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 http://bit.ly/UdbSbl 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 email@example.com.