Reading the Forest Landscape – Guided Educational Hike

Forests share their secrets once you know where to look

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Distance

7 Miles

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Elevation Gain

1,200 Feet

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Difficulty

Moderate/Strenuous

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Cost Per Person

$175

Hike Overview

July 1 & August 5, 2023: Everyone knows that Glacier is a mountain park, but most people don’t realize that two-thirds of it is forested. Gain a new appreciation and understanding of this vast and “overlooked” landscape. Learn to read the forests through recognition of its trees, from towering, old-growth temperate rainforest species on Glacier’s west side to the stunted, twisted, high elevation (krummholz) trees found at the upper limits of treeline. And hone your observational skills as you learn to decipher the stories inscribed on tree trunks and branches by wildlife. Glacier’s forests share their secrets once you know where to look.

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Reading the Forest Landscape – Guided Educational Hike

Hike Overview Continued

Instructor: Ellen Horowitz

Everyone knows that Glacier National Park is a mountain park, but most people don’t realize that two-thirds of it is forested. Gain a new appreciation and understanding of this vast and “overlooked” landscape. Learn to read the forests through recognition of its trees – from towering, old growth temperate rainforest species on Glacier National Park’s west side to the stunted, twisted, high elevation (krummholz) trees found at the upper limits of the treeline. And hone your observational skills as you learn to decipher the stories inscribed on tree trunks and branches by wildlife. Glacier National Park’s forests share their secrets once you know where to look.

Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp

Itinerary: (subject to change due to weather and trail closures)
We will begin with a slide presentation to provide background information about Glacier National Park’s forests before heading into the woods to practice conifer identification using a botanical key. We will drive to two or three very different forest environments on the east side of the park for short hikes where we’ll become more aware of our surroundings – from recognizing the types of trees growing in an area to noticing the signs left on trees in the form of rubs, scratches, scrapes and tooth marks.

Food: Please bring a trail lunch, snacks, and plenty of water 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, and sunscreen. Weather can be varied with extremely high winds, especially in the higher elevations, so please be prepared with appropriate clothing, and extra layers. Binoculars are not required but may be beneficial to spot wildlife. You may want to also bring your favorite guidebooks..

Physical Requirements: Moderately strenuous difficulty. Hiking distance each day may cover up to 7 miles with up to 1,200 feet of elevation change

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What to Expect On Your Reading the Forest Landscape | Guided Day Hike

We spend the day learning to read the forests through recognition of its trees and become more aware of our surroundings. Hiking distance may cover up to 7 miles with up to 1,200 feet of elevation change.

Hike Details

  • This program meets at Glacier Institute Field Camp, West Glacier
  • Instructor: Ellen Horowitz
  • The program will begin 7 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. Please arrive 15 minutes early.
  • Hiking distance covers l7 miles with up to 1,200 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