The virtues of Glacier Park's big woods

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A giant western red cedar reaches skyward in Glacier National Park.

Looking to decompress after a tough week? One of the best places to do that in Glacier National Park is its old-growth forests. While wildfires have scorched some of the parkís big woods, many other remain intact. One popular hike is from Avalanche Lake south to Lake McDonald Lodge along the Lake McDonald Trail. Itís about 6 miles one-way and this flat hike takes you into the Parkís largest forest of western red cedar, larch and hemlock.

Other big woods grow along the shores of Bowman Lake, particularly en route to Quartz Lake. Many Glacier has big woods along the Grinnell Lake Trail, particularly near the head of Josephine Lake. Outside the Park, one of the most enchanting forests anywhere is White River Park in the Bob Marshall Wilderness. This grove of old-growth Ponderosa Pine is about 33 miles from the nearest road.

But for the old growth enthusiast, itís worth every step.

ó Chris Peterson †

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