Glacier’s Harlequins | Guided Educational Hike

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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Cost Per Person

$100

Hike Overview

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 Hike

Hike Overview Continued

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: This class begins with a one-hour slide show and discussion to introduce you to the basics of Harlequin Duck ecology. After the introduction, our Glacier Institute Instructor Lisa Bate will spend about 5-6 hours with you in the field, finding and watching ducks along upper McDonald Creek. You will return to Glacier Institute Field Camp by about 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 will 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 cancelled 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

Equipment: YYou will receive a Glacier Institute Field Camp gear list once you register. The most important equipment during May in Glacier National Park is good rain gear! Binoculars will be essential. We will bring a few extra Binoculars you can 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: Easy hikes. We’ll walk about two to three miles along the Going to the Sun Road. The elevation gain will be less than 100 feet.

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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.

Hike Details

  • This program meets at Glacier Institute Field Camp, West Glacier.
  • Instructor: Lisa Bates.
  • The program will begin at 7 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.
  • 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