Iceberg Lake/Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail, Glacier National Park.

Ask Me: What Hikes Do You Suggest For Three Days in Glacier National Park?

In Ask Me, Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   9 Comments

Michael,

Thank you for providing a wonderful blog filled with amazing photos and inspiring trips. I enjoy your family adventures section, as I love taking my kids with me to enjoy the outdoors. I live in Utah so the options are endless.

I am heading to Glacier National Park with my husband for our 20th anniversary and am wondering what your hike suggestions would be.

We will have 3 full days in the park and will be staying on the U.S. side. I read your article “5 Perfect (Big) Days in Glacier National Park” and will definitely be choosing a hike from that list for one of the days. But I am hoping you have some suggestions for hikes in about the seven-mile range. Neither of us has experienced Glacier and we are very excited for our upcoming adventure.

Thanks in advance for any information you share.

Angee
Lehi, UT

Hi Angee,

Thanks for the nice compliment about The Big Outside, I’m glad you enjoy it. I agree, you do live in a beautiful state. You’ll find lots of trip ideas about Utah at my site, too.

Happy anniversary. Hard to imagine a better place to celebrate it than Glacier National Park. If you’re looking for my recommendations for the hikes I’d do if I had three days, here they are:

1. From Logan Pass, dayhike north out-and-back (as far as you feel like going) on the Highline Trail, which is entirely above treeline, with spectacular views of the mountains. I’ve seen mountain goats and bighorn sheep on this trail, and just missed a close encounter with a grizzly bear. Also from Logan Pass, it’s an easy, 2.7-mile round-trip hike to Hidden Lake Overlook, another alpine trail with wildflowers and killer views.

Piegan Pass Trail, Glacier National Park.

Piegan Pass Trail, Glacier National Park.

2. Although at 9.2 miles round-trip it’s a little longer than you might be looking for, the hike to Piegan Pass from Siyeh Bend gives views of the Garden Wall that are breathtaking. Siyeh Bend is just a couple miles east of Logan Pass on the Sun Road.

3. From Many Glacier on the park’s east side, Iceberg Lake is a popular, 9.6-mile round-trip hike to the lake, which is tucked in at the base of sheer cliffs. Grizzly sightings are fairly common in this area (I’ve seen them twice, from a distance), and the park sometimes closes the trail to hikers if there’s a concern about bear contact.

My story describing big dayhikes in Glacier mentions going from Logan Pass to Many Glacier via the Granite Park Chalet and Swiftcurrent Pass, which is a bit over seven miles each day if you spend a night at the chalet. I highly recommend it if you don’t mind a night in rustic accommodations where you prepare your own meals. The entire hike is drop-dead beautiful, including the descent from Swiftcurrent Pass, where you’re walking below waterfalls plunging hundreds of feet down sheer cliffs. Going from Logan Pass to Many Glacier is also a net downhill hike, and not difficult for the distance. The biggest logistical challenge is getting your car to Many Glacier and then getting back to Logan Pass to start the hike.

Glacier’s trails are very well constructed at a moderate grade, not very steep, so you may find these hikes seem relatively easy for the distance involved. There’s a free park shuttle bus on Going-to-the-Sun Road only. Expect a lot of traffic and very slow going on that road most days in July or August, so start early in the morning to beat most of the traffic—and to have a better chance of seeing wildlife either from your car or on the trail.

I hope that’s helpful. Let me know if you have other questions.

Have a great trip. You will love Glacier and want to go back.

Best,
Michael

 

Bighorn sheep along the Highline Trail, Glacier National Park.

Bighorn sheep along the Highline Trail, Glacier National Park.

Michael,

Thank you so much for the information. With so much to see in Glacier, I am thankful for some suggestions from an experienced source—all 3 of your suggestions just made my itinerary. I especially appreciate the wildlife tips as I am hopeful to see a mountain goat. Although I spend plenty of time in the Utah mountains, they have eluded me.

Angee

Angee,

You’re welcome. And while you may see wildlife in Glacier at any time of day, the early mornings really are the best, before a lot of other hikers have frightened the animals away from the trails. Given the density of bears, though, I wouldn’t start hiking before dawn (in case you’re an early riser and were thinking about that).

Have fun.

Michael

In Ask Me, I share and respond to a reader question. Got a question about hiking, backpacking, gear, or any topic or trip I write about at The Big Outside? Send it to me at mlanza@thebigoutside.com, message me at facebook.com/TheBigOutside, or tweet it to @MichaelALanza. I will answer the ones I can in a post, using only your first name and city, with your permission. I receive a high volume of questions, so I cannot always respond quickly.

—Michael Lanza

 

9 Responses to Ask Me: What Hikes Do You Suggest For Three Days in Glacier National Park?

  1. ProfBSU   |  August 20, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    My coolest “off trail hikes” in Glacier are: 1) Mt. Reynolds via north face goat trail. Class 3 and 4 all the way to summit; 2) Mt. Wilbur in Many Glacier area. Thin man’s pleasure route, which is a lot of class 4 with exposure; 3) Ptarmigan tunnel to Ahern pass. From there you can either go back to Many via Iceberg notch. For all 3 hikes check out the Climber’s Guide to NPS by Gordon Edwards. It’s nice to get off the beaten path to explore Glacier.

    • michaellanza   |  August 21, 2014 at 7:32 am

      Thanks for the suggestions, all good ones for experienced off-trail hikers. Some of these have been on my to-do list. I guess I need to get back to Glacier again soon!

  2. Angee Draper   |  August 16, 2014 at 7:55 am

    Such an amazing place. Thank you so much for the suggestions – they were fantastic. I only wish I would have had the legs to do 4 miles more on the Piegan Pass hike and hit the Siyeh Pass. Loved having lunch with marmots at the pass. Hidden Lake Overlook was so awesome and we saw lots of goats there. Iceberg lake was just so cool as well. Can’t wait to go back…

    • michaellanza   |  August 16, 2014 at 9:51 am

      I’m glad it went well, Angee.

  3. Brenda Jacobs   |  August 15, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Thank you! Heading out there next month again, can’t wait! hoping to catch the rams this time. I have never seen one!

  4. Lori   |  August 15, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    On my previous comment, I neglected to mention that from Logan Pass you would hike the Highline first, then up and over Swiftcurrent as the “Ask Me” writer states…..

  5. Lori   |  August 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm

    A shuttle (Van) comes to Many Glacier at 7:30 and will take hikers to the St Mary visitor center so they can catch the free shuttle to Logan Pass. This is $10.00 per person and is first come first served. (I’d be there by 7:00). You can leave your vehicle at Many Glacier, shuttle to Logan Pass, then up and over Swiftcurrent Pass back to MG and your car. Have done this several times, the latest being about a week and a half ago.

    • michaellanza   |  August 16, 2014 at 7:19 am

      Thanks Lori. Do you have a website link for that shuttle service?

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