Exploring Many Glacier in Glacier National Park
Given my Instagram handle and website name people often ask me "what is your favorite national park?". I've always had difficulty answering this question because they are all so unique and beautiful in different ways and I have had incredible experiences in all of them. That being said I have always had a warm spot in my heart for the mountain parks because I am intrinsically drawn to them, feel at home among them and humbled by them. So the North Cascades and Rocky Mountain ranked high on my list but after visiting Glacier I can confidently say Glacier is my favorite so far. I'm visiting Alaska next week and have heard many an adventurer has been wooed by its vast, rugged, mountainous landscapes but for now I will focus on Glacier.
For the first time on one of our trips Alex and I decided to remain in one small area of a park instead of trying to see a little bit of the entire thing. In Glacier we spent our entire time in the small area of Many Glacier. We stayed in the Many Glacier campground for two nights before heading into the backcountry of Cracker Lake. The Many Glacier campground was the perfect, central location to base all of our hiking. It was within walking distance to every trailhead we needed to reach, and when you are used to spending hours in the car trying to make it to the far reaches of a park this new approach was refreshing. We completed two day hikes and one overnight trip while we were in the area, and although I had wanted to add one more to the list (Swiftcurrent Pass, we'll get to you next time!), I felt we accomplished a great deal during our four days there. Read on for my recommendations in the Many Glacier area!
Bar none this was my favorite experience of the trip. The backcountry site is easy enough to reach for an overnight destination but just long enough to keep most of the day-hikers away so the 12.2 mile round-trip trail is not nearly as crowded as Iceberg or Grinnell. Additionally, the backcountry campground only offers three coveted spots so you will not have to share the views with many other campers, making the experience even sweeter. Cracker Lake is a beautiful aquamarine color that was vibrant even under a lackluster sky. The lake also offers abundant opportunities for wildlife viewing. Moose and bears are often seen in this area. If you are interested in more information you can read my detailed trip log of it here!
Visiting Grinnell Glacier is a must-do if you are in the Many Glacier area. The life expectancy of all the glaciers in the park is limited and they are shrinking by the year, so if you want to see them I would recommend putting them high on your priority list. The hike to Grinnell Glacier is 10.6 miles round-trip and has some steep sections but the pay-off is well worth the effort and the hike has stunning views from nearly the beginning. Along the way you will get bird's eye views of Swiftcurrent, Josephine, and Grinnell Lakes. The hike culminates at Upper Grinnell Lake and you have commanding views of Grinnell and Salamander Glaciers. If you are interested in more info on this hike you can read my trip log here!
Iceberg Lake is a unique beauty. The lake sits in the shadows of Iceberg Peak and Mt. Wilbur and receives little sunlight so snow and giant chunks of ice remain on the lake year-round. The hike to get to the lake is 9.7 miles round trip but the elevation gain is small and gradual so the hike feels more like an easy walk in the woods and meadow. This trail is extremely popular so hitting it earlier rather than later would be beneficial if you want a sliver of the shore to yourself. If you want more info on this hike you can read my trip log here!
SEE MORE PHOTOS FROM GLACIER NATIONAL PARK HERE!