Glacier’s Harlequins – Guided Educational Program

Spend the day looking into the lives of these rare natives

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Distance

3 Miles

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Elevation Gain

100 Feet

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Difficulty

Easy

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Members Only

Progam Overview

*Members Only Course: Becoming a member grants you access to all Glacier Institute educational day programs for free!

May 18, 2024: In Glacier Park, Harlequin ducks are as rare as grizzly bears, as secretive as goshawks, and as specialized as mountain goats. We’ll spend the day looking into the lives of these little-known natives and observing them feeding and courting during the peak of the breeding season.

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Glacier’s Harlequins – Guided Educational Program

Hike Overview Continued

*Members Only Course: Becoming a member grants you access to all Glacier Institute educational day programs for free!

Instructor: Lisa Bate

In Glacier Park, Harlequin ducks are as rare as grizzly bears, as secretive as goshawks, and as specialized as mountain goats. We’ll spend the day looking into the lives of these little-known natives  and observing them feeding and courting during the peak of the breeding season. 

Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp  

Itinerary: We’ll begin with a one-hour slide show and discussion to introduce you to the basics of  Harlequin Duck ecology. After the introduction, we’ll spend about 5-6 hours in the field finding and  watching ducks along upper McDonald Creek. We’ll return to Field Camp around 3:00 PM. Back in the  classroom, we’ll spend about an hour mapping out summer/winter locations of any banded Harlequins  that we see in the field and we’ll talk about what Harlequins need from us to survive and thrive in their  summer and winter homes. The course will end by 4 p.m. and will not be canceled due to weather.  

Food: Please bring a trail lunch, plenty of water and snacks for the day.  

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

Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2024 Academic Credit’ link on our website to learn about OPI credits for our courses.

Equipment: Please see the basic gear list. The most important equipment during May in Glacier is  good rain gear! Binoculars will be essential. We will bring a few extra pairs to borrow if you don’t have  your own. If you have a tripod-mounted spotting scope, it will enhance your ability to see the  harlequins without disturbing them. Feel free to bring your camera if you have a strong telephoto lens,  but please do not approach Harlequins with a short photo lens. 

Physical Requirements: We’ll walk about two to three miles along the Going to the Sun road. The  elevation gain will be less than 100 feet.

Harlequin Duck day Camp

What to Expect On Your Glacier's Harlequins | Day Camp in Glacier Park

We will be hiking along the upper McDonald Creek finding and watching ducks. Hiking distance will be around 3 miles and elevation gain will be less than 100 feet.

* Trails listed are subject to change due to trail closure, weather, trail conditions, or wildlife.

Program Details

  • This program meets at Glacier Institute Field Camp, West Glacier.
  • Instructor: Lisa Bate.
  • The program will begin at 8 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Please arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Hiking distance covers up to 3 miles with less than 100 feet elevation change.
  • Glacier National Park Vehicle Pass required, purchase at recreation.gov.
  • 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.

The Glacier Institute has a 7 day cancellation policy for a full refund with all of our courses.

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