There are over 800 miles of trails in the park, but this inside page will try to narrow it down to the best of the best that you can choose from. This will include hikes of 5 miles or less roundtrip, then 5-10 miles roundtrip, 10-15 miles roundtrip, and then 15+ miles roundtrip. That should give you a variety of hikes to do. BTW, all mileages given will be roundtrip, not one-way. If the hike is a thru-hike (beginning and ending at different places) it will be noted. These are also by no means ranked in order of priority.
Best hikes of 5 miles or less:
- Huckleberry Mountain Nature Trail(0.9 mile, flat)---This may be the least impressive of the hikes listed, but if someone is interested in the growth of life after a fire, this burn area is neat. Begins on the Camas Road just north of Apgar.
- Trail of the Cedars(0.7 mile, flat)---Travels through a cedar and hemlock rain forest to turquoise Avalanche Gorge. The entire trail is on boardwalk or pavement, and begins on GTTS Road at the Trail of the Cedars parking area.
- Avalanche Lake (4.7 miles, 505 foot gain)---This hike would be in addition to the Trail of the Cedars. Near Avalanche Gorge on the Trail of the Cedars is where this hike begins, and it ends at beautiful turquoise Avalanche Lake, where numerous 200+ foot waterfalls cascades down a mountainside from unseen Sperry Glacier
- Hidden Lake Overlook (3 miles, 550 foot gain)---This hike begins at Logan Pass and has TOTALLY unobstructed views the entire way. Most of the first section of the trail is on a boardwalk to prevent visitors stepping on fragile alpine plants. It ends with a tremendous view of Hidden Lake, located in a glacier-carved cirque surrounding by amazing peaks. This is one of the best short hikes you could possibly do. Superb chance of seeing mountain goats as well.
- St. Mary Falls(2.4 miles, 260 foot loss)---This hike begins on GTTS Road at the St. Mary/Virginia Falls parking area. St. Mary Falls is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the park and and bridge just below it provides an excellent view. Virginia Falls (3.6 miles, 260 foot loss and 285 foot gain)---This waterfall is just 0.6 mile past St. Mary Falls, so you can visit both in 3.6 miles of hiking. Virginia Falls is located at the foot of a hanging valley and is tall and narrow.
- Sun Point Nature Trail(1.3 miles, 100 foot gain)---This begins at Sun Point parking area off GTTS Road. It climbs on top of a rocky outcrop high above St. Mary Lake for an outstanding viewpoint.
- Running Eagle Falls (0.6 mile, flat)---This easy trail begins at Red Eagle Falls parking area in the Two Medicine region of the park. The waterfall will likely only be flowing through the underground cave and dropping 20 feet, but earlier in the season it also drops from 40 feet above off a cliff.
- Upper Two Medicine Lake (4.4 miles, 300 foot gain)---This hike is only 4.4 miles with the boat shuttle, otherwise it is 10 miles. It passes beautiful Twin Falls on the way to a beautiful lake surrounded by towering red peaks. It begins at the boat dock on Two Medicine Lake.
- No Name Lake (4.4 miles, 800 foot gain)---This hike is also only 4.4 miles with the boat shuttle, otherwise it is 9.6 miles. It also passes Twin Falls along the way and ends at a lake at the base of a sheer 2000 foot cliff. Also begins at boat dock.
- Grinnell Lake(1.8 miles, flat)---This hike is only 1.6 miles with the boat shuttle across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine, otherwise it is 6.2 miles. It ends at a beautiful turquoise lake with view of huge peaks and a 1,000 foot waterfall. Begins at the boat dock on Swiftcurrent Lake near Many Glacier Hotel.
- Redrock Lake(4 miles, 80 foot gain)---This trail begins at the west end of the Swiftcurrent Inn parking area at the Swiftcurrent Pass Trailhead. The lake is beautiful with amazing views all around. Just a short distance past Red Rock Lake is Red Rock Falls, which you can see from the lakeshore. Take that short additional walk for a nice waterfall. One of the best trails in the park for views on an easy hike.
Best hikes from 5-10 miles:
- Haystack Butte(6.8 miles, 400 foot gain)---This hike begins at the Highline Trailhead at Logan Pass of GTTS Road. The Highline Trail in general provides some of the best unobstructed views in the park. Haystack Butte is a good turning-around point for people looking for a shorter hike. Good chances of seeing mountain goats, and awesome views. The first section of the trail may be bad for acrophobes, but it gets better quickly.
- Piegan Pass(9 miles, 1,670 foot gain)---This trail begins at Siyeh Bend off GTTS Road. The first part of the hike has some fairly obstructed views, but once above the trees you are treated to great views. At 2.7 miles you will be in lush Preston Park with awesome views of Reynolds Mountain and Piegan Glacier. From Piegan Pass, you can look into the beautiful Many Glacier area with a rare side view of Mount Gould and the Garden Wall.
- Siyeh Pass(9.4 miles, 2,240 foot gain)---This hikes is the same as Piegan Pass until 2.7 miles at Preston Park. Instead of heading left for Piegan Pass, head right through Preston Park and up to Siyeh Pass. You will be treated to incredible views into an isolated glacier-carved valley, one of the most scenic vistas anywhere in the park.
- Scenic Point(6.2 miles, 2,242 foot gain)---This hike begins at the Mount Henry Trailhead in the Two Medicine region. It is obviously steep but rewarding with awesome views down on Two Medicine Lake and the entire region. You can also look east to the Great Plains.
- Grinnell Glacier(7.8 miles, 1,600 foot gain)---This hike is only 7.8 miles with the boat shuttle, otherwise it is 11 miles. From Lake Josephine the trail ascends steeply quickly but then becomes a very gradual ascent. The views along this trail are some of the best you will find anywhere in the U.S. Turquoise Grinnell Lake can be seen below, while awe-inspiring peaks and a trio of glacier can be seen. The trail ends at Upper Grinnell Lake (really, snowmelt from Grinnell Glacier) with a rare up-close experience with a glacier.
- Bullhead Lake(6.6 miles, 100 foot gain)---Bullhead Lake is located on the same trail as Red Rock Lake/Falls and is only 2.1 miles past Red Rock Lake. It is very worthwhile to continue to this lake, as the trail is still easy, and the views even more incredible. Beautiful waterfalls cascade from Swiftcurrent Glacier into the aquamarine lake, while Swiftcurrent Mountain towers over 3,000 feet overhead.
- Iceberg Lake(9 miles, 1,194 foot gain)---This hike begins at the Iceberg-Ptarmigan Trailhead near the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn complex. It passes Ptarmigan Falls about midway through the hike and ends at Iceberg Lake. Iceberg Lake lies in a glacier-carved cirque with 3,000 foot cliffs on 3 sides. Icebergs float in the lake well into August of many years. The views along the way are outstanding.
- Ptarmigan Tunnel (10 miles, 2,480 foot gain)---Trail is the same as Iceberg Lake until the junction just above Ptarmigan Falls. Take a right at the junction instead of a left. You pass serene Ptarmigan Lake at 4.1 miles, and at 5 miles into the hike you pass through the tunnel. From the other side you get an amazing glimpse to Elizabeth Lake and the isolated Belly River region of the park. If you continue another 0.4 miles past the tunnel you will get an amazing view of 10,004-foot Mount Merritt with Old Sun Glacier clinging to its side.
Best hikes from 10-15 miles:
- Mount Brown Lookout(10.8 miles, 4,305 foot gain)---This hike is definitely one of the best workouts in the park, as it is very steep. It begins at the Snyder Creek Trailhead off GTTS Road immediately across Lake McDonald Lodge. From the lookout, you will be treated to amazing views all around, including a fabulous view down on Lake McDonald.
- Highline Trail to The Loop(11.6 miles, 830 foot gain, 3,026 foot loss)---This hike begins at Logan Pass on GTTS Road and ends at The Loop on GTTS Road, so it IS a thru-hike. You would need to get a free hiking shuttle back up to the car at Logan Pass or get a ride from someone. The views along this trail are nothing less the incredible. Awesome views along the entire route. You reach Granite Park Chalet at 7.6 miles, where you can take a rest and get a bite to eat or something to drink. From there down to The Loop, it is very steep and passes through a burn area dotted with beautiful fireweed. From Granite Park Chalet you can take a 5 mile roundtrip side hike to Swiftcurrent Lookout for sweeping 360 views or a 2 mile roundtrip side hike to Swiftcurrent Pass for incredible views down to the Many Glacier Valley, including Bullhead and Red Rock Lakes. A spur trail off the Highline Trail east of Granite Park Chalet leads steeply 0.8 miles to Grinnell Glacier Overlook, where you can look straight down on beautiful Grinnell Glacier.
- Piegan and Siyeh Passes(13.9 miles, 2,240 foot gain, 3,440 foot loss)---This hike begins at Siyeh Bend off GTTS Road and ends at Sunrift Gorge off GTTS Road. This would be a thru-hike and you'd need a free shuttle back to your car. This hike would begin by going 2.7 miles to Preston Park, climb up to Piegan Pass, back down to Preston Park, up to Siyeh Pass, then continuing on the trail down to Sunrift Gorge. You could see two of the most scenic passes in the park on one hike.
- Gunsight Lake(12.4 miles, 500 foot loss, 800 foot gain)---This hike begins at Jackson Glacier Overlook off GTTS Road. The first part of the hike descends steeply down into thick forest. There are not many views until just before Gunsight Lake. Gunsight Lake is a large, beautiful lake with odd looking peaks surrounding it. You pass Deadwood Falls on the way and can take a 1.6 mile roundtrip spur trail to Florence Falls and back. A great hike, but a major complaint is that it is overgrown, so maybe not the best hike to choose.
- Dawson Pass(13.4 miles, 2,200 foot gain)---This hike begins at the North Shore Trailhead at Two Medicine Lake. It passes No Name Lake along the way, and Dawson Pass is one of the most beautiful passes in the park. From the pass, it is an easy scramble to the top of Mount Helen where you can look down on Upper Two Medicine Lake 2,000 feet below. You can take the boat shuttle and shave almost 5 miles off the entire hike.
- Triple Divide Pass(14.4 miles, 2,380 foot gain)---This hike begins at the Cutbank Ranger Station. The view from the pass is absolutely superb, and along the way you get to look down on large Medicine Grizzly Lake with a huge waterfall dropping into it. From the pass you can see an unnamed tarn, and have a chance to climb Triple Divide Peak (water flows into the Atlantic, Pacific, and Arctic Oceans from there!). You can also take a 4.2 mile roundtrip side hike to Medicine Grizzly Lake and back.
- Cracker Lake(12.2 miles roundtrip, 1,120 foot gain)---This trail begins at the Many Glacier Trailhead just above Many Glacier Hotel. The first part of the hike can have a lot of horse droppings on it and is fairly obstructed. This is also prime grizzly habitat, so be loud on this hike. The lake itself is outstanding, possibly the most beautiful lake in the park in some visitors' minds. It is a turquoise color that must be seen to be believed. Mount Siyeh rises straight up from the lake 4,000 feet, and it has only been climbed twice from this side. The valley is also a deep red color which complements the turquoise lake.