Possibly the prettiest alpine lake in Glacier National Park, Iceberg Lake is a must-do destination hike in Glacier National Park.
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Length: 9.6 Miles Round Trip
Trailhead(s): Many Glacier – Iceberg/Ptarmigan Trailhead (Behind Swiftcurrent Motor Inn)
Elevation Gain: 1,200’
Trail Type: Out and Back
Dogs: Not Allowed
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous
Permit Required? A Going-to-the-Sun Road Vehicle Reservation is required for each vehicle accessing the Going-to-the-Sun Road from May 27 through September 11, 2022, from 6 am to 4 pm. This is for all points between the West Glacier, Camas, and St. Mary entrances. The reservation is valid for 3 days and the cost is $2. Online reservations begin March 2,2022. Follow this link to obtain reservation: Recreation.Gov
Considerations: National Park Entry Fee $35; Bears
Possibly the prettiest alpine lake in Glacier National Park, Iceberg Lake is a must-do destination hike in Glacier National Park. Encircled by the 3,000 foot tall snowfield crusted cliffs of Mt. Wilber, Iceberg Peak, and the Continental Divide, floating chunks of ice and snow in clear aqua water dot its surface and make Iceberg Lake a beautiful, fantastic sight to behold.
The Trail to Iceberg Lake
Easy to follow and not technical, the hike to Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park is long, which is why we assess this trail as moderate to strenuous. Elevation gains encountered are either steep over a short duration or of a more moderate grade over a longer distance making them manageable for most hikers.
Long range views of mountain peaks and Ptarmigan Ridge, the peaceful stillness of the forest, and the beauty of Ptarmigan Falls were all highlights of the trail on our way to Iceberg Lake. Jaw dropping views of granite peaks beyond fields of wildflowers stopped us in our tracks as we approached. Anticipation grew as each step brought increasingly incredible scenery into view. Not alone in our assessment, the air was filled with exclamations of awe. Arriving at the lake, we joined many other hikers on the rocks above the shoreline to rest, re-fuel, and enjoy the beauty of our surroundings. Go all the way to the water if you like. While soaking in the views a fellow hiker spotted a family of mountain goats high up on the sheer rocks, and shared this sighting to the delight of everyone.
Be Aware, Be Bear Safe
Ever mindful of the fact that this area is frequented by bears, we made our presence known by calling out hoots and hollers periodically as we hiked. We also both carried bear spray, but saw no bears. On our return from the lake we had the opportunity to speak with a volunteer park ranger about bears in the area. He was also headed back and we enjoyed chatting as we hiked out. He had just returned from a hike to Ptarmigan Tunnel to check on an animal carcass near the trail with signs of previous bear activity. This was the reason for the trail closure we noted on our hike out to Iceberg Lake. Finding nothing recent in the way of bear activity, he dragged the carcass well off the trail and re-opened the trail.
The takeway? Bears live here, and when it comes to their safety and ours, we are all wise to follow the lead of park staff. If they close a trail, it’s for a good reason.
Glacier National Park – Parking at Many Glacier
Though there is a good amount of parking near the trailhead it fills very quickly, as does all parking in the Many Glacier area. By mid July there were so many visitors to this area of the park that the parking areas were full by 10 am. Park rangers were stopping vehicles at the Many Glacier entrance, allowing them to wait in line for others to leave. We highly recommend arriving in this area early (8-9 am) to secure a parking spot for any hikes in the Many Glacier area of the park. The park’s free shuttles do not service this area.
Scroll down to learn about the GEAR WE USE and OTHER OUTVENTURES in this area.
Iceberg Lake Slideshow
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Gear We Use for Day Hiking
To see descriptions of the gear Chris & Mac use for day hiking, as well as links to manufacturers and retailers offering the gear for sale, please CLICK HERE.
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