Welcome to Glacier National Park, where the rugged terrain of Montana meets the beauty of nature in its purest form. With over 700 miles of hiking trails, it’s no wonder why this park has become a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts seeking adventure and freedom.
In this article, we will explore the 10 best day hikes in Glacier National Park that will take you through pristine alpine lakes, lush forests, and awe-inspiring mountain ranges. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just starting out, Glacier National Park has something for everyone. From easy strolls to challenging ascents, each trail offers a unique experience and breathtaking scenery that will leave you feeling inspired and rejuvenated.
So grab your backpack, lace up your boots, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through one of America’s most treasured national parks.
Trail Of The Cedars
Glacier National Park’s Trail of the Cedars is an accessible and stunning hike that offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the beauty of nature.
This easy 1-mile loop trail is perfect for families or anyone who wants to take a leisurely stroll through towering cedars and lush vegetation. The trail features a boardwalk that winds through the forest, making it wheelchair and stroller-friendly.
Accessibility options aside, the Trail of the Cedars also provides ample opportunities for wildlife sightings. Visitors may spot squirrels, chipmunks, and even black bears along the way. Keep your eyes peeled for birds as well; this area is home to several species, including woodpeckers, warblers, and grosbeaks.
As you walk through this tranquil forest, you’ll be surrounded by towering trees that have stood for hundreds of years. The scent of cedar fills the air, and sunlight filters through the canopy above.
It’s easy to see why this hike is one of Glacier National Park’s most popular attractions. So grab your camera and get ready to experience one of nature’s most beautiful wonders on the Trail of the Cedars.
As you emerge from the Trail of the Cedars, the Highline Trail beckons with its rugged beauty and stunning views. This 11-mile trail takes hikers along a narrow path carved into the side of mountains, offering jaw-dropping vistas of the park’s alpine scenery.
As with any high-altitude hike, it’s important to prepare carefully and follow safety guidelines to fully enjoy this incredible adventure. The benefits of hiking are many, from physical exercise and stress relief to a connection with nature and improved mental health.
While preparing for your hike on the Highline Trail, be sure to pack plenty of water and high-energy snacks to keep yourself hydrated and fueled. Wear sturdy hiking boots with good ankle support, dress in layers for changing weather conditions, and bring a first-aid kit just in case. And always stay aware of wildlife such as bears or mountain goats – keep a safe distance and make noise as you hike to alert them to your presence.
As you traverse the Highline Trail, breathe in the fresh mountain air and take in your surroundings. You’ll feel invigorated by the challenge of hiking at altitude and rewarded by each new vista that opens up before you.
As you conquer each mile of the Highline Trail, remember that this is an experience like no other – one that will leave you feeling renewed and invigorated long after you’ve returned home. So lace up your boots, take a deep breath, and let yourself be immersed in Glacier National Park’s unparalleled beauty on this unforgettable journey.
Grinnell Glacier Trail
The Grinnell Glacier Trail is a must-do hike for those seeking adventure in Glacier National Park. With its stunning views of the glacier and crystal-clear lakes, it offers an unforgettable experience for hikers of all levels. But don’t be fooled by its beauty: the Grinnell Glacier Trail is also one of the most challenging hikes in the park.
The difficulty level of this trail can vary depending on the time of year and weather conditions. In general, it is considered a moderate to difficult hike, with an elevation gain of over 1,600 feet. Hikers should come prepared with sturdy hiking boots, plenty of water, and snacks to keep their energy levels up throughout the day.
The best time to visit Grinnell Glacier Trail is during the summer months when the weather is mild and trails are clear of snow. However, this also means that it can be crowded during peak season. For a quieter experience, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons in May or September when there are fewer visitors but still pleasant weather conditions.
No matter what time of year you visit, make sure to take your time and enjoy everything this beautiful trail has to offer.
Iceberg Lake Trail
The Iceberg Lake Trail is one of the best day hikes in Glacier National Park, offering scenic views of the surrounding mountains.
Wildflowers line the trail, adding bursts of color to the landscape.
Wildlife is also plentiful in the area, with sightings of bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and grizzly bears possible.
The trail is well-marked, making it an easy-to-follow journey for hikers of all skill levels.
Its length makes it perfect for a day excursion, with plenty of time to soak up the beauty of the park.
If you’re looking for a great day hike in Glacier National Park, the Iceberg Lake Trail is a must-see.
As you embark on the Iceberg Lake Trail in Glacier National Park, prepare to be swept away by awe-inspiring scenic views at every turn. The trail is a moderate 9-mile roundtrip hike that takes you through breathtaking alpine meadows and dense forests, leading up to the stunning Iceberg Lake.
The highlight of the trek is undoubtedly the panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and glaciers that greet you as you approach the lake. Photography tips abound on this trail, as you’ll be treated to some of the most stunning vistas in all of Glacier National Park. Be sure to bring your camera and experiment with different angles and lighting conditions to capture the beauty of this natural wonderland.
Keep an eye out for wildlife sightings along the way, such as bighorn sheep and mountain goats that often graze in the rocky outcroppings above. As you reach Iceberg Lake, take a moment to soak it all in – this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will stay with you forever.
Surrounded by towering peaks and pristine waters, it’s easy to see why this trail is considered one of the best day hikes in Glacier National Park. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or just starting out, this trail offers something for everyone – from stunning views to unforgettable wildlife encounters. So what are you waiting for? Lace up your hiking boots and hit the trails!
As you continue along the Iceberg Lake Trail, take a moment to appreciate the wildflowers that bloom in abundance during the summer months. From delicate columbines to vibrant Indian paintbrushes, these colorful blooms add an extra layer of beauty to an already stunning landscape.
Wildflowers photography enthusiasts will delight in the many opportunities for capturing close-up shots of these natural wonders. Whether you’re using a professional camera or just your smartphone, experiment with different angles and lighting conditions to capture the essence of each individual flower.
For those interested in Wildflower identification tips, be sure to pick up a guidebook at one of the park’s visitor centers before hitting the trail. With over 1,000 species of wildflowers in Glacier National Park alone, it can be overwhelming to try and identify them all on your own. By consulting a guidebook, you’ll be able to learn more about each flower’s unique characteristics and better appreciate their role in this fragile ecosystem.
As you make your way towards Iceberg Lake, take a moment to stop and smell the wildflowers – quite literally! The sweet fragrance of blooming flowers is one of nature’s most intoxicating scents and is sure to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
So don’t rush through this part of your hike – take your time and let yourself get lost in the beauty of these magnificent blooms.
As you continue along the Iceberg Lake Trail, keep your eyes peeled for the park’s diverse wildlife. It’s not uncommon to spot a grizzly bear or mountain goat along the way, making this hike a must-do for wildlife enthusiasts.
For those interested in capturing the perfect shot, be sure to bring along your camera and brush up on your wildlife photography skills. One of the best ways to observe animal behavior is to remain as quiet and unobtrusive as possible. This will allow you to witness natural behaviors without disturbing the creatures themselves.
Remember that these animals are wild and should be respected from a distance – never approach them or attempt to feed them. Whether you’re an experienced wildlife photographer or just someone who appreciates nature’s beauty, a hike along the Iceberg Lake Trail is sure to leave you feeling inspired and connected to the world around you.
So don’t forget to bring your camera and take some time to truly immerse yourself in this incredible ecosystem.
Hidden Lake Overlook Trail
Nestled in the heart of Glacier National Park lies one of the most breathtaking hikes in the region: Hidden Lake Overlook Trail.
This moderate 3-mile hike offers scenic vistas that will leave even the most seasoned hiker awestruck. The trail winds through alpine meadows, wildflower fields, and rugged terrain before reaching its final destination – a striking overlook of Hidden Lake.
Along the way, hikers have the opportunity to encounter some of Montana’s most iconic wildlife species. Keep your eyes peeled for mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and even grizzly bears as you traverse this stunning trail. It’s important to remember to maintain a safe distance from these animals and always respect their natural habitat.
As you reach the end of your journey, prepare to be blown away by the panoramic views of Hidden Lake below. The crystal-clear water is surrounded by snow-capped peaks and lush greenery, making it a picture-perfect spot for a mid-hike picnic or just soaking up nature’s beauty.
Don’t forget your camera – this hike will surely provide ample opportunities for awe-inspiring photos that you’ll cherish forever.
Swiftcurrent Pass Trail
The Swiftcurrent Pass Trail is a must-see for any adventurer looking to experience Glacier National Park at its finest.
This 10.3-mile round trip hike takes you through some of the park’s most breathtaking scenery, including stunning mountain views, crystal-clear lakes, and lush forests. With an elevation gain of over 2,200 feet, this hike is not for the faint of heart, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
Flora and fauna abound on this trail, providing visitors with a rich and diverse landscape to explore. Keep an eye out for wildflowers like Indian paintbrush and beargrass as you trek through fields of alpine vegetation. You may also spot larger animals like bighorn sheep or mountain goats as they graze along the trail’s rocky slopes.
The difficulty level of this hike is moderate to strenuous, so be sure to come prepared with plenty of water and snacks. It’s also important to note that while this trail is open year-round, it can be especially challenging during the winter months when snow and ice are present. However, with proper gear and caution, hikers can still enjoy all that Swiftcurrent Pass has to offer even in colder weather.
Don’t forget your camera! The views from Swiftcurrent Pass are some of the most awe-inspiring in all of Glacier National Park.
Take advantage of backcountry camping opportunities along the trail for a truly immersive experience in nature.
Plan ahead by checking weather conditions before your hike and dressing appropriately for changing temperatures.
Make time to visit nearby Grinnell Glacier after completing the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail for even more stunning scenery.
As you make your way along Swiftcurrent Pass Trail, you’ll undoubtedly feel a sense of freedom as you lose yourself in the majesty of Montana’s wilderness. So lace up your hiking boots and embark on an adventure that will leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated long after your journey has ended.
Scenic Point Trail
Scenic Point Trail is one of the best day hikes in Glacier National Park, offering spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. The trail difficulty may be challenging for some, but the reward at the end is well worth it.
Hikers will encounter steep switchbacks and rocky terrain on their ascent to the top, but once there, they will be rewarded with panoramic views that stretch for miles.
The best time to hike Scenic Point Trail is from late June to early October when the snow has melted and the trail is clear. During this time, hikers can enjoy blooming wildflowers and lush greenery along the way.
However, hikers should still come prepared with proper gear as weather conditions can change quickly in Glacier National Park.
Overall, Scenic Point Trail is a must-do for anyone visiting Glacier National Park. The trail offers a challenging yet rewarding experience for those seeking adventure and stunning scenery.
Plan accordingly and make sure to take plenty of breaks on your way up so you can fully appreciate the breathtaking views at the top.
Piegan Pass Trail
Piegan Pass Trail is a must-see destination for hikers visiting Glacier National Park. This trail may be challenging, but its scenic views are worth the effort. Throughout the hike, you’ll witness stunning landscapes of mountains and valleys that will take your breath away.
Wildlife encounters are also common on this trail. You may spot bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and grizzly bears from afar. Remember to keep a safe distance from these animals and respect their natural habitat.
If you want to make the most out of your hiking experience in Glacier National Park, don’t miss Piegan Pass Trail. This adventure will provide you with an unforgettable journey through nature’s beauty.
Here are three reasons why you should include Piegan Pass Trail in your itinerary:
The panoramic views of the mountains and valleys along the trail are breathtaking.
You may encounter various wildlife species such as bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and grizzly bears.
The challenging hike is perfect for those who seek an adventure that will test their limits while enjoying nature at its finest.
Gunsight Pass Trail
As you make your way through the picturesque landscape of Glacier National Park, don’t miss out on another must-see trail: Gunsight Pass.
This 20-mile round trip hike is a true adventure, taking you through lush forests, glistening lakes, and towering mountains. The trail is considered moderate in difficulty, making it accessible to most hikers.
Along the way, keep an eye out for wildlife sightings; moose, bears, mountain goats and bighorn sheep are just some of the animals you may encounter on this trail. But don’t worry – as long as you follow proper safety precautions and stay aware of your surroundings, these encounters can be unforgettable experiences.
While the distance may seem daunting to some hikers, the stunning views along the way make every step worth it. From cascading waterfalls to panoramic vistas of glaciers and alpine meadows, this trail offers a taste of everything that makes Glacier National Park so special.
So lace up your hiking boots and hit the trail for an unforgettable day in one of America’s most beautiful national parks.
St. Mary And Virginia Falls Trail
The St. Mary and Virginia Falls Trail is a must-do hike for those visiting Glacier National Park. This trail is famous for its breathtaking views of waterfalls, lush forests, and wildflowers. The hike is moderate, covering a distance of 2.4 miles round trip with an elevation gain of 260 feet.
As you walk along the trail, you’ll be greeted with the soothing sound of flowing water from the St. Mary River. You’ll also come across several viewing points that offer stunning vistas of the surrounding landscape. The highlight of the hike is undoubtedly the two waterfalls – St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls.
St. Mary Falls cascades down in three tiers, creating a picturesque scene that’s perfect for photography enthusiasts. Virginia Falls, on the other hand, drops 50 feet into a deep turquoise pool surrounded by towering trees and boulders. The best time to hike St. Mary and Virginia Falls Trail is during late spring or early summer when snowmelt feeds the falls and makes them even more spectacular to behold.
Here are five things you’ll enjoy on this hike:
Spotting wildlife such as mountain goats, bighorn sheep, and grizzly bears.
Taking a dip in one of the many natural plunge pools along the trail.
Enjoying a picnic lunch on one of the benches overlooking St. Mary Lake.
Learning about the park’s history at one of the interpretive signs dotting the trail.
Capturing stunning photos that will leave your friends envious.
With its beauty and accessibility, it’s no wonder why this trail is so popular among visitors to Glacier National Park. Lace up your hiking boots, pack plenty of water and snacks, and hit the trail to experience nature at its finest!
Siyeh Pass Trail
The Siyeh Pass Trail is a stunning and challenging hike that is not for the faint of heart. This trail is one of the most popular in Glacier National Park thanks to its breathtaking views and diverse terrain. It’s a journey that takes you through alpine meadows, dense forests, and rocky peaks.
One of the scenic highlights of this trail is undoubtedly the incredible views from Siyeh Pass itself. From here, hikers can take in panoramic vistas of surrounding valleys and mountains, including Mount Siyeh itself.
The trail also passes through Preston Park, where wildflowers bloom in abundance during the summer months.
The Siyeh Pass Trail has a difficulty level that ranges from moderate to strenuous. The first few miles are relatively easy, but as you ascend toward Siyeh Pass, the terrain becomes more challenging. Hikers will need to navigate steep switchbacks and rocky terrain, with an elevation gain of over 2,500 feet.
However, with some perseverance and determination, hikers will be rewarded with some of the most stunning scenery in Glacier National Park.
Dawson And Pitamakan Passes Trail
After completing the Siyeh Pass Trail, hikers might find themselves craving more of Glacier National Park’s spectacular views.
The Dawson and Pitamakan Passes Trail is an excellent choice for those seeking a challenging day hike with breathtaking scenery.
This 17.5-mile loop takes hikers through some of the park’s most stunning alpine meadows.
Starting at the Two Medicine Campground, the trail leads up to Dawson Pass, where hikers can take in panoramic views of Two Medicine Lake and the surrounding mountains.
From there, it continues on to Pitamakan Pass, which offers equally impressive vistas of Oldman Lake and the surrounding peaks.
Throughout the hike, visitors will have ample opportunities to spot wildlife, including mountain goats and bighorn sheep.
One of the highlights of this trail is its stunning alpine meadows.
In late summer, these meadows burst into bloom with wildflowers in a rainbow of colors.
Hikers should also keep an eye out for grizzly bears, which are known to frequent this area.
As with any backcountry hiking in Glacier National Park, it’s important to carry bear spray and know how to use it.
Despite its challenges, the Dawson and Pitamakan Passes Trail is a must-do for any experienced hiker looking for an unforgettable day trip in Glacier National Park.
In conclusion, Glacier National Park offers some of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring day hikes in the world. From the Trail of the Cedars to Dawson and Pitamakan Passes Trail, there is something for every level of hiker.
As a nature lover and avid hiker, I highly recommend exploring these trails and experiencing the beauty and wonder of this magnificent park. Glacier National Park truly embodies the majesty of nature with its towering peaks, crystal-clear lakes, and abundant wildlife.
Each trail offers a unique experience filled with stunning vistas and unforgettable moments. So grab your hiking boots, camera, and sense of adventure, and embark on a journey through Glacier National Park that you will never forget.
As John Muir once said, "The mountains are calling and I must go." "For peace, for beauty, for a chance to immerse myself in the natural world and reconnect with my true self."
By Day I am a surf instructor and coasteering guide based in Newquay, Cornwall. By night I am a multi-genre DJ
To escape it all, I hike!
- 1 Trail Of The Cedars
- 2 Highline Trail
- 3 Grinnell Glacier Trail
- 4 Iceberg Lake Trail
- 5 Hidden Lake Overlook Trail
- 6 Swiftcurrent Pass Trail
- 7 Scenic Point Trail
- 8 Piegan Pass Trail
- 9 Gunsight Pass Trail
- 10 St. Mary And Virginia Falls Trail
- 11 Siyeh Pass Trail
- 12 Dawson And Pitamakan Passes Trail
- 13 Conclusion