11+ Easy Hikes In Glacier National Park (Photos, Maps, and Trail Details)

Post Summary: 11+ Easy Hikes In Glacier National Park (And Glacier Hiking Tips)

Chances are, you found this post because you are planning your amazing trip to Glacier National Park.

Go you!

You’ve come to the right place, (Glacier, Montana, that is) because everywhere you turn there will be towering mountain tops, spectacular glaciers, and lush forest as far as the eye can see.

We think one of the best ways to experience Glacier National Park is getting outside and hitting one of its many amazing trails!

From Many Glacier hikes to hikes in West Glacier, we’re sharing some of our favorite easy Glacier trails in today’s post.

This will be a combination of some easy hikes in Glacier National Park, some more challenging ones, and what to pack to make the most of your Glacier hiking trip.

(If you’re looking for more of a challenge, scroll to the bottom and find our list of longer hikes in Glacier, too.)

Have fun!

Berty Mandagie dancing at Hidden Lake Lookout - TheMandagies.com

11+ Beautiful And Easy Hikes In Glacier National Park (Photos, Maps, and Trail Details)

Hidden Lake Overlook Is The Prettiest Glacier Hiking Trail

  • Distance: 2.7 Miles Out-And-Back
  • Elevation Gain: 540 Feet
  • Location: Logan Pass Area

Hidden Lake Overlook is one of the best hikes in Glacier National Park and the easiest hike in the Logan Pass Area. We say that because it’s incredibly convenient to access, and we believe it has the best reward for such a short trail!

The first part of the hike is on a boardwalk above wildflower-filled meadows on either side. The boardwalk has many platforms and you’ll need to prepare to hike a series of stairs for the first third of the hike.

After the boardwalk, you’ll wrap around the highest point of the trail and make your way down to the overlook. There’s an official viewing area, but any perspective of Hidden lake is magical!

You can extend your hike by making your way down to the actual lake, but we really think the best views are from above.

Read More: Hike To Hidden Lake In Glacier National Park

View of Hidden Lake Overlook - Hikes in Glacier National Park - TheMandagies.com
View of Hidden Lake Overlook
Hidden Lake Lookout Trail - Hikes In Glacier National Park - TheMandagies.com
Hidden Lake Boardwalk Stairs

Hidden Falls – A Great Detour On Grinnell Glacier Trail

  • Distance: 2.5 miles Out-And-Back
  • Elevation Gain: 250 Feet
  • Location: Many Glacier Area

Hidden Falls is located along the trail to Grinnell Glacier in the Many Glacier Area of Glacier National Park.

Hidden Falls is a short side-trail off the main Grinnell Glacier trail, but only a 0.2-mile walk will bring you to the roaring falls off of Cataract Creek. It’s a fairly steep trail at first, but then eventually levels out to reveal a wooden viewing platform.

Once back on the main trail, you can choose to turn around and go back the way you came or continue up the main trail for a short trail to Grinnell Lake.

Avalanche Lake Trail Is A Popular Glacier Hike

  • Distance: 4.5 miles out-and-back
  • Elevation Gain: 730 Feet
  • Location: Lake McDonald Area

Avalanche Lake trail is a busy and popular hiking trail in Glacier National Park. This is because it’s one of the closest hikes in Glacier to towns like Kalispell, Whitefish and Columbia Falls, where many visitors choose to stay during their time in the park.

Elevation gain is gradual and gentle, which makes this a really fun hike to do with your family or friends! You’ll spend most of your hiking time under the canopy of trees and alongside Avalanche Creek.

Once you hit the end of the trail at around 2.3-ish miles, you’ll arrive at the opening on Avalanche Lake, at a beautiful lake sitting in the bowl between Little Matterhorn Mountain, Bearhat Mountain, and Mt. Brown.

In the springtime, you’ll be able to view snow still in the mountains, but we came in early September and found that all the snow had already melted! (But don’t worry, it was still crazy beautiful!)

Trip Tip: Parking is pretty difficult in this busy area off the Going-To-The-Sun Road. Come early (Before 9:00 am) to increase your chances of securing a parking spot.

Otherwise, prepare to circle around the lot as we did. It took us three laps until we spotted someone leaving!

Avalanche Lake Trial - Hikes in Glacier National Park - TheMandagies.com
Avalanche Lake Hike - Best Hikes In Glacier National Park - TheMandagies.com

Trail of The Cedars Is a Fun And Easy Hike In Glacier

  • Distance: 1-mile loop
  • Elevation Gain: 60 feet
  • Location: Lake McDonald Area

The Trail of the Cedars is a flat, wheelchair and stroller accessible hiking trail in Glacier National Park.

This is a great family-friendly hiking trail in Glacier for the variety of interesting features and the fact that it’s an easy loop.

Part of the path is a wide, dirt path and the other is on a raised boardwalk with several benches and side trails. All around are interpretive signs about the wildlife, flora, and fauna in the area.

Trip Tip: This trailhead shares the same parking lot for Avalanche Lake Trail. Make sure to secure a parking spot early, otherwise, try coming later in the day when all the hikers have turned in for the evening.

Trail of The Cedars - Easy Hikes In Glacier National Park - TheMandagies.com
Trail Of The Cedars In Glacier National Park

Sun Point Nature Trail Is A Beautiful, Sunny Glacier Hike!

  • Distance: 1.7 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 213 feet
  • Location: St Mary/Rising Sun Area

Sun Point Nature Trail is a small peninsula on St. Mary Lake that overlooks epic Glacier Mountains to the west, and more of St Mary Lake towards the east.

It is suitably named because of the hours and hours of sunshine that this place receives every day. There’s very little shade!

There are two easy ways to reach Sun Point.

  • The first is from Sun Point Parking Lot, which makes the trail a 0.1-mile out-and-back stop (aka EASY!).
  • The second way is from Sunrift Gorge Parking Lot, which makes the Sun Point Nature Trail a total of 1.7-miles out and back.

Read More: The Surprise That Awaits You And Sun Point Nature Trail (Hint: Lake Jumps!)

Sun Point Nature Trail - Easy Hikes In Glacier National Park - TheMandagies.com
Trail Sun Point to Baring Falls, Dead Trees - TheMandagies.com

Apikuni Falls Is An Easy To Reach Falls In The Many Glacier Area

  • Distance: 1.7 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 625 feet
  • Location: Many Glacier Area

Apikuni Falls (also commonly spelled and pronounced Appekunny Falls) is a short hike to a magnificent waterfall in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park, Montana.

The trail starts at the Poia Lake Trailhead, which is just a few miles after the Many Glacier Park Entrance. Parking is limited to only 12 spaces, so on a busy day (or if you’re visiting during busy season), consider arriving on the early side.

Along the Apikuni Trail, you’ll walk through Apikuni Flats, an aspen grove, and begin your climb through a tree-covered forest. You’ll also gain nearly 500 feet at the beginning of the hike, so prepare for a good sweat session!

After about 0.6-miles from the trailhead, you’ll start to hear the roar of the falls. Just a short walk farther and you’ll be able to see the 100-foot two-tiered falls.

You can stop your hike here, or continue on for a little less than a mile to view the falls from the base.

St Mary Falls (And Baring Falls Bonus)

  • Distance: 1.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 215 feet
  • Location: St Mary/Rising Sun Area

St. Mary Falls Trail is an easy hike in Glacier located in the St Mary/Rising Sun Area of the park. The easiest way to reach the falls would be to park at the St Mary Falls Trailhead, but there are several trailheads that can access the area.

If you’d like to add another falls to your hike (Baring Falls), consider starting your hike at the Siyeh Pass Trailhead at the Sunrift Gorge area and head south towards the water. There are plenty of signs to keep you going if you get lost!

Both waterfall trails will take you up and alongside the shores of Saint Mary Lake, with spectacular views of Little Chief Mountains and Citadel Mountain in the distance. It’s quite a sight!

In 2015, a wildfire came through the area and burned down all the trees, but the underbrush and groundcovers are growing back, creating a brilliant green bed against the skeleton-like trunks of the trees in the forest. It’s actually quite beautiful!

Want to keep going? If you are feeling energized and want to see another Glacier waterfall, continue on another mile to Virginia Falls.

Read More: Discover The Best Route To Get To St Mary Falls (Hint: Lake Jumps Included!)

St Mary Falls - Best Hikes In Glacier National Park - TheMandagies.com
St Mary Falls Trail - Hikes In Glacier National Park Montana - TheMandagies.com

Lake Josephine Is A Short And Stunning Glacier Hiking Trail

  • Distance: 2 miles out and back
  • Elevation Gain: 60 feet
  • Location: Many Glacier Area

Lake Josephine is an easy hike in Glacier National Park in the Many Glacier Area. To reach Lake Josephine, park at the Grinnell Glacier Trailhead and walk 1-mile alongside Swiftcurrent Lake.

Once at the other end of the lake, you’ll reach a T in the trail with a boat dock overlooking Swiftcurrent Lake and the Many Glacier Hotel in the distance. Follow the signs to Grinnell Glacier/Lake Josephine.

You can stop and take in the view here at the dock, or turn the opposite way and continue to the very short trail to the shores of Lake Josephine.

We think Lake Josephine is one of the best places to watch the sunrise in Glacier National Park. Come early with a coffee in hand and view it for yourself!

Trail Tip: Bears are very frequently spotted in this area. Don’t hit the trails unless you’ve got bear spray and know how to use it!

If you’d like more protection, consider attaching bells on your backpack or talking loudly with your hiking company to let them know you’re in the area. They generally don’t like to be bothered and will scurry away at the slightest commotion.

Read More: How To Plan a Picture-Perfect Trip To Lake Josephine In Glacier

Lake Josephine At Sunrise - TheMandagies.com

Iceberg Trail – The Best Glacier Day Hike!

  • Distance: 9.7 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 1275 feet
  • Location: Many Glacier Area

Iceberg Lake Trail is a popular hike in the Many Glacier Area. It’s one of the longer hikes though, nearing around 10 miles in completion. (So really, it’s easy as a beginner’s first “challenging” hike)

To reach the trailhead, follow directions to the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and drive behind the cabins to find a small parking lot. There’s room for about 10 cars, but overflow parking can be found at the Motor Inn’s parking lot, only adding 2/10 of a mile to your trip.

The Iceberg Lake trail begins with a steep climb but will level out to follow an open terrain with jaw-dropping views of the surrounding mountains for the majority of the trail. Here are some of the mountain peaks to spot:

  • Mount Grinnell – 8,851 feet
  • Swiftcurrent Mountain – 8,436 feet
  •  Mount Wilbur – 9,321 feet
  • Ptarmigan Wall –  8,447 Feet

After 3 miles of views, thick forest trails, and a quick view of Ptarmigan Falls, you’ll spot the lake bowl in the distance and make a slow decline towards the shores of Iceberg Lake.

Spend some time relaxing near the wildflower fields, on the shores of the lake, or even take a dip if you dare.

There is commonly still ice on the lake until late summer because parts of the lake never receive direct sunlight!

Read More: The Complete Guide To Hiking Iceberg Lake Trail In Glacier

Berty and Emily Mandagie standing at Iceberg Lake Trail - best hikes in Glacier National Park - TheMandagies.com

The Highline Trail Is The Most Popular Day Hike In Glacier

  • Distance: 11.8 miles one-way
  • Elevation Gain: 1950 feet
  • Location: Logan Pass Area

The Highline Trail is one of the best hikes in Glacier National Park, and one of the most scenic trails in the United States!

With dramatic mountain views, interesting features, and mid-trail chalets, this hike had amazing features the entire way. Here are some of the most popular stops along this beautiful Glacier hike:

  • Granite Peak Chalet
  • The Garden Wall
  • The Rock Wall (beginning at Logan Pass Visitors Center, with 100-foot drops in some parts!)
  • Grinnell Glacier Overlook
  • Haystack Pass

The most common way to begin the trail is starting at the Highline Trailhead at Logan Pass Visitor Center. You can also start at the other end, which is named “The Loop”. Both locations have parking, although Logan Pass Visitor Center has many more spaces.

If you choose to do the entire 11.8 miles, you can wait and take the free Glacier shuttle, and catch a ride back to where you parked your car.

We’re only adding this to the ‘easy hikes in Glacier National Park’ list because you can make it as long or as short as you want it to be!

We only did the first 1.5 miles and then turned around, but we loved every second of it!

The Highline Trail - best hikes in glacier national park - TheMandagies.com

Take Swiftcurrent Lake Nature Trail For A Relaxed Hike

  • Distance: 2.7-mile loop trail
  • Elevation Gain: 25 feet
  • Location: Many Glacier Area

Swiftcurrent Lake Nature Trail is a 2.7-mile loop around the entire Swiftcurrent Lake. There are many places to park to start this Glacier hike, but the easiest and most convenient place to begin is Many Glacier Hotel Parking lot. (There’s tons of parking!)

This is a really easy trail in Glacier National Park. With low elevation gain, different views the entire way, and wildlife spotting opportunities, there’s so much to gain from such an accessible trail.

Bonus: If you’re staying at the Many Glacier Hotel, you can hike this trail in the morning and come back to their amazing breakfast buffet!

Swiftcurrent Lake - Many Glacier Hikes - TheMandagies.com

 

Emily and Joseph on Iceberg Lake Trail in Glacier National Park, Montana

Tips For Hiking In Glacier National Park

Hiking in Glacier National Park can be an amazing experience…with proper planning. Here’s how to get the most out of these beautiful Montana trails and ensure you are maximizing your time in the park.

1. Pack Plenty Of Layers

Mornings in Glacier can be pretty chilly, but things can heat up quickly as the sun rises! You’ll want to peel back layers as you hike and sweat.

It’s also easier to start with all of your layers ON, and then peel them off as necessary.

Even when it’s warm outside, it’s nice to wear a lightweight long sleeve shirt for sun protection! I did that many times when hiking in Glacier and it helped protect my skin during our trip.

Emily Mandagie at Big Bend, Glacier National Park - TheMandagies.com

2. Arrive Early To Glacier Hiking Trailheads

Because of Glacier’s short opening season, you – alongside the 3.3 million visitors per year – will be vying for parking lot space, trail time, and many other Glacier resources.

One way to take advantage of your time in the park is to arrive early at hiking trailheads. This gives you a higher chance of getting a parking spot and passing fewer people on the trail. For better trip planning (especially in the dark) download one of these apps for hiking to help you navigate the trail in the early morning!

Emily Mandagie wearing headlamp during hike in Glacier National Park - TheMandagies.com

3. Always Pack Bear Spray When Hiking in Glacier National Park and Know Basic Wildlife Safety

If you plan to take hikes in the Many Glacier Area, it’s essential to bring bear spray and know how to use it!

Note: NO airlines allow you to pack bear spray in luggage. Purchasing bear spray in the park is a little more pricey, but not too much.

If you want to save money, consider buying it on Amazon before your trip (if you’re driving to Glacier) or pick some up in nearby towns like Kalispell or Browning.

Here are some other basic wildlife safety tips for hiking trails in Glacier National Park:

  • Keep a distance of 25 feet from animals like goats and sheep. Keep a distance of 100 feet from moose and bears.
  • Talk loudly and walk-in groups on Glacier hiking trails to deter animals and warn them of your presence.
  • If you do encounter an animal: yell loudly to spook it and keep eye contact while stepping away. Also, have your bear spray ready to use if it gets close. Usually, they don’t want anything to do with you and will scurry off if you make a big fuss.
  • NEVER feed the wildlife. Food encourages them to roam close to humans, which can be very dangerous.
Mountain Goat eating at Hidden Lake Overlook, Glacier National Park - TheMandagies.com

4. Wear Sturdy Hiking Shoes When Hiking In Glacier

Hikes in Glacier National Park are not the time to test out new hiking boots. Many of these trails are long, and your feet will thank you for wearing a well-loved, dependable pair!

We also recommend hiking boots with ankle support when on challenging Glacier national park trails. This will help give your feet added support and protection over rock slides and uneven surfaces.

 

5. Consider Using Hiking Poles On Glacier National Park Trails

Many hikes in Glacier have elevation gains and losses along the trail. To save you the strain on your joints, we highly recommend using hiking poles.

Hiking poles help distribute your weight and relieve some of the impacts on your knees, especially when hiking steep inclines or declines.

Emily Mandagie on Avalanche Hiking Trail in Glacier, using hiking poles

6. Be Patient When Using The Shuttles In Glacier National Park

Shuttle service in Glacier begins July 1st until Labor Day Weekend.

Full service to all stops along Going To The Sun Road begins at 9:00 am every morning and the last bus leaves at 5:00 pm.

The Glacier National Park shuttles are extremely popular for helping hikers and visitors move around the park without a car. That being said, lines and waits can be long, especially during the busy season.

Click here to learn more about the Glacier shuttle service, where to park your car long-term, and other tips for riding between stops.

7. Pack Some Fun Extras On Glacier Hiking Trails

Hiking in Glacier National Park can be a memorable experience – the beauty of the area is unmatched!

For some of our excursions, we carried a Therm-a-rest Z Mat for mid-trail breaks, our DSLR camera for spontaneous photos, and gourmet snacks for a worthwhile reward.

This is YOUR Glacier hike, so make the most of it! Bring along what makes you happy and personalize your trip for maximum enjoyment.

Baguette and fancy cheese? Cute hat and swingy dress? The skies the limit! Just be respectful of others and their own hiking experience and you’re good to go.

Berty Mandagie resting at Avalanche Hiking Trail in Glacier - TheMandagies.com

Glacier National Park Hiking Map

One of the many great things about hiking in Glacier National Park is how close trailheads are to one another!

It’s quite easy to do a few trails in one day, so we’ve created a map of hikes in Glacier National Park to help you plan out your fun days in the park.

You can view the map below, or click here to open the map in a new window and save these locations for later!

More Hikes In Glacier National Park

Did we cover all the hikes in Glacier National Park? Certainly not! There are 734 miles of total trails in the park, and we barely scratched the surface from our visits here.

Here are some other hikes in Glacier National Park we’d like to explore on our next trip to Montana:

More Easy Hikes In Glacier National Park

Looking for more easy day hikes in Glacier National Park? Below, we’ve listed some easy hikes that we elaborated on above, but also added some other smaller hikes to fill your schedule!

Challenging Hikes In Glacier National Park

Like stated above, there are 743 miles of hiking trails in Glacier National Park.

Many of these trails are backpacking trails, multi-day hikes, and overnight hikes in Glacier. However, if you’re looking for a long day hike, these also can work – just go as far as you’d like!

  • Gunsight Lake – St Mary Area
  • Sunrift Gorge Hike – St Mary Area
  • Grinnel Glacier – Many Glacier Area
  • Pitamakan – Dawson Loop – Two Medicine Area
  • Ptarmigan Tunnel – Many Glacier Area
  • Siyeh Pass – St Mary Area
  • Iceberg Lake Trail – Many Glacier Area
  • Cracker Lake – Many Glacier Area
  • Lake Isabel – Two Medicine Area

Overnight Backpacking Trips In Glacier National Park

If you’re looking to go backpacking in Glacier National Park, there are several trails with backcountry campsites! Remember to register for your campsite by paying fees and receiving a permit before you head out on your adventure!

  • The Highline Trail to Granite Peak Chalet
  • Cracker Lake Trail
  • The Goat Haunt
Emily and Berty Mandagie reaching Iceberg Lake in Glacier - TheMandagies.com

What are some of your favorite and easy hikes in Glacier National Park to take? Share your photos with us on Instagram by sending us a photo DM of your adventures! (Find us at @themandagies!)

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