Glacier National Park ~ Best Hikes ~ a slow hiker's guide™


Best Hikes in Glacier Park

Best Hikes Logan Pass

Logan Pass Opened June 21, 2013

Best Hikes St. Mary

Logan Pass Opened June 19, 2012

Best Hikes Many Glacier

Logan Pass Opened July 13, 2011

Best Hikes West Side

Logan Pass Opened June 24, 2010

Best Hikes Two Medicine

Logan Pass Opened May 22, 2005

2015 was an interesting year for hiking in Glacier National Park. Upper elevation trails were clear of most snow weeks earlier the usual. Valleys were clear of snow nearly a month early.

May 26, 2013 ~ hiked to Apgar Lookout only one small patch of snow, all downed tress cleared from trail. Indian Paintbrush blooming near the top of Apgar Lookout Trail.
May 24, 2013
It snowed yesterday on the west side of Glacier Park. Plowing of the Going To The Sun Road is approaching Logan Pass. Due to road construction the GTSR will not open to Logan Pass before June 21, 2013. Weather wise it would most likely have opened around June 10 of this year. Due to budget cuts trail crew work has been cut back. So be sure and check for the latest status of a particular trail on Glacier Parks website, sadly those updates no longer appear to be up to date either. Trail Status Reports

A slow hikers guide™ to Glacier National Park Wildflowers
Available on iBooks wildflower book cover
A slow hiker's guide™ to Glacier National Park Wildflowers

Whitefish Pilot article on my Wildflower Guide.

Lower elevations snow is mostly gone if it will stop snowing. Upper elevations above 5,000 feet are at average levels for this time of year. This means that the Alpine Trails are under deep snow. Mid July for most of those trails to clear of snow. Logan Pass Visitor center has snow up the the roof eves as of Memorial Day Weekend 2013. Bowman Lake Road and campground are now open. (about a month later then usual due to budget cuts.)

May 17, 2013
I was in Many Glacier, St Mary and Two Medicine on the 17th of May 2013. Only Two Medicine had any significant amounts of snow at the valley level. This included driving up The Going To The Sun Road to the Gunsight Pass Trail Head. Glacier Lilies are starting their bloom as the snow melts. Looking Glass Highway between East Glacier and St Mary is open. Hiked part way up Apgar Lookout shortly after the access opened but with the heavy rain we've been having it is most likely closed again. This trail access will open and close with the weather for the next few weeks.

April and May of 2012 were surprisingly dry and warm. June of 2012 has made up for that with 4" of rain by June 12, 2012. The monthly average for June is 3.5" of rain. Logan Pass opening date pushed back due to rain, snow and avalanches until sometime around June 20, 2012. Logan Pass has gotten 35" of snow since Memorial Day! Lower elevations on the west side are clear of all snow. On my last trip to the east side mid May 2012 there was still plenty of snow at the valley levels. I expect that all of the exposed snow on the east side valleys is gone. Trails in narrow valleys such as the one to Morning Eagle Falls will still have plenty of snow! Grinnell Glacier Trail still is snow covered after the first mile or so of the trailhead.

Well its late April 2012, hiking season has started once again in Glacier National Park. I'm going to start off my 2012 hikes, weather permitting with The South Boundary Trail. I will also archive the 2011 version of this page as reference material for extremely short season hiking.

As of June 13, 2012 none of the alpine trails are open. Unlike last year most of these trails should be opening starting in early to mid July.
As of 7-29-2011 the Alpine Trails are slowly opening. The first week of August should see another round of Alpine Trails opening. The best hikes listed here are based on a combination of first hand experience in 2011 and or reports from the NPS Trail Crews on trails that I have hiked in the past. What is open changes daily so this year it is important before going from one side of the park to the other to check with the Glacier Park Visitor Center for current trail status and conditions. Even then you might get to a trail that you were told was open and find that it is closed. This happened to me recently.

big horn ram glacier national park © shawn coggins

Best Day hikes Logan Pass / Loop

hidden lake shrouded in smoke 2003

The mountains shrouded in smoke from the Roberts Fire of 2003 from the overlook above Hidden Lake. Smoke does create a very interesting atmospheric effect. That same day when I stopped off at the market next to Lake McDonald Lodge the Jammers were lined up with a sprinkler running in the background. The soft haze, created by the smoke from the fires burning just across the lake, on the deep black, highly polished bumpers of the Jammers was so special that I lay down in the parking lot to get what is still after 10 years my favorite photo of the Jammers. Due to the smoke I didn't do a lot of hiking that summer. Since I don't smoke I didn't see any reason to inhale the equivalent of a carton of cigarettes while hiking with the distant views totally obscured.

Hidden Lake Overlook Trail is one of the more popular hikes in Glacier National Park. The Hidden Lake Trail starts behind the Visitor Center at Logan Pass. This is usually a very busy trail.

Best Day hikes West Side

Best Day hikes Two Medicine

Best Day hikes Many Glacier

Best Day hikes Saint Mary

Lake McDonald Area Trail Map

Logan Pass, St. Mary and Many Glacier Area Trail Map

Two Medicine Area Trail Map

North Fork Area Trail Map