9 of the Best Glacier National Park Hikes

Written By: The Planet D

Located in Montana, Glacier National Park offers many great hiking experiences. The park is full of amazing natural wonders of fresh blue lakes, imposing mountains and awe-inspiring glaciers.

With more than 700 miles of both short hikes and extended backpacking trails, it’s easy to find one you’ll love. Here are my picks for the 9 best Glacier National Park hikes. Julie from Outdoorzer shares her favourite hikes of Glacier National Park,

Hiking Glacier National Park

Before you start your hike, plan for a safe hiking experience. Stop at the park’s visitors center to get all the information you need, recommendations from the guides, and any special warnings.

Plus, don’t forget to let someone know where you are going. Be sure to have enough water, food and supplies should anything happen. We always carry a basic first aid kit when hiking. But most importantly, bring a sense of adventure and have fun when you try one of these amazing hikes.

1. Ptarmigan Tunnel

glacier national park hikes ptarmigan tunnel
Ptarmigan Tunnel is a tough but beautiful hike.

The Ptarmigan Tunnel is a full day Glacier National Park hike. This is an incredible trail, because when you come out at the other side of the tunnel, you feel like you’ve walked into another world.

When passing through this 240-foot tunnel, you hike through big meadows filled with wildlife as well as a dense forest. Keep in mind that this tunnel was built for horses during the 1930s and it’s full of various slopes and edge ridges.

After you pass the Ptarmigan Falls, the trail gets a lot steeper, so be prepared for some tough hiking during this section. It then continues for about 1.6 miles to Ptarmigan Lake, where you can relax and admire some of the most beautiful scenery in the area.

  • Total Distance:
    • 10.7 miles round trip
    • Elevation Gain 2300 feet
    • Be prepared for a long day.

Read: Hiking Rainbow Mountain Peru

2. Swiftcurrent Pass

glacier national park hikes Swiftcurrent Pass
Swiftcurrent Pass has gorgeous scenery and the chance to see lots of wildlife.

This is a difficult Glacier National Park hike but it’s worth it for the great scenery. This hike passes by three lakes and a spectacular waterfall. Throughout your hike, you may spy some of the rarest and colourful birds throughout the six lakes. You will also see the gorgeous Granite Park. In fact, during this hike, you can get some of the most incredible images of the blue lake and the surrounding mountains. If you like, stop at the Fishercap Lake, where you might see moose in the mornings or early in the evening.

  • Length:
    • Round Trip 14.2 miles
  • E levation Gain: 2400 Feet

Warning. When hiking Glacier National Park: Be aware of bears and cougars (mountain lions) and use proper safety precautions. Hiking in groups or pairs lowers risk, making noise and don’t leave any food out to attraction animals. 

Read: 8 Things That Can Make or Break Your Hiking Adventure

3. Iceberg Lake

glacier national park hikes Iceberg Lake
Check out some icebergs in Iceberg Lake

This is one of the most popular hiking experiences in Montana’s Glacier National Park. It also gives you the opportunity to see icebergs floating in an alpine lake. When you hike here you pass through many open areas along the way that give you outstanding vistas of the peaceful mountains around you.

  • Length:
    • Round Trip: 9.7 miles
    • Average Gain: 1275 Feet

4. Cracker Lake

glacier national park hikes Cracker Lake
Cracker Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.

Cracker Lake is considered to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world. The amazing color of the lake is a crystal clear aqua blue and makes all the scenery around you even more wonderful.

  • Length:
    • Round Trip: 12.6 miles
    • Elevation Gain: 1400 Feet

Looking for a more in depth guide to Glacier National Park Hikes? Pick up a copy of Glacier National Park Must Do Hikes for Everyone for only $10.99 on Amazon

5. Pitamakan Pass Trail

Pitamakan Trail
Hikes on Pitamakan Trail are limited due to snow most of the year.

This peaceful trail goes over the ridge of Rising Wolf Mountain, passes a waterfall from Sky Lake, and ends up at Oldman Lake. From there the trail switchbacks up to Pitamakan Pass. Keep in mind though that due to the snow, this won’t likely be passable until late July or even August.

Here you can climb up the high hills, then drop back down, nearly 3,000 feet. You also have to hike a very narrow trail so be prepared.

  • Length:
    • Round Trip: 15.4 miles
    • Elevation Gain: 325 feet
    • long and full day

Read: Wild Yukon: Falling in Love with the Rugged and Remote

6. Grinnell Glacier

Grinnell Glacier
Grinnell Glacier is one of the most iconic glaciers in Glacier National Park.

This hike takes you to one of the most iconic glaciers of the park. You pass various lakes, amazing meadows and stunning cliffs along the way. The first half of the hike is easier than the second half. It then becomes more difficult as it rises steeply with several slopes.

But it is worth it as you can see some amazing vistas over the Grinnell Falls, Angel Wing, and Grinnell Lake. The hiking path is well maintained and you may encounter wildlife sightings along the way.

  • Length:
    • Round Trip: 7.6-miles
    • Elevation Gain: 1840 Feet

7. Siyeh Pass

glacier national park hikes Siyeh Pass
Siyeh Pass takes you through rocky slopes and the Sunrift Gorge.

This trail hike begins in a forest and takes you to various peaks. Hike the rocky slopes and then go down through more meadows to the Sunrift Gorge. Follow the trail through the trees for about 2.5 miles and then head up to Preston Park.

Be sure to take a bit of time to admire the beautiful scenery all around you before you descend over 3,000 feet for the next 5.4 miles where you will end up at the Sunrift Gorge.

  • Length:
    • Round Trip: 8.9 miles
    • Elevation Gain: 2090 Feet

Read: 11 Not to be Missed Stops on the Cabot Trail

8. Two Medicine Area

glacier national park hikes Two Medicine Area
The Two Medicine Area is a great place for hiking and camping in Glacier National Park.

Located on the north part of the city of East Glacier, this incredible area offers more jaw dropping scenery and some great hiking. The trails are more peaceful than the ones at the starting point (located near the Many Glacier hotel). It’s a good Glacier National Park hike if you are a beginner.

You can also take a wooden boat tour in this area and you can find some of fantastic camping. At roughly 1.5 miles you emerge from the forest to be greeted by lush meadows and other vegetation. During your hike, you will pass through a large open meadow and open terrain with colourful wild flowers. If you wish, you can spend the night camping here.

  • Length:
    • Round Trip: 6.2 miles

Check out our layering tips for cold weather hiking and adventure.

9. Dawson Pass

Dawson Pass
Dawson Pass takes you by Oldman Lake and several waterfalls.

Hiking the 15-mile Dawson Pass takes you up to amazing views of the Oldman Lake. This trail crosses the Dawson and Pitamakan passes taking you through peaceful scenes and waterfalls along the way. If you want to shave some time off your hike you can take the shuttle boat across Two Medicine Lake.

And there you have it, my favorite 9 Glacier National Park hikes. Remember, you don’t have to finish any of these hikes as there is always an opportunity to turn around.

Give yourself enough time when hiking to make it back before the sun goes down and don’t hike beyond your limits. Glacier National Park has hikes for everyone, so be smart and hike within your capabilities. Start small and have fun!

glacier national park hikes
9 Best Glacier National Park Hikes

Thinking of doing some Glacier National Park hikes? Pick up the complete guide to hiking Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks on Amazon. 

glacier national park hikes guide book

Did you know Glacier National Park in the United States is connected to Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park? The two parks are known as the International Peace Park

This post was originally written by Julie Mclain of Outdoorszer. It has been updated by Dave and Deb.

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About The Planet D

Dave Bouskill and Debra Corbeil are the owners and founders of The Planet D. After traveling to 115 countries, on all 7 continents over the past 13 years they have become one of the foremost experts in travel. Being recognized as top travel bloggers and influencers by the likes of Forbes Magazine, the Society of American Travel Writers and USA Today has allowed them to become leaders in their field.

Leave a Comment

12 thoughts on “9 of the Best Glacier National Park Hikes”

  1. Incredible hikes destination in Glacier National Park. The choices are great, Iceberg Lake became my favorite one. It’s really an International Peace Park, have you tried all the hikes?

    Reply
  2. I have a good experience of Cracker Lake because I have been there many of times in my whole life and every time had huge fun there.

    Reply
  3. Glinnell Glacier looks awesome. The Grinnell Glacier hike is a great way to see an abundance of wildflowers, great views, geology, and wildlife.

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  4. Cracker Lake is a really good place for fun and tourists can enjoy there real charm of nature beauty. I had a great time there but I will love to make a tour there for again and again. It is a best place for outing and tourists can enjoy there boating and many other outdoor activities.

    Reply
  5. Nice! We’re planning a road trip around the states for a few months at the end of this year and GNP is on our list. We’re pretty keen hikers so hoping to hit a few of the parks on the way. We’ll have to check out some of these hikes while we’re there…cracker and iceberg lakes look really cool! Thanks for the tips Julie 🙂

    Reply
  6. Thanks to all!
    Glad to hear you guys found it helpful.
    And you’re right, Kraig: Cracker Lake and Dawson Pass are a must for hikers. :3

    Reply
  7. Absolutely love this list and have been on more than one of these hikes. Cracker Lake and Dawson Pass are a must for hikers. I would mention you will also want to make sure you are going with the right equipment, be sure to do your research ahead of time and be prepared.

    Reply
  8. Oh wow, these National Parks look beautiful. I haven’t heard of any of them but I would love to visit Cracker Lake. It looks absolutely gorgeous up there.

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  9. Wow! Some of the best options for hiking lovers. I am planning to visit any international destination during summer vocations. You made my choice easier.

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  10. Absolutely love Glacier National Park! Some of the most scenic beauty in the country. We hiked to Grinnell Glacier last time, but we’re definitely going to have to go back and try out the rest of these hikes – especially to Iceberg Lake & Cracker Lake. Your photos are just amazing!

    Reply