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5 Bucket-List Hikes in Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park is one of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. and is a prime location for hiking. Drive the unforgettable Going-to-the-Sun Road and take a break for some exercise by doing one of these incredible hikes where you can see glaciers, mountains, and lakes. You may recognize scenery from films such as The Shining and Forrest Gump in this incredible park as well. Here are some of the best hikes in Glacier National Park that deserve to be on your hiking bucket list.

1. Grinnell Glacier Trail

Image by Hoan Phan

This 11-mile round-trip trail takes you to the stunning Grinnell Glacier. The glacier itself is gorgeous with a bright teal lake and the glacier’s ice all around you, while giant mountains make up the background. Along the Grinnell Glacier Trail, you get to see lakes, rocky cliffs, and, if it’s summer (which we recommend as the ideal time to go), meadows full of wildflowers.

2. Highline Trail

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Considered one of the more difficult trails in the park, the Highline Trail is the way to see Glacier National Park’s famous Garden Wall. Expect to see wildlife, especially mountain goats, on this trail, as well as insane views and sudden drop-offs, while gaining 2,800 feet of elevation if you go to the Garden Wall. It takes about 7-8 hours if you take this trail to the Grinnell Overlook and covers a distance of around 13-14 miles. You’ll begin at the Logan Pass Visitor Center, but you can take the shuttle there instead of driving. Take the Highline Trail and head off to the Garden Wall Trail to see the glacier views. The Garden Wall sits on the North American continental divide and has a really steep section, but the most extreme part of the hike is at the start—a stomach-dropping narrow, exposed section. It’s right above the must-see Going-to-the-Sun Road.

3. Iceberg Lake Trail

Image by Quyen Nguyen

Enjoy a gorgeous alpine lake with fanned jagged mountains as the backdrop on this epic trail. The Iceberg Lake trail is a great hike to choose if you are looking for great views without being sore for days afterward. This round-trip hike is approximately 9.6-10 miles with around 1,500 feet of elevation gain. It will take you about 4-5 hours. The hike leads to the beautiful Iceberg Lake, which often has icebergs floating in the water. This bucket-list hike does require reservations for the Many Glacier area between July and September 10th entering from 6 AM to 3 PM. This is not the same reservation as one for the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The parking lot for the Iceberg Lake trailhead gets full, so be sure to go early. 

4. Hidden Lake Overlook Trail

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This shorter bucket-list trail is a great option if you want something easy but rewarding. This trail has great views of the mountains and alpine landscape from the overlook and is a great way to enjoy the stunning park without having to hike all day. This accessible trail features panoramic views of Hidden Lake, as well as the possibility of seeing mountain goats and bighorn sheep. This hike usually only takes an hour. To get to Hidden Lake Overlook Trail, drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road and park at the Logan Pass Visitor Center. 

5. Avalanche Lake

Image by Shawn Wiskar

The Avalanche Lake Trail traverses remote meadows, mountain passes, and, of course, the lake. At the lake, the mountains that tower behind offer incredible views. The trail takes about 2.5 hours and covers 5.9 miles roundtrip. The elevation gain is minimal, but the trail is considered moderate. If you hike in the summer, you can jump in the lake for a swim before turning back. This trek starts at the Trail of the Cedars Trailhead, a wheelchair-accessible trail along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

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