Virginia Falls Trail ~ a slow hiker's guide™


Virginia Falls Trail

Virginia Falls

These falls are one of the earliest trails in Glacier to be clear of snow.

It's a very short hike past St Mary Falls after dropping down 260 feet then the trail goes up 285 feet. Total distance from parking area is 1.5 miles with St Mary Falls almost in the center. From the shuttle stop the trail drops the same amount but is slightly longer then a mile and a half to the falls. You can also take Glacier Boat from the dock across from Rising Sun and then it's 2.2 mile and gains 285 feet. When it has been raining there are parts of this trail crossing slick rock, sloping down the trail. Avalanche Gorge and Running Eagle are without a doubt the easiest waterfall hikes in Glacier National Park but St Mary Falls and Virginia Falls when combined into one hike provide a very nice view or photo opportunity.

Although Virginia Falls Trail isn't as crowded as St Mary Falls as it does require hiking uphill, it is rarely completely tranquil. Most people seem to stop at St Mary Falls & not continue on to the much larger Virginia Falls. I believe this is because the sign on GTSR points to St Mary Falls.

virginia falls glacier national park

As usual there are several ways to get to Virginia Falls in addition to the one described above from the Glacier Boat dock, the most common is the tiny parking area at the trailhead. Next not as used due to the infrequency of the shuttle service on the east side is GNP's free shuttle. The shuttle stop is east of were most hikers start the trail to St Mary Falls. There is actually a trail ending just at the shuttle stop but there is no sign-age at the stop. If you walk past the stock loading dock you will see the trail sign. The third option is to start your hike at Sunrift Gorge and hike down to Baring Falls and then continue on the short of hidden trail leaving the falls which then connects almost immediately with the St Mary Lakeshore Trail at the Glacier Boat Dock. Baring Falls This route is by far the most scenic approach to either of the falls. The lake shore trail which gives you views of St Mary Lake usually only seen by passengers using Glacier Boat. This trail finally joins up with the two spur trails coming from first the shuttle stop and then from the small parking area. The trail at this point wanders through the woods until it reaches the bridge at St Mary Falls. Virginia Falls Trail continues past St Mary Falls.

st mary falls glacier national park

Drowning, not driving off the edge of Going to the Sun Road, or being eaten by a bear, is the leading cause of accidental death in Glacier Park. ~ When I hike in Glacier National Park I always carry bear spray



danger sign at st mary falls glacier national park