Glacier Outdoor Center Blog

Posted: July 13th, 2011 by OM

You know how excited people get about Christmas? The Super Bowl? Royal weddings? Well, we’re seeing that stoke multiplied by a zillion up here in Glacier country since today … after months of waiting …(drumroll, please)… Going-to-the-Sun Road is finally open!
Sometimes, after a great day on the water, the Glacier Outdoor Center crew likes to spend a few seriously scenic hours on Going-to-the-Sun Road. You could call the 50-mile-long road (winding and climbing through waterfalls, jaw-dropping vistas and mountainsides peppered with wildlife) gorgeous, but even that just doesn’t do the Sun Road justice.
Don’t take our word for it–go check it out!
On your way, stop by and see us at Glacier Outdoor Center – we’ll make sure you’ve got the gear you need for a great day in Glacier National Park!

Posted: July 7th, 2011 by OM

We’re so honored to support First Descents again this year.

First Descents, an outdoor adventure program for young adults battling cancer, is in the Flathead Valley this month. Started by Kalispell native Brad Ludden, First Descents is a nonprofit with 27 programs spanning the country and Canada. Glacier Raft Company kayakers volunteer each year to help offer river safety and instruction to participants. It’s an incredibly inspirational experience for us to be a part of First Descents, and we’re so impressed by the program, its staff, and its participants.

First Descents offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors (ages 18 to 39) a free week-long outdoor adventure experience designed to enable them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same.

Brad started First Descents in 2001 after traveling the globe as a world-renowned kayaker with plenty of his own “first descents” on many international streams and rivers. He was inspired to start a program that offers support to cancer battlers after watching his Aunt deal with breast cancer.  He knew that since outdoor activities like kayaking can be life-changing experiences for anyone, they can be especially powerful for people fighting and surviving cancer.

This summer First Descents is spending four weeks in the Flathead Valley. The programs begin with instructional paddling courses on glacial lakes before the paddlers hit the North Fork of the Flathead River later in the week.

During the week-long First Descents experience, young adult survivors are empowered through conquering legitimate outdoor challenges to push their limits and face their fears and by doing so, they are able to regain the confidence and self-efficacy lost to cancer.

It is always fun to have the crew back in town each summer! They have been Glacier Outdoor Center friends for a very long time and we support this fantastic organization!

Posted: June 15th, 2011 by OM

Did you know that June is Great Outdoors Month? The order for a month-long celebration came from the very top–President Obama issued a Presidential Proclamation. He urges all Americans to spend more time in nature to uphold our legacy of conserving lands for future generations.

We’ve had a busy month of events, river guide training and watching the water levels rise and drop.  There is so much to do not only inside Glacier National Park, but also in the surrounding area.  Camping, hiking, bird-watching, trail running, horseback riding, lake boating, fishing and rafting are just some of the many activities happening here every day.  You can definitely step up to the plate and accept the Presidential challenge to spend the month June outside.

Want to go rafting?  Give us a call and we can talk about current river levels and suggest a trip for you!  We’ve got many options of different half-day, full-day and overnight rafting options for any size group.  Check out some of the happy rafters we’ve already taken down the river this summer:

Want to go biking on Going-to-the-Sun Road?  The road is looking great for cyclists.  Just be sure to stop in to the gear shop at Glacier Outdoor Center to get some proper layers and water bottles.  And, make sure you abide by all NPS signs, closures and rules. Check out this blog post from about this experience:

June is a great month to kick-off a whole summer of fun in the outdoors! Have fun making plans, hanging with your kids and enjoying nature. I know we will!

Posted: June 9th, 2011 by OM

Water, water everywhere.  And everyone seems to be paying attention.  It’s all eyes on the river levels as we wait to see how mother nature will play the mountain snowpack hand she’s been dealt.  Glacier Raft Co. is excited about the runoff because it’s sure to maintain the water levels later into the summer.  We’ll have some solid rafting conditions into the early fall!

Yesterday we got out of the office and snapped a few more pictures of the Middle Fork of the Flathead in its current muddy, fast state!

The West Glacier Take-Out

As you can see, the levels are changing quickly. Here is a snapshot of the river this morning.  For current water information check out the USGS website:

Also, the National Park Service shot this video yesterday standing on the Old Bridge in West Glacier.

YouTube Preview Image

Posted: April 25th, 2011 by OM

Who wants a new used boat? I do! Who wants to sell the boat that is taking up too much space in the garage? I DO! I DO!

Head to the Glacier Outdoor Center Boat Swap and Tent Sale May 14th and 15th. Saturday’s hours are from 10:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday’s are 10:00am to 3:00pm.  We’re giving our river rat friends the chance to sell their rafts, kayaks and inflatables.

Show you the money! In exchange for this awesome chance to buy and sell boats, if your boat is purchased we will reward the sale amount of your boat with either 85% of the sale price in cash or 100% in store credit. Some cash probably sounds great, BUT we’ll have in-store sales on boating accessories and apparel in case you opt for the store credit option. Come with an old boat and leave with some new toys.

Boat Swap Details
- Drop off your boat between May 11-13, no later than 5:00pm
- Unsold boats need to be picked up on the afternoon of Sunday, May 15th
- Paddles, frames and accessories can only be sold as part of a package deal with your boat–not separately
- You don’t need to be present for your boat to sell
- Call or e-mail with questions (406)888-5454 or

PLUS, we will be having a Tent Sale with store-wide bargains on hats, t-shirts, winter gear and even housewares.  (“Housewares” means cool stuff from inside our cabins, since we’re upgrading appliances, televisions, etc.)

AND, check out the Glacier Raft and Outdoor Center website Friday evening for a list of swapable boats at

Posted: December 22nd, 2010 by OM

Expert mountaineer and pro skier Kim Havell was recently up in Whitefish for a screening of a never-before-seen Salomon Freeski TV episode from Morocco at the Whitefish Mountain Film Festival.  Kim has scaled and skied some of the most impressive mountains in the world, having traveled to over 50 countries.  She most recently just completed a ski decent from 7,400m on Shisha Pangma in Tibet.  She took time out of her schedule to come up to Glacier Park where she took a Nordic ski tour of the park with us.  She and Glacier Outdoor Center guide Karsten Carlson had a great morning–she said it was a big highlight of her Montana visit.

Kim and Karsten skied up at the head of Lake McDonald to Sacred Dancing Cascade.  The Sacred Dancing Cascade tour is a 5.3 Mile round trip that goes along McDonald Creek and offers some spectacular views.  It may not quite be mountaineering 6000m plus peaks but the tranquility can’t be beat.  Thanks Kim for spending time with us up in Glacier Country, and come back any time!

Posted: December 9th, 2010 by OM

The snow gods have already been good to us this year, and we are excited to announce the Nordic Track at Glacier Outdoor Center is now open!  Come and enjoy our 10K trail system winding through the beautiful back country just behind Glacier Outdoor Center.  Trail passes are only $8 a day, $50 for a season pass and only $95 for a Family Season Pass.  We offer Nordic Ski and snow show rentals, and we have a full gear shop to get you outfitted for your winter adventures.  A full price list for activities and rentals is here.  Get some brilliant outdoor exercise and enjoy the brisk winter weather as you trek through scenic Glacier country.  This is going to be a great season;  we’ll see you out on the trails!  Click here to see our trail map.

Oh!  Don’t forget–we also offer guided Nordic skiing and snowshoeing tours inside Glacier National Park.  It’s an amazing way to see the Crown of the Continent without the crowds.  It’s quiet, peaceful and there are unforgettable views and wildlife sighting opportunities.   Click here for pricing.

Posted: November 24th, 2010 by OM

Glacier National Park is famous for summer attractions like the Going to the Sun Road, Red Jammer Busses, historic lodges and gin-clear mountain lakes.  But wintertime in Glacier can be every bit as breathtaking.  While many think the park closes for the winter, it is actually open all year round.  Many roads are closed due to snow as are as visitor accommodations, but the visitor center is open on the weekends and there are reduced rates to enter the park in the winter.

There is plenty to do.  And if you need a place to stay while you enjoy the quiet serenity of the snow-white Park,  Glacier Outdoor Center has cabins to rent all winter long.  And just outside the cabins is a 15k groomed cross country ski track!  We also have cross country ski and snowshoe rentals.  We also have professionally guided ski and snowshoe tours inside the Park.

The winter months offer a unique viewing opportunity for visitors to witness some breathtaking views of snowy peaks and plenty of wildlife.  Since the tourists are few, you are often apt to see more wildlife than in the summer months.  There is also downhill skiing at Whitefish Mountain Resort at Big Mountain, just an hour away.

For a unique, serene, and beautiful outdoor experience, Glacier in the winter is the way to go.  For more information on a winter getaway at Glacier click here to visit Glacier Outdoor Center’s page for rates and availability.

The Glacier Raft & Outdoor Center website is new and improved!  For all things adventure-related in Glacier territory look no further than

We’ve updated our site to make it easier than ever to book an exciting rafting trip, stay in one of our cozy log cabins, get the latest Nordic ski snow reports or find the hottest trip deals with our E-newsletter.  You can also see live web cams from inside Glacier Park, watch a beautiful video showing what your next great adventure will look like, and learn about fly fishing trips, extended wilderness trips and family-friendly floating.  You can even purchase photos from your whitewater trip, sign up for Glacier River Schools classes, and get driving directions to our location here in West Glacier. Finally, be sure to click on our social media links at the bottom of the home page.

We hope you’ll consider our website your one-stop source for creating the best Glacier experience you can ask for.

Posted: February 2nd, 2010 by OM

While we’re deep in the middle of winter here at Glacier Outdoor Center by spending our time skiing and snowshoeing and generally having fun in snow, we’ve always got summertime in the back of our minds.

Ahh… summertime – those three (four if we’re lucky) blessed months of sun and fun.

Just last week, the National Park Service statistics office said that more than 2-million people visited Glacier National Park in 2009. That’s huge! It’s a 12.4% increase over 2008. According to an article in the Daily Inter Lake, GNP has more visitors at every entrance compared to 2008, but with substantial increases of 29% at Many Glacier and 10% at West Glacier.

With GOC in West Glacier, of course we’re proud to claim responsibility for at least part of that 10%! All summer long, we’re busy guiding raft and fly fishing trips down the Middle Fork of the Flathead River. And the gear shop and cabins at Glacier Outdoor Center offer a great lodging option for vacationers visiting the park.

This summer, we’re excited that Glacier National Park will be celebrating its 100 Birthday. Check out all the fun stuff the park has planned during its Centennial Summer.

April 22, 2010-Glacier Centennial Green Business Activities-Flathead Valley, MT

April 22, 2010-Glacier National Park Birthday and Program Miracle of America Museum, Polson, MT

April 23-24- Glacier Symposium at Flathead Valley Community College Kalispell, MT

April 30 and May 1, 2010-Death by Chocolate Glacier Park Murder Mystery at Conrad Mansion, Kalispell, MT

May 11, 2010- Glacier National Park 100th Anniversary Rededication at GNP Community Building, West Glacier, MT

May 13, 2010-Glacier Centennial Film Festival at Whitefish Mountain Mall Theater, Whitefish, MT

May 21, 2010- Spring for Glacier (Centennial Art is Auctioned) at Belton Chalet & Lake McDonald Lodge in West Glacier and Glacier National Park, MT

May 24 and 25, 2010-Flathead HS Choir Presents: GNP Centennial Concert Flathead HS, Kalispell, MT

June 10, 2010-Glacier Centennial Film Festival at Columbia Falls High School, Columbia Falls, MT

June 22-24, 2010 and June 26 Glacier Centennial and Glacier National Park Plein Air Paint Out at Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, MT (unveiling)

June 25, 2010- Centennial Poetry Reading at the Belton Chalet, West Glacier, MT

June 26-29, 2010-Western Governor’s Association Conference in Whitefish and Glacier National Park, MT

June 27, 2010-Belton Chalet Centennial Birthday Party in West Glacier, MT

July 8, 2010-Glacier Centennial Film Festival at Lake McDonald Lodge, Glacier National Park, MT Glacier

July 10, 2010 Centennial Symphony at Rebecca Farm Kalispell, MT

July 20-26, 2010-Glacier Mountaineering Society Centennial Summit in Glacier National Park, MT

July 22-25, 2010-Centennial Heritage Days in Columbia Falls, MT

July 24, 2010-Joe Cosley Collection Unveiling in Columbia Falls, MT

July 29-August 1, 2010-Many Glacier Employee Reunion at Many Glacier in Glacier National Park, MT

July 30, August 2-3, 2010-Centennial Roadshow Hootenanny Many Glacier Hotel, Glacier Park Lodge & Lake McDonald Lodge in Glacier National Park, MT

August 11-16, and 18-23, 2010-Glacier Grand Heritage Tours, Glacier National Park, MT

August 12, 2010-Glacier Centennial Film Festival at St. Mary Visitor Center, Glacier National Park, MT

August 13-15, 2010-Centennial Huckleberry Days Whitefish, MT

August 20-22, 2010-Glacier National Park Trail Crew Rendezvous in Glacier National Park, MT

August 22, 2010-Annual National Park Service Employee & Alumni Picnic in Glacier National Park, MT

September 5, 2010-Belton Centennial Employee Reunion

More details of what’s in store for 2010 can be found at: We are looking forward to a great year and hope to see you at some of the festivities!