Sunday, September 25, 2011

Majestic Many Glacier

I think most people would likely agree that Many Glacier is the most snenic area in Glacier National Park. Several of the most memorable hikes in the park begin from this valley.

Many people experience the grandeur of Many Glacier for the first time from the parking lot above the historic Many Glacier Hotel:

From there you can take an easy stroll around Swiftcurrent Lake. It's quite common to see bears and moose in this area:

Iceberg Lake is one of the most popular hikes in Glacier. Below is Kathy as we approach the Ptarmigan Wall, an arĂȘte, or thin ridge of rock separating two valleys that have been carved by glaciers:

Of course you can't name a lake "Iceberg Lake" if you don't have any icebergs floating around. Compared to our visits in 1998 and 2004, this was by far the most ice we've seen in the lake (all three visits occurred in early September):

The other extremely popular hike in Many Glacier is the one to Grinnell Glacier. The 300-acre glacier sits below Mt. Gould and the Continental Divide:

Due to the glacier retreating in recent decades, the melting ice has created a new lake next to the glacier:

Although not quite as popular as Iceberg and Grinnell Glacier, the hike to Ptarmigan Tunnel is one that should not be passed up. The highlight of the hike is passing through the 240-foot tunnel, which cuts a hole through the Ptarmigan Wall. The tunnel was built for horses and early park tours by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930's, so that visitors could pass over into the remote Belly River area.

After hiking all day in the Many Glacier Valley, walking to the other side of the tunnel is like walking into another world. Just beyond the tunnel the trail hugs the red rock cliffs below Crowfeet Mountain:

The views from the other side are simply stunning. You can see Old Sun Glacier on the slopes of Mt. Merritt, Natoas Peak, and the Belly River as it flows into Elizabeth Lake more than 2300 feet below you:

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hikingthehighcountry said...

Thank you for sharing your lovely and intriguing pics!

Carol said...

Beautiful pictures! Wish I was there right now!