Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Our Last Glacier NP Hike to Virginia Falls…


Since we were able to extend our stay at Liz’s in the Bigfork, Montana area we just had to go to Glacier National Park one last time. There was one hike we wanted to do but when we drove by the trailhead the first time there was road construction which really limited parking. Luckily although there was still construction on that area of the Road to the Sun we found one vacant spot to park at the trailhead.

Lone Pine State Park, Liz, last hike in Glacier 014Lone Pine State Park, Liz, last hike in Glacier 017

The hike to Virginia Falls is a shorter hike of only 3.6 miles and minimal elevation gain but this hike not only took us to  Virginia Falls but a couple of other falls including St. Mary’s falls. We began at the trailhead to St. Mary Falls and began to trek through the forest where the thimbleberries were thick and ripe so we munched on a few berries as we hiked.

Lone Pine State Park, Liz, last hike in Glacier 030Lone Pine State Park, Liz, last hike in Glacier 032

Surrounded by mountain peaks of 8000 and 9,000 feet we were treated to scenic views at every turn.. At about a half mile we could see the St. Mary River and about that time we could also hear the roar of water crashing ahead. Shortly thereafter we reached the first of the falls on this trail, St. Mary Falls, one really spectacular waterfall that drops about 35 feet. It was atypical as water shoots out from several different directions but the two near the top were the most spectacular. We decided to stop at St. Mary’s falls to enjoy the lunch we packed while watching the stunning milky blue waters swirling beneath the falls.

Lone Pine State Park, Liz, last hike in Glacier 021Lone Pine State Park, Liz, last hike in Glacier 025

From St. Mary Falls we began hiking alongside Virginia Creek where we encountered a couple of smaller waterfalls and rapids as the water tumbled downhill.Stopping at times to admire these smaller falls and clear waters of Virginia Creek we also enjoyed seeing lots of colorful rocks lining the shore and beneath the rushing water. A larger falls cascading down the slope was just ahead and we have heard that this one is often mistaken for Virginia Falls.  It must be true as fewer people were on the trail past this point…

Lone Pine State Park, Liz, last hike in Glacier 045Lone Pine State Park, Liz, last hike in Glacier 036Lone Pine State Park, Liz, last hike in Glacier 040

We continued on and passed even more beautiful water features but then once again the crashing sound water was up ahead and we had reached the base of Virginia Falls. It is a more classic waterfall and it was mesmerizing to watch the water cascade down the hillside. This falls drops straight down some 50 feet or so and we could feel a rush of cold mist and cool air from the crashing waters. These falls are really nice so we sat and enjoyed them for 30 minutes or more. We used much of the time playing with our new cell phones as it was finally time to get rid of our our old models. The camera on the Galaxy S5’s is loaded with features we were experimenting with. We really love the panorama  feature so we played with that feature a lot while there admiring the falls…

Lone Pine State Park, Liz, last hike in Glacier 06220140803_165352

We also spotted a large group dippers,commonly called water ouzels, playing on a log extending out into the water. I think it may have been a mother and some of her fledglings as some of them were quite clumsy and kept slipping off the log into the water.


The hike back from Virginia Falls seemed quick and we were once again driving through Logan Pass where stopped one more time to find the Big Horned Sheep which we spotted about half way up a mountainside resting. As we drove through the remainder of the park we bid our farewells to McDonald Lake and to Glacier National Park.  We agreed that this is place we will most certainly love to visit again in the future…


  1. Wow if you took these pictures with your phones I am really impressed. There are few things I like better than waterfalls and this looks like a great hike. Is it 3.6 one way or RT? Our Glacier trip in 2011 was cut short and your posts from there have given us a lot of motivation to return. Thanks a a lot.

    1. 3.6 round trip...seemed longer since we stopped alot!

  2. I love the sound of this hike. We will be on the east side of Glacier this time so I do believe this would be a good hike while we are in St. Mary's area. Thanks for the details!

  3. I love the pretty colored rocks in the water. What a great hike. I'm jealous of your new phones. I would like a new one but I get unlimited data now which I would lose if I upgrade.

  4. Another great hike, and excellent pictures too.

  5. Just jumped on your blog when you got to Glacier NP. This was a beautiful hike and I so enjoyed seeing your pictures. Thank you! Maybe next year we can retrace your steps on this hike, ;-)

  6. What a fantastic hike. There is so much beauty in that park. Sorry we missed it.

  7. Beautiful waterfalls! Seems funny that we were there just a month ago (not on that hike, but on the day Logan Pass opened), and everything was still buried in snow up there!!