Swiftcurrent Creek and the Lakes

Difficulty
This reflects the 10Adventures difficulty rating for each route. We aim to keep ratings consistent across regions.
Easy
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.
3-4h
Distance
This reflects the return distance of this route as measured by the GPS file.
12.4 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.
230 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.
9.6
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.
Easy (Circle)
Suitable for beginners, families, young children, and those looking for a casual adventure.
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Directions to Trailhead
Panorama from the Swiftcurrent Creek and the Lakes hike in Glacier National Park, Montana

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.

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Route Description for Swiftcurrent Creek and the Lakes

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 2.5 km 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 3.0 km 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 2.5 km 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 (5.5 km 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 6.4 km 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!

Find more epic hikes in Glacier National Park

Insider Hints for Swiftcurrent Creek and the Lakes

  • 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.

Getting to the Swiftcurrent Creek and the Lakes Trailhead

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.

Route Information

  • 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

Swiftcurrent Creek and the Lakes Elevation Graph

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Swiftcurrent Creek and the Lakes Reviews

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