16 Best Glacier National Park Hikes

16 Best Glacier National Park Hikes


Located in Montana, Glacier National Park provides many nice mountaineering experiences. The park is filled with superb pure wonders of contemporary blue lakes, imposing mountains and awe-inspiring glaciers.

With greater than 700 miles of each brief hikes and prolonged backpacking trails, it’s simple to search out one you’ll love. Here are my picks for the 16 finest Glacier National Park hikes. This publish was initially written by Julie from Outdoorzer who shared her shared her must-see trails if you go to Glacier National Park and The Planet D staff has added extra selection that can assist you plan your journey.

Hiking Glacier National Park

Before you begin your hike, plan for a protected mountaineering expertise. Stop on the park’s guests heart to get all the data you want, suggestions from the guides, and any particular warnings. Visit the National Park web site for closures and extra info.

When mountaineering Glacier National Park: Be conscious of bears and cougars (mountain lions) and use correct security precautions. Hiking in teams or pairs lowers the danger, make noise, and don’t go away any meals out to draw animals. 

glacier national park

Plus, don’t neglect to let somebody know the place you’re going. Be positive to have sufficient water, meals, and provides ought to something occur. We all the time carry a fundamental first help package when mountaineering. But most significantly, deliver a way of journey and have enjoyable if you attempt one in every of these superb hikes.

1. Ptarmigan Tunnel

hikes in glacier national park ptarmigan tunnel
Ptarmigan Tunnel is a troublesome however stunning hike.

The Ptarmigan Tunnel is a full day Glacier National Park hike. This is an unimaginable path, as a result of if you come out on the different aspect of the tunnel, you are feeling such as you’ve walked into one other world.

When passing by this 240-foot tunnel, you hike by massive meadows stuffed with wildlife in addition to a dense forest. Keep in thoughts that this tunnel was constructed for horses in the course of the Thirties and it’s full of varied slopes and edge ridges.

After you go Ptarmigan Falls, the path will get lots steeper, so be ready for some robust mountaineering throughout this part. It then continues for about 1.6 miles to Ptarmigan Lake, the place you possibly can calm down and admire among the most stunning surroundings within the space. Be ready for an extended day.

Location: Ptarmigan Tunnel Total Distance: 10.7 miles spherical journey Elevation Gain: 2300 ft

2. Swiftcurrent Pass

best hikes in glacier national park montana swift current pass
Swiftcurrent Pass has beautiful surroundings and the prospect to see a number of wildlife.

This is a troublesome Glacier National Park hike but it surely’s price it for the nice surroundings. This hike passes by three lakes and a spectacular waterfall. Throughout your hike, you could spy on among the rarest and most colourful birds all through the six lakes.

You may even see the beautiful Granite Park. In truth, throughout this hike, you will get among the most unimaginable photographs of the blue lake and the encircling mountains. If you want, cease at Fishercap Lake, the place you would possibly see moose within the mornings or early within the night.

Length: Location: Many Glacier Round Trip 14.2 miles Elevation Gain: 2400 Feet

3. Iceberg Lake

Check out some icebergs in Iceberg Lake

This is likely one of the hottest mountaineering experiences in Montana’s Glacier National Park. It additionally provides you the alternative to see icebergs floating in an alpine lake. When you hike right here you go by many open areas alongside the best way that provide you with excellent vistas of the peaceable mountains round you.

This hike takes about 4-hours to finish and begins on the identical path because the Ptarmigan path. It then veers off to the left on the junction. Be conscious of grizzly bears on this hike.

Location: Iceberg Ptarmigan Trailhead Length:Round Trip: 9.7 miles Average Gain: 1275 Feet

4. Cracker Lake

hikes in glacier national park cracker lake
Cracker Lake is likely one of the most stunning lakes on the planet.

Cracker Lake is taken into account to be one of the crucial stunning lakes on the planet. The superb coloration of the lake is a crystal clear aqua blue and makes all of the surroundings round you much more fantastic.

Location: Trailhead begins at Many Glacier Hotel Length: Round Trip: 12.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1400 Feet

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5. Pitamakan Pass Trail

glacier national park hike tiamakan lake
Hikes on Pitamakan Trail are restricted as a result of snow many of the yr.

This peaceable path goes over the ridge of Rising Wolf Mountain, passes a waterfall from Sky Lake, and finally ends up at Oldman Lake. From there the path switchbacks as much as Pitamakan Pass. Keep in thoughts although that as a result of snow, this gained’t probably be satisfactory till late July and even August.

Here you possibly can climb up the excessive hills, then drop again down, almost 3,000 ft. You additionally should hike a really slim path so be ready. Expect an extended and full day

Location: North Shore Trailhead Length: Round Trip: 15.4 miles Elevation Gain: 2500 ft

6. Grinnell Glacier Trail

hikes in glacier national park grinnell glacier
Grinnell Glacier is likely one of the most iconic glaciers in Glacier National Park.

This hike takes you to one of the crucial iconic glaciers within the park. You go varied lakes, superb meadows, and gorgeous cliffs alongside the best way. The first half of the hike is simpler than the second half. It then turns into harder because it rises steeply with a number of slopes.

But it’s price it as you possibly can see some superb vistas over Grinnell Falls, Angel Wing, and Grinnell Lake. The mountaineering path is effectively maintained and you could encounter wildlife sightings alongside the best way. No pets allowed

Location: Grinnell Glacier Trailhead Length: Out and Back: 7.6-miles Elevation Gain: 1840 Feet

7. Siyeh Pass

glacier national park hikes siyeh pass
Siyeh Pass takes you thru rocky slopes and the Sunrift Gorge.

This path hike begins in a forest and takes you to varied peaks. Hike the rocky slopes after which go down by extra meadows to the Sunrift Gorge. Follow the path by the timber for about 2.5 miles after which head as much as Preston Park.

Be positive to take a little bit of time to admire the attractive surroundings throughout you earlier than you descend over 3,000 ft for the subsequent 5.4 miles the place you’ll find yourself on the Sunrift Gorge.

Length: Round Trip: 8.9 miles Elevation Gain: 2090 Feet

8. Two Medicine Area

best hikes in glacier national park two mediciine area
The Two Medicine Area is a good place for mountaineering and tenting in Glacier National Park.

Located on the north a part of town of East Glacier, this unimaginable space provides extra jaw dropping surroundings and a few nice mountaineering. The trails are extra peaceable than those at the start line (situated close to the Many Glacier lodge). It’s a very good are to hike in Glacier National Park if you’re a newbie.

You may take a wood boat tour on this space and yow will discover some incredible tenting. At roughly 1.5 miles you emerge from the forest to be greeted by lush meadows and different vegetation. During your hike, you’ll go by a big open meadow and open terrain with colourful wild flowers. If you want, you possibly can spend the night time tenting right here.

Location: Two Medicine Entrance Two Medicine day hikes embody, Appistoki Falls, Aster Falls, Aster Park Overlook

9. Dawson Pass

best glacier national park hikes dawson pass
Dawson Pass takes you by Oldman Lake and a number of other waterfalls.

Hiking the 15-mile Dawson Pass takes you as much as superb views of Oldman Lake. This path crosses the Dawson and Pitamakan passes taking you by peaceable scenes and waterfalls alongside the best way. If you need to shave a while off your hike you possibly can take the shuttle boat throughout Two Medicine Lake.

Location: North Shore Trailhead Length: 6.5 miles Elevation Gain: 2450 ft

10. Hidden Lake Trail

glacier national parks hike Hidden Lake Trail i

While the Hidden Lake Trail is a reasonably brief path, the altitude makes it fairly difficult. The path is totally open, anticipate a number of solar and wind as you stroll by alpine meadows. Depending on the season, you would possibly even should work throughout snowfields.

Keep an eye fixed out for marmots, and big-horn sheep. Mountain goats are frequent on this path and recognizing one makes it fairly the journey. Grizzly bears have been seen within the space as effectively. At the overlook, you’re rewarded with panoramic views of the close by mountains, lake, and wildflowers, nonetheless, it may be very busy on the overlook. A very breathtaking expertise that makes your Hidden Lake hike effectively price it. If you possibly can, carry bear spray and a mountaineering pole.

Location: Logan Pass Visitor Center Elevation achieve: 1325 ft (403 ft) Total spherical journey miles: 5.4 miles (8.9 km)

11. Avalanche Lake

glacier national parks hike Avalanche Lake

This hike begins on the Trail of Cedars trailhead. While it’s an uphill climb you’ll be rewarded with one of the crucial breathtaking views. The terrain on this path will not be difficult making avalanche lake one of the crucial in style hikes for all ages.

There are a number of timber alongside the path that preserve it cool with some greater than 500 years outdated. You’ll go a bridge that crosses Avalanche Gorge and be handled to views of Bearfoot Mountain jutting out from behind Avalanche Lake.

Take a while to arrange a picnic and take within the picturesque of the lake and the waterfalls as you benefit from the diversified panorama of the avalanche creek and forest. While the water on the lake is generally ice-cold and never best for swimming, you dip your toes in to calm down and funky down.

Location: Glacier Road north of Lake McDonald Elevation achieve: 757 ft Avalanche Lake Distance: 5.9 miles

12. Trail of the Cedars

hikes in glacier nationla park trail of the Cedars

Trail of the Cedars has no hills or steps to climb and is one in every of two wheelchair-accessible trails at Glacier National Park. It’s a straightforward path with stunning views of cascading waterfalls and snow-covered peaks. Walk amongst shadows of large cedar, black cottonwood, hemlock, and yew timber. The paths are large and may accommodate many individuals directly. Getting a parking spot might be difficult as this mountaineering path could be very in style amongst guests.

Location: Lake McDonald Elevation achieve: 60 ft Total spherical journey miles: 1.0

13. Highline Trail

hikes in glacier national park Highline Trail

Highline Trail might be one of many spectacular hikes at Glacier National Park. However, it’s not for the faint of coronary heart. If you’re scared o heights you could need to go on this path as on the primary quarter mile you come throughout a steep ledge. There is a hand cable to help you on this stretch, nonetheless, it may be fairly nerve-wracking particularly when it will get windy.

Don’t let this discourage you as this path rewards you with spectacular views of Glacier National Park, the forested valley, waterfall cascades, alpine meadows, and wildflowers. You would possibly even spot some wild animals.

You don’t have to do your entire a method journey, many individuals flip round midway at Haystack Butte or Granite Park Chalet.

Location: Logan Pass Visitor Center Elevation achieve: 1950 ft Total One-Way Trip Miles: 11.8

14. Grinnell Glacier Overlook

glacier national park hikes grinnell glacier overlook

If you’re searching for a problem, attempt the Grinnell Glacier Overlook, which might be one of the crucial strenuous mountaineering trails at Glacier National Park. Starting the hike on the Logan Pass Visitor Center the place the Highline Trail begins. Located southeast of the Granite Park Chalet it takes you to the Continental Divide.

Set out early earlier than the solar will get too sizzling as the primary three miles are open with no shade. Sunscreen and hats are a must have on this stretch. Bring a number of water and a pair of fine mountaineering sneakers because the path can take some time- about 7 hours or extra relying in your pace. A trekking pole will make your hike simpler.

The path is in style with seasoned hikers and might be fairly busy, there are additionally elements with slim edges and steep drop-offs that be fairly nerve-wracking. You would possibly spot some mountain goats and even grizzly bears down within the alpine meadows within the Chalet space.

Location: Highline Trail Elevation achieve: 2830 ft Total journey miles: 15.5

15. Upper McDonald Creek Trail

glacier national park hikes mcdonald creek

The Upper McDonald creek path is among the many simpler hikes at Glacier National Park. It’s a straightforward route within the woods that may be accomplished in beneath 2 hours. Perfect when you’re searching for a peaceable meditative hike.

The terrain is generally flat and really easy making it in style amongst chicken watchers and for horseback driving. The hike begins with scenic views of waterfalls, creeks, and the forest. There is a number of shade accessible which retains the path very cool. If you’re fortunate, you would possibly spot a moose or deer on the path.

Location: Lake McDonald Elevation achieve: 210 ft Total out and again miles: 5.3 Miles

16. Swiftcurrent Lake Nature Trail

glacier national park hikes Swiftcurrent Lake Nature Trail

The hike begins on the many glacier lodge boat dock or on the Grinnell Glacier trailhead simply close to the picnic space. The hike is pretty simple and might be accomplished in an hour as a big portion of the route is paved. It’s an excellent route for the entire household to get pleasure from a pleasant and enjoyable hike with stunning views throughout for images. Take a second to get pleasure from stunning views of the lake and the encircling mountain peaks. Carry with you bear spray as there may be lots of bear exercise within the space.

Location: Many Glacier Elevation achieve: 25 ft Total spherical journey miles: 2.7

Likes in Glacier National Park Map

Tips for Hiking Glacier National Park

glacier national park hikes grinnell glacier

When mountaineering within the backcountry, it’s best to hike in teams. There is lots of wildlife in Glacier National Park together with Grizzly bears. When mountaineering with a gaggle, make noise, preserve speaking and let the wildlife know you might be there so that you just don’t startle them.

Get a Steripen or LifeStraw to fill your water bottle with purified water. Make positive you might have a bottle holder in your backpack and preserve it full. I like to hold two bottles of water that I can refill by utilizing my Steripen.

Pack layers. You shall be going by elevation features and the climate can change from sizzling to chill, so put on light-weight breathable clothes that may be simply layered with a rain jacket and a mid-layer of merino wool.

Make positive your mountaineering boots are effectively damaged in and use them earlier than you go mountaineering into Glacier National Park.

Always let somebody know the place you’re going earlier than mountaineering and examine with the web site and ranger station to see what the situations are.

And there you might have it, my favourite 16 Glacier National Park hikes. Remember, you don’t have to complete any of those hikes as there may be all the time a possibility to show round.

Give your self sufficient time when mountaineering to make it again earlier than the solar goes down and don’t hike past your limits. Glacier National Park has hikes for everybody, so be sensible and hike inside your capabilities. Start small and have enjoyable!

glacier national park hikes guide book

Did you already know Glacier National Park within the United States is related to Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park? The two parks are referred to as the International Peace Park, they’re a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and a Biosphere Reserved rolled multi functional. It’s the one one in every of its type on the planet.

This publish was initially written by Julie Mclain of Outdoorszer. It has been up to date by The Planet D Team.

Thinking of performing some Glacier National Park hikes? Pick up the whole information to mountaineering Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks on Amazon. 

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