Berkeley parks

Things You Should Never Do In Montana, According To A Local

I notice that too many people don’t plan ahead when visiting national parks.

The author in West Yellowstone, a small town just outside of Yellowstone National Park.

Jordan Erb / Insider


If you’re going to be spending time in the state’s national parks, including Glacier or Yellowstone, it’s important to plan ahead.

Located near the state border with Canada, Glacier showcases Montana’s beauty in a spectacular way. During my many visits, I have walked its paths covering hundreds of kilometerspicnic at its lakes, and ate wild blueberries. I am always in awe of its magnificent landscapes.

However, some trails see more 1,500 hikers per day, according to the National Park Service, and during periods of heavy traffic, areas of the park may be closed to clear congestion. I always plan ahead and check the status of my desired trails and have a backup route in mind in case one gets too busy or doesn’t work.

In addition, until September 11, Glacier is requiring reservations to enter the park, which many visitors do not realize.

In Yellowstone, the National Park Service warned of overflowing parking lots and an increase in traffic jams, especially during the pandemic when national parks have become havens for adventure-hungry Americans. In fact, Yellowstone last year saw 4.8 million visitorssurpassing the previous record of nearly 600,000 visitors, and summer is both parks’ busiest season.

I recommend visitors to come to these parks during the shoulder seasons instead for a quieter experience and to plan your visit year over year.

Also, be sure to check for weather-related closures before entering either park. Recently, massive flooding closed entrances to Yellowstone, and in winter, many roads are closed to cars.