Glacier National Park vs. New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

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If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Glacier National Park and New River Gorge National Park and Preserve, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll take a look at what they have to offer in terms of hiking and wildlife, plus what the best time of year to visit might be.

Let’s get started with an overview of Glacier National Park.

Glacier National Park Overview

A showcase of melting glaciers, alpine meadows, carved valleys, and spectacular lakes. With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier is a paradise for adventurous visitors seeking wilderness steeped in human history. Relive the days of old through historic chalets, lodges, and the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Overview

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve is a beautiful and diverse destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Located in West Virginia, this expansive park spans more than 1,700 square miles and features rugged mountain scenery, winding rivers, picturesque waterfalls, steep canyons, lush forests, and abundant wildlife. With so much to see and do, New River Gorge is the perfect choice for anyone looking to get outside and explore the great outdoors. Whether you’re interested in hiking or biking along scenic trails or rafting or kayaking down rushing rivers, New River Gorge has something to offer everyone. So why not plan your next trip today? Whether you’re looking for adventure or simply a relaxing respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, New River Gorge is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Get outside and discover what New River Gorge has to offer!

Hiking At National Parks

Most national parks have some of the best hiking trails you’ll find anywhere in the US.

If you’re planning to take along your furry friend, double-check the rules before you go – as many of the parks have different rules about bringing animals along with you.

Glacier National Park Hiking Trails

Glacier National Park is renowned for its stunning scenery and breath-taking views. The park offers a wide variety of hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to strenuous treks. Some of the most popular trails include the short but sweet Glacier Point trail, which leads to an overlook with sweeping views of the Canyon; the moderate but rewarding Mist Trail, which takes hikers past two of the park’s most iconic waterfalls; and the strenuous but unforgettable Highline Trail, which traverses along a narrow ridge with dizzying drop-offs on either side. There truly is something for everyone at Glacier National Park. So lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail!

Best Hikes At Glacier National Park

The ratings below are based on user-submitted data at AllTrails.com

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
McDonald Creek Via Johns Lake 79.8576 3 out and back 4
Lake McDonald Trail 379.7808 1 out and back 3.5
Otokomi Lake 701.9544 5 out and back 4.5
Sun Point Nature Trail 64.9224 1 out and back 4
Bowman Lake Trail 941.832 5 out and back 4
Two Medicine Lake Loop 218.8464 3 loop 4.5
Baring Falls Via Piegan Pass Trail 19.812 1 out and back 4.5
Aster Park 202.9968 7 out and back 4.5
Ptarmigan Trail to Cosley Lake 1759.9152 7 out and back 5
Boulder Pass Trail 1406.9568 3 point to point 5

Hiking Overview at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

New River Gorge National Park is home to some of the best hiking trails in the country. The park, which is located in southern West Virginia, features more than 50 miles of trails that wind through a variety of terrains. While all of the trails offer stunning views of the New River Gorge, each one has its own unique challenges.

For those looking for an easy hike, the Fayetteville Trail is a great option. This two-mile trail winds through a forest and offers gentle elevation changes. The trail can be accessed from the Fayetteville Visitors Center and is perfect for families or those who are new to hiking.

For those looking for a more challenging hike, the New River Gorge Trail is the longest and most difficult trail in the park. This 31-mile trail follows the New River from one end of the gorge to the other. Along the way, hikers will need to navigate steep cliffs, narrow ledges, and deep ravines. The New River Gorge Trail is only recommended for experienced hikers who are properly prepared for a multi-day adventure.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail 598.932 7 out and back 4.5
Medano Lake Trail 697.992 3 out and back 4
Montville Nature Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
Dunes Overlook Sand Ramp Trail 80.772 3 out and back 3.5
Little Medano Creek Trail to Medano Lake 1079.9064 3 out and back 4
Wellington Ditch Trail 47.8536 1 out and back 4
Dunes Overlook Trail 143.8656 3 out and back 4
Pinion Flats Campground Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
High Dune Trail 191.7192 5 out and back 5
High and Star Dune Loop 403.86 3 loop 4.5

Wildlife at Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is home to an incredible variety of plants and animals. Visitors can expect to see everything from bighorn sheep and grizzly bears to delicate wildflowers and towering Douglas firs. The park’s diverse ecosystems support a wide range of wildlife, and Glacier is considered one of the best places in North America to view animals in their natural habitat. In addition to the Big Five (bison, elk, moose, mountain goats, and deer), Glacier is also home to wolves, wolverines, lynx, eagles, and many other species of birds and mammals. With over 1 million acres of wilderness to explore, Glacier National Park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Wildlife at New River Gorge National Park and Preserve

At New River Gorge National Park, you can expect to see a wide range of beautiful wildlife. Whether you’re gazing at towering trees or trekking through muddy marshes, you are sure to encounter an array of animals and plants along the way. Some of the most common species include deer, foxes, squirrels, turkeys, wild turkeys, salamanders, snakes, lizards, hawks, eagles, crows and blue jays. Additionally, New River Gorge is home to many different types of flora including ferns, mosses, conifers and deciduous trees. Whether you’re exploring on your own or partaking in one of the park’s many guided tours and hikes, New River Gorge has something to offer for all nature-lovers and wildlife enthusiasts alike!

What’s the best time to visit?

A lot of times, weather can dictate when it makes the most sense to visit a particular national park.

Plus, depending on the types of activities you’re hoping to take part in, seasonality will be a huge factor in whether those things are even available.

Glacier National Park Weather Considerations

Glacier National Park is a beautiful place to visit, no matter what time of year it is. However, the weather can vary greatly depending on when you go. The best time to visit Glacier National Park is in the summertime. From June to August, the weather is typically warm and sunny, with temperatures ranging from the high 20s to low 30s Celsius. This makes it perfect for hiking, camping, and enjoying all of the other activities that Glacier National Park has to offer. The worst time to visit Glacier National Park is in the wintertime. From December to February, the weather is typically cold and snowy, with temperatures ranging from -10 to -20 Celsius. This can make it difficult to get around and enjoy all that Glacier National Park has to offer. So if you’re planning a trip to Glacier National Park, be sure to check the weather forecast in advance so you can plan accordingly.

New River Gorge National Park and Preserve Weather Considerations

New River Gorge National Park is a great place to visit any time of year, but the best time to go depends on what you’re looking for. For example, if you’re interested in hiking, the spring and fall are ideal because the temperatures are moderate and there’s less chance of rain. However, if you’re looking to whitewater raft, the summer is the best time to visit since that’s when the water level is at its highest. On the other hand, winter can be a magical time at New River Gorge National Park, especially if you’re hoping to see some snow. So whether you’re looking for adventure or peace and quiet, be sure to check the New River Gorge National Park weather forecast before planning your trip.