Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park

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A river running through a rocky area with grass and mountains in the distance
Glacier National Park is most popular during the summer for its comfortable climate

Visiting Glacier National Park tops many people's lists of places to visit. However, there are multiple things to consider before planning a visit to this Montana gem.

Crowd levels are at their highest during the summer (June-September). That's largely due to the park's comfortable climate. Daytime temperatures are regularly in the low-mid 70s degrees Fahrenheit and there are few rainy days. While it might be crowded, this is the best season for camping and hiking.

Winter (December-March) is the cheapest time to visit the park since it's also the least popular month for tourists. It can snow up to 40 inches each month which leads to multiple trail and area closures throughout the park.

Your budget and tolerance for crowds and the weather can determine the ideal time for your trip. Keep reading for all the tips you need to decide on the best time to visit Glacier National Park.

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☂️ Top tours and experiences in Glacier National Park

Best Time to Go to Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park Best Time to Visit Tips Video

Check out our highlights video of Glacier National Park best time to visit tips.

Glacier National Park Vacation Planning Questions

A lake surrounded by trees and mountains with a dusting of snow on the ground
Each month offers a different visiting experience with crowds, costs, and climate
A river with rapids and rocks runs through a forest with falls in the background
July-September has the best weather in Glacier National Park for hiking and rafting

When is the best time to visit Glacier National Park?

According to locals, summer (June-September) is the best time to see Glacier National Park because it has the best weather conditions. Temperatures range between 64 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and between 36 and 46 degrees Fahrenheit at night.

July-September, in particular, will offer you the most days without bad weather. On average, these months experience five rainy days as opposed to the monthly average of nine days of rainfall the rest of the year gets.

Due to the improved climate, more of the park is open to visitors. You can hike, raft, or drive the 'Going to the Sun Road' without encountering closures. However, since it's such a popular time of year for guests, prices and crowd levels will be at their highest.

A dirt road in a valley between mountains
Summer is the best time to visit Glacier National Park for mild hiking temperatures

When is the best time to hike in Glacier National Park?

Summer, (June-September) is the best time of year to visit Glacier National Park if you want to hike. Temperatures are comfortable and are typically within the 60-71 degrees Fahrenheit range.

The weather is also drier during the summer months. There are only five days of rain on average per month and you won't find any snow on most of the trails.

Glacier attracts a lot of hiking pros. 'The Highline Trail' is particularly popular among people who have thought about hiking 'Angels Landing' in Utah but are nervous about heights. It's still a difficult trek, but it's less challenging than its Zion National Park counterpart.

A fire pit with camping chairs and a lake with trees and mountains in the distance
July and August are the best months to camp in Glacier National Park

When is the best time to camp in Glacier National Park?

July and August are the best months to stay at the best campsites in Glacier National Park. The weather during these periods is at its most comfortable with temperatures usually reaching daily highs of 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Nightly lows can dip to 45 degrees Fahrenheit, so you'll need to ensure you have the correct camping gear to keep you warm and dry as there are also an average of five rainy days during these months.

Remember that if you want to build a campfire, you'll need to bring your own firewood. It's forbidden to collect wood from around the park to burn.

A body of water with colorful trees and mountains around it while the sun sets
To see fall colors visit Glacier National Park in September and October

When is the best time to see fall colors in Glacier National Park?

If you want to see the trees change colors, the best times to visit Glacier National Park are September and October. Though fall (September-December) lasts through November, earlier in the season will have the best weather and the most chances to see the colors throughout the park.

Between October and November, the temperature drops quite drastically, switching from a 51-degree Fahrenheit average down to a 37-degree Fahrenheit average. The colder climate means snowfall is more likely to occur, which makes hiking in search of fall colors less viable as parts of the park may be closed.

The best time to visit Glacier National Park is when you have a few days
Visiting Glacier National Park can require anywhere from two to seven days

How many days in Glacier National Park is best?

Deciding when to go to Glacier National Park is important, but so is deciding how many days you should spend there. In general, you should plan to spend at least two or three days in the park to get a rounded experience.

This is usually enough time to hike and visit a few of the park's most famous landmarks like the 'Many Glacier'. However, if you're an outdoor lover, you can spend a week or more in the national park without running out of things to do.

The weather will determine how many days you'll be comfortable and will alter what you're able to do. For example, winter (December-March) has colder temperatures usually in the low-30s degrees Fahrenheit, so you'll encounter snow and closures to some areas of the park. Visiting during this season might require fewer days in the park because you're unable to do and see many things.

A boat sits on the shore of a lake with snow-covered mountains in the distance
Glacier National Park is open 365 days a year

When does Glacier National Park open?

If you're trying to decide when to visit Glacier National Park, you don't have to worry about finding a closed park. Glacier is open 365 days a year, barring any major unforeseen occurrences.

However, just because the park is open doesn't mean all of its territories are visitable. The number of areas accessible to visitors can vary widely from one season to the next.

Summer (June-September) has the least precipitation with only five days of rain per month. It also has warm temperatures that are usually in the 70-degree Fahrenheit range. Virtually all of Glacier is accessible during this time of year. Winter (December-March) snow usually blocks entire trail sections which don't get fully plowed until well into the spring (March-June).

Weather, Prices, and Crowds in Glacier National Park

A lake surrounded by mountains with grass and orange flowers
Planning when to visit Glacier National Park based on your preferences

Glacier National Park in January

January is one of the cheapest times to visit the park. The best hotels in Glacier National Park will usually discount their prices since there isn't much demand for them.

You can also find deals on flights for the same reason. Since the closest airport to Glacier National Park, Glacier Park International Airport, is only 30 miles away from the West Entrance, flying is more convenient than driving, but you will have to hire a car to travel from the airport to the park.

However, the month's lower crowds and affordable prices are largely due to one thing--the weather. Glacier can get 40 inches of snow throughout the month and temperatures rarely top 30 degrees Fahrenheit during the day. Not only is it cold, but the climate often leads to parts of the park closing down until the weather gets warmer.

Glacier National Park in February

You might expect the Glacier National park hours to change during the winter (December-March), but the park's gates are open 24 hours a day all year, including in February.

If you're looking for an affordable time to travel, this might be a good month for you to consider. Flights and lodging around the park are usually discounted to encourage more travelers to come to the area.

The inclement climate tends to dissuade visitors, especially families. Temperatures usually range between 13 and 33 degrees Fahrenheit throughout the month and about an inch of snow falls every day. It's not uncommon for parts of the park to be blocked or closed to visitors, so activities might be limited.

Glacier National Park in March

In most parts of the country, March is a transition season between winter (December-March) and spring (March-June). However, the weather in Glacier National Park is still fairly wintery then.

Temperatures rarely rise above 39 degrees Fahrenheit and at least 10 inches of snowfall throughout the month is common. Even in years when March is slightly warmer in Glacier, you're still likely to find snow from the previous months on the ground.

To keep visitors safe, parts of the park are often closed during March while there's still snow on the ground. Therefore, many people choose to postpone their trips until it gets warmer.

Since you won't find many tourists in the park, you won't have any trouble finding hotel rooms or flights. You'll be able to shop around for good deals on both and even last-minute deals are possible.

Glacier National Park in April

April brings warmer temperatures to Glacier National Park. Daily highs can reach around 48 degrees Fahrenheit, so it's still a bit too cold for camping and hiking, but some of the winter's (December-March) snow will start to melt.

April is a relatively rainy month in Glacier. There are an average of eight days of precipitation and an average of up to four inches of rainfall.

Since April is still chilly and wet, not many out-of-state tourists come to the park. You'll mostly encounter locals, so flights and hotels will offer deals to encourage travelers to visit.

Glacier National Park in May

For many people, May is the best month to visit Glacier National Park. Between April and May, the average temperature rises by a full 10 degrees Fahrenheit, so daily highs are usually around 58 degrees Fahrenheit.

It can be a rainy month, though. On average, there are seven days of precipitation throughout May, but it usually doesn't rain for long and heavy storms are unlikely.

The nicer weather means more of the park will be accessible. It's an ideal time to book an outdoor excursion like an e-bike ride on 'Going to the Sun Road'.

The park gets a little busier during May, especially at the end of the month when schools across the country start letting out for the summer (June-September). Prices tend to remain affordable, but hotels and flights fill up quickly.

Glacier National Park in June

June is the best time of year to visit Glacier National Park if you're interested in outdoor activities like a calm scenic raft floating tour. Most days are sunny and are a comfortable 66 degrees Fahrenheit.

Make sure to pack to dress in layers, though, especially if you plan to camp. Nightly lows still hover around 40 degrees Fahrenheit during the month.

Glacier Park can be crowded in June. The warmer weather and summer (June-September) vacation period bring more families to the area. The park itself won't feel too crowded, but you'll notice hotels and flights book up quickly and prices will be a little pricier due to the higher demand.

Glacier National Park in July

Glacier National Park in summer (June-September) offers visitors the most well-rounded visiting experience. Since July is one of the driest months in the park with an average of five rainy days, you can fully enjoy the warm 75-degree Fahrenheit weather.

July is one of the best months to go hiking in the park. If you'd prefer to have a guide, you can opt for a full-day tour to ensure you don't miss the park's famous landmarks.

July isn't going to be a very budget-friendly time to travel to Glacier. It's one of the park's busiest months, so accommodation and airlines have less incentive to lower prices. You'll also want to book early to claim your seat and your sleeping quarters before they're all sold out.

Glacier National Park in August

If you want to camp, August is the best time of year to go to Glacier National Park. It's the warmest month and the one with the fewest rainy days on average.

The daily high usually reaches around 75 degrees Fahrenheit and the nightly low hovers at around 45 degrees Fahrenheit. Higher altitudes in the park experience lower temperatures, but camping isn't allowed in those areas.

The nice climate means you'll be able to go on all of the hikes the park has to offer without worrying about limited accessibility due to bad weather conditions.

August is a popular month in Glacier. Families squeeze in their last summer (June-September) trips before school starts again and locals know temperatures start to dip once it gets closer to fall (September-December) so they also book their stays in August.

The increased influx of tourists means you'll have less time to shop around for good deals. Hotels, campsites, and flights can get booked early, and discounts are rare.

Glacier National Park in September

If you want to book lodging at what are considered the best places to stay at Glacier National Park, September is a good time to consider. The first part of the month is still summer (June-September), but once fall (September-December) starts, you can find more accommodation and flight discounts.

There tend to be fewer visitors at the park during September. School is in session nationwide, so fewer families will travel. September also marks the end of the warmer weather in the area.

The highest average temperature in the month rarely reaches higher than 64 degrees Fahrenheit and it can dip to 32 degrees on occasion. September also marks the beginning of the park's wetter seasons with six days of rain on average.

Glacier National Park in October

October is one of the best times to go to Glacier National Park if you want to see the fall (September-December) colors change. Most days, the temperature hovers around 50 degrees Fahrenheit and is sunny. You can take your time wandering and enjoying the beauty of the multi-colored foliage without feeling too much of a nip.

October isn't a very busy month in the park either. Many people come to the park to camp which isn't recommended in October due to the 29-degree Fahrenheit average overnight temperatures.

You'll be able to plan a budget-friendly trip during this time. Hotels and airlines offer deals because families with children and students are in the middle of their school sessions. The singles and couples choose this time to visit.

Glacier National Park in November

November is one of the most affordable times to go to Glacier. Starting on the first day of the month until April 30th, park passes generally drop in cost because parts of the park are usually inaccessible due to the weather conditions.

Flights and even the best places to stay in Glacier National Park also tend to significantly reduce their prices. With the exception of Thanksgiving weekend, which can book up quickly, you can usually find last-minute seats and hotel rooms.

You might find locals in the park, but a lot of out-of-towners avoid traveling to Glacier because of the cold fall (September-December) climate. Temperatures vary between 21 and 37 degrees Fahrenheit and snow flurries or rain aren't uncommon.

Glacier National Park in December

December usually brings over 20 inches of snow to Glacier National Park. With temperatures between 12 and 29 degrees Fahrenheit, it's too cold for traditional hiking. However, you can still book a private tour with snow-shoes for a one-of-a-kind experience.

While some people love seeing the park covered in snow, December is a quiet month in the park. You'll primarily encounter locals in the park if you visit in Santa's month.

You don't have to plan your trip too far in advance, either. Most lodging and flight options are discounted, so you can search around for an option that fits your budget.

In Summary

Glacier National Park is one of the most scenic natural landmarks in the US. It's not surprising that millions of tourists visit each year.

You can have a fun and one-of-a-kind time no matter when you visit, but there's a lot to consider when you're deciding when to take a trip to the park. Crowd levels, travel costs, and the park's climate will impact your trip.

Hopefully, this article has helped you narrow down your travel options and preferences so you can have your dream trip to Glacier. All you have to do now is start planning!

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Written by Gabrielle T

ggtraveler1213 WRITER Gabrielle loves all things travel and culture. She is originally from the USA, but she has lived in Italy for over a decade. She's always ready to pack her bags, grab her passport, and head out on an adventure!

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