Ask Me: The Best Hikes For 3 Days in Glacier National Park
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 three full days in the park and will be staying on the U.S. side. I read your article “5 Perfect (Big) Dayhikes 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.
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 (lead photo at top of story), 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.
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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. The park’s free shuttle bus on Going-to-the-Sun Road stops at all trailheads. 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.
Gear up right for hikes in Glacier. See my reviews of the best hiking shoes and the 7 best daypacks.
See a menu of all of my stories about Glacier at The Big Outside by scrolling down to Glacier on my All National Parks Trips page.
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.
Plan your next great backpacking adventure in Glacier and other flagship parks using my expert e-guides.
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.
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).
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