St. Mary, MT
We stayed an extra day on the east side of Glacier NP to take advantage of beautiful weather and hike to Iceberg Lake. The trailhead is behind the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn in the Many Glacier area of the park, about 20 miles from St. Mary. Fall has come to northern Montana and beautiful views appeared as soon as we got into the Jeep.
One of the advantages of being in the park late in September is that the crowds have disappeared. When we drove through the parking lot of the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn during our visit a month earlier there was not an empty parking place to be found. But now we had our choice of almost any slot! We walked around the Swiftcurrent Inn as workers were boarding it up for the winter and found the trailhead. The trail to Iceberg Lake is about five miles long with a bit of elevation gain the length of the hike. Much of the trail runs along open hillsides full of fall color.
As we approached the end of the trail we came to a nice little lake, but where are the icebergs? We read that the lake has ice in it until the end of summer but had hoped some of the ice remained.
But wait, the trail continues! We hiked over a small hill and were rewarded for our efforts with a view of an ice-filled lake.
Iceberg Lake did not disappoint. It was filled with floating pieces of ice of various sizes.
After a very pleasant visit to Iceberg Lake it was time to return back down the trail.
About halfway back down the trail we passed this warning sign. It certainly catches your attention, but we made plenty of noise along the trail and had our bear spray handy.
Along the trail we spotted some sheep on the hillside above us.
We returned safely to the Jeep and headed out of the park. But even with the small crowds we had to stop for a “bear Jam” along the way. It seems the Grizzly fellow below was enjoying a meal on the hillside above the road.
We’re very glad to have stayed near Glacier NP one more day, as the hike to Iceberg Lake was outstanding. In fact, we found many of the hikes on the east side of the park to be outstanding. The west side of Glacier NP is the most popular and has the most facilities (campgrounds, restaurants, etc.) but if we ever return here we would definitely head back to the east side where there are less people and great hikes!
Well, that’s it for Glacier NP. Tomorrow we head around to the west side of the park, then to the south for a visit to Polson, MT on the southern shore of Flathead Lake. More on that later . . .