Glacier National Park is a unique ecosystem. Dotted with more than 100 named lakes. Glacier is the natural habitat for more than a thousand species of flora and hundreds of species of animals. This is also one of the few places on earth where almost all the historically known species are still present.
Hiking in Glacier is an unbelievable experience, with many trails to pick from. The trails differ a lot in what you are able to see, trail conditions and how difficult the hike is. We’ve picked three ultimate hikes you must do in Glacier National Park that are suited for different hiking abilities. The park has more than 700 miles (1,120 km) of hiking and trekking trails. Most of these are classified as backcountry hikes. Even though this destination attracts more than 3 million visitors a year. When the crowds disperse through the trail networks, you can still feel like you are the only one out in the wilderness. Especially in spring and fall.
Easy Hike: Hidden Lake Overlook
Hidden Lake Overlook is an easy hike that usually takes between 1-2 hours. It’s only 1.3 miles (2.1 km) long each way and has under 540 ft (165 m) of elevation gain. While this hike is perfect for families. The stunning view makes the view overlooking Hidden Lake a highlight for any visitor to Glacier.
We think that the Hidden Lake Overlook trail is one of the best short hikes in the world. Hundreds of people come here absorbing the beauty of this fragile ecosystem. As you walk along the boardwalk, created to protect the flora around you. Don’t forget to stop and take in the beauty of your surroundings.
You will see some of the most amazing views of mountains, tarns, and forests that will make your jaw drop. If you’re lucky, you might see mountain goats, marmots, and other animals close-by. As you reach the overlook, you can see the amazing views of Hidden Lake. Sitting beautifully under the protection of Bearhat Mountain. Later in-the-season, you can actually continue this trail right down to the lake.
The main tip to enjoy this hike is to get here early (or late) to see more animals and fewer people. Also, make sure you get your hiking boots on. Even though it’s an easy walk, it gets wet from the streams of the melting snow. It’s a lot more comfortable to wear proper boots rather than trying to find a dry spot to jump on. This hike is accessed from Logan Pass, which is only open from around mid-June to mid-September each year.
Intermediate Hike: Scenic Point
The Scenic Point Hike is a moderate hike near Two Medicine Lake, a less visited part of Glacier National Park. This trail is 6 miles (10 km) long and takes you through 2,080 ft 634 m) of elevation gain as you hike to a stunning viewpoint. You don’t have to be an expert hiker to finish
the trail, but this hike will get you huffing as your climb up.
The first mile (1.6 km) is an easy walk before it starts ascending. You will soon enter a ghost forest of dead pines that is quite spectacular. The climb will take you on the Mt Henry Trail, a section of the Continental Divide Trail. An amazing hike starting from New Mexico and going all the way up to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. As you ascend the trail, the views just keep getting better. You can look down on amazing views of Two Medicine Lake. If you look across the Two Medicine Valley, you will be able to see the magical Rising Wolf Mountain on the right of Two Medicine Lake. Als,o Sinopah Mountain to the left – a truly wonderful sight for everyone thrilled by nature.
A great suggestion for this hike is to get there early. This time it’s not only for getting a parking spot. Take some time to enjoy the drive to the Two Medicine area. The views from shore are spectacular, and a boat trip on Two Medicine is highly recommended.
Advanced Hike: Grinnell Glacier
The Grinnell Glacier trail is a moderate-to-difficult hike, which is 10 miles (16 km) long and takes you through 2050 ft (625 m) of elevation gain. It is one of the most popular hikes in Glacier National Park. Being quite strenuous it attracts fewer visitors than other popular hikes, though it
is still quite popular.
Grinnell Glacier is a marvelous hike that has a great combination of sights to enjoy. You can start the trail by taking a boat up Swiftcurrent Lake, this makes the trip about 4 miles (6.4 km) shorter. We love hiking along Swiftcurrent Lake because we regularly see wildlife. So unless the trail is closed due to bear activity, we typically skip the boat and enjoy wildlife spotting. The first part of this hike will take you through beautiful forests, that open up to views of Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine, which also offers a boat ride, if you’re so inclined.
It’s a great opportunity to observe birds and other wildlife in the area. After that, you will start your ascent. This is the part where every switchback will open up a more beautiful overlook than the previous one. Around the middle part of the trail, you will have an amazing view of Grinnell Lake. The trail will become a little bit harder here and you will find yourself walking on steep ledges. With occasional need to use your hands. Early in the season, expect to get a bit wet. As there are some waterfalls that fall right onto the trail (and your head!).
The trail will become a little bit harder here and you will find yourself walking on steep ledges, with occasional need to use your hands. Early in the season, expect to get a bit wet, as there are some waterfalls that fall right onto the trail (and your head!).
After that, you will start your ascent. This is the part where every switchback will open up a more beautiful overlook than the previous one. Around the middle part of the trail, you will have an amazing view of Grinnell Lake. The trail will become a little bit harder here and you will find yourself walking on steep ledges, with occasional need to use your hands. Early in the season, expect to get a bit wet, as there are some waterfalls that fall right onto the trail (and your head!).
Upper Grinnell Lake
The most amazing part of this trail is the Upper Grinnell Lake and the views of the glacier. It’s a spot where everyone takes their time to absorb the beauty of this magnificent national park. If you’re lucky, you might be able to spot a few bighorn sheep, roaming along the mountain slopes.
While these are 3 great hikes in Glacier National Park, they are by no means the only ones. It would be easy to spend a season hiking incredible paths in Glacier National Park, and a holiday here should be on every nature enthusiast’s bucket list. It’s a wonderful place where you can spend weeks and still find amazing trails for every new passing day.