Nestled in the breathtaking landscapes of Montana’s Rocky Mountains, Glacier National Park is a hiker’s paradise, offering an abundance of awe-inspiring trails to explore. This majestic park is home to pristine alpine lakes, ancient glaciers, and diverse wildlife, providing an unforgettable experience for outdoor enthusiasts. As the Park’s official education partner, we have tons of experience learning from and teaching on these trails. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the top 10 hikes in Glacier National Park, and why we love taking folks on them.
1. Highline Trail
Starting at Logan Pass Visitor Center, the Highline Trail is one of the most iconic hikes in the park. This 11.8-mile round trip trail follows the Continental Divide, treating hikers to spectacular views of the lush valleys below and snow-capped peaks in the distance. Traverse the famous Garden Wall and be sure to hold on tight to the cable handrails on the narrow sections! We frequently encounter wildlife and get to talk about geology on this trail. It’s fun to take a route that many people who visit GNP have hiked, but open our guest’s eyes to a little more of the natural world’s story.
2. Grinnell Glacier Trail
Embark on a journey to see one of the park’s most stunning glaciers. The Grinnell Glacier Trail is an 8-mile round trip hike that takes you through verdant meadows, alongside turquoise-hued lakes, and up to Upper Grinnell Lake, where you’ll witness the magnificent Grinnell Glacier. The sight of the glacier’s icy blue expanse will leave you in awe. On this hike, you guessed it, we love talking about glaciation, erosion, and glacial flour–also known as the reason the lake is that gorgeous turquoise blue color!
3. Iceberg Lake Trail
Escape into a glacial wonderland on the Iceberg Lake Trail. This moderately challenging 9.7-mile round trip hike meanders through wildflower-filled meadows and culminates at the sparkling Iceberg Lake, where you can witness floating icebergs against the backdrop of towering peaks. This trail is frequently visited by Grizzly Bears, so make sure to come with the Glacier Institute or review our bear safety videos!
4. Hidden Lake Overlook Trail
For a shorter yet equally rewarding hike, set out on the Hidden Lake Overlook Trail. Starting at Logan Pass, this 2.7-mile round trip hike grants stunning views of Hidden Lake, surrounded by rugged cliffs and cascading waterfalls. Keep an eye out for mountain goats and bighorn sheep along the way. One of our signature day hikes, you’ll find Glacier Institute staff on the Hidden Lake Overlook trail almost every day that it’s open. This short, but rewarding hike is great for increasing accessibility for folks with limited hiking expertise– views and wildlife abound, but a little easier for our sea-level-living and/or new-to-hiking friends!
5. Siyeh Pass Trail
Ideal for experienced hikers, the Siyeh Pass Trail offers a challenging 10.3-mile loop through alpine meadows and past ancient glaciers. Revel in the panoramas of Sexton Glacier and the jagged peaks surrounding you as you hike through one of the park’s most pristine and untouched areas. Siyeh Pass is certainly a hike that gives you a sense of accomplishment to complete, and has an amazingly rewarding summit view– you have to see it to believe it! It’s rare we get to take a private tour on this trail, but when we do our team loves to talk about the medicinal plants found along the way and point out peaks in the distance.
6. Avalanche Lake Trail
Accessible and family-friendly, the Avalanche Lake Trail is a 4.5-mile round trip trek through old-growth forests and along Avalanche Creek. At the trail’s end, you’ll find the stunning Avalanche Lake, surrounded by soaring cliffs and waterfalls. We love this trail so much we hike it daily! You get to see part of the most inland rainforest, there’s a perfect lunch spot along the Lake, and this hike has a longer season than most in the park making it great for spring or fall visitors!
7. Swiftcurrent Pass Trail
The Swiftcurrent Pass Trail is a delightful 13.2-mile round trip journey that takes hikers through vibrant wildflower meadows and past pristine lakes. Experience the magic of Glacier National Park as you walk alongside the flowing waters of Swiftcurrent Creek and encounter abundant wildlife. This is a popular trail for finding huckleberries, which means there are also plenty of bears. Make sure to carry bear spray and know how to use it!
8. Piegan Pass Trail
The Piegan Pass Trail is a moderately difficult 9.6-mile hike offering spectacular vistas of the surrounding mountains and valleys. As you ascend through dense forests and alpine meadows, you’ll reach the pass, where jaw-dropping views of Piegan Glacier and Mount Siyeh await. Keep your eyes out along the trail, as you get a great view of the valley below where bears and deer love to frequent. If you are especially lucky, you may get to see a golden eagle soaring on the mountain breeze.
9. Two Medicine Lake Trail
The Two Medicine area in the park is less crowded but no less beautiful. The Two Medicine Lake Trail is a serene 7.8-mile loop that winds around the glistening Two Medicine Lake and passes by Twin Falls, offering a tranquil and picturesque hiking experience. Another one of our regular guided day hikes here at the Glacier Institute, Two Medicine gives our educators the chance to talk about how things were named in the park. For example, they may point out Sinopah Mountain, meaning “kit fox” in Blackfeet, as it looms above the south shore like a massive sedimentary monument of awe. The lands of Glacier National Park are part of the history and lasting culture of the Blackfeet, Salish, Pend d’Oreille, and Kootenai tribes.
10. Gunsight Pass Trail
Venture into the heart of Glacier National Park on the Gunsight Pass Trail. This challenging 20.4-mile point-to-point hike crosses diverse terrain, from lush valleys to rocky ridges. Along the way, you’ll be treated to incredible vistas of Lake Ellen Wilson and the mighty Gunsight Glacier. You’re not likely to see tons of other people on this trail, which is a benefit. However, you do have to arrange for the vehicle drop-off on the other end of this through hike.
Glacier National Park is a true treasure trove of natural wonders, and these top 10 hikes showcase its unparalleled beauty. Whether you’re an experienced hiker seeking a challenge or a nature enthusiast looking for a family-friendly outing, Glacier has something to offer for everyone. So, pack your hiking boots, camera, bear spray, and a sense of wonder, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through this pristine wilderness. While all of these hikes are great every time you hike them, each is elevated to a whole new level when accompanied by one of our outdoor education specialists. Book one of our guided day hikes or explore our options for personalized tours and custom groups to make your trip one you’ll remember for the rest of your life.