Cracker Lake Trail

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Hard
Duration
This reflects the estimated time the majority of users will take on this trail. If you are slower, add time to the top-end figure. If you are fast, then you may complete this route faster than this time range.
5.5-7.5h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
21.3 km
Elevation
This reflects the total elevation gained throughout this route as measured by the GPS file. This includes all ascents and descents, and is higher than what is quoted in most route guides, which simply measure the distance between the starting-point and high-point of the route.
616 m
User Ratings
These ratings are completed by users who have completed this trail and not subject to reviews by 10Adventures.
Overall Rating
This is the average user-submitted overall rating on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.
10.0
Physical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the physical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
Technical Difficulty
This is the average user-submitted rating on the technical difficulty of this route. In general, green is beginner, blue is intermediate, black is advanced/most difficult and double-black is expert-only. It is recommended that users build up to black and double-black routes.
Intermediate (Square)
Suitable for intermediates who are ready for a little bit more adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Cracker Lake

Cracker Lake's hike reveals stunning views of the canyon while leading you to the magical alpine lake. But before beautiful vistas envelop you, you'll have to travel along a horse loop for 2.0 mi, which may not produce the most pleasant smells in the world. Once you're past this initial part of the trail, it becomes incredibly scenic and definitely worth the initial slog!

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Route Description

Expect a muddy, buggy first 2.0 mi, as horses from Many Glacier share this trail! Later in the season, it may be scorched and rutted - either way, the first 2.0 mi are quite challenging to get through. But beauty awaits you on the other side!

The hike begins at the Piegan Pass/Cracker Lake trailhead at the end of the parking lot in Many Glacier. Following the trail along the horse loop for the first 2.0 mi, you will eventually cross a small bridge over Allen Creek, which will bring you to the end of the horse loop. At this point, hikers should head straight through the junction and will notice the conditions of the trail improve significantly.

The trail begins to ascend along switchbacks. After another 1.0 mi, you will catch a glimpse of a large waterfall cascading through the trees ahead. Another 1.0 mi later, you will reach a break in the forest and views of the canyon will emerge into view. Shortly after, roughly 0.5 mi after viewing the canyon for the first time, you will cross canyon creek and reenter the forest for another 1.0 mi.

Once you leave the forest, at roughly 4.8 mi from the trailhead, you will experience unobstructed views until you reach the lake. You can not see the lake at this point, but canyon vista is spectacular. After another 1.0 mi, the lake will start to inch into the foreground. You can stop here and head back, or if you have the energy, continue onwards to the abandoned Cracker Lake Mine and the lake itself.

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Insider Hints

  • This is prime grizzly country - be bear aware. Bring bear spray, travel in groups, make plenty of noise as you come around twists and turns. Your odds of seeing a grizzly on this hike are very high.
  • Do note that there is a three-site campground nearby, so you can always opt to turn this into a backpacking trip.

Getting There

Start the Cracker Lake Trail from the top end of the parking lot at Many Glacier. From Babb, on US 89, take Rte 3 into Glacier National Park Many Glacier Entrance. Continue for roughly 11.0 mi (through the gates) to Many Glacier hotel.

Route Details

  • When to do

    May - October

  • Pets allowed

    No

  • Family friendly

    Older Children only

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    High

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Elevation Graph

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