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7 Top St. Mary Trails

In: Glacier National Park

The St. Mary Valley is the eastern gateway to Glacier National Park.  St. Mary Valley provides some of the most incredible vistas available in the park.  Prairies, mountains, and forests all converge here to create a diverse habitat for plants and animals.  Mountains with names like Red Eagle, Mahtotopa, Little Chief, and Dusty Star reinforce the cultural history of Native Americans.  Here is a list of the top hikes in St. Mary.

7 Top St. Mary Trails

Florence Falls

Florence Falls - Glacier National Park

Florence Falls – Glacier National Park

Florence Falls is (9.8 miles round-trip) impressive waterfall that can be reached on a day hike in Glacier National Park.  The trail stays within the confines of the forest for most of its length. Having said that though, there is a point on the trail, at Mirror Pond, that just might be one of the most scenic spots in the entire park.

The hike to Florence Falls begins from the Jackson Glacier Overlook, located 12.6 miles west of the St. Mary Entrance Station on the Going-To-The-Sun Road. The trailhead is located near the eastern end of the parking area. To visit the falls hikers will take the Piegan Pass Trail southbound, towards the Reynolds Creek Backcountry Campground.

Gunsight Lake (moderate)

Gunsight Lake - Glacier National Park

Gunsight Lake – Glacier National Park

Gunsight Lake is surrounded by high peaks including Fusillade Mountain to the north and Gunsight Mountain to the west Hiking to Gunsight Lake is 6 miles one-way with an elevation gain of 1500ft.

Hidden Lake (moderate)

Hidden Lake. Glacier National Park

Hidden Lake. Glacier National Park

Hidden Lake Trail is a 4.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near East Glacier Park, Montana that features a lake and is rated as moderate. Uphill hike from the top of Logan Pass to great surprise view of Hidden Lake, with the option of hiking down to the lake. From Hidden Lake Overlook to Hidden Lake is an additional 1.4 miles one-way. The trail gets pretty crowded, so it is always best to start hiking early in the morning and sometimes the best time to spot wildlife. It is a great hike that is not to be missed!

Highline Loop Trail (strenuous)

Highline Trail - Glacier National Park

Highline Trail – Glacier National Park

The Highline Loop hike begins from the north side of the Going-to-the-Sun Road at Logan Pass. The “Loop” refers to a bend in the road on the west side of the park where this hike ends. The best way to do this hike is to park at The Loop, located 13.1 miles east of the McDonald Lodge on the Going-to-the-Sun Road, and then take the free shuttle up to Logan Pass.

The exceptionally beautiful views, the excellent opportunities for spotting wildlife, and the wildflowers, all combine to make the Highline trail one of the popular trails at Logan Pass. The Highline Trail is an extremely popular hike and for a good reason. At every step, and every turn, hikers will have absolutely spectacular scenery as the Highline follows along the Continental Divide, also known as the Garden Wall in this area.

Piegan Pass (strenuous)

Piegan Pass

Piegan Pass Links the St. Mary drainage with the popular Many Glacier area, through a high, barren col between Cataract Mountain and Pullock Mountain. There are no campgrounds along this route, so it must be attempted as a long day hike. The trail may also be hiked from north to south; this greatly increases its difficulty due to the low starting point. From Siyeh Bend, it has an elevation gain of 1670 feet. Fantastic views of glaciers such as Blackfoot, Jackson and Piegan glaciers are available all along the route.

St. Mary Falls to Virginia Falls (moderate)

Deadwood Falls - Glacier National Park

Deadwood Falls – Glacier National Park

St. Mary Falls to Virginia Falls are one one of my favorite waterfalls, I absolutely love to watch. It’s a gently sloped 1.8 mile walk, and is worth every step! The trailhead, which is marked as “St. Mary Falls”, is located about 10.5 miles west of St. Mary on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It’s just beyond the Sunrift Gorge when you’re heading west toward Logan Pass. The first part of the St. Mary Falls & Virginia Falls Trail gradually drops about 260 vertical feet.

Siyeh Pass (strenuous)

Syeh Pass - Glacier National Park

Syeh Pass – Glacier National Park

Siyeh Pass is a high-elevation route that traverses two passes on its way around Going-to-the Sun Mountain. A day hike from Siyeh Bend to Siyeh Pass is 4.7 miles (7.5 km) one-way with an elevation gain of 2240 feet.

To conclude, hikes listed here on this post are just few of the hikes to explore in the St. Mary Valley.  For more additional hikes, please visit  Glacier National Park website.