Glacier National Park is incredible! It is very scenic with lots of trails, wildlife, mountains, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls and very colorful rocks! I will say this though, most of the trails are loooooong! But you can still see a lot of the landscape from just the roads and some shorter hikes.
Awesome Short(ish) Hike:
St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls:
St. Mary Falls (.8 miles) and Virginia Falls (1.5) miles, one-way, are great short hikes with swimming holes and waterfalls. There is a place at St. Mary Falls where people jump off a ledge in the water with a waterfall behind them. It’s a nice scenic place to hang out.
You pass St. Mary Falls, heading to Virginia Falls. These falls are bigger than St. Mary’s. The rock has a petty red color and it’s nice to see. People were also swimming around this area too.
There are two main roads in this park. The Sun Road and Many Glacier. Both go East and West, but the Sun Road longer connecting two towns at the beginning and end. Many Glacier is an out and back road. Both roads bring you to different trails. Many Glacier bringing you more into the glaciers while the Sun Road bringing you mostly to mountains and lakes. Both beautiful places to check out and see. Virginia Falls and St. Mary Falls are off the Sun Road.
Epic Popular Long Hikes:
The Highline trail is an 11.6 mile one-way trail that starts from Logan Pass and ends at The loop trail-head. At this point, it is fairly easy to take a free shuttle back to your car or to wherever you are staying. This trail follows along the steep side of a mountain to the Granite Park Chalet which is 7.6 miles into the trail. The Granite Park Chalet is a backpackers camp on top of this mountain, pretty much in the middle of nowhere. Very pretty!
When hiking this trail, there are a couple of options. When starting from Logan Pass, heading toward the Chalet, you will pass a side trail for the Garden Wall trail, which is an extra .6 mile one-way side trail that will bring you to a point, to give you an even more splendid view of the park.
Also at The Chalet, you have a choice. You can continue heading toward the loop trail-head (11.6 mile hike), or you can take a right to swiftcurrent pass. This you can either do as a side trail, go out and back to swift-current pass, back to the chalet, which is .9 miles one-way. Or you can continue heading down, passed swiftcurrent pass to Many Glacier. If you choose to take swiftcurrent pass to Many Glacier instead of going to the Loop Trailhead, it is longer, but much more prettier. You also will have to arrange a ride unlike if you go to the Loop Trailhead. Going down into Many Glacier there are accommodations, so you can plan to stay the night there, have a car waiting for you, or take the expensive shuttle ride back to the Sun Road. The Highline trail is very popular so expect crowds, and possibly some mountain goats and sheep along the way :).
Grinnell Glacier is an 11 mile one-way hike up towards the glacier. It is pretty much up-hill the entire way, but sooooo worth it! I brought my hiking poles for this hike. The entire hike is beautiful! A very gorgeous hike in itself with vista after vista.
You do have the option in paying for a boat ride, around twenty bucks to take two boats to help shave off 3.4 miles round-trip. The price covers for both the boats going there and back and goes through Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. It is recommended to reserve a spot for the boat. I got lucky. I showed up on a Friday and had no problem. I showed up early though. Like 7:30 early!
Anyway, this hike is amazing, but there is very high bear activity. The hike is also very popular so you should have no problem. If you do find yourself alone, just make noise. It’s the best thing you can do :).
An epic hike you should check out that is not popular
There are a couple of options here. This area is beautiful and I highly recommend it! But there aren’t many people at all!!!! So if you are alone, make noise. I always bring some music with me just so the bears know I am around. And bear spray!
One of the options is to go from Piegan Pass Trailhead which starts at the Siyeh Bend Bus Stop to the Sunrift Gorge. It is a 10 mile one-way trail and both ends of the trail are at bus stops, just in case you need a free shuttle ride. This hike is beautiful. The pass offers a glimpse of the purple mountains!
Another option is you can hike from the Piegan Pass Trailhead to Piegan Pass. You can do it as an out and back trail or continue on passed Piegan Pass and walk to Many Glacier. But just like I mentioned before, then you will need to have accommodations. So if you have two cars, you would need to park one car at Piegan Pass Trailhead and one at Many Glacier, or you can spend the night, or you can pay for a ride to get back to the Sun Road, or hitchhike.
Another option is if you are feeling really eager to get some miles in, you can head up to Piegan Pass, then head back down and continue onto the Sunrift Gorge. But this would probably be a 15 mile day, with lots of elevation! So you would need to be a very strong hiker!
When I hiked this area, I was alone and got very lucky. I ran into hiking groups who were amazing and both hiking groups let me join them. I got a picture with the Bandana Babes, a local hiking group in Montana that let me join there amazing adventure! Thank you Bandana Babes!!!!
Hiking at Many Glacier
Other than the Grinnell Glacier hike, there are other popular hikes. There is Grinnell Lake right by Grinnell Glacier, Iceberg Lake and Ptarmigan Lake and Tunnel. I was in this park for a week and they had this area closed due to high amounts of bear activity so I could not check them out, but I heard that these were all good hikes. Especially Iceberg Lake. I heard great things about that hike!
A part of the Going to the Sun Road hugs the side of these mountains and has a sheer rock wall on one side and a drop off on the other. It’s a pretty fascinating road. The road was so complicated to build in one area, the park service had to hire the best masonry workers to help construct this one part of the road. These masonry workers were from Russia. Note: the mountain goats are available for purchase.
Hope you enjoy your time at Glacier National Park. It really is a fantastic park and I know personally, I hope to come back! Hope you have a great day/night.
Here is a video of the park I made in case you are interested 🙂 Hope you enjoy!!!!