Hiking to Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park
Updated: Jun 3, 2022
Summer 2021 is off to a crazy start in Glacier National Park. Due to overcrowding, the park implemented a ticketed entry system for the busiest section of the park: Going-to-the-Sun Road and the attractions accessed from it, during prime park hours between 6 am and 5 pm.
But, if you want to skip all that ticket entry drama, then consider the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park. This section of the park does not require an entry ticket. Aside from that, it's home to two of the most jaw-dropping hikes in Glacier National Park. The Grinnell Glacier Trail and the Iceberg Lake Trail. This post will cover Iceberg Lake.
If you want to try your hand at obtaining the very difficult-to-get $2 entry ticket, here is the link. Don't worry if you can't get one. You can still drive along Going-to-the-Sun Road before 6 am or after 5 pm. We did it after 5 pm from the St. Mary's entrance, and it was a great time to go in terms of the lighting.
Now, on to Iceberg Lake!
ICEBERG LAKE HIKE STATS
Distance: 9.7 miles out-and-back.
Elevation Gain: 1,300 feet (roughly).
Location: Many Glacier Area in Glacier National Park.
Trailhead: Swiftcurrent Motor Inn in Many Glacier.
Length of Time: 6 hours (roughly)
When to Go: Mid-June through September
Difficulty: Moderate to Challenging- due to length of the trail, possible snowpack, and a river crossing if the footbridge is removed. (It was removed when we went).
WHAT TO PACK
A hat for added protection.
A raincoat- weather can change quickly.
Snacks and water (enough for 10-miles).
If you are into photography, you'll want a telephoto lens for wildlife shots ( 400mm-600mm is best ). And a wide-angle for Iceberg Lake.
Dress in layers.
Wear comfortable hiking sneakers or boots.
For photos, red and yellow clothing stands out. I wore blue- big mistake! 😝
We went at the end of June, and there were still large icebergs over much of the lake.
GETTING TO THE TRAILHEAD
The Iceberg Lake Trailhead is located behind Swiftcurrent Motor Inn in the Many Glacier Area of Glacier National Park. To be on the safe side, I recommend getting there by 9 am. If you get there after 11 am, you risk not finding parking or being turned away at the entrance station due to overcrowding. We saw this happening to people on the return of our hike.
Cell phone service is spotty to nill; I recommend entering the location in Google Maps while you still have service. Just enter Swiftcurrent Motor Inn into Google Maps. Once at the Inn, you'll see signs for the trail.
STARTING THE TRAIL
Though not difficult, the first section of the trail is the steepest. Once you get through that short first section, the trail opens up to a fairly flat meadow with stunning views of the surrounding peaks. When we did the hike at the end of June, the meadow was filled with wildflowers. This area of the trail is a popular spot for grizzlies and bighorn sheep. We didn't see any bighorn sheep, but we saw a grizzly bear and her cubs in the far distance.