I have traveled to over 50 countries on seven continents, more than half of which were visited solo. I love traveling, being outdoors, and hiking. I hope to inspire others to travel and explore further, even if that means going alone.
Hey, I'm Ashley!
Glacier National Park is always my number one pick when it comes to hiking in one of America’s national parks! The beauty of its glacial-fed lakes and jagged mountain peaks, plus an abundance of wildlife make this park truly special. I’ve had some incredible encounters with moose, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and even grizzly bears!
With so many amazing hikes to explore in Glacier National Park, picking just a few can be tough. However, after numerous trips here over the years, I’ve nailed down my top, instagram-worthy lake hikes that range from half-day to full-day treks.
Before you go, it’s super important to check out Glacier National Park’s website for information regarding advanced reservations and trail closures. Plus, don’t forget your bear spray. It definitely pays to stay safe while enjoying the trails in Glacier National Park!
Looking for a breathtaking hike with less crowds? Cracker Lake is the perfect spot! This lake is located 6 miles from the Many Glacier Hotel in Glacier National Park, but don’t worry, there isn’t an overwhelming amount of elevation gain.
Just watch out for horse poo during the first stretch of trail and don’t forget bug spray. A ton of mosquitos will come out around mile 1. But hey, its all worth dodging these pests for this spectacular lake!
Also, don’t forget to bring a lunch to stay and enjoy the lake. While I was eating my sandwich, a moose stopped along the lake for a drink!
Trail: Cracker Lake Trail
Length: 12 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,650 ft
Route Type: Out & back
Are you ready for one of the most unique hikes you’ll ever do? Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park will most definitely blow your mind!
Make sure you have that bear spray at the ready though. This trail has some very berry-filled terrain as you hike up from the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn.
If you’re brave enough, take a plunge in this chilly lake (carefully!) or pose with one of its floating “icebergs,”. Just don’t forget, that drowning is the top cause of death at Glacier National Park so be careful when getting into the lake!
If you’re ready for more, add on the Ptarmigan Tunnel trail. The Ptarmigan Tunnel trail turns off at about 2.6 miles in on the Iceberg Lake trail. This 15-mile day hike will sure be one to remember with so many varying landscapes!
Trail: Iceberg Lake Trail
Length: 9.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,450 ft
Route Type: Out & back
If you’re looking for a unique and lesser known adventure in Glacier National Park, you need to check out the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail!
Hike all the way to Ptarmigan Lake, where the terrain will then become much steeper and more exposed. Then, prepare yourself for an incredible transformation once through the tunnel!
The side of the mountain with Ptarmigan Lake has lots of greenery and warm sunshine. The other side with Elizabeth Lake has cooler air and reddish, rugged rocks. Just make sure you keep walking past the tunnel to before the bend, otherwise you’ll miss Old Sun Glacier (to the right of the tunnel when you look back).
Trail: Ptarmigan Tunnel
Length: 10.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 2,375 ft
Route Type: Out & back
The Grinnell Lake Trail is a 7.1 mile loop with stunning views. It is also likely the most touristy trail on this list.
The best photo of Grinnell Lake isn’t on the trail to the lake itself though. It comes from continuing on to Grinnell Glacier. The full trail to Grinnell Glacier is a total of 11.2 miles and over 2,000 feet in elevation gain. If hiking all this distance isn’t quite your speed, don’t worry, the viewpoint above is reachable just 3.5 – 4 miles along the trail.
Starting at the Many Glacier Hotel, you’ll also have the opportunity to hike past Swiftcurrent and Josephine Lakes before making your way uphill. Swiftcurrent Lake is great for kayaking. You may even see a moose taking a swim across the lake while you paddle.
For a shortcut to the above viewpoint, there’s also a boat option straight to Josephine Lake. You can reduce 4.5 miles of hiking by opting for this scenic boat ride. You can catch the boat right in front of the Many Glacier Hotel.
Trail: Grinnell Lake Trail or Grinnell Glacier Trail
Length: 7.1 miles or 11.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 351 ft or 2,181 ft
Route Type: Loop or Out & back
Difficulty: Easy or Hard
If you’re missing any gear for your day hike in Glacier National Park, I’ll make it easy for you in my Amazon Storefront.
Check out my shop for a free, downloadable packing list as well.
January 30, 2023