Glacier National Park Weather
The weather in Glacier National Park can be extremely unpredictable. It can be warm and sunny in the morning, and snowing by afternoon. You never know what you're going to get in Glacier National Park with regard to weather, so always bring appropriate clothing for all weather conditions....hot weather, cold weather, rain, snow, and wind. Dress in layers so you can easily adjust to the ever-changing weather conditions in Glacier National Park!
Glacier National Park Average Temperatures
Courtesy of the National Park Service
Glacier National Park Average Precipitation
|Average Snow Fall||39.6||22.5||14.5||3.5||0.4||0.2||0||0||0.1||2.0||17.2||37.5|
Courtesy of the National Park Service
About Glacier National Park Weather
As you can see from the above charts, July and August appear to have the warmest temperatures and the least amount of rainfall, and one would think that you'd not have to worry about severe Glacier National Park weather. HOWEVER, even though these months are generally very pleasant over all, there are ALWAYS storms that come through that can last several days and the temperature can stay in the 40's or 50's for a daytime high, and these storms can dump a ton of rain and sometimes even snow.
We have never gone through a summer in Glacier National Park without having to deal with at least two or three of these weather "systems". And for some reason, it seems that mid August usually has one of these "systems" that hammer Glacier National Park like clockwork.
Therefore, with regard to Glacier National Park weather, anyone vacationing in Glacier Park during the summer months needs to bring clothing that is appropriate for ALL weather conditions. That means that you need to bring clothing suitable for cold weather, wet weather, high winds and hot weather.
Here's a tip: bring clothing that can be easily LAYERED
This will allow you to remove or add clothing as the weather changes throughout the day. Glacier National Park weather can change every 10 minutes (seriously), so if you have layered clothing, you can easily remove or add clothing as the conditions change. For example: It's best to wear a thin polyester shirt (or some other synthetic material that is NOT cotton), and have a light polyester fleece jacket ready to throw on, and of course a light-weight water proof and breathable polyester outer shell . And make sure your water proof outer shell is also a good wind blocker. This is the standard 3 layer system that works really well during the summer months in Glacier National Park.
Also bring light weight water-proof and breathable rain pants that you can quickly slide on over your regular pants or shorts. And don't forget to bring a polyester or wool hat that can cover your ears, and a pair or gloves... just in case the weather in Glacier Park take s a turn for the worse.
Summer Thunderstorms and Hypothermia
During the hot summer Glacier Park days in July and August, afternoon and evening thunderstorms occur on a regular basis. Again, Glacier National Park weather is extremely unpredictable. With these thunderstorms come rain, and sometimes a "cloud burst" where several inches of rain will fall in a very short period of time. These thunderstorms are usually quite brief, but if you're out hiking and not prepared, you can get soaked to the bone.
This can potentially be a serious problem if the outside temperature only drops to even 55 to 60 degrees Fahrenheit. This is because if you're soaking wet, and you get cold, your body temperature may begin to drop if you don't do something quickly to get warm. If your core body temperature drops below 95 degrees F, then you will experience hypothermia. The initial symptoms are shivering and mental confusion, and eventually if left untreated, death can be the result.
The biggest misconception about hypothermia is that you can only get it if it's really cold outside. Many hypothermia cases occur during the warm summer months. It doesn't take a "winter" day to cause your body temperature to drop, so make sure you bring appropriate clothing while hiking in Glacier National Park. And make sure the materials you choose are synthetic (polyester) or wool. Never where cotton materials while hiking in Glacier National Park, as it can further drop your core temperature if it gets wet.
The bottom line is this: Glacier National Park weather can change in an instant, and visitors need to be prepared for all weather situations, even during the warmest months of the year.