The Latest: Stranded Glacier visitors take long path out - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

The Latest: Stranded Glacier visitors take long path out

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HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The Latest on a fire cutting off backcountry visitors in Glacier National Park (all times local):

1:30 p.m.

All but three of the 42 people at a Glacier National Park backcountry chalet have decided to hike out along a long and difficult alternative route after a wildfire cut them off from the main trail.

Suzie Menke is the office manager of Benton Chalets Inc., which runs the Sperry Chalet. She says 39 people who stayed overnight set off Friday on a rugged trail that climbs two mountain passes over 13 miles (21 kilometers) to reach the road system.

She says three guests will remain at the lodge until park officials say it's safe to return by the main trail to Lake McDonald Lodge.

The fire is burning near the main trail after lightning ignited it during a Thursday storm.

Park rangers are also leading out hikers who were staying in backcountry campgrounds near the fires.

10:45 a.m.

A wildfire has cut off the return route of dozens of hikers staying in a Glacier National Park backcountry chalet.

Park spokeswoman Lauren Alley said Friday the 40 or 50 people at Sperry Chalet can either remain in place or hike out along a trail that is more than twice as long and leads to the opposite end of the park.

The stone chalet built more than a century ago is a top attraction in one of the busiest areas of the Montana park. It is often booked months in advance, despite its main access being a steep trail nearly 7 miles (11 kilometers) long from Lake MacDonald Lodge.

Several fires broke out after a lightning storm Thursday. Rangers are guiding out campers from five other backcountry campsites, in addition to the chalet.

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