5 Perfect (Big) Dayhikes in Glacier National Park

In Hiking, National Park Adventures   |   Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,   |   8 Comments

By Michael Lanza

The morning sun wouldn’t make the climb over Mount Grinnell and find its way into the valley of Swiftcurrent Creek for a couple of hours yet, so we hiked quickly without breaking a sweat in the chilly air. No one else was on the popular Swiftcurrent Pass Trail when we set out shortly after dawn, and this trail was new to us; so it felt like we were the first people to walk into this small but spectacular little crease in the mountains of Glacier National Park.

At the head of the valley, we gazed up at several ribbon-like waterfalls free-falling hundreds of feet down cliffs.

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8 Responses to 5 Perfect (Big) Dayhikes in Glacier National Park

  1. Tam   |  August 10, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Awesome list of hikes! There’s some great ones here I will have to hit up next time I’m in Glacier. Another time, another time. Hope you don’t mind but I linked your blog on my own about a day trip to Glacier National Park. Thanks again!

    Tam

    • MichaelALanza   |  August 10, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Thanks, Tam. I hope you get back to Glacier soon.

  2. Scott   |  August 3, 2017 at 4:35 pm

    Hi Michael,

    Great blog! I’m going to be spending a few days in Glacier Park towards the end of August and was planning on making the Logan Pass to Many Glacier hike the highlight of the trip. I see that you have done that hike in both directions, but was wondering roughly how long it took to complete them? And which direction you prefer? Starting at Many Glacier seems more difficult, but I think I would prefer the lighting a bit better. Wanted to get your thoughts since I will have to plan accordingly to catch the various shuttles.

    Thanks,
    Scott

    • MichaelALanza   |  August 4, 2017 at 5:59 am

      Hi Scott,

      Starting at Many Glacier obviously involves more uphill and is harder, but there are other pros and cons to both. I think the biggest pro to starting at Logan Pass is that you’re most likely to see wildlife like mountain goats and especially bighorn sheep with an early start on the Highline Trail (from Logan Pass), before there are many other hikers on it. But I wouldn’t hike in the dark because of the chance of a nighttime encounter with grizzlies (plus, you can’t see any views). The morning light when you start from Many Glacier is certainly really pretty, too, but the really scenic upper section of that trail, as you’re climbing toward Swiftcurrent Pass, is also spectacular at any time of day. I’d start from Logan Pass when I do it again.

      As for total time, that depends, of course, on your pace. The trails are quite good and well graded, so many moderately fit hikers could maintain a pace of two mph or better, with the slowest section probably the steeper part of the uphill to Swiftcurrent Pass if you’re coming from Many Glacier; I’d plan an hour or more longer hiking in that direction. And it’s 15 miles, so even with lots of photo-taking and gawking, eight hours or less isn’t hard to accomplish. If you make the very worthy side trip to Grinnell Glacier Overlook, that’s a consistently steeper and slower trail.

      Good luck.

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  5. Greg   |  April 23, 2014 at 11:27 am

    A couple of big days that I also recommend, though with glacier you can’t go wrong anywhere.

    1) I did Ahern pass from the loop, but also bagged Ahern peak and Swiftcurrent Peak during the day. Very very long day, but very special!

    2) Triple divide peak and norris mountain from cut bank in a day.

    3) Mount helen, flinsch peak, and rising wolf all in a day from two medicine campground, first hiking up to dawson pass.

    • michaellanza   |  April 23, 2014 at 11:30 am

      I want to do them! Thanks for the suggestions.

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