Tuesday, April 3, 2012

The Top 10 Hikes in Glacier National Park

Many people who are unfamiliar, or are making their very first visit to Glacier National Park, want to know what the best day hikes are in the park. Below are my personal top ten hikes in Glacier. Hopefully this will be a helpful starting point as you try to decide where you want to hike during your visit.

Highline Loop – This world famous hike should be on the bucket list of any self respecting hiker. The incredible views, the wildlife and the wildflowers, all combine to make this a hike you'll remember the rest of your life.

Piegan Pass – Just a notch below the Highline Trail on the“awesome meter”, but far less crowded.

Ptarmigan Tunnel – If you’re anywhere near Many Glacier, the hike to Ptarmigan Tunnel shouldn’t be passed up. The highlight of the hike is passing through a 240-foot tunnel that cuts a hole through the Ptarmigan Wall. It was built for horses and early park tours by the Civilian Conservation Corp in the 1930's. After hiking all day in the Many Glacier Valley, walking to the other side of the tunnel is like walking into another world.

Grinnell Glacier - Another extremely popular hike in the Many Glacier area. This one visits the famous 300-acre glacier that sits just below the Continental Divide.

Preston Park - One of my favorite areas in Glacier is Preston Park. It’s a large, incredibly beautiful alpine meadow, located in the valley between Mt. Siyeh and Matahpi Peak (near Logan Pass).

Iceberg Lake - One of the most popular hikes in Glacier. And for good reason. This is a great opportunity to see icebergs floating in a gorgeous alpine lake. You’ll also have commanding views of the Ptarmigan Wall, an arĂȘte, or thin ridge of rock separating two valleys that have been carved by glaciers.

Cracker Lake - Cracker Lake in the Many Glacier area has to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The lake has the most magnificent turquoise color you’ll ever see. If you could ignore the magnificent scenery of the surrounding mountains, it would still be well worth the hike just to see the amazing color of the lake. If it weren’t for the walk through a long section of forest, I would’ve ranked this one a little higher.

Pitamakan Pass - Dawson Pass usually gets all the attention in Two Medicine. However, at least for me, I think the views from Pitamakan Pass are much more dramatic. From the knife-edge pass you can see five lakes on either side of you.

Scenic Point - The rock outcropping that sits above alpine tundra meadows offers stunning panoramic views of the Two Medicine Valley. On a clear day you can even see the Sweet Grass Hills rising above the Great Plains 90 miles away!

Dawson Pass - One of the most popular backcountry hikes in the Two Medicine area is the one up to Dawson Pass. The hike can be shortened to just 9.4 miles by taking the shuttle boat across Two Medicine Lake.

For more information on Glacier National Park, including details on most of the day hikes, accommodations, and other things to do, please visit our new Glacier hiking trail website.


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