Want to see the most beautiful spots Glacier National Park has to offer? Here’s a list of the best hikes in Glacier National Park.
Best Hikes in Glacier National Park
There are so many incredible hikes in Glacier National Park and it’s really difficult to choose which ones to pursue. From experiences in the park and further research, here’s my list of the best hikes in Glacier National Park.
Resources to choose the best hikes in Glacier
Here are the resources I use to find the best hikes in Glacier National Park:
- AllTrails App
- Talk to Park Rangers - usually available in the Visitor Centers & Backcountry Stations
- Day Hiking Guide - free resource when you enter the park
- Official park maps - free when you enter the park
I also have a Glacier National Park Travel Guide to help in your trip planning process.
When choosing a hike, consider the amount of time available, hiking difficulty, and the skill level of everyone in your hiking group.
- Day Hike: These are hikes that range from a few hours to the bulk of the day. I usually pick a few shorter hikes or one really long hike if I’m choosing a day hike option.
- Multi-Day Hike: These are hikes that take more than one day to complete. This is the same thing as backpacking and you should plan to hike all day and camp in the backcountry at night.
What to bring on your hike
It’s important to be prepared for every hike in the park! Here are some resources to get you ready for your adventure:
What are the best hikes in Glacier National Park?
Here is a roundup of some of the best hikes in Glacier National Park! These are some of my personal picks for day options, so this list is not exhaustive. I encourage you to adventure and find your favorites!
Keep reading to find out more about each hike!
There’s a really awesome newspaper “Day Hiking Guide” you receive upon entering the park that splits up the park into sections and lists popular hikes for each. On this list, the hikes are categorized by difficulty and it includes evolution gain, length, trailhead information, and description of the hike.
Note: I am not an expert! I wasn’t able to do every hike and there’s a long list of ones that look interesting to me. Check out this list for ideas BUT do your research and choose hikes that are appealing to you.
Goat Haunt / North Fork Area
There are several hikes to lakes available in this area. On my most recent trip, the whole area was blocked off due to wildfires; make sure to get updates about conditions before you go!
Lake McDonald Valley
This is a very popular area of the park! It’s easy to access and is one starting point of the Going-to-the-Sun Road.
Trail of the Cedars
This is a .9 mile loop that contains 83 ft of elevation gain and is wheelchair accessible. This is a great (and very short) hiking option for a family!
This is a 1.6 mile (one way) hike with 347 ft of elevation gain. It leads to a cool little spot called Howe Lake.
This hike was beautiful at sunrise! It’s 2.3 miles (one way) and 741 ft of elevation gain for this mostly-covered hike. The trail leads to a really awesome lake with mountains surrounding it. It’s a popular hike so I recommend early in the morning or late in the evening.
This 2.9 mile (one way) hike was not crowded at all! You have to work a little harder for this hike with a 1,327 ft elevation gain but it leads to a really peaceful lake covered in lily pads.
Lake McDonald West Shore
This 7 mile (one way) hike runs along the side of Lake McDonald (the side opposite from the road). We didn’t see anyone else on this hike. It was pretty overgrown and not shaded so I would recommend hiking in the morning. We camped at the campground 5 miles down on the trail (which you can also paddle to) and it offered a REALLY awesome spot to swim and watch the sunrise on the lake.
A 3.6 mile (one way) hike with almost 2000 ft of elevation gain. You have to work for the view on this more difficult hike in the area.
Logan Pass / Many Glacier / St. Mary
To get to the hikes in this area, you need to drive on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. Make sure to secure tickets for road access and arrive early or late in the day to get a parking spot.
There are several hikes to falls in this area, hikes of all ranges.
Sun Point Nature Trail
This .9 mile (one way) hike is an easy option in the area. It has 163 ft of elevation gain.
This .3 mile (one way) hike has only 50 ft of elevation and would perfect for kiddos! It leads to some falls and is just a short little stop you can add in your day.
Saint Mary Falls
Another shorter option, this 1.1 mile (one way) hike is 134 ft of elevation and leads to some more falls.
Hidden Lake Overlook
This hike is 1.3 miles and has 608 ft of elevation gain. There isn’t any coverage so it feels a little better in the morning of evening. I saw a wide range of ages on this hike and it led to a pretty overlook. The hike was through meadows and I felt like I was in The Sound of Music!
You have the option to continue hiking after the Hidden Lake Overlook to actual Hidden Lake. It’s 2.5 miles one way to the beautiful hidden lake.
This is a 5.3 mile (one way) hike with 2,596 ft of elevation gain. This is another trail that didn’t end up working out for us (closed due to bear activity) but looked REALLY awesome. This hike looked absolutely stunning and it’s high on my list for next time!
This is a 6.1 mile (one way) hike that has almost 2000 ft of elevation gain. Cracker Lake looks incredibly beautiful and this is another one that’s on my list!
This hike was closed due to bear activity when I was at the park but is also at the top of my list for my next visit! It’s 4.8 miles (one way) with 1.765 ft of elevation gain. I’m a sucker for a good lake and this one looks stunning.
Ptarmigan Lake / Ptarmigan Tunnel
Both of these hikes looked really cool! They’re near Iceberg Lake and again, were closed due to bear activity.
On my most recent trip to Glacier, this was an area I got to explore for about 24 hours and absolutely loved! It’s a little bit more remote than West Glacier so there weren’t as many crowds when I visited.
This 1.3 mile (one way) hike has 197 ft of elevation gain. Several families were hiking on this trail and it leads to a cool little waterfall area.
This .6 mile (one way) hike has 88 ft of elevation and is family-friendly! It leads to a cool lookout spot, very fitting to the name.
Appistoki Falls and Twin Falls
These are two more easy hikes in the area that lead to falls.
You can continue on from Aster Falls to make your way to Aster Park. It’s about 1.9 miles one way and offers a cool overview of the Two Medicine area.
Upper Two Medicine Lake
At 4.7 miles (one way), this hike takes a little more time than those previously mentioned. It has 761 ft of elevation gain but leads to the upper part of the big lake the area is named with!
Dawson Pass & Pitamakan Pass
These two trails combined to make an 18.8 mile loop in the area. I really was hoping to backpack this loop but didn’t receive the permits. Next visit I will definitely try to day hike the whole loop because it looks absolutely stunning (but also very challenging!)
No Name Lake & Old Man Lake
These are two hikes that were on my list to backpack to, but I didn’t get the permits. These would be great more challenging day-hike options.
Guide to Glacier National Park
If you’re planning a trip to Glacier, check out this Glacier National Park Travel Guide to help in your planning process. Have the best time and let me know where you go!