While the hike up to Piegan Pass and back is a great trip in Glacier National Park, through hiking this exceptional day trip down to Many Glacier takes it to the next level. Dropping down into Many Glacier has you passing terraced, alpine landscapes, beautiful waterfalls and a series of emerald green lakes in the Grinnell Creek drainage.
After getting our shuttle all situated, we took off from Siyeh Bend up towards Piegan Pass. We gained our elevation through the trees and broke out into beautiful flower meadows with the requisite pollinators that can sometimes be a bit much. Peaks became more and more visible until we broke out of the trees altogether. The trail leading all the way up the pass, cut through the alpine with summits all around, the treed valley below, and glacier fields in the distance.
At the pass, we encountered ptarmigans, bighorn sheep, hoary marmots, pikas, and columbian ground squirrels. Views down toward the Many Glacier area were more than breathtaking. Normally, we’d stop at Piegan and head on back, but we had a vehicle in Many Glacier, so down we dropped.
On the north side of Piegan Pass, where we were heading, the trail wandered over terraced terrain. A sapphire blue tarn sat below the cliffs of the back side of the Garden Wall. Summits that my wife and I had climbed the previous day looked down on us from impossible heights.
As we descended, the various feeder creeks from snowfields came together to create Cataract Creek. On one such creek, we found another female white-tailed ptarmigan with her chicks.
Further down, we came across the exceptionally beautiful Morning Eagle Falls which spills over a red rock layer in grand fashion. From here, the trail drops into a basin that is lush and full of moose and bears. While we came across no bears, we did jump a moose with only the first couple of folks in our group seeing him.
After passing the tall Featherplume Falls, we decided to take the trail that drops down to Grinnell Lake and follow that trail to Lake Josephine and Swiftcurrent Lake. Despite that trail being a bit longer, it’s more scenic and gave some of our crew views that they’d not experienced.