Sample Trail from Chapter 6 MANY GLACIER Trail #35 Swiftcurrent Lake Nature Trail Trail Use: Day hike, Child-friendly Length: 2.4-mile loop, 2-3 hours Vertical Feet: ±24' Difficulty: Level 2 Trail Type: Loop Surface Type: Dirt & gravel Start & End Coordinates: N 48.474932° W 113.400616° FEATURES Native Plants Secluded Geological Historic Wildlife FACILITIES Phone Ranger Station Lodging Restaurants Stores Gas Interpretive Center Picnic Area Campgrounds Hikers' Showers Boat Dock & Rental Canoes Tour Boat BEST TIME The trail opens with road access into Many Glacier Valley, usually May through October, although in early spring, snow and mud cover portions of the trail. Pay attention to trail closures and postings for grizzly bear activity. FINDING THE TRAIL From the Many Glacier Road/Glacier Rte. 3, at 0.40 miles west of the Many Glacier Hotel turn off, you will see the trailhead. Park here. Swiftcurrent Lake Trail begins on Grinnell Glacier Trail, on the southern-most point of the horseshoe-shaped picnic loop at a wide graveled area. (Many Glacier Hotel guests can enter the loop trail from the hotel beach.) This description is for a counter-clockwise loop hike. TRAIL DESCRIPTION Incredible views with every blink reward hikers on this route circumnavigating the aquamarine Swiftcurrent Lake. Aspen groves give way to evergreens, riparian areas, and a pebbled beach. While the Swiftcurrent Lake Nature Trail is a pleasant 2.4-mile loop, it is easy to add an additional 0.80 mile with a spur trail to Lake Josephine and significantly different views. The trails are well marked; however, pay close attention at each junction to be sure you don't miss a turn. National Park Service pamphlets are available at the trailhead for a small donation, and they provide useful and interesting details of the Many Glacier Valley. As you cross the Swiftcurrent Creek footbridge, look upstream for views of Mount Wilbur and Bishop's Cap along the Continental Divide. The trail leads southward into the forest of lodgepole pine and subalpine fir. A look to the east across the lake provides exquisite views of Many Glacier Hotel. You might see the horse concession cowboys on the hill behind the hotel heading out on trailrides to Cracker Lake, another lovely Glacier route, but best via horseback because of the high traffic of outfitter's steeds. You can see 9,376-foot Allen Mountain to the south and 8,404-foot Mount Wynn directly east. The trail paralleling Swiftcurrent Lake's west shore is relatively flat. You might see moose in or near the shallow water of the one-and-one-half-mile lake as a bull or cow and calf submerge for underwater sedges. Snowberry, serviceberry, thimbleberry, and huckleberry bushes fill the understory, as do lavender aster and queencup flowers. As you round the southern end of the lake, the view changes from the lake and hotel backdrop of Atlyn Peak, to a vista of the lake and Lewis Range. The pyramid-shaped Grinnell Point is closest to the lake's west shore. Behind Grinnell Point are (as you look left to right) 8,851-foot Mount Gould, 9,321-foot Mount Wilbur, the Garden Wall, and 8,770-foot Mount Henkel. The trail leads northward past a few hotel-employee cabins and the boathouse for Chief Two Guns tour boat before reaching the Many Glacier Hotel beach and boat dock. The final stretch of the loop includes a "must stop" for ice cream at Heidi's Snack Shop and Espresso Stand, in Many Glacier Lodge's basement, before tackling the pebble beach walk and, momentarily, the shoulder of street as you cross over Swift Current Falls. The trail again hugs the shoreline heading westward and parallels Many Glacier Road to return to the trailhead. Look up northward to Altyn Peak's shoulder for wildlife, as bears and bighorn sheep often graze here. MILESTONES 1. 00 Start from the picnic & day-parking area along Many Glacier Road/Glacier Rte. 3. 2. 0.20 Footbridge over Swiftcurrent Creek 3. 0.70 Boatdock & Lake Josephine spur trail 4. 0.85 Footbridge, then Lake Josephine Loop Trail junction; stay left, heading north. 5. 1.4 Boatdock & beach in front of Many Glacier Hotel 6. 1.79 Bridge over Swiftcurrent Falls 7. 2.4 Trailhead, parking & picnic area PULL-OUTS Moose munch underwater vegetation and willows, seemingly oblivious to humans; however, these mammals are unpredictable, can be dangerous, and are best observed from a distance or from the deck of the Many Glacier Hotel. The Blackfeet called this area Waterfalls, or Ohpskunakaxi . The Blackfeet term for lots of ice or many glaciers is akokokutoi. NOTICE The chalet-style Many Glacier Hotel, built by the Great Northern Railway on the eastern shore of Swiftcurrent Lake, opened July 2, 1915. The hotel opens June-September each year. Excerpted from Top Trails: Glacier National Park: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone by Jean Arthur All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.