Alan Leftridge's The Best of Glacier National Park (Farcountry Press) is invaluable for visitors to the high peaks, big lakes, and great wildlife of this amazing alpine landscape. Somehow this book is small enough (It's a well-bound paperback of 136 pages, and measures 8 1/2" x 5 1/2") to fit into your daypack, or rest on your dashboard, and yet it's jam-packed with enough information to make your trip to Glacier a great one. It's practical, and practically perfect.
There's nothing like some local knowledge to get you to the places you didn't even know you wanted to go. Fortunately for us, Leftridge has worked as a wilderness ranger in the Mission Mountains, as a naturalist in Yellowstone National Park, and as an environmental educator. He knows his subject and how to present it.
If you're just now planning a trip to Glacier, or even if you're a frequent visitor, you'll use this guide at home and on the road. With one million acres, nearly 800 miles of trails, and 726 lakes in Glacier, you'll be glad Leftridge has shared his knowledge on this iconic park with us.
The guide is very well organized. Just pick your favorite activity and there will be a chapter, easy to read map, and photos describing the best spots. There are the best scenic drives (4 of them), the best day hikes (7), the best fishing spots (7), and the best waterfalls (9). There are the best historic sites and the best places to observe wildlife. Interested in Glacier's flora? There're chapters on the best wildflowers, best spots to pick huckleberries (yum), and the best trees.
The book has a list of fun facts for Glacier and its Canadian twin, Waterton Lakes National Park. There's even a chapter on things to do on a rainy day, best places to read this book, and the best children's activities. A favorite chapter lists a number of the place names and their origins, including: Almost a Dog Mountain (named after a native Blackfoot warrior), White Quiver Falls, Medicine Grizzly Lake, and Pumpelly Glacier (named after a prominent glaciologist). It's fascinating reading.
Overall there are 26 chapters, including a concise geologic and human history chapter to put the landscape in context. Of course, it doesn't include every single thing about Glacier: you'd need a porter to haul that book around.
Glacier can be an overwhelmingly large place to visit, but this guide will let you choose your itinerary and get you to the good stuff. It's a good read, and a great resource.