The best way to experience Glacier National Park’s pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, and spectacular lakes is on the trail.
The crown of the continent. Glacier National Park has over 700 miles of trails, making it a hiker’s paradise. Whether you are seeking adventure, solitude, a quick stroll, or a trip deep into the backcountry, Glacier’s trails have something for everyone.
Planning Your Adventure
When planning your hiking adventure in Glacier, it’s important to come prepared. A few things to keep in mind:
- Don’t hike alone. Hike as a group, and stick together. If you are traveling alone, the park hosts several ranger-led hikes everyday that you can join.
- Plan on having no cell service. Plan your day before entering the park.
- The weather can vary throughout the park and can be very different than the weather at Marina Cay. Stop at a visitor center or ranger station for trail and weather conditions before you go.
- Bring plenty of water
- Carry bear spray (and know how to use it).
- Remember to leave no trace. If you pack it in, pack it out.
Best Easy Day Hikes
You can enjoy the beauty of Glacier without going to extremes. These hikes are relatively short, on well- defined, easy-to-follow trails that take you to some of the park’s best views and scenery.
Trail of the Cedars: This is the most accessible trail in the park, being one of two wheelchair accessible trails. You will start at the Avalanche Lake campground and follow a raised boardwalk through western hemlocks and red cedars, while also getting views of the impressively beautiful Avalanche Gorge.
Rocky Point Nature Trail: this trail passes through the area burned by the Robert Fire in 2003. Hikers will enjoy spectacular views of Lake McDonald and the surrounding peaks.
Hidden Lake Overlook: This is one of the most popular hikes in the park. You will hike through meadows with stunning mountain views and end at the overlook with impressive views of Hidden Lake, Bearhat Mountain and other peaks. The trail is known for its population of mountain goats who frequent the trail and surrounding meadows. Keep your eye out for them, along with bighorn sheep, marmots, and wolverines which are also common sights on this trail.
Running Eagle Falls: The second of two wheelchair accessible trails, the Running Eagle trailhead is just west of the Two Medicine entrance to the park. Also known as “Trick Falls”, this is a great option for the whole family.
Swiftcurrent Nature Trail: Take this easy stroll for outstanding views of the Many Glacier Valley. After the Swiftcurrent trail, you will also have an option to extend your hike around Lake Josephine.
St. Mary’s Falls: A short hike with impressive waterfall views. What more could you ask for?
Intermediate and Advanced Day Hikes
There are endless trails available in the park. Depending on what you are looking for when it comes to views, difficulty or distance, there is plenty of variety.
For a full, comprehensive roundup, we recommend visiting hikinginglacier.com.
Apgar Lookout: This hike features amazing views of Lake McDonald. Bonus: This is a great early season hike because it is one of the first to be snow-free.
Highline Loop: The Highline Loop begins from the north side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road at Logan Pass. The best way to experience the Highline Trail is to start at Logan Pass and hike one way to The Loop. If you have your own car, you can park at The Loop and then take the free park shuttle up to Logan Pass, hiking down to your car at The Loop. The Highline Trail features spectacular scenery, opportunities for spotting wildlife and wildflowers.
Avalanche Lake: This extremely popular hike covers 4.5 miles round trip with a turnaround point at the picturesque Avalanche Lake.
Grinnell Glacier: This hike can vary from 7-10 miles and starts in Many Glacier. To shorten the overall hike, take advantage of the boat ride across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine. Note: there is a fee to ride the two boats. The trail features views of Grinnell Falls, Angel Wing, Mt. Gould, the Continental Divide and Grinnell Lake. To view the glaciers and Upper Grinnell Lake, make sure you follow the trail beyond the picnic area.
Piegan Pass: The hike to Piegan Pass begins from the Siyeh Bend Trailhead, located roughly 2 miles east of Logan Pass. This 9 mile hike features outstanding views and over 1800 feet of elevation gain.
Two Medicine Pass: Two Medicine Pass is a hidden gem in the park. It’s strenuous, but you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views into the southern end of the park. Even just a trip to the trailhead will afford you views of Painted Tepee Peak, Sinopah Mountain, Lone Walker Mountain and Flinsch Peak.
Want to extend your adventure into the backcountry? With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier is a backpacking paradise.
Learn more about backcountry permits and requirements here.