Beavers: Glacier Park’s Habitat Builders | 2-Day Guided Educational Hike

Discover amazing beaver stories during this guided hike

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Distance

2 Miles

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Elevation Gain

500 Feet

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Difficulty

Easy/Moderate

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Cost Per Person

$175

September 2

Hike Overview

Discover the amazing beaver! Beavers are second only to humans in their ability to alter their environment. The habitats they create are vital to the livelihood of a huge number of species from birds and fish to elk and wolves. Beavers have also helped shape the cultural history of the region around Glacier National Park. We will spend the day learning about beavers’ unique biology and natural history, experiencing the habitat they create, and exploring methods of how we may coexist more productively with this essential keystone species.

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Beavers: Glacier Park’s Habitat Builders | 2-Day Guided Educational Hike

Hike Overview Continued

Instructor: Carol Medlicott

Discover the amazing beaver! Beavers are second only to humans in their ability to alter their environment. The habitats they create are vital to the livelihood of a huge number of species from birds and fish to elk and wolves. Beavers have also helped shape the cultural history of the region around Glacier National Park. We will spend the day learning about beavers’ unique biology and natural history, experiencing the habitat they create, and exploring methods of how we may coexist more productively with this essential keystone species.

Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp

Itinerary: (subject to change due to trail closures and weather)

Day 1: We will meet at Glacier Institute Field Camp at 1 p.m. for an introduction and classroom session on beaver biology, their interesting adaptations, their role in the area’s natural and cultural history, and an overview of beaver habitat areas. We will depart by mid-afternoon for field exploration on the east side of Glacier National Park, traveling by Glacier Institute van along US 2 and viewing some habitat areas enroute. Along the trail to Firebrand Pass we will view several beaver habitat areas from a respectful distance in the late afternoon and early evening hours. Participants should carry a meal and snacks (picnic dinner provided) in their packs and plan on dinner to be eaten in the field. Because beavers are most active at dusk and dawn, we can be hopeful of getting a first-hand view of how these delightful creatures alter their environment and influence countless species around them. We will return to field camp by 9 p.m.

Day 2: For participants who choose to stay overnight at Glacier Institute Field Camp, the group will have a second field experience in the morning after breakfast. From field camp we will walk to view an active beaver lodge along McDonald Creek, a roundtrip hike of around two miles. Course will conclude by 12 p.m.

Food: The following meals are included: picnic dinner Day 1, through trail lunch on Day 2.

Accommodations: 1 night of lodging are included into the course fee. Our student cabins are basic, hostel-style cabins with 5 single beds, bedside lights, and electrical outlets. Students should be prepared to share a cabin with up to 4 other people. Cabins are separated by gender. Couples may be paired up in the event there is ample space. We provide a bottom sheet for your bed as well as a pillow and pillowcase, but please bring a warm sleeping bag. Be sure to bring a flashlight or headlamp for night trips to the bathroom. The community bathhouse has flush toilets, sinks, and hot showers.

Park Entrance Fees: Participants are responsible for purchasing their park entrance passes prior to the course. These can be purchased online at: https://www.recreation.gov/sitepass/74280

Equipment: You will receive a Glacier Institute Field Camp gear list once you register. Most importantly are comfortable hiking shoes, at least 1-2-liter water bottle, backpack, rain gear, hat, and sunscreen. Weather can be varied so please be prepared with appropriate clothing, and warm layers. Binoculars and field guides are recommended.

Physical Requirements: Easy/moderate difficulty. We will be hiking up to two miles per day on relatively flat trails. Elevation gain will be less than 500 feet.

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What to Expect On Your Beavers | Glacier Park's Habitat Builders | Day Hike

We will spend the day learning about beaver habitats, natrual history, and unique biology. The hike will be up to two miles with up to 500 feet in elevation changes.

Hike Details

  • This program meets at Glacier Institute Field Camp, West Glacier.
  • Instructor: Carol Medlicott
  • The program will begin 1 p.m. on day 1 and ends at 12 p.m. on the final day. Please arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Hiking distance covers up to 2 miles with up to 500 feet elevation change.
  • On-site parking available.
  • There is a maximum number of 13 hikers per trip.
  • This program has a minimum guest count of 3 people. In the unlikely case we don’t reach that number, you will be notified prior to the event.

What to Bring

Please remember that weather in NW Montana during all seasons can change quickly from warm and sunny to freezing at any time of the year. We recommend checking the weather prior to your trip. Please also check your course information sheet for specific gear requirements in addition to those listed below.

  • Lightweight hiking boots or a sturdy pair of hiking shoes
  • 2 liter sized water bottle or Camelback
  • Day Pack with plastic bag liner or cover
  • Waterproof rain jacket and pants
  • Sunhat, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellant & lip balm
  • Camera (optional)
  • Trekking poles, if you like to use them for hiking (optional)
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Field Notebook notes and sketches

Download complete checklist here