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Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
12.20 mi (19.63 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.

The view from Swiftcurrent Lookout is among the best in Glacier National Park. You can see peaks, glaciers, and lakes for miles and miles in a 360-degree panorama. Swiftcurrent Valley and Many Glacier, Logan Pass and Highline Trail, Heaven's Peak, the Continental Divide, and endless craggy summits stretching northward into Canada are just a few of the vista's highlights.

The reward is not without substantial effort, however. There are three main ways to reach Swiftcurrent Lookout, and none of them are easy. The shortest route is the one with the most elevation gain, beginning from The Loop and climbing about 2,900 feet in 5 miles. The route with the least elevation gain has the greatest mileage, coming from Logan Pass via Highline Trail in about 8 miles with less than 1,000 feet of total gain. The third option climbs from Many Glacier via Swiftcurrent Pass Trail in about 7.5 miles and 2,300 feet. A night's stay at Granite Park Chalet or campground would be a great way to tackle this trail, saving a lot of distance and elevation in a day's excursion.

The lookout trail is a spur from the top of Swiftcurrent Pass. It is only 1.2 miles on its own, but it climbs more than 1,200 feet via steep, rocky switchbacks. This peak is Swiftcurrent Mountain, and the historic lookout building sits on top at an elevation of 8,436 feet. This is the highest lookout in Glacier National Park. It is staffed full-time during the summer and never open to the public. You do not need to be inside to enjoy the view, however. The entire summit is bare rock, so the panorama is entirely unobstructed except by the building itself. If the weather is good, take time to enjoy this reward that you so rightly earned before carefully returning back down.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer

Congestion

Low

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

Amazing views.

Cons

Long, steep hike.

Trailhead Elevation

4,200.00 ft (1,280.16 m)

Net Elevation Gain

4,236.00 ft (1,291.13 m)

Features

Historically significant
Waterfalls
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big Game Watching
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Geologically significant
Big Game Watching

Location

Field Guide

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