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.