Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
9.70 mi (15.61 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Two of the more unique trails in Glacier National Park share the same starting section: Iceberg Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel. Iceberg Lake sits at 6,094 feet and is flanked by Mount Wilbur, Iceberg Peak, and the Ptarmigan Wall. The steep mountains surrounding the lake allow snow and ice to accumulate and fall into the lake, which receives little direct sunlight as a result. This interesting geology creates a situation where the lake is known for having floating icebergs year round in most cases.

Begin the hike along the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail, which branches off about halfway to the lake. The parking lot is shared with several trails and fills up early; if you can’t find a spot, you can park at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, which is just 0.2 miles further. Make sure to also carry bear spray and make lots of noise, as the first few miles are prime grizzly habitat. You’ll start by walking through the trees where there are a few open spots to look ahead and see how much of the hike remains. Many easy creek crossings will get you to the turnoff for Ptarmigan Tunnel, which makes a great extension in case you have extra time and energy on the way back. Turn left here and continue toward Iceberg Lake.

Along the final stretch of the hike to the lake, look down the valley to your left to see how far you’ve come. The forested canyon makes a great picture as the hillside is covered in wildflowers for much of the summer. Iceberg Lake itself is surrounded by fragile wildflower habitat, so take great care and obey the posted signs. If you are feeling brave, wading into the water (or diving in!) is something you’ll never forget. Come back the way you came after a well-deserved snack break while taking in the views.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

Unique view. Wildflowers. Accessible.

Cons

Crowded.

Trailhead Elevation

4,964.00 ft (1,513.03 m)

Net Elevation Gain

1,200.00 ft (365.76 m)

Features

Waterfalls
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big Game Watching
Big vistas
Old-growth forest
Wildflowers
Geologically significant

Location

Field Guide

Comments

07/07/2018
Counted 399 people on my way back down from the lake. The earlier you start this hike, the better!
06/12/2013
Visited in late spring and the lake was still completely frozen over. Still an extraordinary site!
08/05/2014
Here are some additional pictures from this awesome hike
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