Glacier/Waterton Lakes Hiking Tour
Assembly Point: Whitefish, MT
|Tour Cost: $2,395
(includes all lodging, all meals, park entrance fees, transfers, leaders, trail maps & narratives)
If we’ve learned anything in the course of our many years of cycling in Glacier and Waterton, it’s that the cyclist experiences only a hint of this region’s alpine beauty. Glacier’s “frontcountry” that is accessible by road is spectacular, but pales in comparison with its vast backcountry. It’s the hiker who will have the opportunity to capture this greater essence of the park during the Glacier/Waterton Lakes Hiking Tour. In the season ahead, we’ve planned what we believe to be an extraordinary 6-day program that explores the alpine magic and magnificent backcountry of Glacier and Waterton Parks.
We restructured this program several seasons ago by joining Waterton with Glacier, rather than staging separate hikes in each park. Glacier and Waterton share a common ecosystem; their separation by national boundaries is artificial. We’ve selected what we long have considered to be the best day hikes in each park as the components of what we now believe will be the most exciting hiking trip offered in this region.
Glacier/Waterton assembles in Whitefish and we’ll provide a van shuttle to Waterton early morning of Day 1. We’ll arrive in Waterton early enough not only to explore the Waterton townsite but also to hike above the town to beautiful Bertha Falls (5 miles). We’ll spend our first of two overnights at the luxurious Lodge at Waterton and then head for Cameron Lake well above the village early the following morning. We’ll hike along Cameron's lakeshore, climb gently to Summit Lake, and then more seriously as we emerge from the trees on our approach to the rugged crest of Carthew Ridge. The views of the snowclad summits of Mt. Alderson and Carthew are magnificent as we begin our descent to Alderson Lake, and ultimately back to the townsite (12 miles).
Crypt Lake is considered by many to be the finest day hike in all of the Canadian Rockies and that’s our plan for Day 3. We’ll travel across Waterton Lake by boat and immediately begin a steady ascent above the lake. We’ll pass Twin Falls, emerge from the trees and enjoy magnificent open vistas all the way to Crypt Lake. The final approach to the lake is memorable and includes a scramble through a tunnel and beyond to the glacial amphitheater in which the lake is nestled (11 miles).
Later that afternoon, we’ll van shuttle back across the border to St. Mary Resort, where we’ll spend the evening. We’ll enter Glacier Park on Day 4 as we shuttle to Logan Pass atop Going-to-the-Sun Road early the following morning. We’ll hike the magnificent Highline Trail from Logan Pass along the Garden Wall and the West Face of the Continental Divide to the Granite Chalet in one of the most incredibly beautiful high-alpine settings to be found anywhere. Another short gentle climb and we’re atop the Swiftcurrent Lookout, with a 360-degree panoramic view of the glacier-carved rockscape. We’ll then descend below Swiftcurrent Pass into the Many Glacier drainage, passing a series of high-alpine lakes linked by magnificent waterfalls as we head to the Many Glacier Hotel where we’ll spend our next two nights (13 miles).
We’ll hike to Grinnell Glacier on Day 5 from the Swiftcurrent trailhead. We’ll walk along Lake Josephine to Mt. Grinnell, climb high above Grinnell Lake and Grinnell Falls, and ultimately to Upper Grinnell Lake and the Glacier itself (9 miles).
Our destination for our final day is stunning Iceberg Lake, a 9-mile hike through meadows ablaze with wildflowers beyond Ptarmigan Falls to the glacial cirque where we’ll find the lake nestled in the shadow of Iceberg Peak. Floating on the lake’s surface are the startling ice formations for which the lake is named. Following this full day’s hike, we’ll return to Whitefish late afternoon. The Glacier/Waterton Lakes Hiking Tour is one not to be missed.
|Day 1||Assemble early- afternoon at Waterton Lakes Townsite (Timberline van shuttle from Kalispell to Waterton available early morning); Hike Bertha Falls dinner||5 miles|
|Day 2||Cameron Lake – Summit Lake – Carthew Ridge-Alderson Lake-Waterton Townsite||12 miles|
|Day 3||Boat across Waterton Lake – Crypt Lake Hike. – Van shuttle to St. Mary’s Resort||11 miles|
|Day 4||Logan Pass over either Swiftcurrent or Piegan Pass to Many Glacier||14 miles|
|Day 5||Swiftcurrent Trailhead to Lake Josephine , Grinnell Glacier and Upper Grinnell Lake||9 miles|
|Day 6||Swiftcurrent Trailhead to Iceberg Lake. Van shuttle return to Kalispell (lunch at Isaac Walton Inn)||8 miles|
Total Hiking Mileage - 59 miles