register help
This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Red Rock Lake and Falls, MT

81 4 0
Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List MT > North Central
3.7 of 5 by 3
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,119 feet
Elevation Gain 140 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 5.2
Backpack No
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
editedit > ops > dogs to adjust
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
10  2017-07-02
Bullhead Lake
6  2014-08-09 Sun_Ray
27  2011-07-23 writelots
38  2011-07-23 tibber
10  2011-06-14 gummo
Author tibber
author avatar Guides 21
Routes 574
Photos 25,551
Trips 837 map ( 10,394 miles )
Age 63 Female Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Jun, Sep, Jul, Aug
Seasons   Summer to Early Autumn
Sun  6:20am - 6:35pm
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
A big surprise in a little Valley.
by tibber

Likely In-Season!
Starting from the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, you head west. Do not take the trail to Iceberg Lake, keep going west. Soon you will cross a bridge over a small creek as you make your way into the more foresty area that you will come in and out of until you get to the west side of Red Rock Lake. This is also the route up to Swiftcurrent Pass and over to the Chalet, Highline Trail or northern Highline Trail.

There is a signed detour (200 yards or so) you can take down to Fishercap Lake at about .8 miles which is well worth your trouble. The lake has that beautiful glacial turqoise blue color and many times you will get the chance to see moose feeding in the lake and or area. You also have views Grinnell Point and of the north side of Mount Grinnell.

Once back up to the trail you continue your way west through some groves of aspen and lodgepole pines. You will also cross a couple small streams as well as pass some rock outcroppings. If you're lucky you'll get to see some beargrass and if you look up and toward the right toward Mt Wilbur, a waterfall coming down a crevice. There is an un-marked route that ventures off from here called the Shangri-La. It is off-trail hiking though as there isn't a trail.

While you're hiking you will see Grinnell Mountain towering over you to the left (south), Mount Wilbur slightly to your right and Swiftcurrent Mountain in front of you (the one with the lookout tower you can barely make out). Soon you will get a great visual of Red Rock Lake (and yes, it's fishable). There is an opening for you to get down to the water's edge and from there you can also look to the southwest and see the waterfall (Red Rock Falls) as it cascades down into the lake. From here you just head west a little further until you start bending to the left (south) around the top of the lake toward the Falls.

Once you get to the Falls intersection, you have the option of going to the lower side of the Falls or up the trail to do some exploring of the upper Falls area. The Falls are from Swiftcurrent Creek. If you were to continue on this trail, you will eventually run into another lake called Bullhead and even further Windmaker (though I don't know if there is a trail to it). If you're hanging out at the Falls and looking at them as they fall into the lake, you will see Mount Henkel in the distance toward the NE (it has the red rock hue to it on its east and southern face. This is also the peak directly above Swiftcurrent Motor Inn where you started).

If you want to be more adventuresome, there is a bit of a trail at the bottom of the Falls where you can walk northward to a point of land where you have the lake on both sides of you. You will have to duck and squirm a little as the trail is somewhat overgrown.

This can be a busy trail at times but this is a good thing so that the bears will keep their distance. It's also so nice to see smiling faces young and old. And like all trails in Glacier Park, be BEAR aware.

Check out the Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2011-08-11 tibber
  • goat haunt map st mary map mcdonald map
    area related
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

Most recent Triplog Reviews
Red Rock Lake and Falls
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
This was just a short afternoon hike after hiking to Iceberg Lake. It was real warm, so eventually the hike devolved into a couple of nice refreshing swims.

The views along this trail are great. In particular, in the direction towards Swiftcurrent Pass. We turned around at the scenic Bullhead Lake, after a quick swim and cool visit from a bull moose. The hike back was pretty standard until we ran across a fun group from Mississippi who goaded us into some waterfall jumping along Swiftcurrent Creek. The water was cold and the current a little fast, but it was refreshing and the perfect ending to a warm day.
Red Rock Lake and Falls
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
Day 3, July 23 Many Glacier Day - Part 1

I was delighted to wake up and see the sun was a shinin' with only some cumulus clouds poking thru the crisp blue Glacier Park sky :y: . I went over and had breakfast at King Gilbert, we made our sandwiches, and then headed for Many Glacier in the hopes of hiking the Grinnell Glacier trail (even though the last mile was still closed due to snow plus a hiker slid 50-100 feet to his death down a steep snow field when he went past that area). I hadn't done that hike since 2003 and thot it would be a nice alternative to the still ice and snow-covered Iceberg Lake hike. I had originally planned the Ptarmigan Tunnel but the Tunnel was not open yet due to all of the extra snow this year.

Here is some video of part of the wonderful drive into Many Glacier. It includes some stills of King Gilbert's neighbors (Columbian Ground Squirrels):

I drove Gary and Wendy to the Lodge entrance so that they could run in and get us a place on the boat that you take to get to the other side of Josephine Lake for the Grinnell Glacier hike. Parking is on a bluff overlooking the Lodge and Swiftcurrent Lake; it makes for a beautiful and photogenic :) trek back down to the hotel and as usual the wind was blowing pretty good up there.

I went down to the Lodge and was looking for Wendy and Gary only to find out from them that the boat was full and Grinnell Glacier Trail was still closed :( . So now we had to come up with a Plan C :wrt: . Wendy had been discussing with the ranger some options with Red Rock Falls being one of them, and a trail I had never done and wanted to do so we decided to do that. It's not a long hike so I thot we could throw in the 2 hr horseback ride :D toward Cracker Lake once we returned. We hiked, I mean walked up the stairs to the stables to verify the time of the last horseback ride and made our reservation (so if we were running a little late, they knew we were coming... I also inquired if Joe, Rockerfeller or Comanche were still around and the only horse here this time was Rockerfeller).

We drove over to Swiftcurrent Inn which is around to the NW side of Swiftcurrent Lake and were able to find a parking spot in a pretty crowded lot. As we are walking over to the TH, Wendy is listening to a ranger who was helping people look thru the telescope to see some goats up on the mountain. Well lo and behold I recognized Ranger Rick :o who was our ranger from my Grinnell Glacier hike in 2003 It seems he was now stuck with the less vigorous trails since he has tendinitis in his foot and some other injury. I so remember in 2003 commenting how he hiked like a goat with such agility and lightness of foot.

The great thing about the million acre Glacier Park is its smallness as you constantly run into folks you've met years before or people you've just met. It's such a wonderful bonding experience.

So off we went, heading west to Red Rock Lake Falls in and out of the forest with views of Mt Wilbur with the number 4 written in snow on it and Mt Grinnell in the distance. We got to cross a nice bridge, then a double log bridge. It's always so much fun around water. And then we encountered our first good little stand of beargrass. As we continued farther, we looked up high to the northwest and could see a waterfall seemingly coming out of nowhere :-k .

Trying to get a better pic of it, we found this little trail that we thot might lead us to a better view point; which it did and then the trail turned into nothing so we took our photos and decided to hightail it back to the trail so as not to tempt any bears 8-[ lingering in the area. The Swiftcurrent Valley is PRIME bear country :scared: and this year even more so cuz they had to come down low to eat due to lingering snow cover. (Come to find out, this little trail leads you toward an off-trail hike called the ShangriLa that takes you right by the waterfall and over to Iceberg Lake. Vaporman, it's calling your name.)

And soon, the lake was exposing itself to us. There is an opening so that you can walk right down to the shore and get a good view of the Falls across the Lake. Wendy decided she would head behind some trees along the shoreline to do her business but encountered a rather large problem and it had four legs and a small rack :D . She comes back to us and says "MOOSE" so Gary and I work our way past a couple small trees and there he is with his beautiful long legs, mooseying :lol: along the shore looking around until he sees us. And of course, I am filming and shooting pics thinking any minute he's going to dash off but he keeps walking toward us :o . I think his curiosity was kicking in or something. We cleared back so that he could have the right of way.

Wendy decides to cross the trail behind us and head up the hill into some fir trees to complete her business. All of a sudden I look down the trail and here comes that darn moose. He starts walking on the trail and then up the hill in Wendy's direction so I yell to Wendy, "moose is coming your way" and she pops up to see a crowd laughing hysterically at this momentary event. OMG it was :sl: . I can still see the expression on her face and I think I have captured it in a picture.

Once we recovered from the frivolity, we continued on the trail and up to the Falls area. The Falls were crowded so we only hung around here a short time before continuing up above the Falls looking for a place to have our lunch. I do have to mention though that we encountered a couple who were dressed to the nines :oplz: in their mountain climbing/major hiking gear including high boots and yellow rain jackets and hats. And of course, while we were commenting about the wife's attire, the husband pops up behind us (he was taking photos) and says that's his wife :oops: . Fortunately our tone was light even though we thot their attire was a bit of an overkill for a 4.5 mile hike on a clear day on a clear trail with mostly level ground.

Video from the first part of our hike: (includes the moose encounter)

Anyway, we walked up to the top of the Falls area. It was particularly windy up here but the views were incredible :y: . We got a good look at Swiftcurrent Glacier, not realizing that in 2 days, we would be almost right next to it. (We were continually told by the Rangers [-X that the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail was closed at the start of the switchbacks) There were all sorts of waterfalls coming down from it as well. We pondered where the Pass might be :-k while admiring the turquoise water that was swirling below us against the red rock and down into the Falls.

We eventually found a place to have lunch that was sheltered from the wind, away from the small crowd and still had great views. There we got to enjoy another huckleberry soda and sandwiches. Life is indeed good! :budrose: Next we decided to follow a suggestion from a fellow hiker to go below the Falls (no crowd now) and toward the lake on a supposed trail that would take us to the main trail. Well not exactly. We ended up on a bit of a peninsula. However, we were able to get some better photos toward the Falls and of Red Rock Lake. Wendy now calls it Angela's Point :A1:. I like it.

The trip back was uneventful as to wildlife, even with our visit down to Fishercap Lake which is notorious for moose sightings. In 2008 (I'll have to do a hike desc and post that trip) I got some great photos of a moose feeding in the Lake. We didn't spend much time here as we wanted to get back for our horseback ride.

Video from the Falls and our hike back:

All in all, I think this is another one of those great short hikes where you get a lot of bang for your buck. So did we get back in time for our horseback ride? See Part 2 of Many Glacier Day under Grinnell Lake hike to find out.

Permit $$

Glacier National Park
$30 per car(week), $12 bike/foot(week), $50 annual View Current Entrance Fees

Map Drive
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Hiway 2 at Browning, take Hiwy 89 - 35 miles to Babb. From Hiway 2 at East Glacier, come into the Park (north), take Hiwy 49 (Kiowa Loop - scenic but not in the best shape) - 39 miles to Babb which is north past St Mary.

You will be heading for Many Glacier. From Babb, proceed west (toward the mountains) approximately 12.8 miles into Glacier National Park (you will pass the Many Glacier Hotel turnoff). You will see signage and the Swiftcurrent Motor inn will be on your right. You can take either TH (next to the motel or west of the parking lot) but remember to keep heading west or you'll end up going on the Iceberg/Ptarmigan trail.
page created by tibber on Aug 11 2011 11:49 am
help comment issue

end of page marker