Sperry Chalet 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.
6.5-9h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
19.2 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.
1,067 m
User Ratings
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Directions to Trailhead

In the beginning of the Sperry Chalet Trail, you wind through the Gunsight Pass Trail and walk through dense steep terrain. Once you emerge from here, you will see the damage that the Sprague fire did when it burned through 16,982 acres in 2017. The fire definitely didn’t take any beauty away from this trail, and many people flock to it to see the magic of Sperry Chalet Trail.

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Route Description for Sperry Chalet Trail

The Sperry Chalet Trail shares a route with Gunsight Pass Trail, which brings steep and rough terrain, so make sure to wear good hiking shoes. Because of the fires that scorched so many trees, there are areas on the trail where shade is scarce, so plan for that. On this trail, you will find yourself elevating quickly at some points, but the views will be well worth it.

This hike is packed with scenery, and it all begins at the Sperry Trailhead across the road from Lake McDonald Lodge. From here, you will follow the Gunsight Pass Trail, winding through dense spruce fir forest and keep an eye out for horses as they share this trail as well. Continue on, and at 1.2 km, you will begin to see the remnants of the 2017 Sprague fire that claimed 16,982 acres of Glacier National Park and also destroyed the inside of the Sperry Chalet.

When you come to Snyder Rich Trail, veer left and follow Snyder Creek as the trail begins to ascend again, and after a short while it will turn into Sprague Creek Valley. At this time, you will begin to walk through dead areas, where the damage from the fire becomes more apparent, but despite the intense flames, the scenery remains as stunning as ever. After 3.2 km of following Sprague Creek, you will come to an opening that houses Beaver Medicine Falls, and although the trail does not bring you close to the falls, you will see the first signs of Sperry Chalet. At 9.3 km, there is no sign to direct you on where to go. Veer right and follow the footbridge over Sprague Creek, and you will see, in the distance, 5 waterfalls known as Glacier Basin.

Finally, after 0.3 km, you will arrive at Sperry Chalet sitting at 1,996 m above sea level. At this point, you can either spend the night or continue your hike back the way you came as this is an out-and-back trail.

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Insider Hints for Sperry Chalet Trail

  • When you reach Sperry Chalet, keep an eye out for the goats that live nearby
  • Stay the night at the Sperry Chalet and continue the hike back the next day
  • Make sure to wear good hiking shoes for the elevation during this hike

Getting to the Sperry Chalet Trail Trailhead

To get to Sperry Chalet Trail from Apgar, head North towards the Apgar Loop/Lake View Drive. Turn right onto the loop and then left onto Glacier Route 1/Going-to-the-Sun Road for 13.0 km. Turn left and travel for 0.3 km and Sperry Trailhead will be ahead.

Route Information

  • When to do

    March - November

  • Backcountry Campsites

    No camping, stay at Sperry Chalet

  • Pets allowed

    No pets, horses allowed

  • Family friendly

    No

  • Route Signage

    Average

  • Crowd Levels

    Moderate

  • Route Type

    Out and back

Sperry Chalet Trail Elevation Graph

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