Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
?
Trail type
There-and-back
Distance
14.20 mi (22.85 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 trail to Swiftcurrent Pass is one of the most rewarding in Glacier National Park, and it makes the drive to Many Glacier well worth the trip. This trail offers something for everyone with options for mileage and difficulty and plenty to see no matter what distance you go. The greatest reward lies in completing the whole trail to the top of Swiftcurrent Pass, but lakes and waterfalls lower in the valley make shorter trips worthwhile as well.

The trail begins from the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn parking lot and follows the main valley. The first 4 miles or so are relatively flat as the trail passes a string of beautiful lakes. Most of the hike is among forest and thickets that obscure the panorama, but clearings provide intermittent views of the surroundings, and the trail meets the lakes and creek in several places.

At less than a mile from the trailhead, a signed spur trail leads to Fishercap Lake for your first glimpse of a shimmering alpine lake. In the next few miles, there are two more lovely lakeshores and a few waterfalls, including the multi-tiered Redrock Falls about 2 miles from the trailhead. The water makes a refreshing splash or dip in the heat of summer. You may also find moose sharing the shallow water of the lakes. This is one of the best trails in the park to spot them.

If you continue past Bullhead Lake, which is the last in the chain and the best for swimming, the steep climb up to Swiftcurrent Pass looms overhead. After crossing one final footbridge, the trail begins to switchback upward across a grassy hillside and into the rocky cliffs. The showstopper here is the Waterfall Wall, a 1,000-foot cliff that streams with meltwater from the glacier above. The switchbacks get you very close to one of the waterfalls for excellent photo opportunities. Views all along this trail give you plenty of excuses to stop and catch your breath, especially on the part that traverses a nearly sheer drop high above the valley floor. The terrace is wide enough to be safe, but the drop may still be a bit nerve-racking for those afraid of heights.

After this, just a bit more climbing leads to the top of Swiftcurrent Pass, where a stunning view into the next valley and Heaven's Peak awaits. From here, intrepid hikers can take grueling but spectacular spur trail to Swiftcurrent Lookout. You can also continue the journey by continuing down the other side of the pass to Granite Park Chalet, Highline Trail, or Loop Trail and explore more amazing scenery.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Summer
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

Waterfalls. Lakes. Vistas. Wildlife.

Cons

Limited views early in the trail.

Trailhead Elevation

4,960.00 ft (1,511.81 m)

Net Elevation Gain

2,400.00 ft (731.52 m)

Features

Backcountry camping
Waterfalls
Big Game Watching
Wildlife
Big vistas
Wildflowers
Fishing
Big Game Watching

Location

Field Guide

Comments

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