Autumn in Glacier


Program Start Date:


SINGLE DAY COURSE – Join us to learn how plants and animals react to the changes autumn brings to Glacier National Park.

(Summer Activity Level)

Autumn in Glacier

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Autumn in Glacier
Instructor: Ellen Horowitz
September 16 at 7 a.m.

Autumn is the season of change. Learn how animals and plants react to waning daylight hours and cooling temperatures. On our hike through meadows, aspen glens and into the subalpine zone, we’ll see some of the brilliant reds, oranges & golden hues of fall foliage and observe evidence of animals preparing for winter. Along the way, we’ll smell the scents of autumn; listen for the sounds of bugling bull elk; and savor the flavor of frost-kissed huckleberries in the high country.

Meeting Place: Glacier Institute Field Camp.

Itinerary: (subject to change due to trail closures and weather) We will begin the day at 7 a.m. with brief introductions and class overview at Field Camp. Then we’ll travel by the Glacier Institute van to the Firebrand/Lubec Trailhead. During the drive, you’ll learn about the biology of autumn leaves and become more aware of the variation of colors they display. As we hike from the foothills into the mountains, we’ll discuss topics that range from vertical migration, to elk mating season, hibernators to hyper-eaters, and food caching critters to cocoon spinners. After lunch (in the field) we’ll resume our hike into the high country where trees grow shorter, mountain views grow bigger and winter comes earlier. 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:

Equipment: You will receive a 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 with high winds and cold temperatures so please be prepared with appropriate clothing, and extra warm layers. Binoculars are recommended, but optional, as well as any field guides that interest you.

Physical Requirements: Moderate-to-strenuous difficulty. We will hike part of the way to Firebrand Pass, with the total hiking distance covering up to seven miles round trip with up to 1,000 feet elevation gain.

Academic Credit: Please see our ‘2021 Academic Credit’ link on our website to learn about OPI credits for our courses.

Additional information

Refund Policy

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

Did you know Glacier Institute members receive a 10% discount?