7 Photos of Glacier National Park's Glorious Fall Colors

Glacier National Park is known for its craggy mountain peaks, glaciated valleys and epic landscapes. Time it right when exploring the backcountry here and you can get all of the above, as well as gorgeous fall foliage blanketing the already stunning scenery.

Hiking in Glacier National Park's backcountry is an absolute treat with windswept passes, pristine lakes and dense lush forests all flanked by Glacier's rugged mountains. We chose to hike the North Circle route in the park, which is considered one of the world's top 10 hikes. It's an epic adventure spanning 5 or 6 days and around 50 miles or so depending on which path you take.

Our adventure began at the stunning and iconic Many Glacier with a hint of fall color

As with many of life's adventures, things don't always go to plan. Getting a permit for hiking this loop can be quite challenging, including when and where you want to hike - due to its popularity, it's highly regulated to reduce impact - and rightly so. That said, the only available window we were given was the final week of the hiking season in September.

This however also coincides with the changing of the leaves in the park and we got to share the experience with leaves changing colors literally by the day. This added an extremely picturesque element to an already amazing hike.

We also had to change plans as a couple of the camping sites were closed due to bear activity, so it ended up being more of an in-and-out hike exploring other parts of the park we didn't anticipate seeing.

Epic views from Ptarmigan Pass

As we covered more miles deeper into the park, not only did the scenery become more dramatic, but it also became more colorful and vibrant with mountainsides lighting up in hues of yellow and gold.

Hiking paths set ablaze in fall color

Our hiking trail also became more atmospheric and magical as the foliage changed.

Magical Mowokanis Lake and fiery mountainsides

The campsites vary quite widely in the park and some are absolutely stunning, including the isolated and beautiful Mowokanis Lake campground - it only has 2 spots so you get to experience this amazing scene with true serenity. Colors were also beginning to peak here as we ventured further into the park.


Perfect Cosely Lake reflections

September in the park comes with crisp chilly mornings - they are also sublime with near perfect reflections of Glacier's fall colors intermingling with the mountain scenery.

Bottom line: it's a wonderful time and a photographer's paradise to explore Glacier National Park in the Fall, with the added benefit of hiker seclusion. Just ensure you're prepared for all types of weather and to be blown away by unparalleled beauty.

Published: January 2, 2017

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Adrien PatanéExplorer

Denver

Hiker | Photographer | Explorer