With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier National Park, Montana, is a hiker’s paradise. Yet many Glacier National Park visitors rarely venture far from the iconic Going to The Sun Road, and most skip the park’s southeastern region of Two Medicine. For those who venture down this off-the-beaten path, their reward is some of the most scenic hiking trails in all of Glacier.
Be prepared to be wowed by verdant scenery, complete with majestic mountain vistas and crystal clear lakes. Hike past cascading waterfalls and ramble through meadows all a-flower on this family friendly hike in Glacier National Park’s Two Medicine region.
Let The Upper Two Medicine Lake Hike Begin!
To truly appreciate all that Mother Nature has bestowed upon these lands, one needs to park that car, step away from the crowds, and head down a trail less traveled. Our trail of choice today? The Upper Two Medicine Lake trail, found deep within one of the least visited regions of Glacier National Park.
This relatively easy trail is perfect for a day of exploring the more remote and uncrowded trails of Glacier’s Two Medicine region. Our adventure begins with a shuttle boat ride across Two Medicine Lake to the trailhead. It’s a perfect start to a chilly late-June morning hike. Yes, that really is snow in those crevices in mid-July!
The shuttle boat docked, hiking gear collected, and backpacks adjusted. These hikers are ready to roll! The trail to Upper Two Medicine Lake stands before us, just begging to be explored. The trail here is adventurous, yet easy. And fun! Who doesn’t enjoy fjording a creek via a footbridge built of logs!
A Detour To Twin Falls
Oh look! There’s a fork in the trail. You’ll want to take this detour off the main trail towards Twin Falls. At a mere one-tenth of a mile long, the hike to Twin Falls is short, easy, and well worth the effort. Especially when one has the falls all to themselves!
Meander on down the path for an up-close view of Twin Falls. So close, you can feel the spray of water as it cascades over the rocky terrain, past a tumble of rocks and fallen logs. Speaking of fallen logs, take a seat on one! Twin Falls is the perfect backdrop for a snack break.
All rested up and ready to move on. Time to continue on up, up, up, through verdant, lush greenery. Don’t worry. It’s still a relatively easy hike, even here. The climb is a gentle, rambling slope upwards. This hike only gains 350 feet of elevation from start to finish.
Hiking Into A Majestic Mountain Meadow
The narrow, tree lined trail opens up into a peaceful mountain meadow, complete with backdrop of snow-covered mountain tops, and surrounded by ferns of all shapes and sizes. Stop! Seize the moment! Breathe in that crisp, fresh mountain air.
Stand still a moment longer, keeping your eyes wide open, and your senses on alert. Who knows what local wildlife might be drinking from that chilly water down below. Perhaps it’s a lone moose you see off in the distance. Alas, we heard a moose, saw it’s fresh footprints, but only caught a fleeting glimpse as he dashed away upon our arrival.
Continue on through the meadow, past wildflowers bursting forth from their winter sleep. Look left, right, up and down in this peaceful, serene setting where high in the sky, golden eagles soar past in search of a morning snack.
Soak in the 360 degrees of mountain meadow vistas that surround you. Even on a cloudy summer day, this meadow is a sight to behold.
At Long Last – Upper Two Medicine Lake
Almost there! Except for that pile of snow blocking the trail. No problem. A few snowballs later, an alternate path is discovered down a snow-free side trail and through the nearby backcountry campground. Onward we hike, our objective nearly in sight.
Our reward at the end of the trail? A magnificent water’s edge view of Upper Two Medicine Lake and it’s surrounding terrain. A gentle wind blows across turquoise water, creating small, rippling waves. On a clear day, one can see Pumpelly Pillar off in the distance. At 7,600 feet, this glacially carved tower makes quite an impression when standing at the lake’s edge.
Or so they say. Our view of Pumpelly Pillar on this day was obscured by clouds. 🙁 No worries, though. Pumpelly Pillar can be seen from other places along the trail. We caught a pretty sweet, albeit brief, view further on down the trail during a break in the clouds.
Objective achieved. Upper Two Medicine Lake explored. Time to head back to Two Medicine!
Plan A Hike in Glacier ‘s Two Medicine
You won’t regret it! From easy hikes around Two Medicine Lake, to back woods hikes through Dawson Pass, Two Medicine offers trails for practically any skill level. The trails can be accessed via the Two Medicine entrance in the south-eastern corner of Glacier National Park.
Note: Click on the above map for an interactive view of the trails around Two Medicine.
With it’s relatively easy trails, and it’s eye-popping scenery, Upper Two Medicine Lake makes for a great family hike. The hike ranges in length from about 6 miles to 10 miles, depending upon where you start and end the hike.
Those wanting a less intense, shorter hike, can short-cut several miles by taking the shuttle boat across Two Medicine Lake. The more adventurous hiker can simply hike right around Two Medicine Lake, beginning at the North Shore trailhead in Two Medicine campground.
Ready to plan your own day of adventure in the Two Medicine Lake area, or other areas of Glacier National Park? Here are several links to get you hiking down a trail less traveled.
- Glacier National Park
- Hiking The Trails
- Day Hikes In Glacier National Park
- Day Trip Plan
- 2015 Glacier Visitor Guide
Travelers Tip: Spend the night in East Glacier Village or the Two Medicine Campground, and get an early start out on the trails. Better for wildlife spotting, and most certainly the least crowded time. Not that there was much of a crowd on our mid-July morning!
Do You Enjoy The Great Outdoors?
Glacier National Park, Montana, is one of my all-time favorite national parks, and the Upper Two Medicine Lake hike remains a family favorite activity. Perhaps it was the crystal clear waters, or the vibrant greenery that surrounded us. Maybe it was the lack of crowds once off the beaten path. Could it be the park lodges we stayed in, so close to this incredible outdoor playground? I’d say, it was all this, and more!
Do you enjoy exploring the great outdoors? What’s your favorite national park or hiking trail? Have you hiked in Glacier National Park? What was your favorite hike? Do share!
Check out our other family adventures in Glacier National Park!
- Read about adventures in Lake McDonald at A Misty Morning Trek to Avalanche Lake.
- Get on the road at 7 Must-See Stops Along the Iconic Going To The Sun Road.
- See all you can do at 7 Family Adventures in 5 Days Exploring Glacier National Park.
Images by C.Biederman. Map from U.S. National Park Service.