Frequently Asked Questions
How long have you been in business?
We founded Glacier Guides Inc. in 1983 because no one else was providing the kind of ecologically sensitive backcountry guiding and interpretation Glacier National Park deserved. Four years later we expanded to include rafting on the area's two Wild and Scenic rivers.
Why choose Glacier Guides? Today, with more than 70 guides and support people on our staff, we provide the areas most comprehensive and professional hiking, backpacking and rafting services. All of us live here because we love it and are proud to show off our home. We know the special places that are tough, sometimes impossible to find using maps, books and brochures. Spend your time enjoying the splendors of Glacier and let us handle the details.
What about transportation?
All of our trips meet at our office in West Glacier. Our office is located 1 and a half miles west of West Glacier on Highway 2. Look for the Montana Raft / Glacier Guides sign on the north side of the highway between mile markers 151 and 152. The closest airport is in Kalispell, MT which is a 40 minute drive to our office. There is a shuttle service to and from the airport in Kalispell to West Glacier. Amtrak also has a stop in West Glacier, and the train station is a mile and a half from our office. If you arrive by car, you may park your vehicle in our shaded parking lot by our office while going on any of our trips.
Where can I store my luggage during an overnight trip?
We are located in a safe neighborhood (the bears haven't broken into the cars in years), so if you arrive by car, luggage may safely be stored in your locked vehicle. Alternatively, we do have a storage area available for extra gear that you won't be needing on your trip with us.
Where and when should I go?
- When to Visit Glacier Park
- West-side information
- East-side information
- Information about the area
What should we wear hiking?
Please refer to our detailed packing lists for overnight trips and day trips to properly prepare.
How fit do we need to be for backpacking trips?
Daily mileage averages six to eight miles per day. A short day is 3.5 miles and the longest is 12 miles. The weight of an average pack is 35 to 40 pounds. If you are worried about the weight or have youngsters who need help, ask about our Sherpa Service. The highest elevation you can expect to attain is about 8,000 feet with the valley floors at about 4,000-5,000 feet.
All food, cooking gear, water filter and first aid supplies necessary for your trip will be provided. We have tents, sleeping bags, thermarests and backpacks available for rent.
What about the bears?
There are bears (black and grizzlies) in Glacier and we occasionally see them, but we've never had a problem in our 25 years in business. All our guides carry pepper spray just in case.
Where in the Park do you guide trips?
All of our backpacking trips visit remote parts of the Park, but for several reasons we cannot guarantee a particular hike ahead of time. We must take into account the interest and abilities of our guests, snow conditions, trail crew work, trail closures and availability of backcountry camping sites. We ask guests when making a reservation about special interests and abilities and always try to find an appropriate itinerary based on their requests.
Professional guides, high quality rafts, Coast Guard approved lifejackets, waterproof bags, splash gear and wetsuits (we are the only company that does not charge extra for wetsuits), and transportation to and from the river.
What should we wear?
Cold weather- Fleece, poly-pro, wool, rain jacket and pants, warm hat. Please refer to our packing list for overnight trips and day trips to properly prepare.
(Rain jacket and pants are provided)
Warm weather- Shorts, bathing suit, sunscreen, shoes or sandals you can get wet.
(All these items are available for purchase at out office).
How long is the float?
Full day: 14 miles (5-6 hrs)
Half day: 8 miles (2hrs-June, 2-1/2 hrs-July, 3 hrs-Aug).
How many people fit in a raft?
We keep our group sizes small so approx. 8/boat.
Can I bring my children on the trip?
This depends on the time of year and what the actual river level is that day. Our rivers are free flowing and not dam controlled so it varies throughout the season. The following is a general rule of thumb:
Early season/high water (until mid June)- Children 10 and older.
Mid season/moderate flows (late June to early July)- Children 8 and older.
Remaining season/moderate to low flows (Mid July through Aug)- Children 6 and older.
What about cameras? Are pictures available?
We don't recommend taking cameras unless they are waterproof. We take pictures of all the rafts going through the whitewater and you can check out the proofs when you get back to the office.
How safe are these trips?
Our guides go through extensive training each year, and we make every effort to run safe and enjoyable trips. Certain risks are inherent in running the river and you will be required to read and sign our acknowledgement of risk prior to any trip.
Do you offer group rates?
We offer group discounts for groups of 10 or more. Please call us for more information.
How do I make a reservation?
Please call our office at 1-800-521-7238 to make a reservation. Our friendly office staff will answer all your questions and offer advice as you make your reservation. You may also make your reservation right from our web site. We accept all major credit cards.
What's the cancellation policy?
For day trips we need 48 hours notice, otherwise there will be no refund. On our overnight trips your money is fully refundable less a $15 per person cancellation charge if you cancel at least 45 days prior to your trip departure. If you cancel less than 45 to 21 days prior, there will be a 25% cancellation fee. No refunds will be given for any reason if the cancellation is received after 4 PM 21 days prior to departure.
What rivers do you fish on?
We run our fly fishing trips on either the Middle Fork or North Fork of the Flathead River, both of which create the western boundary of Glacier National Park and are nationally designated Wild And Scenic. In addition, we have one launch per year on the Smith River in central Montana. This is a strictly regulated river with few launches, great fishing and beautiful scenery. We spend five days floating and camping along the Smith.
Do you provide equipment?
Necessary equipment and flies are included with all trips.
What kind of fish are found in the river?
These waters support native West Slope Cutthroat along with Rainbow and some Brook trout.
Do we need to wear waders?
No, because all of our fly fishing trips are run in stable and maneuverable drift boats although occasionally the use of an inflatable raft is efficacious.
Do you guarantee we will catch fish?
We can't guarantee it but almost every trip has caught trout.
Do we need a Montana State Fishing License?
Yes, you do for the rivers (if you are backpacking with us inside Glacier National Park you do not need a Montana License but you will need a copy of the NPS Fishing Regulations)
What License Do I Need to Fish
Montana FWP Online Licensing System
It is best to have a license in hand prior to meeting your guide at our office. We recommend printing one online or most fly shops and sporting goods stores in Montana sell them as well.