Swiftcurrent Lake Nature Trail & Apikuni Falls Trail - Many Glacier Area - Glacier National Park - Montana
This was the first day of our first visit to Glacier National Park. We started in the beautiful Many Glacier area and did a couple of short hikes to start getting us acclimated to the elevation. The scenery was magnificent.
All right. Our first day in Glacier National Park was supposed to gently ease us back into hiking at altitude.
But before we got started, we bought some bear spray. I've been resisting the whole bear spray thing, but I broke down today. They sell it at a fairly reasonable price here at the campground, so that helped.
About eight miles from our campground is the 12-mile road that goes into the Many Glacier area of the park. There are a couple of hotels, a campground, and several hiking trails in Many Glacier. It's known as a gorgeous area.
Ready? Here we go!
The road going into the park is pretty bad and part of it is under construction. But there's no need to rush. It needs to be taken in slowly.
Views from the edge of Lake Sherburne, a huge reservoir in Many Glacier.
We drove to the end of the road to get our bearings and tour the campground. The campground was full, but there's no way we would bring our rig in there anyway - just not big rig friendly.
We made a quick stop at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn which sits in an area where wildlife viewing is supposed to be very good.
The flowers outside were so bright, and we hadn't seen anything that vivid since being in Anchorage, Alaska in 2004 (pre-RVing).
After checking things out there, we drove back toward the Many Glacier Hotel where we parked for our first hike of the day. We took a few photos around the hotel before going to our trailhead.
The spillway from Swiftcurrent Lake creates a waterfall and stream that flows to Lake Sherburne.
One of the hotel's tour boats out on the lake.
Here are a couple of shots of the hotel. What a setting!
Two final shots before going on our little hike.
It was just a little breezy, but these kayakers certainly had some great views.
Finally, we found the Swiftcurrent Lake Nature Trail at the north end of the hotel.
The plan today was just to walk this fairly easy trail around the lake. It was only at 5,000 feet elevation and there was very little elevation change. It was a great starter trail for our tour of Glacier.
A look back at the hotel (far right).
Another look at Mount Grinnell.
We crossed a bridge over the stream that flows into the lake - beautiful colors.
We continued on around to the back of the lake where the tour boat was docked. The boat tour includes a tour on Swiftcurrent Lake, and then the guests walk the quarter mile up the hill and then down to Lake Josephine where another boat continues the tour. We decided to walk to Lake Josephine ourselves.
When we arrived, the boat was at the other end of the lake. We sat on a rock and had some lunch while we watched the tour boat return.
We contemplated bringing our Sea Eagle inflatable back one day to paddle this gorgeous lake.
Then, we returned to Swiftcurrent Lake and continued our clockwise walk. Eventually, we came to another bridge and a stream running into the lake.
We finally came out at the Grinnell Lake/Glacier Trailhead parking area. All that was left was completing the loop by walking on the trail near the road back to the hotel.
Here's one last shot of the Many Glacier Hotel.
We completed this pretty simple 3-mile hike, and I asked Linda if she was up for another 2-mile hike. That wasn't the plan at all, but we thought we had it in us.
So we drove to the Apikuni Falls trailhead.
It was only a mile hike to the falls, but it was a 700-foot elevation gain in the single mile.
We got started through the open, wildflower-covered pasture.
The trail climbed and climbed. It went through a forested area as it continued up, and then we were out in the open again.
The bugs were really bad, and Linda used them as an incentive to keep moving. She left me behind on this trail. I was huffing and sweating and struggling to keep up while she kept a nice pace and kept going forward. Actually, I think the 700 feet elevation was all in three quarters of a mile. There was no break until the trail finally leveled out.
Then we got our first look at Apikuni Falls.
The rest of the hike was fairly easy with just a little bit of up and down.
We found a beautiful spot and sat down to enjoy the seclusion and rushing water.
Linda relaxed while I scrambled up the rocks toward the base of the falls.
It wasn't too tough to climb up to the falls, ....
but coming back down was a bit tricky. At least I got a nice view of Lake Sherburne.
Linda took a short video of the falls while I was making my way back.
Back down with Linda, we sat and enjoyed our time until a couple of other guys showed up. We stayed for awhile and then headed back down. A ground squirrel checked me out before we left.
Walking through the evergreen forest section.
One last photo of the valley below on our way down.
With the two trails, we had a nice introduction to Glacier National Park. It's every bit as beautiful as we heard.