Swiftcurrent Creek and the Lakes

Glacier
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Swiftcurrent Creek and the Lakes

Distance: 12.4km
Elevation: 230m
Time: 3-5h

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The Swiftcurrent Creek hike is a wonderful day out in the Many Glacier area with great views, alpine flowers and the opportunity to see some game. Turn back anywhere along the trail, however we prefer getting to the end of the valley, just below the switchbacks up to the Pass.

Getting there

Head into Many Glacier Area on the pock-marked road, remaining watchful for animals – bears are likely here in early summer. Park anywhere near the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn.

About

When to do

June through October

Backcountry Campsites

No

Toilets

Trailhead

Family friendly

Yes

Route Signage

Average

Crowd Levels

Moderate

Route Type

Out and back


Elevation


Detailed Description

Yet another wonderful hike in the Many Glacier area. This takes you out along a pleasant river, past several scenic lakes that often have game, and then to the base of a grueling pass.

Head to the far (western) end of the parking lot in front of Swiftcurrent Motor Lodge. If you’ve been camping in the Many Glacier campground, you are lucky, so reward yourself with coffee from the Gift Shop beside the Motel office first.

Follow a well-defined path, and almost immediately you will cross a bridge over Wilbur Creek. There is a path down through the forest on your right to Fishercap Lake, however we prefer to continue straight ahead. Follow the (sometimes) redrock path, and after 2.5km you will come to the lovely Redrock Lake, flanked by Grinnell Mountain with Grinnell Point towering over it. The lake is fed at the far end by Swiftcurrent Creek and it’s easy to see where it gets the name – from the lovely rock that takes on a magical hue early and late in the day.

A bit farther on, at roughly 3.0km from the start, you will come to Redrock Falls. While not the massive falls seen elsewhere in the park, these are beautiful and a good place for a break.

From here, you have 2.5km through a mix of forest and shrubs up to and beside Bullhead Lake. There are views in all directions at times, with Mount Wilbur on your right, Mount Swiftcurrent dead ahead and Mount Grinnell on your left.

You will pass a suspension bridge, which is really bouncy just before reaching the viewpoint for Bullhead Lake (5.5km from start). This area has some large rocks, and is the perfect place to take a rest. Look carefully across the lake here, as moose often spend a quiet morning on the far shores. You may even see a bull moose if you’re lucky.

Continue ahead along the path. Cross and re-cross a few streams on rocks before arriving at the base of the switchbacks, which is roughly 6.4km from the start. From here you can take a break, examining the wonderful mountains, lakes and streams around you.

Return the way you came and head into the store at Swiftcurrent Motor Inn for a snack!

Insider Hints

  • Watch for game early and late in the day across the lakes you pass by.

  • Stay in Many Glacier if you can, we really like Swiftcurrent Motor Inn.

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