Top Hikes in Glacier National Park for Families
Are you looking for easy, half-day hikes around Glacier National Park in Montana to do with your family? I have compiled a list of hikes that I highly recommend for those looking to get outside, bring their kids, and have an enjoyable day! Oh, and pack a lunch!
(The following hikes are in no particular order.)
1. Avalanche Lake
Avalanche Lake is an easy 2.2 mile hike (one-way) to a beautiful lake with waterfalls cascading down the surrounding mountains. This hike is extremely popular for families, because it is easily accessible (not far from Lake McDonald on the west side of the park), and only has a 500-foot elevation gain, so children will enjoy the hike. The hike offers views of stunning Avalanche Gorge, and then follows a wide path through the forest all of the way to the lake. Find out more here.
2. Hidden Lake Overlook / Hidden Lake
Beginning from the top of Logan Pass, this hike offers a fairly easy boardwalk hike 1.5 miles one-way to the Hidden Lake Overlook, which has absolutely stunning views. This is also a great place to see Mountain Goats, which your children will enjoy.
You have the option of continuing past the Hidden Lake Overlook to Hidden Lake. Hidden Lake is one of my favorite places in Glacier National Park — you will not find a better beach, with calmer, clearer water. This is a fantastic place for lunch. However, this section of the hike is pretty steep as it drops down to the lake, and you have to climb back up, so be sure to think about your child’s abilities before you head all of the way down.
3. St. Mary Falls
St. Mary Falls is an extremely easy hike, less than a mile one-way down to the falls from the parking area just east of Logan Pass. Anyone can do this hike, and you can enjoy your lunch next to the waterfall. Click here for all the information you need to know about this hike.
4. Virginia Falls
Virginia Falls is less than a mile past St. Mary Falls, and is absolutely worth the hike! The elevation gain is just over 500-feet, and the falls are gorgeous — plus you can get very close to them, which is fun for kids! Most of the other waterfalls don’t offer this close of an opportunity. You will feel the spray of the falls, and you can enjoy a lunch just below. For information on the entire hike, click here.
5. Grinnell Lake
Grinnell Lake is an easy just over a mile hike one-way to Grinnell Lake from the boat landing at Lake Josephine, in the Many Glacier area of Glacier National Park. This is assuming that you catch the boat tour provided by the Glacier Boat Co. across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine to shave 5 miles off of your trip. The hike is pretty flat, and the lake at the end is an aqua color with a huge waterfall cascading into the end, with a nice beach to enjoy lunch. Find out more here.
6. Red Rock Falls (and Red Rock Lake)
Red Rock Falls is another beautiful hike up the Swiftcurrent Valley in the Many Glacier area on the east side of Glacier National Park. This hike takes you just over 2-miles each way on a flat, wooded trail past two beautiful mountain lakes, and finally to a series of waterfalls that make for a great place for children to play. Find out more here.
7. Running Eagle Falls
This hike is possibly the easiest hike in Glacier National Park, located in the Two Medicine Valley. This hike takes you down a completely flat, wheelchair accessible trail for 0.6 miles one-way to a view of the waterfalls. You can climb around to get a closer view.
8. Ptarmigan Falls / Iceberg Lake
Iceberg Lake is a gorgeous hike located in the Many Glacier area on the east side of Glacier National Park, with incredible views up the Swiftcurrent Valley, passing the Ptarmigan Falls and ending at the green, iceberg-filled lake.
The hike to Iceberg Lake is a 5-mile one-way trip. This could make for a long day for your kids, but we have taken our baby up there, and I have seen a lot of kids hiking to it. If you don’t want to hike this far, you can hike to Ptarmigan Falls, about halfway to the lake, and enjoy lunch on the rocks next to the stream.
9. Johns Lake Loop
Johns Lake Loop is a wonderful hike with children. With a 200-foot elevation gain and an entire length of 1.8 miles, it is an easy loop with waterfalls and a lake to keep children’s attention.
This hike begins just past the Lake McDonald Lodge along the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The hike will take you past beautiful Johns Lake, and along McDonald Creek where you get to see both McDonald Falls and the Sacred Dancing Cascade waterfall.
10. Rocky Point Nature Trail
Located on the west shore of Lake McDonald, this hike takes you to a deserted beach and beautiful views of Lake McDonald. At only 1.9 miles roundtrip, this is a great hike for families while visiting the west side of the park. Click here for more.