Glacier National Park vs Great Basin National Park

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Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park are two of America’s most stunning and diverse national parks. They are both known for their breathtaking landscapes, unique wildlife, and endless opportunities for adventure. But which one is the best fit for you? Whether you’re a hiker, a camper, or just looking for a scenic drive, this article will compare and contrast these two incredible parks to help you decide which one to visit next.

Glacier National Park, located in Montana, is home to over 700 miles of trails, pristine lakes, and towering peaks. It is a hiker’s paradise, with challenging treks to breathtaking summits and leisurely walks along sparkling streams. Meanwhile, Great Basin National Park, located in Nevada, offers a completely different experience. With its dark skies, ancient bristlecone pines, and unique limestone caves, Great Basin is a wonderland for stargazers, naturalists, and spelunkers alike.

So, which park is right for you? If you’re looking for a heart-pumping adventure and breathtaking vistas, Glacier National Park is the way to go. But if you’re searching for a peaceful escape under the stars, Great Basin National Park should be your destination of choice. The rest of this article will delve into the details of these two incredible parks to help you make an informed decision.

Hiking Trails in Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park

Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park both offer world-class hiking trails for visitors, with unique landscapes and diverse ecosystems to explore.

At Glacier National Park, visitors can hike to the top of the famous Highline Trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers. The trail is considered a moderate hike, with a distance of 11 miles one way and a steep ascent. On the other hand, the Hidden Lake Trail is a popular, easy hike that offers great views of the park’s wildlife and wildflowers.

In contrast, Great Basin National Park is known for its backcountry trails, where visitors can explore remote areas of the park and see ancient bristlecone pine trees. The park’s most strenuous hike is the Wheeler Peak Trail, which ascends over 13,000 feet and offers panoramic views of the surrounding deserts and mountains. For those seeking an easier hike, the Bristlecone Trail is a great option, with a gentle ascent and stunning views of the ancient trees.

No matter what kind of hike you are looking for, both Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park offer a wide range of trails for visitors to explore and enjoy. Whether you are a seasoned hiker or just starting out, there is something for everyone in these beautiful national parks.

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Glacier National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Grinnell Glacier Trail 11.28 mi 2,161.52 ft out and back Hard 5/5
Avalanche Lake via the Trail of the Cedars 5.69 mi 747.84 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Iceberg Lake Trail 9.28 mi 1,449.76 ft out and back Moderate 5/5
Hidden Lake Trail 5.29 mi 1,374.32 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Highline Trail – Logan Pass to Granite Park Chalet 14.87 mi 2,578.08 ft out and back Hard 5/5
St. Mary and Virginia Falls Trail 2.89 mi 452.64 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Hidden Lake Overlook 2.79 mi 580.56 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Cracker Lake Trail 11.97 mi 1,649.84 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Trail of the Cedars 0.80 mi 36.08 ft loop Easy 4.5/5
The Garden Wall 14.67 mi 3,506.32 ft out and back Hard 5/5

Most Popular Hiking Trails in Great Basin National Park

Name Length Elevation Type Difficulty Visitor Ratings
Wheeler Peak Trail via Stella Lake Trail 8.18 mi 2,906.08 ft out and back Hard 5/5
Bristlecone Pine Glacier Trail 4.49 mi 1,059.44 ft out and back Moderate 4.5/5
Alpine Lakes Trail 2.69 mi 469.04 ft loop Easy 4.5/5
Lehman Cave 0.40 mi 45.92 ft loop Easy 4.5/5
Bristlecone and Alpine Lakes Loop 5.29 mi 1,013.52 ft loop Moderate 4.5/5
Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive 23.25 mi 3,857.28 ft out and back Easy 4.5/5
Baker Lake Trail 10.38 mi 2,669.92 ft out and back Hard 4.5/5
Teresa Lake 1.50 mi 305.04 ft out and back Moderate 5/5
Baker Lake-Johnson Lake Loop 12.87 mi 4,365.68 ft loop Hard 4.5/5
Lexington Arch Trail 2.89 mi 1,118.48 ft out and back Moderate 4/5

Wildlife in Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park

Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park are two national parks located in the United States. Both parks offer breathtaking scenery and many opportunities for outdoor recreation. However, the wildlife you’ll see at each park is quite different.

At Glacier National Park, you’ll have the chance to see a variety of large mammals, including grizzly bears, black bears, moose, elk, and mountain lions. In addition, the park is home to over 260 species of birds, including bald eagles, ospreys, and peregrine falcons. Trees such as Douglas firs, Engelmann spruces, and western red cedars can be found throughout the park.

In contrast, Great Basin National Park is home to a different set of wildlife species. Some of the most common mammals you’ll see at the park include pronghorns, bighorn sheep, and mule deer. The park is also home to over 200 species of birds, including golden eagles, prairie falcons, and great horned owls. In terms of plant life, you’ll find a variety of sagebrush, pinyon pines, and limber pines at Great Basin National Park.

Overall, both Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park offer unique and diverse wildlife experiences. Whether you’re interested in seeing large mammals, birdwatching, or exploring the local flora, both parks have something to offer.

Below are lists of the most commonly spotted wildlife at Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park. However, you can see a full list of wildlife at each national park here.

Birds

Glacier National Park Great Basin National Park
Peregrine Falcon Peregrine Falcon
Northern Harrier Northern Harrier
Sharp-Shinned Hawk Sharp-Shinned Hawk
Osprey Osprey
Tree Swallow Tree Swallow
Mallard Mallard
Canada Goose Canada Goose
Lincoln’s Sparrow Lincoln’s Sparrow
Ruby-Crowned Kinglet Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
American Robin American Robin
Great Horned Owl Great Horned Owl
Red-Tailed Hawk Red-Tailed Hawk
Northern Flicker Northern Flicker
Merlin Merlin
Barn Swallow Barn Swallow
Savannah Sparrow Savannah Sparrow
Great Blue Heron Great Blue Heron
Hermit Thrush Hermit Thrush
American Kestrel American Kestrel
Bald Eagle Bald Eagle
Song Sparrow Song Sparrow
European Starling European Starling
Northern Pintail Northern Pintail
American Wigeon American Wigeon
Green-Winged Teal Green-Winged Teal

Mammals

Glacier National Park Great Basin National Park
Coyote Coyote
American Beaver American Beaver
Muskrat Muskrat
Big Brown Bat Big Brown Bat
Bobcat Bobcat
Striped Skunk Striped Skunk
Little Brown Bat Little Brown Bat
Deer Mouse Deer Mouse
Raccoon Raccoon
Black Bear Porcupine
Porcupine Silver-Haired Bat
Silver-Haired Bat Hoary Bat
Hoary Bat Red Fox
Red Fox Long-Tailed Weasel
Long-Tailed Weasel House Mouse
Mountain Lion Lion
Mink Mink
Mule Deer Mule Deer
Gray Wolf Gray Fox
Long-Legged Bat Gray Wolf
Long-Eared Bat Long-Legged Myotis
Badger Long-Eared Myotis
Short-Tailed Weasel Badger
California Myotis Ermine
Snowshoe Hare Californis Myotis

Fish

Glacier National Park Great Basin National Park
Rainbow Trout Rainbow Trout
Brook Trout Brook Trout
Longnose Sucker Brown Trout
Fathead Minnow Mottled Sculpin
Lake Trout Speckled Dace
Northern Pike Cutthroat Trout
Burbot
Mottled Sculpin
Slimy Sculpin
Longnose Dace
Sockeye Salmon
Arctic Grayling

Reptiles

Glacier National Park Great Basin National Park
Western Terrestrial Garter Snake Racer
Common Garter Snake Greater Short-Horned Lizard
Rubber Boa Rubber Boa
Long-Nosed Leopard Lizard
Eastern Collared Lizard
Eastern Fence Lizard
Long-Nosed Snake
Desert Spiny Lizard
Western Fence Lizard

Beautiful Landscapes in Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park

Glacier National Park, located in Montana, USA, is known for its rugged peaks, pristine lakes and glaciers. The park’s most famous landscape is the Going-to-the-Sun Road, a spectacular 50-mile drive that crosses the heart of the park and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Another must-see attraction is the Hidden Lake Trail, which provides an up-close look at the park’s glaciers and wildlife.

Great Basin National Park, located in Nevada, USA, is home to the ancient Great Basin Bristlecone Pine Trees and the iconic Wheeler Peak, which is the second highest peak in Nevada. The park’s most famous feature is the Lehman Caves, which are a series of stunning marble caverns filled with unique and intricate formations. The park also offers a number of scenic drives and trails, such as the Alpine Lakes Loop, which winds through high-altitude meadows and offers panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Both parks offer a variety of natural wonders and breathtaking landscapes that are sure to leave a lasting impression on visitors. Whether you’re a nature lover, hiker, or simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park are both must-visit destinations that are sure to exceed your expectations.

Things To-Do and Activities in Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park

Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park are two of the most popular national parks in the United States. Both offer visitors a unique and memorable experience, with a range of activities to suit all interests. Glacier National Park is known for its stunning glaciers, alpine meadows, and rugged peaks, while Great Basin National Park is famous for its ancient Bristlecone pines, dark skies, and the Lehman Caves.

Visitors to Glacier National Park can enjoy scenic drives, wildlife viewing, boating, and fishing. The Going-to-the-Sun Road is a popular drive, offering breathtaking views of the park’s glaciers and alpine landscapes. Wildlife viewing is also a popular activity, with visitors able to see bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, and wolves. Boating and fishing are also popular activities, with many visitors choosing to explore the park’s stunning lakes and rivers.

At Great Basin National Park, visitors can enjoy stargazing, backpacking, and exploring the Lehman Caves. The park is known for its dark skies, making it an ideal destination for stargazing. Backpacking is also a popular activity, with visitors able to explore the park’s ancient Bristlecone pines and rugged landscapes. Exploring the Lehman Caves is another popular activity, with visitors able to see unique and spectacular formations.

Best Time to Visit Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park

Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park are two popular national parks that are located in different parts of the United States and offer unique natural landscapes and opportunities for outdoor recreation. The seasonal weather at these two parks can vary greatly, affecting the best time of year to visit.

Located in Montana, Glacier National Park experiences a wide range of weather conditions throughout the year, with cold and snowy winters, mild and rainy springs, warm and dry summers, and crisp and clear autumns. The best time to visit Glacier National Park is during the summer months when the weather is warm and dry, allowing visitors to fully enjoy the park’s scenic hikes and stunning views. However, it is important to note that the park can become quite crowded during the peak summer season.

In contrast, Great Basin National Park, located in Nevada, has a more arid climate with hot and dry summers and cold and snowy winters. The best time to visit Great Basin National Park is during the spring and autumn months, when the weather is mild and the park’s unique landscapes, including its famous Bristlecone Pine forests, are at their most beautiful. Visitors should also be prepared for sudden changes in weather, as thunderstorms and flash floods can occur at any time of year.

Family Friendliness of Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park

Glacier National Park and Great Basin National Park are both popular destinations for families and offer a variety of outdoor recreational opportunities. However, Glacier National Park is larger and has more amenities and facilities, making it a more convenient choice for families with children.

At Glacier National Park, families can take a scenic drive along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, hike to see glaciers or waterfalls, or take a boat tour on one of the park’s many lakes. Children will also enjoy visiting the park’s museums and ranger-led programs, which offer educational and interactive activities. Great Basin National Park also offers hiking, camping, and scenic drives, but it is more remote and has fewer amenities and facilities.

While both parks are great for families, Glacier National Park is the better option for those traveling with children. Its larger size and more developed infrastructure make it easier for families to navigate and find the activities and attractions that interest them. In contrast, Great Basin National Park is more rugged and remote, making it a better choice for families looking for a more rugged, backcountry experience.

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