The popular travel guidebook series Lonely Planet has listed Glacier National Park as one of its top 10 U.S. destinations for 2013.

Calling Montana’s crown jewel “one of the country’s wildest, most remote and pristine national parks,” Robert Reid, the guidebook’s U.S. travel editor, said selecting finalists for the top 10 list generated intense debate, but Glacier Park was a unanimous choice.

“I can speak personally because Glacier has always been my favorite national park,” Reid said. “It just seems more raw, rugged and wild than anywhere else. It’s the only place I’ve ever seen a grizzly bear. I judge the Rockies by Glacier Park.”

Owned by BBC Worldwide, Lonely Planet released its annual list of top destinations to visit in the U.S. Wednesday morning. The places are selected and ranked by the company’s team of U.S.-based editors and authors, and features locations across the map – emerging favorites like Fairbanks, Alaska, American Samoa and Philadelphia, as well as perennial favorites like Glacier Park, which ranked No. 10 on the list, behind Verde Valley, Ariz.

“Glacier is actually the only place to have been featured on this list twice,” Reid said. The park also appeared on the list in 2010, its centennial year.

Reid said the selections are based on a range of criteria, with the destinations meant to appeal to savvy travelers who might not otherwise have thought to visit a place like, say, Louisville, Ky., which ranked No. 1 and is described as “the new Portland.”

“We want our destinations to have a new and timely angle that make them prime for visitors in 2013,” Reid said. “With respect to Glacier Park, people need to see it before the remaining glaciers melt.”

The caption on Glacier describes its “jagged, snow-blanketed ridges and glacier-sculpted horns” that “tower dramatically over aquamarine lakes and meadows blanketed in wildflowers.”

“Most visitors stick to the drive along the Going-to-the-Sun Road,” it continues, “so it’s easy to escape crowds by venturing beyond it. A relatively new shuttle system offers an eco-friendly alternative. But go soon. The park’s 25 glaciers are melting – and could be gone altogether by 2030 if current climate changes continue!”

The list is published online at and serves as a complement to Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel 2013,” a guidebook for global travel in the coming year.

“It’s kind of an online addendum to the book,” Reid said.

Reporter Tristan Scott can be reached at (406) 531-9745 or at

(1) comment


The article says of Glacier National Park “one of the country’s wildest, most remote and pristine national parks.” Truly Glacier National Park is a treasure! Recently, the end of September, I solo walked cross-country without the use of a single trail and without human contact for twelve days from the inflow of Lake McDonald following the crest of the Livingston Range until exiting at the outflow of Kintla Lake. Glacier is WILD, Glacier is REMOTE, Glacier is PRISTINE, then why is that primitive, barbaric, loud, disturbing, monstrosity of a helicopter tour company allowed to fly back and forth numerous times a day at a lower altitude than the federal advisory or AT ALL for that matter. What a shame on this company and anyone who hires their (dis)services. The shame is even greater because it is extremely rare, days, if not a week between the times that a private fixed-wing aircraft will disturb the air space above Glacier. But here all along the park has this loud, obnoxious helicopter flying back and forth disturbing hundreds, if not thousands of people on the ground, JUST so a few people can have their jollies. Please people boycott these helicopter tours and let us do everything from writing and calling our representatives, to calling and writing these companies, to complaining and reporting them to the FAA for ignoring the 2,000 foot lateral flyover advisory, to picketing the very driveways of their businesses to discourage their cliental from flying over our continent's "Crown Jewel". SHAME, SHAME, SHAME on these two helicopter tour companies, their pilots, the administration of our national parks, the FAA and the general public for allowing such a fiasco. The companies that need to be shut down are Glacier Heli Tours and Kruger Helicp-Tours both out of West Glacier, Montana and at the same time legislation enacted prohibiting any future companies from committing such atrocities.

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