Swiftcurrent Lake Trail Glacier National Park ~ a slow hiker's guide™


Swiftcurrent Lake Trail is one of the easiest
view trails in Glacier Park

Many Glacier Trail Map

Allen Mountain from northern shore Swiftcurrent Lake

The trailhead is a short distance after the turn for Many Glacier Hotel, if you miss the first turn the take the next one.
In addition to being one of the most scenic and easy trails in Glacier Park the Swiftcurrent Lake Trail also has the unique distinction of a wonderfully scenic fireplace overlooking the lake in the Many Glacier Hotel. Do not hike this trail without treating yourself to beauty of this Swiss Chalet Style lobby guilt nearly one hundred years ago by the Great Northern Railroad.

Allen Mountain

There is a parking and picnic area for Swiftcurrent Lake Trail, Lake Josephine Trail, Grinnell Glacier Trail and the Grinnell Lake Trail. This parking area tends to fill up before mid day. All listed trails start at the same trailhead. This trail is through bear country! Bear Bells DO NOT WORK. Bear Spray does work. When hiking in bear country make noise when going around blind corners. During the main hiking season there are free Ranger Led Hikes. Depending on the Ranger you will learn about the geology or plant life in the area. Ranger Led Hike schedules change during the summer so pick up a current copy when you enter the park.

Altyn Peak

A slow hiker's guide™ to Glacier National Park Wildflowers

Whitefish Pilot article on my Wildflower Guide.

Many Glacier Hotel from western dock on Swiftcurrent Lake

The trail goes a short way through the woods before crossing Swiftcurrent Creek on a new wooden bridge.
The trail continues through the woods for a short distance before coming near the shore of Swiftcurrent Lake. The first view is across the lake towards the boat house for Glacier Boat. Allen Mountain rises from the far shore to 9,367 feet. The trail follows the shoreline next giving a peak at the far dock for Glacier Boat. When you arrive above the dock you will need to pay attention to the trail signs. From the boat dock you will be able to see the Many Glacier Hotel. If you are doing the Swiftcurrent Loop the stay on the trail following the shoreline. Follow the signs for the Many Glacier Hotel, which at this point is 0.9 miles. If you find yourself on a paved trail that starts to go uphill then turn around as you are headed to Lake Joesphine. The trail has view points across the lake toward Altyn Peak which is the tree less eastern shoulder of the 8,770 foot Mount Henkel. The trail passes the winter boat house for Chief Two Guns. The trail then comes out of the woods at the Many Glacier Hotel. You can go into the hotel and rest by the fireplace. If your going to sit by the fireplace it is easiest to go in the main entrance. For those not stopping at the hotel stay to the shore side of the hotel following the shoreline until you reach the bridge across Swiftcurrent Lake. After crossing the bridge the trail starts again from the small beach on the shore of the lake. This section of the trail goes between the entry road to Many Glacier and Swiftcurrent Lake until you reach the connection to the Swiftcurrent Picnic Area. Now it's time to start looking for your car. There is no trail for this short section.

Many Glacier Hotel

In case for some reason your not sure if this hike is scenic enough to walk around a flat trail for some two and a half miles then here is my final photo on the subject taken at sunrise from the shore line between the Many Glacier Hotel and the dock for Glacier Boat Company. For guests of the Many Glacier Hotel you could start the Swiftcurrent Lake Trail from this point. I would suggest that you enjoy the sunrise and then a coffee by the grand fireplace in the Many Glacier Hotel before starting on this trail as walking the woods at sunrise could lead to surprises for yourself and a bear or a moose.

Swiftcurrent Lake Sunrise