The Top 10 Hikes in Glacier National Park
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Located in Montana, Glacier National Park has some of the best hikes of any national park. The famous Going-to-the-Sun Road connects the east and west sides of the park, crossing the Continental Divide at Logan Pass.
Ask anyone what their favorite national park is, and there's definitely a chance they're going to say Glacier. With blue lakes, 26 glaciers, alpine meadows, 700 miles of trails, and abundant wildlife, there’s lots to see. Below are some of the best hikes in Glacier National Park!
Avalanche Lake via the Trail of the Cedars
Distance: 5.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 757 feet
Arrive early for this gorgeous, but popular hike. You’ll hike through old-growth cedars and a hemlock forest along a stream to a gorgeous lake with waterfalls. The lake is a stunning, clear blue, and you’re rewarded with beautiful views along the way. You may even see bears along the way.
Distance: 11.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,181 feet
This challenging hike leads to a glacier high above a blue lake. There are two ways to start the hike, either hike the whole way on foot, or take two boats from the Many Glacier Hotel to make the hike about 7.5 miles roundtrip. If you hike the whole way, you’ll be hiking along the shores of the two lakes to start your adventure. After you reach the second lake, your hike starts to climb above the valley below. This is where the views start. You’ll see the lakes below you and Grinnell Falls falling hundreds of feet. Eventually, you’ll reach Grinnell Glacier Viewpoint where you can stop for a snack, go for a dip in the lake, or just hang out until you’re ready to head back down.
Highline Trail (one way from Logan Pass to The Loop parking area)
Distance: 11.4 miles
Highline Trail is one of the best hikes in Glacier National Park. Hike this one-way hike from Logan Pass to The Loop to have a mostly downhill hike. Going the other way means you’ll have a mostly uphill hike. You’ll either need two cars, one at each parking area, or you’ll need to catch a shuttle. During 2021, the parks service has a Ticket To Ride system going, so you’ll need to reserve that in advance. You should get as early a shuttle as you can to ensure you have as much daylight as possible for this long hike. They start running at 7 a.m.
On this hike you’ll be far above the park and Going to the Sun road below you. You may see goats, bears, and other wildlife as you walk this trail. Eventually, you’ll come to Granite Park Chalet which is a great spot for a quick snack before you keep on heading down the trail to The Loop parking area. Lots of the iconic photos you see of Glacier National Park are taken from this trail, and if you’ve got the fitness for it, it’s an amazing hike. The mountains you’ll see along the way, as well as the incredible views, will stay in your memories forever!
But, in case the shuttles aren’t easy to deal with, or you don’t have a second car, we’ve got a second great option for you just below that allows you to do most of this trail.
Highline Trail (out and back to Granite Park Chalet from Logan Pass)
Distance: 14.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,578 feet
This option allows you to do most of the hike above. You’ll still get to hike far above the road, see goats and bears, and the gorgeous park around you, but it doesn’t require you to have a second car or to take the shuttle. It’s an out and back, but you want to try to get to Logan Pass by 7 a.m. (earlier if possible) to ensure you get parking at this popular spot.
For this option, you’ll hike to The Granite Park Chalet almost 7.5 miles away from Logan Pass. The chalet was built from 1914-1915 by the Great Northern Railway to provide comfortable backcountry accommodations in a rustic lodge at the park. It’s only accessible by the trail, but you can still sleep here during part of the year today with advance reservations. Check out the chalet’s availability here. And even if you don’t spend the night here, it’s still a cool spot to hike to before heading back on your way.
Distance: 9.3 miles
Elevation: 1,450 feet
Most of this hike is easy to moderate with just one steep section lasting .1 mile nearing the beginning. You’ll see panoramic views for most of this hike, get to see Ptarmigan Falls, and reach Iceberg Lake, named so because it has icebergs floating in it all year long. The lake stands in a nearby mountain’s shadow, and rarely sees sun, so the water is extra cold. You may even see grizzlies on this hike, so be sure to be prepared!
Hidden Lake (shorter option)
Distance: 2.9 miles
Elevation: 567 feet
Hidden Lake (longer option)
Distance: 5.3 miles
Elevation: 1,374 feet
Whether you choose the shorter or longer option for this hike, you’ll enjoy seeing the lake. Both options will give you panoramic views of the lake after you’ve hiked through alpine meadows. You’ll have amazing views of the nearby mountains and may even see bighorn sheep, marmots, wolverines, and grizzly bears on your hike. The longer version of this hike takes you to the lakeshore, while both take you to the best lake viewpoint. As a heads up, snow can linger here into the summer due to the altitude, so you may want poles or spikes. This is also a popular hike, so try to be there early to beat the crowds.
Trail of the Cedars
Distance: .9 miles
Elevation: 49 feet
This wheelchair and stroller-friendly hike leads you through a beautiful cedar forest. It features a river and there are lots of educational placards about the plants surrounding you. You’ll enjoy the smell of cedar on this nice walk. It’s perfect for a shorter hike, or to stretch the legs.
St. Mary and Virginia Falls
Distance: 2.9 miles
Elevation: 452 feet
See beautiful lake views and cascading waterfalls on this great hike. While a lot of the hikes in the park are on the longer side, this one is perfect if you’re wanting a shorter one with a great reward. If you visit on a warm day, you can take a dip in the water as you enjoy the beauty around you.
Distance: 5.6 miles
Elevation: 278 feet
This hike gives you peaceful views as you travel alongside a pretty creek. There are lots of great spots to sit and enjoy the water and you’ll see a few smaller waterfalls along the way. In the winter, the road to the trail may close adding two extra miles round trip to this hike. And if you don’t have a car with four-wheel drive, you may want to park just uphill of the parking lot to avoid going up that hill when leaving.
Distance: 12 miles
Elevation: 1,650 feet
See wildflowers, cross a stream, hike through the forest, and see a stunning turquoise lake on this wonderful hike. You’ll be amazed at the views you see on this adventure, and you may even get to see wildlife like bears and moose. Horses can also use this trail, so you may see them and their riders on their way to the lake too. This is one of the best hikes in Glacier National Park, and it can be crowded, so be sure to get there early!
Johns Lake Loop
Distance: 1.9 miles
Elevation: 183 feet
Hike around a beautiful lake and stretch your legs. It’s a great hike for young kids. You’ll cross over a river, see a waterfall, and get scenic mountain views on your hike. There’s no cell service, so be sure to download a map before you go.
Redrock Falls via Swiftcurrent Pass
Distance: 3.6 miles
Elevation: 236 feet
You’ll see abundant wildlife on this easy, kid-friendly trail; you may see bears, moose, marmots, foxes, deer, and more! Soak your feet in the lake on your way, and see the gorgeous falls at the end. It’s a great hike to take the family on and will reward you with lots to see for fairly little effort.
No matter where you go in Glacier National Park, there are lots of beautiful trails, gorgeous hikes, and fantastic things to see. It won’t cease to amaze you. Be sure to tag AdventureTripr in any social media posts; we love seeing your photos and what you get to explore! And if you want a personalized trip planned for you, be sure to check out our Glacier National Park trip.