading to lakes, waterfalls, and glaciers. Your stay includes comfortable, rustic accommodations, delicious, hearty meals, and the warm camaraderie of other adventurers. 

Day 6: West Glacier

Bid farewell to your wilderness lodge, and return to civilization by way of a trail to the shores of Lake McDonald. Return to Glacier Guides Lodge for one more night on the west side of Glacier. 

Days 7-8: Glacier’s East Side

Rise and shine for a spectacular day, taking you across the park from west to east along the one-and-only Going-to-the-Sun Road. Take in sweeping views, cascading waterfalls, and sheer rock faces around every hairpin turn. Be sure to stop at the top (Logan Pass) to hike the Highline or Hidden Lake Trails, keeping an eye out for bright white mountain goats. By day’s end, you’ll have arrived at St. Mary, where you’ll settle in to the comfortable St. Mary Lodge, an excellent base for exploring the park’s Two Medicine and Many Glacier destinations, each one featuring alpine lakes, scenic boat cruises, and spectacular hiking trails. On your full day, set out with a naturalist guided hike at one of these two beauties. 

Days 9-10: Waterton Lakes National Park

Cross the border into Canada at Chief Mountain, then make your way to the spacious, lake-laden Waterton Lakes National Park. Together, Water and Glacier National Parks form the Glacier-Waterton International Peace Park. Drink in the fresh mountain air on boat cruise on Waterton Lake. On your full day, hiking will be the name of the game. Choices are many, and your private guide will be sure to select a trail that suits you. Settle in each night at Waterton Glacier Suites, nestled in the small Waterton Townsite, within easy walking distance to the lakeshore, shops, and restaurants. 

Days 11-12: Fernie, British Columbia

Travel the Crowsnest Highway to Fernie, known for their down-home resort and legendary powder skiing. Stay at the base of the resort at Fernie Alpine Lodge, a perfect basecamp for hiking, relaxing, partaking in resort activities, or heading to town to peruse. 

Day 13: Whitefish, Montana

Return to the States, for one last night in the vibrant, outdoorsy town of Whitefish, set at the edge of Whitefish Lake at the foot of the Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort. Treat yourselves to local shops, art galleries, and a number of fine and fun restaurants. 

Day 14: Fly Home from Kalispell, Montana

Rise to the fresh mountain air, and make your way to nearby Kalispell for flights home. 

Start Planning My Trip

Lodging

You May Also Be Interested In...

Recent Posts

Plan Ahead, Play Hard—Hawaii is for Families

Posted on 03/21/2019

 I was a Hawaii resistor. The kind who said, “I’m not a lie-on-the-beach person. It’s not at the top of my list.” Then one winter I accompanied my daughter’s gymnastics team to an invitational meet on the island of Oahu. Well, on that trip I discovered my truth about Hawaii. I was a fan! In […]

Read More

Falling in Love with Fiji

Posted on 03/14/2019

I’m not sure what first attracted me to Fiji, but whatever it was, the notion of visiting that far-off place with the resonant name had long been one of my most cherished travel dreams. So it was with no small degree of amazement, anticipation, and apprehension that I set foot with my wife on the […]

Read More

Spring, Hopes Eternal

Posted on 03/07/2019

One of my grandmother’s favorite expressions, unfailingly delivered with exuberant exaltation, was, “I will to live in a world that wills to live!” She would sing it out whenever she saw anything like a tree growing out of a rock. I think of her when I see the first buttercup of spring, reclaiming its territory […]

Read More

The Many Delights of Morocco’s Medina Markets

Posted on 02/28/2019

By now, Sidi Mohamed knew me. I had permission to take a double handful of dried pink rosebuds from the wooden barrel in front of his market stand. Sidi Mohamed was one of several merchants I had gotten to know on my daily morning food and bric-a-brac shopping trips to the markets in Rabat’s medina […]

Read More
Proud Partner of National Parks Conservation Association