Welcome to the Trail Well Traveled!
Each Friday, in partnership with Montana Wilderness Association and Bob Ward’s we will feature a new western Montana trail and then give one lucky listener some cool goodies to help them embark on their journey!
With the long weekend in sight, we’re happy to feature an easy trail in the Mission Mountain Widerness Area (and there’s a firework show on the 4th, just a short drive away in Polson!)
Glacier Lake, Trail #327
Walking to Glacier Lake is a quick and very enjoyable way to enjoy a beautiful lake in the Mission Mountain Wilderness Area.
Roundtrip: 3.2 miles
Directions: The trailhead is about 33 miles north of Seeley Lake. Eleven of those miles are on a well-maintained gravel road. The trip to the trailhead from Seeley Lake will take almost one hour.
From Seeley Lake take Montana Highway #83 north about 23 miles. Watch for Kraft Creek Road (Forest Service Road #561) which is between mile markers 37 and 38. Turn west onto Kraft Creek Road. Helpful signs will keep you on track to the trailhead, which is 11.5 miles from the highway.
What to expect: The hike begins at a well-maintained trailhead complete with restrooms. The trailhead is also the starting point for those going to several other lakes or extended trips into the Missions.
In the parking area you’ll hear Glacier Creek nearby and be drawn to a stream side view of Glacier Creek at the west edge of the parking area. Start your hike at the information board, which normally has helpful messages from the Wilderness Ranger. The messages will tell you of trail conditions, bridge conditions, wildlife activity or other appropriate information to help ensure you enjoy your hike.
A couple of minutes after you start walking you’ll hear and see Glacier Creek to your left. Watch and listen to Glacier Creek as it cascades to the valley below with abundant pure cold water.
In about a half mile you’ll cross Crazy Horse Creek. The bridge has a handrail and provides a delicious view of the creek as you cross. Early in the hiking season there is often water splashing on the bridge. Use the handrail!
In another third of a mile a sign welcomes you to the Mission Mountain Wilderness area. Shortly after entering the Mission Mountain Wilderness Area you’ll cross Crescent Creek – also on a bridge with a handrail. In less than a mile you will now have seen Glacier Creek, Crazy Horse Creek, and Crescent Creek! Seeing those three creeks will help you understand and appreciate how much water is produced in the Mission Mountain Wilderness area.
Less than a half-mile after crossing Crescent Creek, you’ll come to a junction. A right turn takes you to Crescent, Heart, Island, and Turquoise lakes; straight takes you to Glacier Lake, a third of a mile from the junction.
As you approach Glacier Lake note the restoration efforts and be respectful of the work being done to maintain the wild character of Glacier Lake. You’ll see the outlet to your left just before you arrive at Glacier Lake. Seeing Glacier Lake is a treat you won’t soon forget.
Allow plenty of time to absorb the lake culture and surrounding peaks at Glacier Lake. Loons sometimes feed in Glacier Lake but nest in other nearby lakes. You’ll have a good chance of seeing osprey, eagles, whitetail deer, and perhaps a bear. Fishing is often very good at Glacier Lake. If you have binoculars scan the surrounding mountains for goats and maybe a grizzly. A local trail runner reported seeing an albino wolf on one of the ridges high above Glacier Lake, so you never know what you might see.
Return to the trailhead using the same route.
Tip: Take binoculars and spend time absorbing the “lake culture” and surrounding peaks. There’s a good chance you’ll see osprey, eagles, whitetail deer, and perhaps even a grizzly! A local trail runner once reported seeing an albino wolf on one of the ridges high above Glacier Lake, so you never know what you might find!
Learn more about this trail, file your own trip report and photos, or check out some other great hikes at hikewildmontana.org
And don’t forget to tune in to the Trail 103.3 each Friday at 9:50 am for the next featured trail and your chance to win!