Glacier NP: 10 Waterfall Trails You Must Explore
In: Trail Notes
Glacier National Park has close to 200 waterfalls in the park. Each spring when the snow melts in Glacier National Park, tiny trickles of water turn into winding creeks. As the water makes its way to the lakes, it often cascades over ledges, creating beautiful waterfalls. Hiking and seeing spectacular waterfalls in Glacier is a truly beautiful experience. It is an experience you absolutely MUST do! Here are the following waterfalls trails I had the opportunity to explore. They are beautiful, unique and each waterfall trail is worth checking it out.
1. St. Mary Falls to Virginia Falls are one one of my favorite waterfalls trails to explore. 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. Follow the trail to the bridge over St. Mary River and enjoy the mesmerizing views of St. Mary Falls. Continue up to Virginia Creek with many small waterfalls leading up to Virginia Falls. It is an easy hike with beautiful rewards!
2. Deadwood Falls This hike to Deadwood 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. The trail is 2.3 miles round-trip.
3. Red Rock Falls Redrock Falls is an easy hike, and it offers impressive series of cascades and falls in addition to subalpine lakes along the trail. The hike to Redrock Falls begins from the Swiftcurrent Pass Trailhead in Many Glacier. The trailhead is located at the far end of the parking area for the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn at the end of Many Glacier Road. It is 4.2 miles roun-trip with an elevation gain of 285 feet.
4. Running Eagle Falls Red Eagle Falls or “Trick Falls” as they call it is a must see in the Two Medicine Area. It’s a very easy, handicap accessible trail. It is.6 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 15 feet. The trailhead for Running Eagle Falls is located 1.1 miles west of the Two Medicine entrance station. Red Eagle Falls, also known as “Trick Falls”, flows off the outlet stream between Two Medicine Lake and Lower Two Medicine Lake. The waterfall receives its nickname, “Trick Falls” because there are actually two separate waterfalls in the same location. During the spring run-off water rushes over the top ledge for a 40-foot drop, while obscuring the lower falls. However, as the volume of water decreases by late summer, and the upper falls “dries up”, water continues to rush through a sinkhole at the top of the cliff before flowing out of an opening in the cliff face, thus creating the lower 20-foot falls.
5. Florence Falls is 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.
6. Rockwell Falls The trail to Rockwell Falls travels through several open meadows in the Two Medicine valley. This wonderful waterfall, a little over three miles from the Two Medicine boat dock, is a nice level walk to the beautiful main falls that looks like a gorgeous curtain. The hike to Rockwell Falls begins from the South Shore Trailhead at Two Medicine Lake. Just going to the trailhead is a worthwhile experience. The view from the eastern shore of the lake, with Sinopah Mountain, Lone Walker Mountain and Flinsch Peak forming a picture-perfect backdrop, is one of the most beautiful scenes in Glacier National Park. The trail is 7 miles round-trip with an elevation gain of 375 feet.
7. Baring Falls is an easy hike off the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the eastern side of the park. Baring Falls is a pleasant waterfall that drops roughly 25 feet. After tumbling over the rock ledge, Baring Creek continues to flow for another hundred yards or so before spilling into St. Mary Lake. It is .8 miles from Sunrift Gorge with an elevation of 160 feet.
8. Ptarmigan Falls: Ptarmigan Falls. This is one of the more impressive falls in the park. However, steep terrain around the falls makes it virtually impossible to get a close-up view. Moreover, trees block a full view of the falls from top to bottom. This waterfall, however, makes my top 10 list because the hike offers outstanding views of the Many Glacier Valley for most of its length.
9. Aster Falls: The hike to Aster Falls begins from the South Shore Trailhead at Two Medicine Lake. Just going to the trailhead is a worthwhile experience. At 1.1 miles you’ll cross over Aster Creek, and in a short distance will reach the Aster Park Trail, which leads to Aster Falls and Aster Park Overlook.
10. Apikuni Falls The hike to Apikuni Falls (also spelled “Appekunny Falls”) begins from the Poia Lake Trailhead, located 2.8 miles west of the Many Glacier entrance. Although it’s a fairly popular hike, there’s limited parking for only 12 cars or so. From the side of the road, the trail starts off in an open field known as Apikuni Flat. Although you can’t actually see the falls from the trailhead, you can see the general location of your destination. Look for the notch between Atlyn Peak and Apikuni Mountain, the two mountains almost directly in front of you. Although it’s a short hike, the vantage point from the trailhead reveals a relatively steep climb.