As my loyal readers know I am a Waterton fan. That place has a magic to it that makes me instantly happy when I pull past the gates, and there is so much of that little park I have yet to conquer but now I have all of Glacier National Park too, because that place is incredible!
I had a day hike planned with my friend Rachelle last Thursday but when she asked me if I would mind making it an overnight so she could pick up some packages, I was ecstatic!
You know me I love doing something new.
We drove over the border to pick up her packages and then talked about what hike to do. I had wanted to do the Garden Wall to the Granite Park Chalet but it’s kind of a long one (7.6 miles each way) and I was worried we wouldn’t find parking as it was about noon.
Rachelle had suggested we try Grinell Glacier or Iceberg Lake in the Many Glacier area and I hopped on board with Iceberg Lake.
Many Glacier is such a cute little area and it’s really not far from us! Maybe 20-30 minutes further than Waterton.
We drove past the Many Glacier hotel which was beautiful and had to slowly go between a ton of parked cars checking out a bear on the roadside hill. It was cute, it was super light coloured, like sandy which I is a colour I hadn’t seen on a bear yet.
To start Iceberg Lake you have to park at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn. There are a couple trailheads at this inn and we couldn’t find any parking at the main parking lot and had to park waaay down the road and walk back.
It turns out the trailhead is actually west of the main lodge tucked into the back and there was lots of parking available because most people were like us and thought the main lot was the only parking.
This hike is listed as moderate because of the distance but the climb is very slow and steady; so much that you hardly notice it. Rachelle and I hardly took any breaks; when we stopped it was usually for water or to enjoy a vista.
There were a lot of people on the trail of all ages and abilities including way more children than one would expect on a hike so long- good for you people! I’m hoping when I have children that I can start them young like Karen Ung so they love the outdoors and can accompany me everywhere.
The views were amazing and the land along the trails were covered in wildflowers.
At around 3 miles in you come to the Ptarmigan Falls and the trail splits to Iceberg Lake or on to Ptarmigan Tunnel. It’s a bit of a bummer because you can only get glimpses of the falls through the trees and it’s so beautiful.
We took a short water break at the top of the falls before continuing up.
I was absolutely blown away by the fields of beargrass we encountered. I remember when I first moved to Waterton I was told about beargrass but it was two years before I saw it, which is why I get excited every time I see it now. But there were a couple meadows of it as we approached the lake.
When the lake came into sight both Rachelle and I stopped to just take it in- it was stunning! The lake was this rare color of blue and the sunlight sent sparkles dancing across the lake.
There were still some icebergs on Iceberg lake though they were on the other side (I had wanted to climb one).
I told Rachelle I would like to do this hike with an inflatable kayak to paddle around the lake and icebergs though that would mean a lot of extra weight.
We went down the lake a bit to get away from the crowds and sat down and ate our snacks enjoying the views. It was a hot sunny day and I thought I was going to be brave and jump into the lake but when I waded in within five seconds my feet were tingling from the extreme cold. No swimming for this gal!
The problem with this lake is that it is so utterly gorgeous that photos don’t do it any justice. You really need to go see this place for yourself.
We didn’t stay long, but took some photos including this epic awkward photo of me with my hair in the wind (see photos above).
Most bloggers post these gorgeous professional photos of themselves perfectly styled and posed; not me, I like to let my freak flag fly.
It hadn’t taken us too long to get up there (about 2 hours) but I was dreaming of steak so we started to head down after a short while.
On the way down we chatted and enjoyed going through those fields of wildflowers again. We couldn’t get over that lake and I am already planning to go next June when there will be more icebergs.
Just at the top of the waterfall we were stopped from crossing the trail bridge by a marmot sentinel.
He obviously was used to people because he just sat there and looked at us. When I clapped my hands to try and scare him off he puffed up and stood up a little. We waited on him to scurry under the bridge then made a run for it across. Ha ha!
Once we got to the car we had to head to Hungry Horse where our cabin was booked. We looked at the map and figured Going-to-the-Sun road would be the shorter option- nope! Even at 7 p.m. without all the crowds of people causing traffic it took us 2.5 hours to get across the park and we were absolutely starving.
We got to the Timber Wolf campground and checked into our campground cabin which I LOVED! It was rustic with two full-size bunk beds and a little table and chairs and a mini fridge.
I told Rachelle I felt like we were at summer camp, especially since it was a girls trip. She spent the extra money to get a cabin with electricity which I’m glad she did.
After we dropped off our bags we bashed into Columbia Falls to go to The Nite Owl Back Room where I reveled in a gluten-free beer and ordered the beef I had been craving the entire hike.
Funny thing is, it was about 9:30 by the time we got our food and we found we didn’t feel hungry anymore. We each only ate half our dinners.
True party animals that we are, it was lights out at 11 p.m. and I had a good sleep after a long hike.
The next morning we got up and went to the Huckleberry Patch which was SO CUTE! I tried the huckleberry coffee which tasted too much like artificial flavoring; but at least I can say I tried it.
We decided to take the highway that goes under Glacier National Park through the Flathead National Forest and that route was much quicker than Going to the Sun.
We stopped at Goat Lick Overlook because the name was so funny I wanted to see what it was all about. It wasn’t very exciting, just a cliff that contained minerals that goats like to lick. But at least our curiosity was satisfied.
It was such a blast and I’m really enjoying doing these girls trips out because it makes it easier for me to pretend I’m a carefree teenager again.