Ptarmigan Tunnel – 10.5mi / 16.9km
The 250 foot man-made tunnel that goes through the knife edge ridge of Ptarmigan Wall is a treat, with breathtaking views on both sides. The Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail shares this trailhead as well as its first 2.7 miles with the Iceberg Lake Trail (both can be paired for a longer day). The first 0.2 miles of the hike feature a steep angle, but quickly mellow out to a gradual grade as you break out into incredible views. The meadows on the slopes above you are frequented by bighorn sheep and grizzlies. Mountain goats can often be seen in the cliffs.
The trail enters the forest with scattered views and the Iceberg Lake Trail splits off just after Ptarmigan Falls. The trail continues and gets steep once again. Huckleberries are plentiful here, and black bears are not uncommon, so be prepared. At a little over 1.6 miles from the junction, you will reach Ptarmigan Lake. You will see two switchbacks up on the slope to the tunnel. There is definitely more than a little work ahead of you, but once you reach the tunnel it will all be worth it.
The views on the other side of the tunnel are breathtaking. The trail on the other side was hewn from the red rocks and offers staggering views onto Elizabeth Lake and the Belly River drainage. It’s time to turn around, enjoy the views looking into Many Glacier, and drop back down.
Trailhead: Follow the Many Glacier Road straight to the parking lot for Swiftcurrent Motor Inn and turn right immediately after the Inn. From there, follow the road around to the Iceberg Lake/Ptarmigan Tunnel trailhead.
Elevation Gain/Loss: 2,400ft / 720m