Rocky Point Nature Trail
Long-dead lodgepole pines line the Rocky Point Nature Trail, testaments to the Robert Fire of 2003. That 58,000-acre blaze burned fast and hot along the west shore of Lake McDonald. Interpretive signs along the trail explain the ecology of fires, but the lush understory of mountain maples, aspens, and young, six-foot-tall lodgepoles mixed in with their burned ancestors tell the story in nature's language. The trail, 1.9 miles round-trip, starts near the Fish Creek Campground and climbs from there, lending views of the mountains beyond.
West Glacier Entrance
An expanse of towering pines greets visitors at the West Glacier entrance to the park (pictured). It takes imagination to believe that the Half Moon Fire burned over 100,000 acres here in 1929. "You'd never know there was a fire here unless a scientist was there to point out the signs," says Jeremy Harker, a fire management officer at Glacier. Pines 80 feet high or more mingle with 400-yearold larches and cedars that survived the blaze. Foresters back then planted new stands of pine even though the trees reseed themselves after a fire. Next time the area burns, the recovery will be left entirely up to nature.