While Glacier National Park’s Going-to-the-Sun Road seems to attract the majority of its visitors (and predominantly the non-hikers), I assume that Many Glacier attracts the majority of its hikers and nature enthusiasts. There’s no wonder why–it seems as if the scenery to mileage ratio on any given trail gives Many Glacier an epic factor of 10. Upon gazing over the glassy, finger-like lakes, glaciers, dramatic cliffs and rock walls, which were all embraced by autumn drapery, we found ourselves lost in a whirlwind of a magical nature land. To recall we were still in the United States was almost unbelievable.
We arrived on Day 2 of the campground’s primitive status, and despite it being a Tuesday afternoon, the campground was surprisingly quite full. Within minutes upon arriving, a bull moose appeared to welcome us.
The next morning we set out to see the park’s most visited glacier–Grinnell Glacier. At ~11 miles roundtrip from the campground with not much elevation gain and spectacular views throughout the hike, it’s unsurprising that this hike is so popular. Tack on perfect weather and start of the low season, and you’ve got yourself the perfect hike.
Lake Josephine in morning lighting, and no more tour boats for the season:
Hiking along Lake Josephine:
Grinnell Lake coming up:
Climbing higher, and looking back at all the lakes we hiked past (Grinnell Lake, Lake Josephine, and Swiftcurrent Lake):
Grinnell Glacier (or what’s left of it):
Yay, Grinnell Glacier!
Another hike we completed was up to Swiftcurrent Pass, followed by Swiftcurrent Mountain. From Many Glacier, the mileage is 16 miles roundtrip, but the perfect weather, lack of other hikers, and breathtaking scenery made us forget how far we hiked to reach the summit. We met a group of local hikers at the summit, and even they commented on how lucky we all were that day; one hiker had hiked the exact trail 5 times before, and had never seen such incredible weather. No biting wind, just comforting sunshine.
First, we hiked through a long valley and arrived at Red Rock Lake.
Beyond Red Rock Lake is an even more incredible lake–Bullhead Lake.
Then began our climb, which allowed us to gaze back at the valley.
Amazing fall colors:
The absolute BEST view of Many Glacier can be seen from Swiftcurrent Pass. We can see Bullhead Lake, Red Rock Lake, Fishercap Lake, Swiftcurrent Lake, and even Lake Sherburne.
The last, final 1.2-mile climb to the summit of Swiftcurrent Mountain was deceptively long, but granted us winning views on the way up.
Finally, the lookout tower at the summit!
360º views for lunch:
I know I haven’t spent much time at Glacier National Park, and I know that every hike in each section of the park is breathtaking. But between the trails along the Going-to-the-Sun Road, Many Glacier, and Two Medicine, my favorite hikes were in Many Glacier. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels this way–I hope the pictures explain it all.