Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

Glacier Ride

General Information

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July 18-23, 2017

Glacier National Park, Montana and Waterton National Park, Canada

Glacier Ride is presented by the Glacier National Park Conservancy in partnership with Climate Ride.

Glacier Ride is a 6-day charitable event spanning two spectacular national parks and two countries — Glacier National Park on the U.S. side and Waterton National Park on the Canadian side. Glacier National Park captures the essence of what the pristine, undisturbed Rocky Mountain region has been like over thousands of years. This ride explores some of the wildest country in the lower 48 and an ecosystem threatened by development, climate change, and exotic species. By fundraising and participating in Glacier Ride, you are raising awareness of the issues facing Glacier and seeing first-hand what is at stake. Special guests on the ride include the Glacier National Park and Waterton Park Superintendents, as well as field experts and park rangers. This trip includes cycling (with daily routes to accommodate your cycling ability), rafting, and hiking options.

From the first moment we enter Glacier National Park on bikes, you will see that this is more than a cycling trip — it is an inspiring journey with fellow cyclists who share an interest in preserving Glacier and Waterton for generations to come.

Glacier Ride is a special departure that benefits the Glacier National Park Conservancy. The Glacier National Park Conservancy is the official fundraising and outreach partner of Glacier National Park. The Conservancy helps assure the Glacier National Park experience by providing support for preservation, education, and research through philanthropy and outreach.  The Conservancy supports and invests in extraordinary Glacier projects that sustain Glacier National Park for generations today, and for the future. 

On Glacier Ride, you'll spend five days cycling the roads that traverse the 'Crown of the Continent' including the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road. You'll see majestic 500-year old cedar forests under threat of wildfires and glaciers in fast retreat. You'll pedal near stunning aretes, high alpine mountain passes, glacial lakes, and waterfalls. Professional Glacier Guides and Climate Ride leaders will accompany us each day to teach us about Glacier's unique ecosystem, so you can bring this knowledge home to your community.

Climate Ride takes care of all the details, so you can focus on fundraising, training, and then cycling along carefully planned routes. 

This ride is up to 250 miles and is meant to be challenging yet doable, and you have all day to ride and learn. This trip is fully supported and our team is always nearby to assist you, keep you happy and healthy, and make your adventure worry-free and memorable. The final day of the trip includes a beautiful and educational 1/2-day raft trip along the Class II-III section (moderate) of the Flathead River. 

All breakfasts, dinners, packed lunches, snacks, camping, guiding, and shuttles are included. Participants must bring their own tent, sleeping bag, and pad or can rent this equipment in advance through Glacier Guides. Participants must bring their own bicycles or can rent locally in Whitefish, MT. ***A passport is required because we do cross the border into Canada.*** Our staff handles all bike support, luggage, and food.

Glacier Riders will have access to our superb personal fundraising software and the full support of our team. You can learn more about what's included on the FAQ tab on this page.

For more information on each day's cycling, explore the "Day-by-Day Info" tab on this page. If you're ready to sign up and ride for Glacier, click below to register!

The Basics

Trip Dates:   July 18-23, 2017  
Start Location:   West Glacier, MT  
End Location:   West Glacier, MT  
Fundraising Commitment:   $3,000 minimum  
Trip Length:   6 days  
Activity:   4 days riding + 1 rest day + 1/2 day rafting  
Total Mileage:   178 to 273, with multiple daily mileage options  
Average Daily Mileage:   56  
Accommodations:   Camping (hotel options available)  
Maximum Group Size:   50 people  
Other Trip Notes:   A valid passport is required, since we cross into Canada.  
    Glacier National Park Conservancy is the sole beneficiary for this ride.  

Important Dates

Fundraising Deadlines      
          $500 to be raised by:   May 23, 2017  
          $1000 to be raised by:   Jun 13, 2017  
          $3000 to be raised by:   July 11, 2017  
Transfer Deadline   June 27, 2017      

Day-by-Day Info

*More detailed information about day-to-day itinerary and travel information is available in the Travel Planner, which is provided to participants after they register.*

Day 1 – West Glacier Out and Back – 26 miles or 43 miles

We kick off the Glacier Ride with a beautiful afternoon warm-up ride along the Camas Road. This out and back ride includes a visit to the North Fork of the Flathead River, Apgar Village and Lake McDonald.

Day 2 – West Glacier to St. Mary via Going- to-the-Sun Road – 47 miles

Today begins with an early morning ride up the world-famous Going-to-the-Sun Road with a stop at Logan Pass before an epic downhill to our camp at St. Mary. Riders can stop at Jackson Glacier Overlook, Sunrift Gorge, Sun Point, and the Wild Goose Island viewpoint on the way down.

Day 3 – From Glacier to Waterton – 48 miles or 72 miles

Today we begin our ride in St. Mary and our ultimate destination is Waterton Lakes National Park. We follow along St. Mary Lake to Babb. Strong riders have the option to add 20 miles to their route and pedal into Many Glacier for a view of Grinnell Point and the Many Glacier Hotel. We continue up to Chief Mountain Overlook to the U.S.–Canada Border at the Belly River. From there it’s a stunning ride into our camp next to Waterton Lake.

Day 4 – Experience Waterton – Hike, bike or rest options

Hike, bike or take a boat ride in a stunning alpine lake surrounded by peaks. Today is your day to explore Waterton and rest up before our big ride back to the U.S. In 1932, as war overtook Europe, the U.S. and Canada formed the world's first international peace park joining Glacier and Waterton in an agreement of goodwill. Glacier and Waterton now play a prominent role in global conservation. These parks are posed to play a greater role in bringing nations together while providing important research about climate change.

Day 5 – Waterton to East Glacier – Multiple ride options from 57 miles to 111 miles

We re-trace our ride to St. Mary enjoying a new take on stunning views and then continue along Hwy. 89 to East Glacier. The ride includes a gorgeous climb up Looking Glass Pass and a side trip into the iconic Two Medicine Valley, treasured by the Blackfeet tribe. Your trip leaders will provide multiple options. If you'd like to achieve a century ride today, we can help make that happen. Tonight we camp at a Tipi Village in the ecotone between the Rocky Mountains and the great Prairie of Montana.

Day 6 – Rafting and Return to West Glacier

Today we complete the loop of Glacier National Park by raft. We'll crest the Continental Divide and paddle back to our starting point in West Glacier. Today’s whitewater rafting experience takes us along the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, an important and dynamic river system that forms the border of the park. 

Overnight Locations

Glacier Ride is a 5-night, 6-day camping trip in Glacier National Park and Waterton National Park. Imagine falling asleep under the stars, beneath the trees, in your own tent after an amazing day of riding. It's the best! In camp, we take care of all the details so you're free to relax and connect with other Glacier Riders.

Amenities in camp include beautiful scenery, hot showers (4 of the 5 nights - where there's no shower, we have excellent swimming opportunities), clean restrooms, a first aid station with 24/7 ice, electricity, potable water and a great spot to set up your tent. 

We camp at nearby 'frontcountry' campgrounds where our camp chefs can prepare delicious, healthy, warm meals for the group. Think hot, filling breakfasts with coffee and tea, and tasty dinners with delicious desserts. Each morning you will pack snacks to carry with you. Our morning snack table will have items to keep you energized all day while cycling. We reduce waste by using compostable items for our picnics and pack lunches, and for dinner, we use real plates & cutlery. The only thing we ask is that you help us by washing your own dishes – a small price to pay!

On Glacier Ride, camp becomes a travelling village and dynamic community. Cycling in Glacier doesn't get better than on Glacier Ride!

Travel Info

The following information is provided to help you plan for your travel to and from Glacier Ride 2015.

The Trip Start

Glacier Ride begins in West Glacier, MT on Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 11am. Please arrive in West Glacier with your luggage and ready to ride. We recommend you arrive in northwest Montana at least one day before the departure of your trip.

Getting to West Glacier

PLANE: The closest airport is in Kalispell, Montana (airport code: FCA). The airport is a 20-minute drive to Whitefish or a 40-minute drive to West Glacier. Delta, United, Allegiant and Alaska/Horizon are the main carriers. There are several rental car companies at or near the airport. Reservations are advised. We recommend Dollar Rent A Car (800-800-3665), Avis (800-331-1212), or Budget (800-527-0700). Car rentals are also available in West Glacier.  For a shuttle to and from the airport to West Glacier or Whitefish you may contact Glacier Taxi (406-250-3603). To West Glacier, the cost is approximately $50-55. To Whitefish, the cost is approximately $32. Please call for exact rates. 

TRAIN: Amtrak has service from Seattle and Chicago to the Whitefish station or to West Glacier/Belton station (where the trip starts). The Chicago train arrives each day at 8:23 PM. The Seattle train arrives each day at 8:16 AM. NOTE: the trains can be delayed several hours to days. There is no checked baggage service at the West Glacier/Belton stop. 

CAR: You may park your vehicle at the trip start while you are on Glacier Ride. Approximate driving times to West Glacier:

Whitefish, MT – 40 minutes
Missoula, MT – 3 hours
Calgary, Alberta – 5 hours
Spokane, WA – 5 hours

After the Ride in West Glacier

Glacier Ride will end back in West Glacier at approximately 1pm on Sunday, July 23, 2017. There, we'll celebrate the end of the ride with a picnic lunch and group photo, before collecting our luggage/gear and departing. We recommend making flight arrangements from FCA after 4pm.


If your questions about the ride aren't answered in the tabs above, please read through these special FAQ's for Glacier Ride. Any other questions should be answered on our Ride FAQ page. Still have questions? Email us!

Do I need my passport?

Yes! If you forget your passport, you will not be able to enter Canada on Day 3 of the trip. 

Glacier National Park seems pretty remote, how do I get to and from Glacier?

The trip will begin in West Glacier, Montana. You can get to West Glacier, MT (or nearby Whitefish, MT) by plane, train, or car. We have full details in the Travel Planner. You must arrive at the latest on the evening of July 17, 2017 (the trip begins on July 18). The earliest you could book a flight to depart would be 4pm on July 23, 2017.

What do I need to know about whitewater rafting on the last day?

This final raft trip is an amazing way to experience Glacier from the water. It is a three hour trip on the Middle Fork of the Flathead River along the southwestern boundary of Glacier National Park. You'll be going through John Stevens Canyon where the rapids are rated class II and III, which makes it a fun and splashy adventure (if you choose to sit in the front of the raft!). Following the simple commands of the guide, you will actually become part of the crew that maneuvers your craft. Be sure to wear clothes you won't mind getting wet. Wetsuits are available for no additional cost (but not really needed if weather is warm). If a participant would like to skip it, we can shuttle to the endpoint.

Can I support any of Climate Ride’s beneficiaries on this ride?

The Glacier National Park Conservancy is the sole beneficiary for this ride. All participant fundraising will go towards GNPC and their work in Glacier National Park. Because of this, you cannot change your beneficiary selection after registering.