Walk-in permit

Are you a seasoned hiker, or just starting out? Let us know your questions or experience with the backcountry permit process.

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Walk-in permit

Postby Kris91 » Fri Apr 20, 2018 4:15 am

My husband and I did get a permit for hiking this year, but it wasn't quite what we wanted so we're going to try to modify it through the walk in process. I was really happy to find this chat group- there's lots of good information on here on how to go about that. One question- I thought I read that there were only 3 backcountry offices that you could get a walk in permit, but when I look at the glacier np website, it looks like all the campgrounds have back country offices. If you can get a permit at any back country office, is there any advantage to a smaller office, maybe two medicine vs apgar?

Thanks for your help,
Kris
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Re: Walk-in permit

Postby PeteE » Fri Apr 20, 2018 6:51 am

Kris91 wrote:My husband and I did get a permit for hiking this year, but it wasn't quite what we wanted so we're going to try to modify it through the walk in process. I was really happy to find this chat group- there's lots of good information on here on how to go about that. One question- I thought I read that there were only 3 backcountry offices that you could get a walk in permit, but when I look at the glacier np website, it looks like all the campgrounds have back country offices. If you can get a permit at any back country office, is there any advantage to a smaller office, maybe two medicine vs apgar?

Thanks for your help,
Kris


Hi Kris:

Welcome to the GNP chat!
There are permit offices at:

The Swiftcurrent Ranger Station located in the Swiftcurrent car campground in Many Glacier.
The St Mary Visitor Station at the St Mary Entrance to the park.
The Two Medicine Ranger Station in Two Medicine.
The main Backcountry Office in Apgar.

Permits are also issued at the Polebridge Entrance/Ranger Station BUT...
Don't try for a walkup there. They don't open until 8AM.

If you want the best chance to change your permit, you need to be at a permit office well before they open at 7AM.
In the meantime, you should familiarize yourself with these two pages and how to use them.

https://home.nps.gov/applications/glac/ ... status.cfm

https://www.nps.gov/glac/planyourvisit/ ... ap-Web.pdf

If you have any questions about the walkup process, or anything, just ask.
Someone here will be able to help.

pete :wink:
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Re: Walk-in permit

Postby joybird » Fri Apr 20, 2018 2:39 pm

Different people have different opinions about which is the best to go to. I think there have been past threads about that here...you may want to try to look them up?

The benefit of one of the larger offices (like St. Mary), is that they are likely to have two "stations" processing people at the same time. So, if you are second in line at St. Mary, the rangers will get you "onto" the system faster than if you were second in line at, say Two Med, which has only one computer terminal.

On the other hand, more people tend to show up at the larger offices, so you may have to get in line earlier there to get those coveted first or second spots than you would need to if you were at a less popular office. I've gotten to St. Mary at 5:00am and been third in line. And gotten to Two Med at 6:30am and been second.

Since all the offices (except Polebridge) open at the same time, and are all hooked into the same computer system, you are competing with all the "first in line" folks at ALL the offices.

So, if it's important to you to get one of the really popular campsites -- especially if it's less than three days into your itinerary and the weather is looking good -- you will want to be first or second in line at the big offices, or first in line at the smaller ones. If your change is farther out -- say 4 or more days into your itinerary (or if the weather is looking miserable or if you are trying for a less popular site) -- you'll probably do OK even if you are later in the line.

Yeah, it's a bit of a crap shoot. But remember, there are no bad hikes in Glacier. 8)

Just make sure you have looked at the website the night before so you know what is and is not available, and write your itinerary choices and alternates down so that you can work through your options with the ranger as efficiently as possible once they get into the computer system. It will work better for you that way, and you'll get a lot less in the way of bad juju stink-eye from the people waiting in line behind you. :wink:
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Re: Walk-in permit

Postby Kris91 » Sat Apr 21, 2018 8:48 am

Thanks for everyone's help!
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Re: Walk-in permit

Postby Kris91 » Mon May 07, 2018 4:45 am

I applied for a second permit in early sept, hoping to get the hike we want (logan pass, granite park, fifty mtn, etc to goat haunt). We got our 2nd choice which we've done part of before- starting 9/7- kin- bou- bow. We are leaning towards going at this time, trying for our to get a walk-in permit for our preferred hike and do this one if we don't get it. I think I read that the weather is usually good this time of year, but bears could be more active? Any advice or suggestions is appreciated.

Thanks again!
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Re: Walk-in permit

Postby PeteE » Mon May 07, 2018 7:46 am

Kris91 wrote:I applied for a second permit in early sept, hoping to get the hike we want (logan pass, granite park, fifty mtn, etc to goat haunt). We got our 2nd choice which we've done part of before- starting 9/7- kin- bou- bow. We are leaning towards going at this time, trying for our to get a walk-in permit for our preferred hike and do this one if we don't get it. I think I read that the weather is usually good this time of year, but bears could be more active? Any advice or suggestions is appreciated.

Thanks again!


Don't worry about the bears.
People think I'm joking when I say, "bears are everywhere all the time", but I'm serious.
Bears can show up virtually anyplace in the park at any time.
You can't let the bears of GNP influence whether or not you do a particular day hike or backpack. You just can't.
Carry your bear spray and be "Bear Aware" while hiking and enjoy your trip!

Transportation logistics will be your biggest challenge for KIN-->BOU-->BOW or a trip from Logan to Goat Haunt.
And make sure you are at a permit office EARLY if you want a good chance of modifying your permit.
Worry about that stuff, not the bears :)

pete :wink:

EDIT AND

I understand your concern about the bears here. You're not alone in that regard.
The truth is bear attacks in GNP are extremely rare, 10 deaths in last 50 years, no deaths in last 15+ years that I'm aware of.
However people die nearly every year drowning or falling.
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Re: Walk-in permit

Postby PeteE » Mon May 07, 2018 2:18 pm

Kris91 wrote:...I think I read that the weather is usually good this time of year, but bears could be more active? Any advice or suggestions is appreciated.

Aside from not worrying about the bears too much...

On the morning you pick up your permit, ask the rangers about recent bear sightings, if any, on your itinerary.
You should also ask about trail conditions, other warnings, hazards, etc. as well.
Depending on the route, berries, roots, bulbs, cut worm moths on high altitude scree slopes, may still be in season.
Ask about potential areas that might require extra caution when passing through.

When you arrive at your camp site, make sure you hang your food bag the first thing you do.
Check your backpack, pockets, etc. for trail mix, snacks etc.
Put those and anything else that might be considered an "attractant" not only for bears, but "ALLcreatures, great and small" 8)
Hang those items in your food bag as well.
Why?

Just good camp manners imo...
Hanging everything when you arrive reduces the chances of accidentally contaminating areas outside the food prep and bear pole areas.
One nut or just a small crumb may not attract a bear, but it will certainly get the attention of the little critters like mice, voles, chipmunks, golden mantle squirrels.
Nothing more annoying in the dead still of night than to hear a mouse"chewing" on your tent.
Bad enough to wake up in the morning to the raspy sound of a goat licking your tent. 8) Lake Ellen Wilson.

Same deal after dinner and before retiring for the night.
All "smelly stuff" gets hung on the bear wire/pole or stored in lockers provided.



Thanks again!
You're welcome! I'm sure you'll have a great trip :D

pete :wink:


Last edited by PeteE on Mon May 07, 2018 9:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Walk-in permit

Postby paul » Mon May 07, 2018 8:53 pm

A couple of years ago I arrived to an empty backcountry campground at Upper Kintla lake. After hanging my food I began to assemble my tent at one of the empty sites. As I was doing so a young couple arrived and went directly to their camp site where they proceeded to open up their food bag and started eating some snacks. (This as at the site next to mine!). I kept on looking over at them, but didn't say anything.

So anyway, after I finished setting up my tent I headed down to the lake shore. And what did I see about 100yds down the shore but a black bear and he was headed toward our camp. After pointing out the bear to my campmates, they immediately hung up their food!

I didn't sleep well that night, knowing that my neighbors were spreading crumbs at their campsite. What ever you do, never eat food at your campsite! Keep it clean and think about the people who will be camping there after you have left.
We are in the mountains and the mountains are in us. - John Muir
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Re: Walk-in permit

Postby WYGeogGal » Thu Jun 14, 2018 4:24 pm

I have tried twice this season to get a six-day itinerary without success, and even allowing for pretty flexible arrangements. It is getting harder to enjoy Glacier's backcountry. Hoping for a walk-in itinerary that will work. I don't know if the new system is just not that good, or whether I'm just unlucky.
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Re: Walk-in permit

Postby PeteE » Fri Jun 15, 2018 8:27 am

The "new system" sucks in most opinions I'm aware of.
And you just got unlucky.
The walkup process works pretty well. Just make sure you are at the head of the line early in the AM.

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