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Glacier National Park is home to some of the most exciting hiking trails in the United States. The scenery in this national park is jaw-dropping and there is no better way to experience it than on your own two feet. Take your pick from easy strolls to spectacular alpine trails. Here are 10 of the best hikes in Glacier National Park.

About the Hikes in Glacier National Park

This list is organized by geographical location. Glacier National Park is a large park with several distinct areas. The hikes in this post are located in Many Glacier, Two Medicine, and the area around Going-to-the-Sun Road and Logan Pass.

Note: All hiking distances are round trip.

Best Hikes in Glacier National Park

Hikes Along Going-to-the-Sun Road

For 50 miles, this road twists and turns through gorgeous mountain scenery. It tops out at Logan Pass, where you can start two of the hikes on this list. For many visitors, especially if it is your first time to Glacier National Park, the area around Going-to-the-Sun Road is where you will spend a lot of your time.

Avalanche Lake

Distance: 4.6 miles out-and-back
Total Ascent: 500 feet
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Length of Time: 2 to 3 hours
Trailhead: Trail of the Cedars, near Lake McDonald

Avalanche Lake is much different from most hikes on this list. Many hikes in Glacier National Park feature alpine trails and panoramic views of the mountain peaks. This hike is different. You will hike alongside Avalanche Creek and through a dense forest. There are no big climbs, no high alpine views, just a quiet trail through the woods that ends at a very pretty lake.

This hike starts at the Trail of the Cedars, a 0.7-mile loop trail. For the best experience, take the boardwalk trail through the dense forest of cedar trees and make sure you see Avalanche Gorge.

Trail of the Cedars

Avalanche Gorge

Avalanche Gorge | Best Hikes in Glacier National Park

At the top of the loop, follow the signs to Avalanche Lake. It’s an overall uphill walk to get to the lake, but it is nothing too strenuous. Avalanche Lake makes a great picnic spot.

Hike to Avalanche Lake

Avalanche Lake Glacier NP

Avalanche Lake | Best Hikes in Glacier National Park

Hidden Lake Overlook

Distance: 2.8 miles out-and-back
Total Ascent: 460 feet
Difficulty: Easy
Length of Time: 1.5 hours
Trailhead: Logan Pass

This is one of the most popular hikes in Glacier National Park. Starting at Logan Pass, you will walk a combination of boardwalk and gravel trails to get to the overlook of Hidden Lake. Along the way, keep a lookout for mountain goats. This is one of the easiest places to see them in Glacier National Park.

Hidden Lake Overlook

Hidden Lake Overlook | Best Hikes in Glacier National Park


Hidden Lake Trail

View on the return hike from Hidden Lake | Best Hikes in Glacier National Park

From the overlook, you can continue on the trail for another 1.2 miles (2.4 miles round trip) to Hidden Lake.

Highline Trail

Distance: 11.6 miles point-to-point
Total Ascent: 800 feet
Total Descent: 3000 feet
Difficulty: Moderate
Length of Time: 5 to 7 hours
Trailhead: Logan Pass or the Loop. Starting at Logan Pass makes this an overall downhill walk.

The Highline Trail is one of the best hikes in Glacier National Park. For almost 12 miles, this trail takes hikers high above Going-to-the-Sun Road, with stunning views of the park and a chance to see glaciers, wildflowers, and wildlife.

This hike is done point-to-point, from Logan Pass to the Loop. The elevation gain is minimal, so if you are looking for a hike with high alpine views without having to hike up a massive mountain, you won’t find a better hike than the Highline Trail.

Highline Trail

Highline Trail | Best Hikes in Glacier National Park


Glacier National Park Hikes

St. Mary & Virginia Falls

Distance: 2.4 miles to St. Mary Falls, 3.8 miles to Virginia Falls (round trip)
Elevation Change: 260 feet loss (to St. Mary Falls) and a 285-foot gain (to Virginia Falls)
Difficulty: Easy
Length of Time: 1 hour (St. Mary Falls) to 2 hours (Virginia Falls)
Trailhead: St. Mary Falls Trailhead or St. Mary Falls Shuttle Stop

This trail takes you alongside part of St. Mary Lake and through a forest that was burned in July 2015. You can hike to St. Mary Falls, a beautiful two-tiered waterfall, with the option to continue onto Virginia Falls.

St Mary Falls

St. Mary Falls | Best Hikes in Glacier National Park

There are two places to start this hike. There is a small parking lot on Going-to-the-Sun Road, labeled St. Mary Falls Trailhead. With a bit of luck, you can find a parking space midday. Or, take the shuttle to the St. Mary Falls Shuttle Stop. Starting at the shuttle stop takes off 0.4 miles round trip from the hiking distances below.

US National Parks List

Hikes in Many Glacier

This is one of the most beautiful areas of Glacier National Park. With massive, snow-covered mountains, waterfalls, lakes, and glaciers, this is a hiker’s paradise.

Apikuni Falls

Distance: 2 miles out-and-back
Total Ascent: 700 feet
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Length of Time: 1 hour
Trailhead: Apikuni Parking Area

This is a short, popular hike to a waterfall that is located near Many Glacier Hotel.

Apikuni Falls best hikes in Glacier National Park

Tami Freed/shutterstock.com

Cracker Lake

Distance: 12.6 miles out-and-back
Total Ascent: 1400 feet
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length of Time: 6 to 8 hours
Trailhead: Many Glacier Hotel parking lot

Cracker Lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Glacier National Park. It is a brilliantly colored aquamarine lake that is surrounded by grassy slopes and wildflowers on the nearby mountains.

Glacier Cracker Lake best hikes in Glacier National Park


This hike starts near the Many Glacier Hotel. The first few miles of the trail are a horse trail, so it can be muddy and rutted.

Grinnell Glacier

Distance: 10.6 miles out-and-back
Total Ascent: 1600 feet
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length of Time: 5 to 7 hours
Trailhead: Grinnell Glacier Trailhead on Continental Divide Trail or Lake Josephine

This hike has it all…stunning alpine scenery, waterfalls, emerald green lakes, wildflowers, the chance to see wildlife, and of course, a glacier.

On this hike we spotted moose, bear, and mountain goats. The wildlife sightings and the gorgeous scenery made this was one of our favorite experiences in Glacier National Park.

Best Hikes in Glacier

View on the hike to Grinnell Glacier | Best Hikes in Glacier National Park


Grinnell Glacier Hike best hikes in Glacier National Park

Grinnell Glacier | Best Hikes in Glacier National Park

There are two ways to do this hike. You can do this as a round-trip hike from main trailhead on Continental Divide Trail. Or, you can shorten this hike by taking the boat across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine.

Iceberg Lake

Distance: 9.6 miles out-and-back
Total Ascent: 1200 feet
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length of Time: 5 to 7 hours
Trailhead: Swiftcurrent Motor Inn

Many people who hike this trail state that it is one of their favorite hikes in Glacier National Park. It’s still on our to-do list.

Iceberg Lake best hikes in Glacier National Park


This hike shares the trail to Ptarmigan Tunnel. You will also be walking through grizzly bear territory, so hike in groups, make lots of noise, and bring bear spray. Like the hike to Grinnell Glacier, you are treated to spectacular alpine views, wildflowers, and a beautiful alpine lake.

Ptarmigan Tunnel

Distance: 10.6 miles out-and-back
Total Ascent: 2300 feet
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length of Time: 5 to 7 hours
Trailhead: Swiftcurrent Motor Inn

This hike shares the trail to Iceberg Lake. At about the halfway point, the trail to Ptarmigan Tunnel breaks off to the right. The trail gets steeper and more strenuous and you are treated to amazing alpine views. Near the end of the hike, you will walk through Ptarmigan Tunnel, which was blasted out of the rock in the 1930’s. From the far end of the tunnel, enjoy more stunning views of Glacier National Park.

Ptarmigan Tunnel best hikes in Glacier National Park

Kelly vanDellen/shutterstock.com

This trail is not as popular as Cracker Lake or Iceberg Lake, so if you like the idea of hiking without the crowds, this is a good one to consider.

Hikes in Two Medicine

The Two Medicine area may not be as popular as Going-to-the-Sun Road or Many Glacier, but the scenery and the trails are just as spectacular. And since this area gets fewer visitors, it feels more off-the-beaten-path.

Pitamakan Pass and Dawson Pass

Distance: 14.8 miles out-and-back
Difficulty: Strenuous
Length of Time: 7 to 9 hours
Trailhead: North Shore Trailhead

This epic day hike is done as a loop. Starting at the North Shore Trailhead near Two Medicine Campground, you will to Pitamakan Pass, circling around Rising Wolf Mountain. As you approach Pitamakan Pass, the views are jaw-dropping. At Pitamakan Pass, you will hike across the saddle, a narrow ridge where you have panoramic views of Glacier National Park. Continue to Dawson Pass and once you make it to Two Medicine Lake, take the shuttle back to Two Medicine Campground.

Glacier Two Medicine best hikes in Glacier National Park

Daniel DRSW/shutterstock.com

Best Hikes in Glacier: On a Map

How to Use This Map: Click the icons on the map to get more information about each point of interest. Click the star next to the title of the map to add this map to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

When to Go Hiking in Glacier National Park

Going-to-the-Sun Road is typically open from the end of June/early July through mid-October. Opening and closing dates are dependent on snowfall.

The best time to go hiking in Glacier National Park is in this time frame: early July through mid-October. The Many Glacier and Two Medicine areas may be open before and after these dates, but snow on the trails can make hiking hazardous. It’s best to visit Glacier National Park in the summer and early fall if you plan to go hiking and to have the opportunity to visit all areas of the park.

More Information

Visit the National Park Service website for more information on hikes in Glacier, as well as to check trail status and get important updates. Some trails can close due to Grizzly Bear activity and this is most common in the Many Glacier area.

If you will be visiting the park during the spring and summer months, you will need a timed entry ticket. Learn more here.

Please practice the seven principles of Leave No Trace: plan ahead, stay on the trail, pack out what you bring to the hiking trail, properly dispose of waste, leave areas as you found them, minimize campfire impacts, be considerate of other hikers, and do not approach or feed wildlife.

Glacier Travel Guide

Where We Stayed

Many Glacier Hotel. This is a grand, historic hotel. It looks amazing on the outside and has an enormous, rustic lobby with stunning views of Swiftcurrent Lake. Kara and I stayed in a standard room. It was a very basic room with a double bed and private bathroom. There is no air conditioning, but it is cool at night so that was not an issue. However, it’s an old hotel. The floors creak and the walls are thin, so if you are a light sleeper, bring ear plugs.

Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. I liked it here. Again, it’s very basic, with no Wi-Fi, cellular service or air conditioning. But we stayed in a building tucked away in the trees and it was very nice. Our room was enormous, the beds were comfy, and it felt more peaceful than staying at the Many Glacier Hotel.

Great Northern Resort. This place is wonderful. It is located in West Glacier, so it is a great place to stay to be near Lake McDonald and Avalanche Lake. We had an enormous room with two beds, air conditioning, and great Wi-Fi. I would stay here again.

Best Western Rocky Mountain Lodge, Whitefish. This is where we stayed our last night at Glacier. The following day we had a flight home so I wanted to stay near the airport. Unless you are having a hard time finding accommodations inside the park, I wouldn’t recommend staying in Whitefish. It’s a 40-minute drive just to get to the west entrance and can take an hour and a half or longer to get to Logan Pass. However, after your visit, Whitefish is a great place to stay. There’s a lot to do here, with outdoor activities and family-friendly experiences.

If you have any questions about the best hikes in Glacier National Park, or you want to share your favorite hike, let us know in the comment section below.

More Information about Glacier National Park & the USA

MORE GREAT HIKES IN THE NATIONAL PARKS: From hikes to the tallest peaks to beautiful coast trails, read our Guide to the Best Day Hikes in the US National Parks. If you prefer to keep your hikes short and sweet, read our guide to the Best Short Hikes in the National Parks.

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK: Check out our Glacier National Park Travel Guide for important travel information, sample itineraries, and how to plan your visit. Don’t miss our article Best Things to Do in Glacier National Park for more great things to do in the park.

GLACIER NATIONAL PARK ITINERARY: How many days do you need in Glacier? Get the answer to this question and learn how to plan your itinerary in our Glacier National Park Itinerary Planner.

ROAD TRIP ITINERARY: Learn how to put together Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier National Parks into one amazing 10 day road trip. For more great travel ideas, check out our article Best Road Trips in the USA.

NATIONAL PARKS: In our Guide to the US National Parks, get the full list of national parks with important travel planning information, such as things to do in the parks and sample itineraries.

Read all of our articles about the United States in our United States Travel Guide.


Glacier National Park Hikes

Glacier National Park Best Hikes


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