Glacier National Park vs. Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

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If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Glacier National Park and Wrangell – St Elias National Park & 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.

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve Overview

Wrangell-St. Elias is a vast national park that rises from the ocean all the way up to 18,008 ft. At 13.2 million acres, the park is the same size as Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Switzerland combined! Within this wild landscape, people continue to live off the land as they have done for centuries. This rugged, beautiful land is filled with opportunities for adventure.

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 Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Wrangell – St Elias National Park is a haven for hikers of all levels of experience. Novice hikers can start with the easy Crosswind Lake trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains without too much elevation gain. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Crescent Lake trail is a great option. It is longer than the Crosswind Lake trail and has a steeper elevation gain, but it is still considered to be relatively easy. More experienced hikers can tackle one of the park’s difficult trails, such as the Donoho Peak trail, which summits one of the park’s tallest peaks. Wrangell – St Elias National Park is truly a paradise for hikers of all levels of ability.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at Wrangell – St Elias National Park & 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 Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Wrangell – St Elias National Park is a mecca for wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to an incredible array of animals, including bears, moose, wolves, and caribou. In addition, the park is also home to a variety of plant life, including tundra plants and towering spruce trees. With so much to see and explore, Wrangell – St Elias National Park is the perfect place to get up close and personal with some of Alaska’s most amazing wildlife.

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.

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve Weather Considerations

Wrangell – St Elias National Park is one of the largest national parks in the United States, and it is known for its varied and extreme weather conditions. The park experiences very cold winters, with average temperatures ranging from -20 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the summers are relatively mild, with average temperatures ranging from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The best time to visit the park is during the summer months, when the weather is more conducive to outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. However, visitors should be aware that the early summer months can be rainy, so it is best to plan accordingly. The worst time to visit the park is during the winter, when temperatures are at their lowest and conditions are often treacherous. If you do choose to visit during this time, be sure to bring appropriate clothing and gear to ensure your safety.