Florence Falls, Gunsight Lake and Piegan Pass Hikes

Two more wonderful day hikes that we had not done before while at Glacier National Park, the first was to Gunsight Lake from the Gunsight Pass Trailhead on the Going-to-the-Sun Road east of Logan Pass. The trail started in a  gradual descent for about a mile when we came to Deadwood Falls, a beautiful 10-foot waterfall with deep crystal clear pools of water above and below the falls. We continued on for about 2 miles to the St Mary River and the beautiful valley where we were hoping to spot a moose that some hikers had seen earlier. No luck this time. A little further along we came to an opening in the canopy that provided us with one of the most magnificent views in Glacier. In the foreground is an open grassy meadow alongside Mirror Pond  and framing the background is Mount Jackson, Gunsight Mountain and Fusillade Mountain, as well as Gunsight Pass.

At about 4 miles we took the side trail to Florence Falls, well worth the side trip, as it is one of the most impressive falls in Glacier. As we emerged from the forest we had spectacular views of 9,239-foot Mt Logan, Blackfoot Glacier, Jackson Glacier and 10,052-foot Mt Jackson. At 6.25 miles we reached the backcountry campground at Gunsight Lake, with 7 campsites that you can reserve in advance. We stopped for lunch on the beautiful beach at the foot of the lake. Gunsight Lake is one of the most scenic lakes in Glacier, and on the far end of the lake are views of 9,258-foot Gunsight Mountain, Gunsight Pass and the Continental Divide. We crossed over the swinging bridge that goes to the trail leading to Gunsight Pass but we turned around here and headed back to the Jeep. We did about 14 miles total today and it was a well worth the effort as the scenery was spectacular. Click on thumbnail to view images

Our second day hike was to Piegan Pass, beginning from the Siyeh Bend Trailhead, located 2 miles east of Logan Pass on the Going-to-the-Sun Road. It was a beautiful blue-bird day in late August, a perfect day for this hike. The Siyeh Bend Trail travels alongside the Siyeh Creek for a few hundred yards before reaching the turnoff to the Piegan Pass Trail. After about 3 miles we emerged above the tree-line and onto the talus-scree slopes of 10,014-foot Mount Siyeh. As we traversed along the trail ascending toward Piegan Pass, the views of Piegan Glacier sitting just below the summit of 9,220-foot Piegan Mountain were breathtaking. At about 4.5 miles we reached the top of Piegan Pass and just a little further on we had outstanding views of Angel Wing, Bishops Cap, and Mount Gould along the Garden Wall, as well as views deep into the Many Glacier valley. Due to COVID the trail was closed going down into the valley, so we stopped here for lunch to marvel at the magnificent views in front of us. A marmot decided to befriend us and joined us while we ate lunch, posing on top of a rock.

Piegan Pass has the distinction of being one of four sites in Glacier to have had a locomotive bell installed on it. In September, 1926 the bells were installed, based on the old Swiss custom of ringing loud bells high in the mountains, and to let people know that they had reached their goal. The bells remained in place until the fall of 1943. The Piegan Pass Trail is also part of the Continental Divide Trail, which runs from the Mexico border to the town of Waterton Park in Canada. The entire Piegan Pass area offers spectacular views and scenery, easily making this one of the best hikes in Glacier. Another time when the east side of the Park is open it would be fun to hike all the way to Many Glaciers and catch the shuttle back to our car. On our way back down Piegan Pass Trail, looking toward the south across the valley, we had absolutely grand views of Jackson Glacier and Blackfoot Glacier, the largest glacier in the Park. This truly was one of the best hikes in Glacier. Click on thumbnail to view images