Hike to Virginia Falls, Glacier National Park, Montana, USA
You have already hiked the 0.8 miles to St. Mary Falls … why not continue on to Virginia Falls?
Virginia Falls is a fun hike that starts out at the Going-to-the-Sun Highway in Glacier National Park. The turnout/ parking area can be reached by continuing down from Logan Pass, or by driving toward Logan Pass from St. Mary. The parking pullout area is marked by a sign that says “St. Mary Falls.” There is no sign that lets you know that this is also the hike to Virginia Falls, so be sure to stop here.
The parking area gets extremely congested in the afternoon. It will be difficult to find a place to park. The trail also becomes increasingly packed. As always, I recommend hiking early in the morning. Plenty of parking, and plenty of your own space to take pictures!
The hike starts out downhill, and then flattens out as you reach St. Mary Falls. (Click here to read my blog post about the hike to St. Mary Falls.)
You will continue on hiking past St. Mary Falls. Be careful as you pass these falls, there is no railing on your left hand side, and I think that there should be until you get further along the trail and away from the river.
The hike from here gradually takes you uphill. It seems like a lot of people don’t continue on past St. Mary Falls. Perhaps they don’t know what they are missing?
The trail is nice and pretty wide, with only a few spots where you have to walk over some rocks in the trail.
You will pass two different waterfalls after St. Mary Falls, but before you will reach Virginia Falls. Don’t confuse these for Virginia Falls. These falls are beautiful, and you can walk off the path to grab a photo of each. They are unnamed falls, and I have no idea why. Perhaps they don’t have the same vertical drop as Virginia Falls and St. Mary Falls.
The total elevation gain for this hike is only 525 feet. The hike one way is 1.5 miles. Easy peasy, right??
When you reach Virginia Falls: These falls are marked with signs. You will come to a point where the trail splits off. You can either head left to a spot that is below the falls, looking up. Or you can head right, where you will hike up a little further, and up and across a bridge to get right up next to the falls.
The spray from the fall was quite strong the day we were there, which makes it chilly! Even though we were so hot for the rest of the hike, I would recommend having a jacket for the falls when you get there.
My five-year-old nephew did great on the hike, he happily ran all of the way to the falls. Other hikers commented on how he was killing their self-esteem. He did burn out at the very end though, as you have to hike back up the hill once you pass St. Mary Falls on the way back, so he caught a ride from uncle Matt (my husband).
We had a nice picnic lunch down where you can look up at the falls after turning left. The ground is not level, but we laid down a few coats out of our backpack to sit on and had a good time.
We joked with some other hikers who asked us what was for lunch, and told them that we had nothing but one granola bar for all four of us, and they kindly offered to give us some food. We always plan ahead though, and had plenty of food with the little ones. 😉
In comparison to the hike to Avalanche Lake: I found this hike to be easier than the hike to Avalanche Lake, but I am not sure why. This hike has slightly more elevation gain than to Avalanche. This hike is shorter than Avalanche, however. The hike to Avalanche kind of goes up and down, up and down. This trail seems more flat, and then gradually takes you uphill. They both have beautiful views. Hike both.
Don’t miss Virginia Falls on your trip to Glacier National Park! Easy, fun, and beautiful.
Warm Wishes from Big Sky Country,
Alex M. Neill
Montana Vacation Blog