Glacier’s Orchids – Guided Educational Hike

Learn how to recognize and identify orchids during this hike

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Distance

3 Miles

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Elevation Gain

50 Feet

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Difficulty

Easy

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Cost Per Person

$175

Hike Overview

June 11, 2023: This course will provide an exciting introduction to the ecology and identification of some Glacier’s most secretive and beautiful flora. In addition to learning how to recognize and identify orchids in the field, we will discuss the importance of maintaining specific habitat requirements for each of the species we encounter. Participants will be able to experience and admire Glacier’s wide variety of orchid species.

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Glacier’s Orchids – Guided Educational Hike

Hike Overview Continued

Instructor: Steve Wirt

This full-day guided Glacier National Park hike course will provide an exciting introduction to the ecology and identification of some Park’s most elusive and beautiful flora. In addition to learning how to recognize and identify orchids in the field, we will discuss the importance of maintaining specific habitat requirements for each of the species we encounter. Participants will be able to experience and admire Glacier National Park’s wide variety of orchid species.

Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp

Itinerary: (subject to change due to trail closures and weather)
After a brief introduction at Glacier Institute Field Camp, followed by a presentation of the orchid basics, we will travel to several locations along the Camas Road and upper McDonald Creek. We will try to visit a diversity of habitats in order to see several different orchid species. Our exact destinations will depend on weather conditions and on which plants are blooming in early June. 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: You will receive a Glacier Institute Field Camp gear list once you register. Most importantly, bring comfortable hiking shoes, at least 1-2-liter water bottle, backpack, rain gear, hat, sunscreen, and warm layers. Gaiters may be useful as we walk through damp grasses. A magnifying glass or hand lens will be highly recommended to observe orchid species.

Physical Requirements:Easy to little difficulty. We will be taking several short hikes in search of orchids, but it will not be rigorous, with less than 50 feet of elevation change. We may be off trail, so be prepared to walk over logs, through brush, and in the woods where orchids like to grow.

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What to Expect On Your Orchids | Guided Day Hike in Glacier Park

We will be taking several short hikes in search of orchids. Some of the hikes may be off-trail, so be prepared to walk over logs, through brush, and in the woods where orchids like to grow. Hiking distance covers less than 3 miles with less than 50 feet of elevation change.

Hike Details

  • This program meets at Glacier Institute Field Camp, West Glacier
  • Instructor: Steve Wirt.
  • The program will begin at 7 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Please arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Hiking distance covers less than 3 miles with less than 50 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