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

Saint Mary Falls and Virginia Falls TR, MT

details
drive
permit
forecast
route
stats
photos
triplogs
topics
location
443 15 0
Guide 15 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List MT > North Central
Rated
4
4 of 5 by 7
 
1
Statistics
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3.2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,730 feet
Elevation Gain 110 feet
Accumulated Gain 350 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5-2 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 4.95
Interest Historic, Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
57  2019-07-06 tibber
7  2017-07-01 friendofThunderg
38  2014-07-20 tibber
45  2012-08-08
Saint Mary Lake and Boat Tour and Hike
tibber
20  2011-07-21 writelots
56  2011-07-21 tibber
8  2011-07-13 seattlehiker
13  2011-06-19 gummo
Page 1,  2
Author Grasshopper
author avatar Guides 42
Routes 458
Photos 8,104
Trips 508 map ( 5,318 miles )
Age 74 Male Gender
Location Scottsdale, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Radar
Expand Map
Preferred   Jun, Sep, May, Jul
Sun  6:21am - 6:33pm
Official Route
 
1 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
sweet it is
by Grasshopper

Likely In-Season!
SAINT MARY FALLS: .8ml one way(+35ft); VIRGINIA FALLS: 1.55mls one way(+110ft); These two very popular falls are a short hike off the historic "Going-to-the-Sun-Road". The Saint Mary Falls trail receives heavy use, is well maintained, and is easy to hike. The dense, deep-green forest is made up mostly of Douglas fir and maple trees. The grown cover consists mainly of beargrass, snowberry, and thimbleberry bushes. This beautiful trail setting parallels Virginia Creek prior to arriving at a footbridge crossing the mighty flowing St. Mary River for a close-up view of Saint Mary Falls. Continuing past the footbridge, you parallel the confluence of the St. Mary River and Virginia Creek. Huge volumes of water converge here, most notably in June and early July when the alpine snowfields melt. Soon you will hear the thundering roar on the approach to Virginia Falls long before your arrival. The water that feeds thundering and misty Virginia Falls mostly comes from Citadel Mtn and Almost-A-Dog Mtn areas to the south...SWEET IT IS!!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2008-07-23 Grasshopper
  • 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
Saint Mary Falls and Virginia Falls TR
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
This is probably not the most accurate trail name to log this hike under, however, Florence Falls can be reached via the trailhead for Saint Mary and Virginia Falls. But I think most would prefer to hike the falls from the trailhead for Gunsight Pass, if they were not also planning to see Saint Mary, or Virginia Falls.

The trail to the falls was a little warm and there was some tall growth that hid the tread a little, but overall it was pleasant, with some nice views of the river at times and a little wildlife (saw a moose). The falls however, were certainly the attraction and worth the visit. Especially if you consider the shoulder to shoulder crowds that were making their way to Saint Mary and Virginia Falls.
Saint Mary Falls and Virginia Falls TR
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Wanted to do a little hike of some sort before the ranger-guided hike at 1PM on the Highline Trail to Haystack Butte. I didn't want to do anything too heavy so that I would have good energy for the afternoon hike. In retrospect of course, I wish I had gone to Virginia Falls since the Highline hike was called :cry: due to weather (will post video going to the Pass and at Logan Pass of the weather).

At least this morning, though windy, the sun was out and the skies and air was crisp. The smoke finally had moved out of the valley and now, I can finally enjoy not only the scenery of the Park but the air :) . Well there is construction just past the Rising Sun so I wasn't exactly sure where the temporary TH was for this hike. There are a couple and I wanted the short version one. I drove by it and then turned around when I got up too far. Glad I got there when I did as with the construction there is only one TH now and there were cars waiting to get in when I came out of the hike.


The view from here is really spectacular :DANCE: as you look to Little Chief Mountain. You quickly hike down to the main trail. I discovered at the intersection that it is the Cut Off Trail I was on to get here. Once on the main trail you walk thru the forest along side the lake with occasional viewings of the lake. There was lots of mixed flora along the way. The trail is on an ever so slight of a downgrade all the way to the Falls. I encountered hikers off and on both coming and going. It is a popular hike as it should be due to the reward of seeing the incredible St Mary Falls.

The birds were singing loudly and you can hear them on the video. I shot the videos in HD wide screen format so I'm not sure how that will fare. If you like watching waterfalls, this video will be right up your alley. I always stop at the place just before the Falls so that you can see the bridge and Falls from a distance. Then it was time for the main event and I'm NEVER disappointed :y: . There was only one other person there, a photographer. He was trying all sorts of angles of course. The water as it flows from the bottom area of the Falls is a striking glacial turquoise which is beautiful against the red of the rocks.

I was sorely disappointed :( to see you can't get to the top anymore due to revegetation. So I'm glad Wendy, Gary and I went up there in 2011 as it really is spectacular (I do have it in pics and video). So I went along the trail to Virginia Falls for a bit as the side wall has lots of cool fungi and flora. After goofing around a bit more it was time to head out. The sun decided to play hide and seek as I was trying to capture the rainbow from the falls. Little did I know this was a prelude to what would happen at the Pass.

Heading back I saw more and more hikers were coming down. I did notice this one section where there were a ton of Self Heal (little purple bloomed flora) a few years ago there were only a few this year. I later heard too that a bear had to be shot with rubber bullets after false-charging a tourist :o and that in fact this bear was hassling tourists. The bears are probably a bit out of sorts because of the road construction in this area. There is one bear I call the Rising Sun bear that they've had to put up a sign for no soft-camping at the Rising Sun campground. I actually saw the bear on Friday nite foraging by the Rising Sun.

Once up to the parking area there were cars everywhere and cars waiting to find a spot to park. And now it was time to head up to the Pass but not without stopping a few times. I was on a blooming beargrass search as I heard it was awesome by Lunch Creek. My Going to the Sun Road (GTTSR) journey will be a separate trip log :wrt: .

08/01/2014 Two videos are in production. 8/12/2014 I decided to do it all in one. It is a widescreen HD video but because of the length 16 min, I had to save it to .mpg and then try various uploads for the right format that I could use the stabilizer, SHEESH. Still not as happy with it but if you want to hear the birdies, listen to the water and see a gorgeous falls, I think you'll like this: http://youtu.be/i7x_U0thMcA
Saint Mary Falls and Virginia Falls TR
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Saint Mary Lake and Boat Tour and Hike
On our way out of the Park we decided to do one last event before heading to the airport in Gt Falls: the St Mary Boat ride and hike to Baring and St Mary Falls. It was a beautiful morning as we left our digs at the end of Lake McDonald and headed up the Going to the Sun Road. And as always on the west side this year, we ended up at a construction stop for 20 minutes as we looked over toward Bird Woman Falls.

We got our tickets at the Dock, drove over to Rising Sun store for some food, and then boarded the Little Chief boat. This boat ride was much nicer than last year as the lake was very smooth. On the way to the Baring Dock, we saw a bear on the side of a hill but by the time we spotted him, even my full zoom was barely able to make him/her out :( .

We hiked up to and around Baring Falls before the ranger led the way to St Mary Falls. She set a pretty brisk pace. There wasn't much in the way of a lot of wildflowers. We arrived at the Falls only to see a few crazy folks jumping into the swirling :o and I'm sure VERY COLD water of the St Mary River. We didn't spend too much time at the bridge except to take the obligatory pictures (and video in my case) before heading to the area above the falls. I just love standing at the river where it rushes down the falls. The power is just so awesome :y: .

Before you knew it, we had to head back already. It's a wonderful little hike in spite of the crowds. This was the most crowded I had seen this trail in the last 3 years. But I don't find it that big of a deal and I'm glad folks are outside :) enjoying this magnificence.

We finished off the trip with the relaxing trip back on the lake to the boat dock. We got fairly close to Wild Goose Island. I GPSed the whole boat ride/hike/boat rideas I thot it would be fun to see on the map. One thing today is the smoke from the various fires was lingering to the west so the views weren't quite as awesome as usual.

And so our trip to GNP came to an end, but a happy one as we had a marvelous time and got to see wonderful views, get up close to the flowers and wildlife... oh and restock a lot of my huckleberry goodies.

Here are the videos from this day:

Saint Mary Falls and Virginia Falls TR
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
Before heading out from the campground we were visited by 3 deer and a ranger had told us there was a bear and a horse in the vicinity. I had wondered how come there were so many ranger vehicles at the campground entrance :-k ; that 'splained it. For this day we were going to take the 10AM boat ride on St Mary Lake and then hike to all the Falls but opted for the noon ride so that we could run into St Mary's Visitor Center, the gift shop and grocery store.

The morning started off windy with occasional threats of rain but as Ambika and I learned last year, you just gotta go for it. And you know the saying about weather, wait 5 minutes... well on this trip that was shortened to a minute as the clouds seem to move so quickly.

We stopped by a very active Visitors Center to just check it out and get any kind of update on trail status. We kept hoping that somehow they would get the Highline Trail opened :pray: by the 24th but knew the odds were not in our favor based on the amount of snow still remaining in the mountains. Plus they had only just opened the Going-to-the-Sun Road a week ago. From there it was a quick jaunt to the gift store where I ended up getting a pink cardigan sweat shirt on sale :) and Wendy got me a bear bell. Last, the grocery store: you know it's gonna be a good day when you find a new flavor of huckleberry flavored soda and now huckleberry flavored licorice :DANCE: .

We rush back to the campground to make our sandwiches and drive to the boat dock arriving at 11:55. The wind and cold and clouds continued to be blustery so it would be a closed window ride on St Mary Lake. There weren't many passengers either which was just fine with us. Wendy and I did go up to the open bow for about 5 minutes until that last big wave gave us a good splash causing us to go back inside. I always love the story of Wild Goose Island: http://www.americanfolklore.net/folklore/2008/09/goose_island.html and Captain Graham added some levity to it as well. This is an interpretive boat ride so you do get a good bit of info. I highly recommend this as the #1 boat ride in the Park. Here is a video of our boat ride: http://youtu.be/LJcSOu1Wpks


We disembark and head west along St Mary Lake. You are treated to views of the lake almost the entire way to St Mary Falls. As the sky changes, so does the appearance of the water and you can't help but revel in its incredible beauty with the still partially snow-covered tall mountains to the other side jutting up into the sky. About 1/2 way you can see Virginia Falls across the way and boy were they flowing :o . We walked by what I call the "Heal-All" meadow. It is a flower that just thrives in this small area along the trail and with the overcast skies, we were able to get some great pictures of it.

The first indication you are getting closer to the Falls is more folks on the trail. There are a couple areas where you can go down from the trail closer to where the water comes into the lake (below & before the bridge) and get nice photos of the bridge with Falls in the background. I had never done that before so was pleased when Wendy made a left :) not too far before the trail turns south toward the bridge. She got a couple photos and then I urged them on so I could get a video and stills of them on the bridge. It was particularly dramatic this year because of the voluminous water flow of the Falls.

Once at the Falls, there is the usual crowd of people. I mentioned to Wendy the possibility of having our lunch toward the top of the Falls so we proceeded up a little ways to an area that was somewhat secluded from the wind, especially the gusts and no other folks. We ate our sandwich, chips and drank our newly purchased huckleberry soda before making our way to the top of the Falls. It was such a rush :worthy: to be up there as this great river of water tries to get thru some narrow slots down to the lake. The power is overwhelming.

We explored around the Falls and then headed up the river a piece to get a better view. Video (including stills & movies) from our hike to and above St Mary Falls:
http://youtu.be/px14H7XQSp8
It looks like you might be able to get up river a little further but we needed to get to Virginia Falls.

So we went back down and across the bridge and then up and up toward the falls of Virginia Falls. The topography changes here as you are deeper into the forest. The nice thing though is you are sheltered from the weather. That is until you get to Lower Virginia Falls where the spray of the water gets your attention quickly. Once again, the volume of the water going over this Falls is amazing. I will do my best to post 2010 vs 2011 pics so that you can see what I'm talking about. From there we head up to what I call the Middle Falls as it's hard to distinguish this year what is really the Lower Falls cuz the water is falling hard everywhere.

And before making the trek up to the bottom of Virginia Falls, we cross over the bridge where a woman slipped and fell and was killed last year :( (a few days after we had been at the Falls in 2010 - in fact they have posted signage asking you to be careful). I actually tried to find this turn off in 2010 but missed it. It was amazing that you could hardly get a picture of Virginia Falls at such a distance yet because of the spray; of course, the gusts of wind wasn't helping!

We finally made our way up to the bottom of Virginia Falls... well at a slight distance as the spray was quite significant. Wendy put on her rain gear and went out to where the bottom of the falls was landing and decided to shoot :gun: the Falls head-on. I can't hardly wait to see the pictures. I, on the other hand, went up to the area off to the west side where Ambika and I were last year. I still got sprayed and the area was pretty wet but I stayed much drier. Before we headed back down though, I did head out and grab a quick head-on shot between wind gusts.... reminded me of being in a tempest; whatever that really is. Video of stills and movies of Virginia Falls hike: http://youtu.be/kiVCbL5avHA

Back down we went, stopping at each of the Falls (middle and lower) to take one last look. It was just incredible. It would have been nice to linger but we needed to make sure we got back to the boat dock by 5. We made pretty good time back to St Mary's Falls, took a couple pics and continued on until we rounded a corner and spotted a deer :D eating away like there was no tomorrow. He seemed ravenous and let us get within petting distance and never did run off.

We continued our hike encoutering a few hikers now and then before finally reaching the dock area where we indeed had enough time to make the quick 300 yard hike up to Baring Falls where we got to wander around for about 15 minutes before going back on board. Baring is not as pretty as her sister falls but still as powerful since the waters that feed it come all the way from Sexton Glacier through Sunrift Gorge and on down to St Mary Lake.

The day was still overcast and the boat ride was a nice ending to a pretty glorious day; the astronaut jokes by the Captain and Ranger, not so much. But as usual, I still get a kick out of the
lichen story between the fungi and the rock taken a lichen to each other and now their union is on the rocks or something like that.
Here is a video of our hike back from St Mary Falls, Baring Falls and boat ride: http://youtu.be/UpgDsIyDxv4. We arrived safely back at the dock and headed to King Gilbert (Wendy & Gary's named trailer)for our margaritas.

Wendy made us a nice turkey and rice dinner while we made a fire; which wasn't easy because of the wet wood. After dinner we headed over to the KOA to do some laundry and of course, some huckleberry goods shopping. On our way back after entering the Park, we saw a bear and her cub :D off to the south of the road so we stopped and I was able to get a few photos though they were quite far away and it was almost 8 at nite.

We were surprised by how light it was even at 10:30. This lightness, in spite of the sun setting an hour earlier, would continue to surprise us each nite. We remarked what a long day it was if you went to bed at hiker's bedtime (1/2 hour or so after sunset or when it got dark) would be here? ;) This late light effect was particularly interesting because there was still cloud cover too.
Saint Mary Falls and Virginia Falls TR
rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
I'm estimating on mileage here...I'll adjust when Tibber posts her GPS'd data. I was just along for the walk ;)

This was our introductory hike to Glacier National Park. We'd spent 4 days driving up from Tucson with our '61 Aristocrat Land Commander (a camping trailer), and I was TOTALLY ready to hit the trail on my own two piernes. It was a great start to our explorations. Mr. Wendy even loved this hike. It starts with a fun boat ride (thanks Captain Graham - you'll play another role in our Glacier adventure before it's all over!), and hits three spectacular waterfalls. Of course, it doesn't hurt that the snowpack was still considerable, even at the end of July! Although we had to re-think many of our plans due to snow and bear closures, it certainly made for some awesome waterworks down in the valley (and some stress about possible bear encounters).

I was worried after hearing reports of this being a popular and easy hike - I figured the crowds could really ruin it for me. And while there were many more folks on the trail than I'm used to seeing, it never felt as bad to me as the easy trails in Yosemite or Zion. Probably helped that it was cold and raining on and off, but that's the glory of Glacier. If I wanted to roast, I'd have stayed home in Tucson!
Saint Mary Falls and Virginia Falls TR
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
You could easily do this hike in 3 hours (our moving time was 2:45), but why? We started at Sunrift Gorge for a quick photo shoot at around 9:20 and did our hike via Baring, St Mary, Lower Virginia and Virginia Falls, back to St Mary Falls, up to the GTTSR and finished off at Sunrift Gorge at 3:51 includng a leisurely stop for lunch at St Mary Falls.

After our foiled plans to go to Helena to visit my other cousin (I'm sure Ambika was "cousin"ed out anyway), we were lucky enough to get reservations for Saturday nite at the Rising Sun Motor Inn. We were not disappointed with this "Plan B" before having to make the drive to Gt Falls for our flight home on Sunday.

After driving from Kalispell, stopping at the trail junction parking lot for St Mary's Falls to put on our hiking shoes and prepare our day packs, we drove to the Sunrift Gorge pull-out for our Four Falls hike. As long as one is at Sunrift Gorge one might as well go check it out to see what photo ops are available. We had stopped here on the evening of the 18th http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4A2Fz9M9o4 when the light wasn't the best so we were interested to see what it had to offer. The light was tough once again but you could really get a good visual as to how far back the gorge went.

Next we headed down and under the bridge that goes over the Going to the Sun Road (GTTSR). The water was falling voluminously and loudly as it made its way toward St Mary's Lake. This time we were much more comfortable with continuing this "bear warning" trail than the other evening. The trail follows the creek down through some very thick vegetation and being desert rats, we had to stop at each little side trail to see the water. We finally made it to Baring Falls, walked across the log footbridge and got to enjoy the 40 foot waterfall. To me it seemed like there was more water coming down than the previous two times I had visited this spot.

If you like water, you'll like this video of Sunrift Gorge and of Baring Creek as we follow it down to Baring Falls: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0JPQ_34wlI

Ambika made her way to the west and south side of the Falls. She always tries to find the best vantage point to photograph so I didn't spend too much time trying to get photos from the various angles where I was walking. The light wasn't the best so we didn't shoot very much here. But this was a neat area she had found that I hadn't been up to before.

Next it was down through the Thimbleberry toward the boat dock until we got to St Mary's Lake where we turned west and headed toward St Mary Falls. It really is a beautiful walk through some forest and some open area as St Mary's Lake lays to the left of you and the mountains tower above to the south and west. Along the way we found a small meadow of "Self-Heal" flowers. We just love the name. We did see a couple side trails that led up to GTTSR that we made a mental note of for our way back.

St Mary's Falls did not disappoint. It's just magnificent, not as to its height but as to the volume of the double almost triple waterfall and its beauty. So we snapped away and then finally got to have our lunch break; left-over huckleberry pie :) from breakfast. Oh my gawd. That was so wonderful. The one thing about hanging around the Falls is that everyone wants you to take their picture. So after one too many of that; we decided to head on for Virginia Falls.

It is a pretty hike too especially with all of the little flora along the way. You cross a little creek and make your way east gaining a little elevation and then turn south gaining even more elevation. Before you know it and after a couple little side trips to see some of the smaller water cascades, you are already at Lower Virginia Falls. They are so pretty and present a nice backdrop looking several different directions. The argulite rock is just something as is the crystal clear water. It is not as turqoisy as St Mary Falls but still....

And then it's that last climb to the bottom of Virginia Falls. Once again Ambika made a beeline for the area to the west of the bridge to get the best light for her photos of the 100 foot Virginia Falls. I hung around at an area below the bottom of the Falls to try and get some pictures before heading up. The spray from the Falls was pretty significant so it was difficult to get pictures at times as your lens gets wet if you're close.

Eventually we decided to get each of our pictures with the Falls in the background and this is when, well, I slid in. Ambika was trying to get the perfect photo and said to step back. I thot I had room but I didn't count on the rock being slippery and so down I went :o . I couldn't get my footing to come right out and these people saw me and came running to try and help me out. I was really fine as just my very lower legs were in but this lady kept trying to pull me up when all I wanted her to do, if anything, was just provide an arm to hang onto until I could get my feet under me. I found a tree root to grab onto and was able to bring myself to safety. I gave the woman a hug and thanked them for being there. Ambika will have to tell her side of the story cuz I was concentrating too hard on my dilemma.

And if you like waterfalls, this video is for you as we go from St Mary Falls to Virginia Falls: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlhMz1D2QeA

Once we caught our breath, we took additional portrait photos while standing on the bridge with the Falls in the background. Whew. I wouldn't have gone too far if I had been sucked down the water way to another narrow gorge, I just would have been pretty cold :D . The hike back to St Mary Falls was pretty uneventful except we kept finding more new flora. Our next task for the day was finding the best way up to GTTSR so that we could get on a shuttle to Sunrift Gorge where we had left the car.

On the junction signs there is a little icon with a shuttle bus on it so you know not to make a wrong turn. We took the horse cut-off trail and walked up to the GTTSR. For whatever reason, we decided to walk the last mile to Sunrift Gorge instead of taking the shuttle. This was fine because as you know, some of the best flora is along the road... plus we were going down hill ;) . Before you knew it and after one more quick trip up to see Sunrift Gorge, we were back at the car and ready to head back to the Motor Inn to check in.

After another wonderful dinner at Two Dog Flats Cafe, we headed back out to St Mary's Lake Sun Point to see if there were any sunset photos to be had. So back to bear country we went at around 9 pm. We ended up going up a trail that really wasn't THE trail and then came back to the actual trail out to the Point.

What we found was a nice view, lots of wind and a pedestal with a flat semi-circle sign attached to it that had a directory on it. If you could hold on to the flat sign, you could take a picture of the mountain/water fall mentioned on this semi-circle directory and then of the mountain/water fall it was pointing too. What we didn't find was a nice sunset.

All in all, GNP did not disappoint and now that I'm into the hiking, it just gets even better. I am so pleased with this, rather than waiting another year I think I'm headed back on July 21st, 2011. Are you with me?
Saint Mary Falls and Virginia Falls TR
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
These two "must see" waterfalls southwest of the GNP St. Mary's entrance station, off the Going-to-the-Sun Road, were really roaring this day! We took the "shortcut trail"(see hike desc under driving directions for more details) by Saint Mary's Falls then to end at Virginia Falls before heading back.

We had another hike in the area that we needed to drive too this day, so by taking the "shortcut trail" we were able to cut off about 2.8mls R/T from the trails' true start location at the Sun Point TH.
Saint Mary Falls and Virginia Falls TR
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
from the Sunpoint Trailhead we hiked past St Mary Falls to Virginia Falls. Many, including almost us, have mistook the smaller falls on your way to Virginia Falls (past St Mary Falls) as Virginia Falls but Virginia Falls is almost 100 ft tall. Still the beauty of these smaller cascades (I believe they are called Smaller Virginia Falls) with a wonderful mountain back drop is great for your first taste of Virginia Falls. And per a normal falls destination hike, as you get closer the sound gets louder. The anticipation is just a killer cuz you think any minute now you're going to round a corner to see it.
It was a glorious morning for the hike and Virginia Falls didn't let us down. We hiked around the area, including some boulder hopping and did some exploring and enjoyed the beautfiful colors of Virginia creek bed and the Falls from different angles.
It is a relatively easy trail and there are at least two other trails you can take from there... I think they are the trail to Gunsight Pass and Red Eagle Mountain.
By the way, Glacier has a new Shuttle system as of 2007 and it stops almost everywhere so there are no worries about having two vehicles if you want to do longer one way hikes.
Saint Mary Falls and Virginia Falls TR
rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
My brother and I took the St Mary Boat ride to Baring Falls where the Naturalist than took us to St Mary Falls. It is a fairly easy trail and the Naturalist talked about the flora and geology of the park. We did see one huckleberry bush (I and the bears love huckleberrys) but it didn't have any berrys. The hike is in shade most of the way.

As you round a corner you can hear the roar of the Falls and though they aren't tall the sound and amount of water is voluminous. St Mary Falls actually comes out of two different chutes into a creek that leads to St Mary Lake. One can't get over the turquoise hue and the little rainbow where the falls hits the creek.

You have the option here to make a quick trip to Virginia Falls but we decided to wait until the day we would be leaving the park as we had made plans to take a horseback ride in Many Glacier plus a trip on the Going to the Sun Road.

Permit $$
NPS

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


Directions
Map Drive
or
Road
Paved - Car Okay

To hike
From Saint Mary,MT at the intersection of Hwy 89: Drive west via the Glacier NP- Saint Mary entrance road to the GNP entrance/pay station; You are now at the east end of the historic(50ml) "Going-to-the-Sun-Road"; From this GNP entrance/pay station continue driving southwest for 10.9mls to a small parking area on the Left side of road; This is the beginning TH start for the "shortcut trail" to St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls; Note: this "shortcut trail" cuts approx 2.8mls R/T off the TRUE START of this hike at SUN POINT Parking and TH(9.6mls in on same road);
page created by Grasshopper on Jul 23 2008 9:19 pm
help comment issue

end of page marker