Trail Status Reports


The map above contains all trails with immediate hazards. We are slowly incorporating individual trail information and it will be visible when it becomes available on our new system. They may be outdated and inaccurate regarding downed trees, brush, or other dynamic natural conditions or events. Please read the trail status summaries and glossary of terms below and carry appropriate gear.


Winter Trails

During the winter, summer trails are not always the best routes for skiing and snowshoeing due to avalanche terrain and accessibility. The skiing and snowshoeing page provides trail status for popular routes in the winter. Please visit our skiing and snowshoeing page for more information and updates.


Trail Status Summary

The following generalizations are provided for your convenience to better understand what you may encounter when backpacking or day hiking in Glacier. Be aware that mountain weather is unpredictable; always be prepared for a variety of conditions.

May 1 – June 30 Early Season
Trails are often muddy and covered in puddles or flowing water at lower elevations. Water crossings are deep, swift, and cold. Seasonal suspension and plank bridges start to be installed in late May. Expect snow cover at higher elevations and be prepared with map and compass skills for route finding, and ice axe and crampons for crossing steep slopes. Snow conditions can change daily: icy in the morning, soft in the afternoon. Backcountry Campgrounds earliest scheduled openings begin June 15th, but the Belly River region in the northeast and the North Fork region in the northwest are often accessible in May.

July 1 – July 31 Transition into Summer
Trails dry out and firm up at lower elevations. Melting snow presents dynamic hazards at higher elevations, ice axe often recommended. Seasonal suspension and plank bridges are all installed by mid-July. Generally, Ptarmigan Tunnel doors open in mid-July. Snow drift blasting and treading is usually completed by Trail Crew by the end of July. The majority of the backcountry campgrounds are open by mid-July although the routes connecting the campgrounds may still be impassible.

August 1 – Aug 31 Accessible High Country
Generally, snow and water hazards are gone although water hazards may suddenly re-appear after thunderstorms. Backcountry Campgrounds are open but may close at any time due to bear activity or forest fire for days or weeks.

September 1 – November 20 Autumn
Some Septembers are as nice as August, but there is a now a greater chance of significant snow fall. Snow storms may deposit lingering snow, requiring map and compass skills for route finding. Snow hazards may begin to develop. Bears are most active at this time of year, foraging for up to 20 hours a day. Most seasonal suspension and plank bridges are all removed by late September. Ptarmigan Tunnel doors usually close by late September.

November 20 – April 31 Winter
Trail and campgrounds go into winter status. Minimal maintenance is performed through the winter months.


Glossary of Terms

Throughout the sub-district trail segment lists, the following terms are used:

Initial Clearing
Initial maintenance work done by park crews to clear downed trees or any other obstacles that may hinder travel. Other maintenance activities such as brushing, erosion control and special project work may take place at any time of year and should not greatly hinder travel. If a trail has not been cleared, it may not mean that it is impassable but only that no maintenance has been done and the actual condition may be unknown.

Snow Hazard
Sections of trail traverse steep, sometimes icy snowfields. Dangerous snow bridges may also exist. An ice axe, and the skill to safely execute a self arrest are strongly advised. Crampons may be helpful. Sturdy hiking boots suitable for over-snow travel, a map and compass, and route finding skills are also necessary.

Water Hazard
Swift, cold water and treacherous footing exist at unbridged stream and/or river crossings. Footwear with good traction, and stream/river crossing skill and experience are strongly advised.

Map and Compass
Sections of trail vanish under deep snow for more than one mile. There are no obvious landmarks to assist the backcountry user with trail direction. A 7.5 minute quadrangle map and compass, and associated route finding skills are necessary.

Stock Use Not Recommended
Sections of trail may exhibit one or more of the following conditions that impede and/or make stock use particularly difficult or hazardous: heavy or extremely large downfall or other obstacles, damaged trail corduroy or bridge planks, extremely muddy or boggy trail sections, heavy snowpack on trail.

Hazards from fires and weather events
Where the trail crosses an area burned by fire there is a chance of falling snags, falling / rolling rocks on hillsides and unstable tread where roots have been burned out. Avalanches and wind storms also can bring down trees, sometimes creating a "jackpot" of trees across the trail. Wind storms can bring trees down in the summer and fall after the trail crew has cleared the trail of downed trees.

Date and Radio Number
Each trail information bullet is followed by a date and a number. 6/14/2014 per 601. This indicates the date of the trail status update and the radio number of the individual responsible for the trail report.


Entry and Exit Information for Goat Haunt

Information on entering the United States from Waterton Lake National Park is available on the Visiting Goat Haunt page of the website.

Entering Canada at Waterton Townsite

Waterton Townsite is NOT a Canadian Port of Entry therefore all arrivals to Waterton Townsite must phone Canadian Customs without delay at (403) 653-3535 or (403) 653-3009 for acceptance/rejection by Canadian authorities. More Information on contacting Canadian Customs is available at the Waterton Lakes Visitor Centre or the Waterton Station of the Royal Canadian Mounted.

Last updated: July 17, 2023

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

PO Box 128
West Glacier, MT 59936



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