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"Must do" medium hike

OTR
Wisconsin
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"Must do" medium hike

We are so excited to be arriving at Glacier in two weeks. We are staying 4 nights at Swiftcurrent, one night Waterton, one night Rising Sun and one night Apgar Village Inn then down to Yellowstone and GTNP. My husband and I love to hike and can easily do 3-5 miles. Not sure how my slightly arthritic knees will handle 5-10 mile hikes but I plan to try at least one. Looking for suggestions for a "must do" hike. I did buy new trekking poles--I used to use just one and thought I should graduate to two:) Thanks for any suggestions!

buffalo
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1. Re: "Must do" medium hike

I'd say that for the "longer" hike....

Highline to Haystack out-and-back from Logan Pass (the shuttle stops on 9/3, so Highline to Loop is a tougher option)....this would be about 8 miles and 800 feet gained/lost...but there is the narrow and scary for some, garden hose section....

or....

Iceberg Lake which is a gorgeous hike with lots of views and a beautiful lake at the end....this is about 9.5 miles and 1,150 feet gained and lost....

Grinnell Glacier is a great hike but has a lot more gain/loss (about 1,700 feet), so I'm not sure that this would work with the knees....

Edited: 19 August 2012, 23:54
Whitefish, Montana
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for Glacier National Park
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2. Re: "Must do" medium hike

I second Todd's suggestion regarding the Highline to Haystack & back to Logan Pass. Great scenery not much knee strain easy logistics.

www.glacierhikers.com/highline-trail.html

If your knee issue is going down instead of up you could add the Grinnell Glacier Hike by taking the boat out and hiking up a mile or two to were you get a full view of Grinnell Lake from above. You could then catch boat for Swiftcurrent only on the return as that would drop out the switchbacks. (check with Glacier Boat before paying for this option) The photo at the bottom of this page is the view I'm attempting to describe.

www.glacierhikers.com/grinnell-glacier.html

slow hiker

Edited: 20 August 2012, 00:37
newark ohio
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3. Re: "Must do" medium hike

We vacationed in Glacier this July and my favoirite hike of all times was the Iceberg lake trail! The elevation gain was all at the beginning and then it was fairly level. I enjoyed the selections in the woods for the shade, some other hikes are so exposed, The wildflowers were amazing! We took snacks and lunch and made a day of it. We had our snacks at the rocks and then a bear came wondering down the trail! The waterfalls was a good place to rest after the steep part. The views of the Iceberg lake were fabulous. The temperature dropped 15 degrees at the lake so bring layers. The trail had 2 pit toilets on along the trail, one at the falls and one at the lake. We saw a grizzly bear on the ridge on the way down. We saw several park rangers during the day which was comforting to us. The hike took us 6 hours as we took our time and took tons of photos. Enjoy the park as it is amazing!

Chesterfield...
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4. Re: "Must do" medium hike

We just got back and all of our hikes were about 4 miles round trip.

I loved the Grinnell Glacier hike although when we went we couldn't go all of the way due to snow (and our kids), but I would do it again in a heartbeat even just to the point of overlooking Grinnell Lake. We took the boat to cut miles and did about 2 miles up and 2 back.

I'd recommend the hike to St. Mary's falls (1.6 miles round trip) just due to the water color. You could continue to Virginia Falls- which is lovely, but not sure it's a "must". It'll add another 2 miles round trip I think. But it's very different from St. Mary's- more regular in color, but much taller and you can get close enough to feel the mist which is great (don't confuse the multiple waterfalls after St. Mary's with Va Falls if you choose to continue).

Love the Logan's Pass hike from the Visitor's Center but again, it was closed due to bear activity so we went to the top of the boardwalked section (maybe a mile-ish round trip?) and the alpine meadow is just amazing. Absolute must do. I'm sure had we gone further, it would've continued to be fantastic.

Near Apgar, I'd do Avalanche Lake. It's a great mix. Nice boardwalked trail through cedars, then you come across a beautiful gorge with ice blue water and then on to the lake which is surrounded by mountains and multiple waterfalls coming down them. About 4 miles round trip.

Have a wonderful vacation!

Oh- we also continued to YS and Grand Teton. In Grand Teton I'd recommend the hike to Inspiration Point. If you go early enough, it's not very crowded and it's a lovely hike (maybe 2 miles with the boat ride across Jenny Lake?). But if you wait to hike it late morning or early afternoon, my guess is it may be somewhat busy.

Mahtomedi, Minnesota
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5. Re: "Must do" medium hike

I like the hike up to Red Rock Falls. 3.8 miles of flat terrain and nice views. Hiked it last week and watched a little black bear eating berries on the side of the trail. Also was accidentally sprayed by bear spray by the guy behind me on the trail. Not what I was expecting for peaceful hike ;-(

PS stop off at Fishercap Lake on both ways in and out to see if you can spot moose or even a bear swimming in the lake.

Edited: 20 August 2012, 07:07
Louisville, Kentucky
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6. Re: "Must do" medium hike

The Highline Trail would defintiely be the "easiest" longer hike on your knees as it only gains about 800 ft elevation if you go all the way to Haystack Pass, which is where most of the gain occurs.

Always check with the ranger station to see if trails are open before you head out, especially Iceberg, which can be closed frequently due to bear activity. You may want to consider the ranger led hikes if you have concerns about bears. Here's the park site with the schedule of activities:

nps.gov/glac/…ranger-led-activities.htm

The Hidden Lake Overlook trail which is out of Logan Pass visitor's Center has spectacular views and it's a short hike of less than 3 miles round trip. It has a raised boardwalk part of the way, which could be hard on the knees coming down? There's always a great opportunity to see mountain goats at the overlook:

hikinginglacier.com/hidden-lake-overlook.htm

There's really not a bad hike in Glacier, so whichever trails you choose you will enjoy!

Philadelphia...
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7. Re: "Must do" medium hike

I LOVE the Iceberg Lake hike which can be picked up outside the Swiftcurrent Motel. It's a 9 mile RT hike that's basically flat except for the first 1/4 mile which is uphill. If you can't make it to the end, you could always hike halfway to the waterfalls and turn around (we saw people doing this). This trail takes you through the woods, across some alpine meadows and has you walking above the treeline to give you a wonderful view of the mountains and valleys. You get to sit and take in the wonderful (and FREEZING) Iceberg Lake at the end.

Avalanche Lake is a good hike too (about 4 miles RT). The lake is beautiful! Take a lunch or snack and sit on the rocks, a bench or fallen tree to take in the views and rest. If you don't want to go that far, then hike simply to the Gorge area (you pass through it on the way to the lake). There's a gorgious stream that roars over and between the rocks with small waterfalls. Really nice! The downside of this hike is it's usually crowded so plan to go early to avoid people. To get to either of these points, you have to go on the Trail of the Cedars which has large and beautiful old cedar trees to admire. You'd be traveling through the woods for most of the hike.

OTR
Wisconsin
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8. Re: "Must do" medium hike

Thanks for all the suggestions! I think I'll start with either Iceberg Lake or Grinnell Glacier since we will be staying at Swiftcurrent first. We are very excited about this trip...but not looking forward to the long drive from Wisconsin.

Spokane, Washington
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for Glacier National Park, Spokane
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9. Re: "Must do" medium hike

You might check on iceberg, as I think the "bergs" are now gone, which is one of the highlights of that trek. Grinnell has a good deal of elevation, but as mentioned above, hiking to the overview of grinnell lake is a nice trip. Also, mentioned, red rock falls and fishercap for moose are very easy hikes. I am a fan of hidden lake option at logan pass due to views, animals and short roundtrip

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: "Must do" medium hike

I hiked Iceberg Monday... lot's of big ice left ... Also the trail get's busy after 10, with a hiker in view almost all the time... I hiked in at 6:15 and got an hour at the lake with no-one around..