Apikuni Falls with Red Rock Falls 2018

It’s been a while since we made it into Glacier National Park, but we made it happen this weekend. The trick is always to figure out where to go. Spring really restricts where you can go due to snowpack (especially this year!). This slimmed our pool of options, so we decided to hit up Apikuni Falls (Kristen had never been there) and then a quick trip to Red Rock Falls, all in the Many Glacier area of the park.

Big snowpack leads to roaring waterfalls right?!

The weather looked gorgeous as we set out for the long, three hour drive to Many Glacier. Along the way I spied a couple of Mule Deer and a nice herd of Mountain Goats at the goat lick. We finally made it after about three hours in the car and stepped out to blue skies and warm air.

We left the wide open views, level trail and gorgeous wildflowers for the trees and the climbing. The trees provide welcome shade and we only passed a couple of small snowfields. Apikuni Creek was roaring and the falls got louder as we got closer. We took the short spur to an incredible vantage and soldiered on up. It was also a nice place to spy some Bighorn Sheep that were traversing the hillside.

Apikuni Falls makes a brief cameo before you get to it and it was indeed much larger than my first visit as part of my project. We came to the base of it where snow bridges cover some of the creek and the waterfall was wonderfully crashing down with the spring snowmelt. (As an aside, stay off of snow bridges as they are dangerous!)

We had passed the climber’s trail where the trail leaves the trees near the falls and we did a should we/shouldn’t we for a couple of minutes, then decided that we should get up to the basin above the falls as we’ve never seen it before.

After heading back a short distance, we found the trail and started working our way to the cliffs. Kristen found a few ticks on her which we flicked off (always be checking in spring especially). The next section involves scrambling and a bit of route finding, so only do that if you feel comfortable. We made it through the cliff section and found a very well established trail which we followed for wonderful vantages looking out into the valley as well as over to the falls. Those Bighorn Sheep had made it to the snow at the base of the falls and it was fun to eagle-eye them from our perch above.

Eventually, we got to the beginning of the basin and decided to turn around, but we will be back to climb the summits therein!

We decided to drive all the way in to Many Glacier where the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn was still all boarded up. We piled out of the car and hiked to Fishercap Lake and wandered along its shoreline. A couple of birds, but no Moose. No surprise in the heat of the day, but you can’t blame us for trying! After spying a couple of Mountain Goats on the hillside, we went back up onto the trail.

I was surprised at the lack of snow on the trail, although we did come across some. Most of it was dirt as we passed a few vantages and stands of aspens. Red Rock Falls was roaring through the valley and we got a brief glimpse before ducking into the trees, then coming alongside Red Rock Lake.

Numerous Barrow’s Goldeneyes were feeding in the lake as well as a few Mallards. We walked across to the head of the lake to Red Rock Falls where it was roaring into its beautiful blades. We had a snack, took some pictures and headed back to our car and the long drive back home.

It felt so great to be walking back in my Glacier National Park. Apikuni Falls and Red Rock Falls were roaring and the lakes were picturesque. The snow is melting quickly, though there is a ton of it still to melt. Trail options are limited, but they still are wonderful. It’s always a great day when the sun is shining, the flowers are out, the birds are chirping, and you get to see some of Glacier’s bigger animals.

Apikuni Falls

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4 responses to “Apikuni Falls with Red Rock Falls 2018”

  1. Karl Milhon Avatar
    Karl Milhon

    Hey we were there also about the same time. It was a great day. We saw a grizzly just a bit up the road by the bridge toward the Lodge. He ran in front of us and stopped, looking a very healthy but startled by the truck. Great day. This is a great time of the year to go. Fewer people, everything is fresh and ready. We love your maps.

    1. hike734 Avatar

      Wow! Sweet!

  2. Nick Whiteside Avatar
    Nick Whiteside

    Beautiful pictures! Love the Bighorn Sheep. We will be in Glacier beginning 15 June. Staying in St. Mary so I am strongly considering doing these hikes. Thank you for your blogs.

  3. Dan Singletary Avatar
    Dan Singletary

    Hey Jake,
    Another great day and story about GNP in a couple of my favorite spots. Thanks for sharing.
    Did you make it by the “J Tree” on the trail by Fishercap lake ? You know the one.
    We got a great pic there last year with my family, brother, son, nieces and nephews late last June.
    The Bear grass was amazing by Red Rock falls.
    I’ll be back again this September, can’t get here soon enough. Happy Hiking.

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