This was another of our sort’a bi-annual visits to this great park. This year we divided out time between Many Glacier Hotel on the east side and Lake McDonald Lodge on the west side, with the idea of doing some of the trails we’d missed before (or which had been closed due to bear activity). There were fires south near Missoula and the air was thick as we entered the park, but, thanks to a front that passed overnight, it was almost clear (there was still a faint red tinge in the air) by the next morning.
Today we had the go-ahead to hike up to Swiftcurrent Pass from Swiftcurrent Lake (13.2 miles roundtrip; 2,300 feet of elevation gain) – something we hadn’t been able to do in previous years because of foraging bears. But this year the bears were busy elsewhere so we were off early,
up the Swiftcurrent Valley,
and past Redrock Falls.
The trail is almost level until it reaches the head of the valley,
then it starts up the ridge to the right.
We climbed several long switchbacks up into the sunlight,
where, fortunately, The LovedOne has no fear of heights,
given that this trail is a real cliff-clinger at the spot where she’s standing.
But, from here, you do get a great view down the Swiftcurrent valley,
and of the Swiftcurrent Glacier below Mount Grinnell.
From Swiftcurrent Pass,
it’s possible to see west to Heavens Peak (8,987 feet) across the McDonald Creek Valley.
It would have added two miles to the hike to go over and visit Glacier Park Chalet, so we opted to snack at the pass and head back from there – keeping the day a 13 miles or so. The hike back was enlivened by two moose who made us wait while they browsed their way across the trail at the head of the valley (didn’t see any bears this year).