Iceberg Lake Trail in Glacier National Park
9.5 miles round trip
This beautiful walk to Iceberg lake is not a level walk, but at
times climbing through some of the most scenic areas you will ever
enjoy. When you do reach the lake, you will find it is aptly named.
This great hike is best done in the warmest part of the summer, as
you will climb to an elevation of 6,100 feet by the time you reach
this very cold lake. By the time you return, you will have hiked
about nine and a half miles
You will drive up "Many Glacier Road" and find the trailhead at the end of the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn parking lot. The trail is called Swiftcurrent Pass at the beginning and soon changes to Ptarmigan Trail. Your trail will take you along the base of Mount Henkel where you will enjoy the forests of Aspen and Lodgepole pine and then lovely meadows of spectacular wild flowers. You will also find many kinds of berry bushes, including huckleberry, which makes this trail a favorite spot of bears too. Occasionally this trail is closed to allow the bear to roam undisturbed. Be sure to check at the trailhead for notices.
As you climb you will have a great view of the Ptarmigan Wall in front of you. Looking closely you will see the Iceberg Lake trail crossing the wall. You will cross Ptarmigan Creek on a bridge, that allows a view of Ptarmigan Falls. Your trail will soon separate but to hike to Iceberg Lake you must stay to your left. You are gaining altitude steadily for the next two miles or so. Keep your eyes open for Mountain goats who may share this high area with you. At a little less than four and a half miles up you will cross Iceberg Creek. Your trail will take you once again through beautiful meadows of Alpine wildflowers. Enjoy and take lots of pictures but please don’t disturb these wonderful plants that Mother Nature has put here for your pleasure. They have adapted to this cold climate and short season, and will either seed themselves or come up from roots that can stand the winter cold. The Glacier Lilies have to start growing through the snow in order to have a few days of blossom.
You will find Iceberg Lake, at an elevation of 6,100 feet, and it lives up to it’s name. Being so high and in an area of very little sun, it stays frozen until late spring and may have ice chunks floating most of the summer.
You have found a lovely lake and enjoyed many scenic spots along your climb. We hope you have taken many pictures along the way and will return again soon. Glacier National Park has so many of these awe inspiring hikes to enjoy. Check out your Nature Trail guide from any Trail head or Visitors Center. The cost is only 50 cents and will be very helpful.
Glacier National Park and Iceberg Lake trail was written by Verna Parks.