Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

Glacier Ride

General Information

Glacier National Park, Montana and Waterton National Park, Canada

July 18 - 23, 2017

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Presented by the Glacier National Park Conservancy in partnership with Climate Ride

Spots are limited on this departure.

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 accomodate 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 30 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!

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.

FAQ

Since this is a special departure, we are including a special set of FAQ's just for the Glacier Ride. If these don't cover the questions you have, don't hesitate to shoot us an email!

General Questions and Registration

How much is Registration, and what does it include?

The registration fee is $100. The fundraising minimum is $3,000. This event is fully supported, which means we take care of everything. Here's a short list of what's included:

  • Transportation from Whitefish, MT (with your bike) to the trip start in West Glacier, MT.
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinner as well as snacks and water stops each day.
  • On Route support, including SAG vehicles and expert leaders and staff.
  • A fully marked route, with maps and directions.
  • Overnight lodging each night at beautiful campgrounds in & around the park. (See the Travel Planner for more specific information).
  • Daily luggage transport to the next camp (you don't have to bike with your gear!)
  • Nightly events and talks from engaging speakers about Glacier National Park.
  • Access to donation software via the web, where you can customize your own Personal Fundraising Page to manage your fundraising and donations.
  • Fundraising and logistical support from our amazing office staff.
  • The opportunity to support conservation and education work in Glacier National Park through the Glacier National Park Conservancy. 

What do I need to bring on the ride?

All riders need to bring a bicycle, helmet, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, and a small suitcase or duffle containing clothes, toiletries, and anything else necessary for several days on the road. The Travel Planner & Experience Guide will contain a more detailed suggested packing list. This document will be distributed to participants several weeks before the event. Although we provide snacks, if you have a personal favorite or brand please feel free to bring some along! Camping gear is available for rent from Glacier Guides.

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. 

What will we do in the evenings after riding all day?

Climate Ride and the Glacier National Park Conservancy has arranged for a stellar line-up of discussions and engaging speakers in camp in the evening to enlighten and inspire us about Glacier itself and all of the great work the Conservancy does. So you can kick back, hang out with your new friends, and delve into fascinating topics! You'll receive all of this and a great night's sleep.

I see there are a limited number of spots available... sounds like I need to get my spot soon?

Yes, due to the park restrictions put in place by the National Park Service to protect Glacier National Park and for the safety of travelers on the road, the roads are only open to smaller groups of cyclists. This makes for an incredible and more intimate experience.

What happens if I have to cancel? What is the Cancellation Policy?

We know the unforeseen can happen. If you are unable to attend this event, please email Andrew as soon as possible with the details of your situation. Donations and registration fees are non-refundable and cannot be transferred to another participant.

How do I get to the trip start?

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.

Where do we stay? What are the overnight accommodations like?

We will be staying at campgrounds in and around the park, with stunning views of the mountains and lakes that make Glacier such a beautiful site to visit. All of the campgrounds will have hot showers (except for Night 1) and restrooms available. More detailed information about overnight locations is provided in the Travel Planner and Experience Guide that will be distributed to each participant several weeks before the event. There are no hotel options for this trip.

What is the rafting like 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.

Is there good cell phone service or wi-fi during the ride?

Certain places in and near the park will have phone service. However, the park is remote and your service may come in and out. Text messages are the best bet if you need to get in touch with someone.

Fundraising

Is this a fundraising event?

Yes. This is a charitable, fundraising event produced by Climate Ride that supports the Glacier National Park Conservancy.

Can I change my beneficiary choices after I register?

No. All participants on this special departure have selected the Glacier National Park Conservancy as the only beneficiary or their fundraising proceeds.

What is the required fundraising minimum?

The required fundraising minimum for this event is $3000, to be raised by July 11, 2017.

What are the fundraising deadlines?

The deadline for meeting the required fundriasing committment of $3000 is July 11. In order to secure your spot on the Glacier Ride, you must raise at least $500 by May 23, 2017 (8 weeks before the trip begins) and $1000 by June 13 (5 weeks before the trip begins). If you are not at the minimum by the deadlines, you may self-pledge the remainder. You can continue fundraising (up until December 1st) and request a one-time reimbursement from Climate Ride when your fundraising is complete.

If you are registering near or after one of the fundraising deadlines, that's okay! Please reach out to Andrew and he will help make sure you're ready for the event. 

I’ve nervous about the fundraising. Will I be able to do this?

Absolutely! This is one of riders’ biggest concerns. We want you to know it’s easier than you think and we're here to help you! Please reach out to Andrew if you have any questions, concerns, or just want to chat about messaging and strategies. You can also visit our fundraising tips page to get started. 

Biking and Route Support

What kind of support can I expect while on the road?

Climate Ride and the Glacier Guides both have experienced, friendly, and professional support staff. We have rest stops each day with snacks and water, and on-route we have vehicle support ('SAG' wagons), mechanics, and a medical team. You can also expect an unlimited supply of camaraderie and encouragement from the support staff and your fellow riders!

What kind of bicycle and pedals do I need?

The most important factor in choosing a bike and pedals is comfort. You want to be riding a bike and using pedals that you will be comfortable riding with for multiple hours a day, for several days in a row. We have a webpage all about cycling equipment, including bikes and pedals.

Am I better off with a double or triple chainring?

If you have the option - you own or have access to two different bikes - go with a triple chainring, as there will certainly be hills to contend with on this ride. If you only have a double and/or prefer them, that'll work just fine too. Either way, make sure you incorporate hills into your training!

Should I get my bike tuned before this ride?

YES! We highly recommend getting your bike tuned up at least two weeks before the ride, especially if it's older and/or your bike mechanic skills are limited. You may need the additional time if parts are needed. We recommend using your local bike shop (support local retailers!). While we will have mechanics on the ride to help you if something goes wrong, there's nothing worse than seeing your friends pedal out of camp while your bike is getting a shifter fixed. You'll have a lot more fun riding a smoothly running bike than standing around in your chammy, waiting. Also, the mechanics on the ride ask that you not use them as your free yearly tune-up. It's poor form.

Can you accommodate my special bike (recumbent, tandem, over-sized, electric, etc.)?

Probably! These types of bicycles most likely will not fit on our support vehicle's bike racks, depending on the size and style. We cannot put special bikes into the support vans because that space is reserved for support supplies and to support riders in need of transport. In addition, we can only offer shuttles from where there are safe pull-off locations on the road. These can occasionally be far and few between in the Park. Generally, you can bring a special bike if you are physically able to ride every mile of the route, since we may not be able to transport it. Please email Andrew to discuss the possibility of bringing a special bike.

*As of 2015, our insurance policy has special requirements for electric or electric assist bikes that are permitted on our events. Electric or electric assist bikes permitted on our events are defined as: "a two-or three wheeled vehicle with fully operable pedals and an electric motor of less than 750 watts (1 h.p.), whose maximum speed on a paved level surface, when powered solely by such a motor while ridden by an operator who weighs 170 pounds, is less than 20 mph." If you have questions about this, please email us.

Can I bring my plastic or carboard bike box?

Yep! If you are traveling to the trip start with a hard-shell bike case, email Andrew to reserve your space. We will have space for a limited number of plastic or carboard bike boxes at the Glacier Guides offices.

Do I need to be a racer/hardcore cyclist to do this trip?

Absolutely not! This is a tour, not a race. This ride is great for new cyclists and seasoned riders alike. You don't need an expensive racing bike to get out there and pedal for the cause. To have the best possible ride, it is important to find a bicycle that is comfortable for you to ride most of the day and to begin a training program. Please see our tips on training here.

Still have questions? Shoot Andrew an email and he'll be happy to help you out!