Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park – Hiking Montana

 

Apgar Lookout is a scenic hike through burn areas to long vistas in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA.

 

 

Glacier Haven Inn is located between the west and east entrances of Glacier National Park, Montana, USA along Highway 2 at the bottom of the park.  The previous night's dinner at the Izaak Walton Inn in Essex was outstanding. 

This is railroad country and great effort has been applied to preservation of the rich, historical past of the railroad.

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA Glacier Haven Inn - Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

 

Accommodation at Glacier Haven Inn is beautifully appointed.  The hosts are friendly and helpful plus the room hosts a tub and a television.  The expansive motel and campground facility is tucked between a major highway and a very busy railroad line.

Following a hearty breakfast, the drive west into West Glacier National Park provides the opportunity to visit the impressive Alberta Visitor Center near the park entrance.  The Visitor Center is well staffed and appointed to actively promote tourist travel into Alberta, Canada.

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA The Alberta Visitor Center - West Glacier, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA - Well done.

 

A visit to the Apgar Ranger Station determines hiking activity for the final two hiking days in this section of Glacier National Park, Montana, USA. 

Today's hike will travel through a forest fire burn area to experience the sweeping view from Apgar Lookout.  The return hiking distance is 6.7 miles (10.8 KM) with elevation differential of about 2,100 ft (610 M).

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA West Entrance - Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

 

The 2003 forest fire destroyed the majority of forest in the area.  Hiking through the burn area on excellent trail provides outstanding autumn views as the hike proceeds past skeletons of old forest being rejuvenated by the robust infiltration of new growth.

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA Fall colors near trail beginning - good road through the 2003 forest fire burn area.

 

Major dead fall, from burned trees being blown over as they decay, provide frequent opportunities to climb over or duck under lumber littering the trail to Apgar Lookout.  The open expanse and unique nature of the Apgar Lookout hike provides a different perspective through devastation with a beautiful, ethereal quality.

 

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA Lots of deadfall to negotiate on the trail - cleared only 10 days prior

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA Edge of the burn area on an adjacent mountain. Views are open due to the forest fire.

 

Recent frost at higher elevations has joined shorter daylight to extract fall color from newly developing brush.

Stands of new Lodgepole Pine are about 2 ft. (61 cm) high.  Heat from forest fire opens Lodgepole pine cones, allowing their seeds to fall on the freshly burned forest floor so they become the first coniferous trees to establish themselves following a forest fire. 

Burned stumps from the massive and devastating 1929 fire still remain interspersed throughout new growth and more recent forest fire damage.

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA View over Apgar Village and Lake McDonald - Prescribed burns in the area create a mystical vision.

 

Straight trail on old road converts to excellent and well-graded trail over evenly graded switchbacks.  The Apgar Lookout, which served for a long time as a fire lookout in Glacier National Park, is now a communications hub.

Four men at the site are servicing sophisticated communications equipment while providing us with interesting perspective on the area.

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA Approaching Apgar Lookout - Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA A view of Lake McDonald from Apgar Lookout in West Glacier National Park

 

Smoke in the valleys from a prescribed burn outside Glacier National Park and small managed burns within the park create a mystical haze over longer views.

There is an excellent view over Lake McDonald as the trail approaches Apgar Lookout.

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA A view over Apgar Village from Apgar Lookout in Glacier National Park

 

Our excellent and robust hiker's lunch prepared by Glacier Haven Inn is thoroughly enjoyable surrounded by fall color and spectacular views beneath sunny skies and warmth tempered by a subtle, soothing breeze.  

The view includes the northern border of the United States and a good distance into the southern territory of British Columbia, Canada, before the hike tackles the reluctant descent to the trail-head via the same route.

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA On the trail surrounded by burned trees and colorful fall foliage on new shrubbery

 

The remainder of the afternoon is spent touring Apgar Village and the Lake McDonald area before an upscale dinner at the historic Belton Grill and Restaurant outside the West park entrance.

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA Scouting around Apgar Village - Back at The Apgar Visitor Center - Helpful staff.

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA Boats at Lake McDonald in the process of being stored for the winter

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA Surrounding mountain reflections on Lake McDonald in West Glacier National Park

 

Apgar Lookout – Glacier National Park, Montana, USA Richly historic Belton Grill and Restaurant - Glacier National Park - Fine cuisine.

 

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