Hike #3: Iceberg Lake Trail – Montana Hiking in Glacier National Park
Our last hike at Glacier National Park (GNP) was the Iceberg Lake trail, located in the Many Glacier area, separate from the main Going to the Sun road. Many Glacier road was off the little town of Babb, where a few homes were hiding, and the road was filled with massive potholes. This section of the GNP felt different from the popular section of the park with Logan Pass and Lake McDonald – it almost seemed much sunnier and brighter, even hotter, and the mountains perhaps loomed larger and more rugged.
The hike that we had planned to go on was the Ptarmigan Tunnel trail, but yet again, it was too early in the year and snow was in the way. Instead, we went on the Iceberg Lake Trail. It was July 4, and the trail was extremely busy. We started off behind the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, followed by a steep hike up a hill, and then began a slow ascent on a trail carved into the side of mountains through a valley of flowers. Much of the trail was in the meadows, completely exposed to the sun, which meant it was scorching and stiflingly hot, but we got a good view of the mountains, valley and meadow.
Finally, a forest of evergreen began, and Ptarmigan Falls soon appeared. Many hikers took a break at Ptarmigan Falls to get a quick bite or simply as a respite from the sun and hiking. From the falls, half the hikers turned back, but of course, we continued onwards. After a little bit of forest, we were back in the open sun again. The trail continued to tread on ledges, curving around the valley, where we could still see the Swiftcurrent Motor inn far, far below. At one point, there was a traffic pileup of hikers – a moose was spotted! The moose disappeared so fast up the mountains that we barely caught a glimpse of it.
As we continued on, the trail started heading straight towards a half bowl shaped mountain. A few streams and small lakes were on the path, and some pine trees peppered in between the meadow and snow. Soon enough, we got a peek of a turquoise blue lake, with dense looking ice and snow seemingly sliding down the mountain into the edge of the lake. Carefully picking our way on a path across newly sprouting grass and little flowers, we found a spot to rest away from the crowd. Somehow there was enough room at the edge of the lake for the crowd to disperse themselves, and everyone seemed to have found a moment of peace and quiet to enjoy the view. We sat on the rocky edge, watching pieces of ice floating in the lake, which probably inspired the name Iceberg Lake. At one point, one “iceberg” floated close enough to be picked up. The water was shockingly cold, icy and cut right to the bone. It was quite refreshing after a long and hot hike.
The Iceberg Lake trail might have been crowded on July 4th, but it was still an amazingly beautiful hike of meadows and a scenic lake tucked into the mountains. And you could still find some solitude resting at the lake.
Priscilla Schmidt : @pristye