Campfire Classics

Books that capture the essence and identity of the Crown Jewel of the Continent


The stunning beauty of Glacier Park speaks for itself. But sometimes it’s nice to capture the unique qualities of this region in words. Glacier Park has spawned many books over the decades, from exciting historical accounts to guides sharing all the best sites to explore. A place this stunning is worth getting to know a little better, and here are a few books that tap into the heritage and identity of this special preserve. These books share exciting tales of adventure and memorable reminders that will last with you well beyond the park’s boundaries.

Crown of the Continent: The Wildest Rockies
By Steven Gnam, Douglas Chadwick, Michael Jamison & Dylan Boyle, Mountaineer Books, 2014, 193 pages
This large-format photography book has it all when it comes to capturing the essence and majesty of Glacier Park and its surroundings. Acclaimed photographer Steven Gnam captures the intricate details and untrammelled beauty of the Crown of the Continent, stretching through wilderness and some of America’s most amazing terrain, including Glacier Park. Alongside the photos, this stunning book features essays from wildlife biologist and writer Douglas Chadwick, writer Michael Jamison and local geotourism expert Dylan Boyle. The Crown of the Continent, stretching across Montana and southern Canada, is one of the richest wild places intact in North America. The Crown is home to a great diversity of animals, birds, and insects.


What They Called It: Volumes 1 & 2
By Blake Passmore, Montana Outdoor Guidebooks, 2015 & 2016, 98-101 pages each
What’s in a name? Kalispell native and avid explorer Blake Passmore began asking that question the more he frequented one of his favorite destinations: Glacier National Park.

There’s a story behind just about every nook and cranny in the Crown Jewel of the Continent, and Passmore spent the past two years digging through archives, books and other historical data for his latest books, “What They Called It: Stories of Glacier’s Names Along Going-to-the-Sun Road.” Passmore has released two volumes to date chronicling names in different regions of the park. The books join Passmore’s well-known climbing guides as the latest additions to his Glacier Park collection, which helps readers better understand and explore the iconic park.

Many of the sites in Glacier Park no longer bear the original names that were given by the Indian tribes who lived and explored the area well before white settlers arrived. Passmore explores this rich history, combining the research of well-known historic author James Willard Schultz and bringing the pages to life with expansive color photos.


Death in Glacier National Park: Stories of Accidents and Foolhardiness in the Crown of the Continent
By Randi Minetor, Lyons Press,2016, 229 pages
Not to be morbid, but the outdoors can be a dangerous place. A total of 264 people have died or gone missing in the wilds of Glacier National Park. Drowning is the leading cause of death in the park. Randi Minetor, the author of over 30 books, shares the dramatic and deadly stories of Glacier’s history. The tales include the famed “night of the grizzly,” when, in 1967, two teenage girls were killed in separate attacks by grizzly bears 10 miles apart from each other. This collection of stories provides a reminder that danger lurks in the wild and Mother Nature is not to be taken lightly.


Wild River Pioneers: Adventures in the Middle Fork of the Flathead River, Great Bear Wilderness and Glacier National Park
By John Fraley, Big Mountain Publishing, 2008, 242 pages
A local expert on wildlife and wild places in Northwest Montana, John Fraley chronicles the events surrounding the exciting pioneer history and landscape of the Middle Fork of the Flathead River drainage in and around the Great Bear Wilderness and Glacier National Park. Fraley dives into the history of Montana’s wildest river drainage by telling stories of some of its most riveting historical characters with shootouts, murders, a hanging, a train robbery and marauding grizzly bears. This must-read book has it all: action, adventure and history all wrapped together.