The hike to Saint Mary Falls is a popular one in Glacier National Park, and with good reason: It boasts incredible lake and mountain views, beautiful wildflowers, and powerful falls. To get to the trailhead, enter the park from the west entrance station and drive 10.6 miles on the Going To The Sun Road.
You’ll want to be prepared for the limited parking situation. At the Saint Mary Falls Trailhead there is a small parking lot with a bit of space next to the main road for overflow cars to wait and prepare to pounce on vacated spots. As an alternative, the shuttle from Sun Point is an excellent option.
The trail descends initially splitting a path through wildflowers such as Indian paintbrush and bear grass. As a result of the Reynold’s Creek fire of 2015, which burned 4,800 acres, flowers, fresh ground cover, and lake views are now the main attractions as opposed to the former forest of firs, spruces, and cedars. You will notice the charred tree remnants right away.
About a quarter-mile from the parking lot you’ll find your first trail sign. As the sign indicates, you’ll turn right here to continue to Saint Mary Falls. Depending on recent rainfall, be prepared to stone-step across a creek further along the trail.
You’ll hear the falls before you see them. Once you arrive, take your time and snap photos from the footbridge of the upper tiers of the falls (there are three tiers in total), then climb along the rocks on either side of the bridge for alternative views. The blue-green pools into which the falls rush are equally mesmerizing.
Work up your energy from this point to either ascend back to the parking lot, or continue along beyond the footbridge for another mile to Virginia Falls, which are highly recommended.