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Trail Report Swiftcurrent Lookout from the Loop

Whitefish, Montana
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for Glacier National Park
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Trail Report Swiftcurrent Lookout from the Loop

Just back from Swiftcurrent Lookout from the Loop 6.2 miles elevation gain 4,189 feet. Started from the Loop at 8:30 am returned to the Loop at 7:30 pm. Chilly start kept adding layers as I hiked up - fleece vest, gloves, sock hat, then windbreaker. After finishing the long switchback started to remove all the extra clothes.

Once again grateful for gatorade at Granite Chalet. The trail to Swiftcurrent Lookout starts at Swiftcurrent Pass as a stub trail off the Chalet to Many Glacier Trail. At this point the trail starts up with numerous switchbacks and quickly gets above the tree line after passing through a large grove of bleached white dead white bark pines killed by blister rust. After the pines the trail is above the tree line looking towards Swiftcurrent Glacier with a profile of Gem Glacier on the Garden Wall. Views into Many Glacier from Bull Lake to Lake Sherborne. Towards the north Old Sun Glacier.

This lookout provides a front row seat of Many Glacier Hotel (if you have a very high power lens) The view is 360 degrees with a very sharp dropoff on the north side of several thousand feet. The Lookout is at 8,436 feet and is manned unlike most of the other lookouts in Glacier Park.

Mount Brown Lookout with it's commanding view of Lake McDonald offers a better photo op, while Swiftcurrent Lookout provides a much larger view of numerous mountain ranges, valleys, creeks and lakes.

The trail up is steep but not as steep as Mount Brown or the Garden Wall aka Grinnell Overlook Trail. The temp is lower and the breeze stronger then at Granite Park Chalet so it was layer up time as I went up in altitude.

The summit is only slightly larger then the lookout.

As is usual for scree slopes it was a slow descent with reliance on my poles to keep me from slipping down the trail.

Met up with a hiker who started at the Loop and took the shuttle to Logan Pass then hiked the Highline Trail and up to the Lookout. We both arrived at the lookout at nearly the same time. (remember I'm a slow hiker)

Returned to Granite Park Chalet for another bottle of gatorade and once more down the Loop Trail.

www.glacierhikers.com

slow hiker

indiana
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for Glacier National Park
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1. Re: Trail Report Swiftcurrent Lookout from the Loop

Thanks for the trail report. We will be there in Sept. and hiking to Granite Park also from the Loop. Trying to decide whether to include Grinnell overlook or Swiftcurrent Lookout.

Whitefish, Montana
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for Glacier National Park
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2. Re: Trail Report Swiftcurrent Lookout from the Loop

Hikes

I would vote for the Garden Wall Trail aka Grinnel Overlook as it is the one that will be the most changed with tiime.

I've done it from Logan Pass and from the Loop and it is much nicer from Logan Pass and then out the Loop rather then how I did it last week going up and down the Loop. That said I don't think I could manage Swiftcurrent Lookout Trail from Logan Pass.

The Garden Wall Trail is the trickiest trail that I have encountered in Glacier Park. Neither trail should be attempted on a windy/gusty day. Light breezes are the norm for both trails.

Garden Wall has no large flat spot everything is sloping. Switfcurrent Lookout is almost flat on top. You can easily avoid the drop off by not getting near the north edge. Stay to the left of the Lookout and behind the building there is a large flat area. Or sit on the concrete steps of the lookout and enjoy the view.

Garden Wall at the top of the Garden Wall is certainly a more 'edgy' trail. There is a fairly flat spot on the trail just before the crest but you can't get the views down into Many Glacier from there.

Best views of Gem Glacier and Swiftcurrent Glacier are from Swiftcurrent Lookout. Garden Wall Trail is looking down into the cirque and is just above Salamander Glacier.

Neither trail is a good idea for anyone with acrofobia. I felt comfortable on top of Swiftcurrent while I was always on edge sitting on the narrow edge of the Garden Wall.

Going down Garden Wall Trail needs strong legs and poles and good gripping hiking boots.

slow hiker

Spokane, Washington
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for Glacier National Park, Spokane
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3. Re: Trail Report Swiftcurrent Lookout from the Loop

there is a second overlook that I prefer to the common one, just a bit further around from the existing one and an easy trail to follow to get to it.

P.S. Toddnick is out here as am I for labor day period, would be fun to hook up for some hikes whicle we are here. I am hoping to join Toddnick for the Floral Park route right after labor day

buffalo
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4. Re: Trail Report Swiftcurrent Lookout from the Loop

Absolutely.....

Love to do some miles SH!!!!

I'll be hiking in MG area 9/1-9/3, Floral Park on 9/4, Hiking from Sperry Chalet on 9/5 & 9/6, hiking with my Mom on 9/7-9/10, a group of us is doing Angel Wing 9/11, I'll also be hiking MG area 9/12, Quartz Lake Loop on 9/13, a group of us is doing Kishenehn Loop on 9/14, back to MG hikes 9/15-9/17, then last hike will probably be Two Med Pass on 9/18...

Plan to do Shangri-La, Snow Moon Basin, Cracker Lake, the monster Red Gap Loop as a day hike, Medicine Grizzly Lake and a few others....

Let me know if you are interested SH!!!!

Whitefish, Montana
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for Glacier National Park
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5. Re: Trail Report Swiftcurrent Lookout from the Loop

I'm interested but you guys hike twice my speed if not more.

Cracker Lake is on my wish list for hiking again this year.

Not sure were the second Lookout would be unless your referring to Heavens which GNP is in the process of rebuilding.

slow hiker

Wv
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for West Virginia
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6. Re: Trail Report Swiftcurrent Lookout from the Loop

ok>>>>I am too envious! Enjoyed your report. There won't be any long trails for us...too out of shape and too afraid of bears and there will just be the two of us. You all have fun!

7. Re: Trail Report Swiftcurrent Lookout from the Loop

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