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Aster Falls - GNP, MT

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Guide 4 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List MT > North Central
3.5 of 5 by 2
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Difficulty 1 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.8 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,177 feet
Elevation Gain 229 feet
Accumulated Gain 229 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.95
Interest Perennial Waterfall & Perennial Creek
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
51  2017-08-14
Upper Two Medicine Lake
23  2017-08-14
Upper Two Medicine Lake
5  2017-07-12
Rockwell Falls - GNP
46  2014-07-19
Rockwell Falls - GNP
Author tibber
author avatar Guides 21
Routes 574
Photos 25,460
Trips 835 map ( 10,371 miles )
Age 63 Female Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Sep, Jul, Aug
Seasons   Summer
Sun  6:11am - 6:44pm
2 Alternative
Around the corner
by tibber

Likely In-Season!
From the South Shore by Two Medicine lake and camp store parking lot, hike up into the forest, by the ponds, through the meadow and over to the Falls.
Note that the falls and drowning are two of the top causes of death at Glacier National Park.

1/2 mile from the South Shore trail head you will see the first in a series of small beaver ponds.
The trail goes through a mixed forest of Lodgepole Pine and Douglass fir. You will go through a meadow with great views of Rising Wolf Mountain (Blackfeet for "The way the wolf gets up") and from wikipedia: Rising Wolf Mountain was named after Hugh Monroe, a fur trader who lived with the Pikunis and gave him the name Rising Wolf. After his death, his close friend and author James Willard Schultz named the peak after Monroe.
1.1 miles is Aster Creek, and in a short distance is the Aster Park Trail which leads to Aster Falls and Aster Park Overlook.
A short side trail goes to the base of Aster Falls, a 20-foot waterfall that cascades down a rock face in a succession of three drops. However, it is hard to see all three drops if you don't get a good angle (but be careful as the two leading causes of death in Glacier National Park are falls and cold water drownings.)

This would be a quick and fun hike to do for lunch. There isn't a lot of room at the base of the falls but enough to seat a family and not be in the way of the folks coming in to take a look at the Falls.

You can continue here up to Aster Falls Overlook though it does gain 500 feet rather shortly offering great views of the Two Medicine area. This is also on the list of ranger-guided hikes (but not every day).

Check out the Triplogs.

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2014-07-30 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
Aster Falls - GNP
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After louszy weather yesterday we arrived at our little cabin at St Mary KOA. We did some laundry and ordered a salad and then had dinner using some of our groceries we had bot at the grocery store a few days prior. We reviewed various hiking options for the following day. I had wanted to do Piegan Pass but Wendy was getting the cold I had and she was gimping so we needed to find something a little less challenging and came up with this hike.

But first, we had to drive to East Glacier cuz tibber needed her Grizzly Rolls and though Rock n Roll Bakery didn't have them, we were able to get them at Glacier Park Trading Co just up the street. However, the bakery did have some Huckleberry Pie so we got a couple pieces of that to take for later. I also picked up the book Seasonal Disorder by the local ranger Pat Hagan for Wendy. It's a great read. As we came out we saw that there were Rainier cherries for sale down the highway so we walked over and got a big bag of those. I cannot tell you how big and juicy and tasty those cherries were :y: . One more stop at the Spiral Spoon where Wendy purchased a handcrafted wooden spoon... this store was full of them in all sizes and shapes and kinds of wood.

We stopped at the Two Medicine Ranger Station to pick up a map and get a suggestion for the best route. We had just missed the Ranger Pat Hagan guided hike to Upper Two Medicine. I've hiked with him in 2013 (Dawson Pass) and 2014 (Rockwell Falls). However, as luck would have it, we would meet him and the group on the trail as they were coming back from Upper Two Med. He said he recognized me when we met.

Oh ya, about the hike.
It was a lovely day as we started from the boat dock area and actually hiked a section I had done back in 2014. Today's weather was much nicer so things looked a little different. We stopped and admired the beaver pond as we continued along the South Shore Trail and crossed Aster Creek. Wendy decided we should go up to Aster Falls; and though I had seen it in 2014 I said sure as it's not very far off the main trail. I'm glad we made this side trip as we were able to get a good view of the falls. We were able to get down further in the creek to see the whole falls as it was so much later in the year and there wasn't so much water blocking your ability to get a good look at the Falls.

From there we continued on past Paradise Creek which is partially fed by Rockwell Falls and flows into Two Medicine Lake. There are a few trails that split off from this South Shore Trail and there is lots of signage along the way. All of the hike has been in the forest with a few openings here and there showing you views in different directions to the mountains around you. We come thru a bit of a clearing that shows us a nice portrait of Sinopah before going back up into the forest and eventually down toward the lake. As you are above the lake of course you have nice views of the west part of Rising Wolf and the south of Flinsch Peak. And if you stop, you can look all the way down to the other side of the lake where the Two Medicine store is (part of the old Chalet).

Once down to the lake you veer left onto the Two Medicine Trail. Here is where you run into some more people traffic as the Twin Falls is a short but easy hike for people to reach. Altho, it wasn't that busy today. We stopped at Twin Falls where there was a backpacking contingent resting up (not sure where they came from but they were headed to Upper Two Med as we would encounter them not far from there on our way back). The Twin Falls are nice but with all the wood debris, not that scenic. So we continued on up the trail. Some other hikers along the way kept telling us about the moose in the pond so we were looking foward to that as the valley opened up with views of the mountains all around us.

We finally reached the area above the pond and saw the moose. This is also where we met up with Ranger Pat Hagan's group coming back from Two Medicine. We only got to say hi as I suspect he was running late to catch the boat. Wendy said his mouth was pretty purple; ya, even the rangers like their huckleberries :lol: . We spent a bit of time trying to get good pics of the moose; had to do some serious zooming. We would see others with their fancier cameras trying to get that ideal moose photo.

And now on to our final destination. There was a wide area just before you reached the lake. We passed the campground which looked really nice with a bear box and nice seating area. We spent a little time at the lake admiring the views of the surrounding mountains. This was not necessarily the best time of day to be here for photos but it's still so pretty. We had a snack and then headed on back. We took a little detour to what we thot was a bit of a waterfall and that's about all we saw. But the color of the bedrock and mountain ash and the vista to the east was really quite something if you imagine yourself being a glacier.

We enjoyed our hike back to the boat and stopped to take some more pics of the moose that was still eating in the pond. We imbibed in some more berries along the way. We arrived at the lake and waited with the others hoping we would all be able to fit on the boat. There were kids playing in the lake, ducks swimming on the lake and a couple mountain goats far above the lake. We all fit and enjoyed our ride back to the dock; not bad for $6 or so. And you pay when you get back to the main dock. Now for our drive for dinner on Looking Glass Road to St Mary to Babb. The ultimate hiking reward, dinner at the Cattle Baron Club that includes a t-bone steak cooked to perfection and tasting YUMMY! (see the last photo in the set)

to Aster Falls and Paradise Creek [ youtube video ]
Paradise Creek area to Twin Falls [ youtube video ]
Twin Falls to Upper Two Medicine lake and THE moose [ youtube video ]
Upper Two Medicine Lake to Two Medicine Lake [ youtube video ]
Boat Ride on Two Medicine Lake from upper west shore [ youtube video ]
Aster Falls - GNP
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This was just a light day of hiking and chasing waterfalls around the Two Medicine area. I visited Rockwell, Twin and Aster Falls. I probably like Rockwell Falls the most. The trails were all in great shape and not very crowded. There were some nice views of Two Medicine Lake and the surrounding miles, but the majority of the hiking was done under the trees.
Aster Falls - GNP
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Finally, I get to put my boots on a trail. I took the Kiowa Loop from the Rising Sun, getting to E Glacier a little early in order to make sure I got my Grizzly Roll (YUM - it involved huckleberries of course :DANCE: ) and then going to Glacier Lodge to film the incredible flower garden and then back to E Glacier as I forgot to get fuel and then on to the Two Medicine Camp Store for the hike. I wasn't sure they were going to do the hike because of smokey conditions from the west coast fires and the horrendous wind and threatening weather. The gal at the counter suggested I walk up to the Ranger Station to see if the hike would proceed. I didn't want to gear up if the hike was off.
I walk into the Ranger Station and lo and behold I see Ranger Pat Hagan :D (I did Dawson Pass with him last year). I was so excited as I think he is an exceptional ranger. He has been in this area for nearly 28 years and is author of a book called SEASONAL DISORDER: Ranger Tales of GNP (Hagan says he suffers from "Seasonal Disorder" (SD), a type of depression that results during the remaining seasons--which are: Almost Winter, Winter, Still Winter, and Construction. Aren't we kind of like that for Summer here?). And I knew that no matter, there would be some sort of hike today. He fully intended on the original itinerary as he said it is in the forest pretty much most of the time so we would be protected from the elements. I headed back to the parking lot, geared up and grabbed my Grizzly Roll to eat now at the Camp Store; the hike starts at noon.

There were over a dozen of us heading out on this blistery day. We just about got blown to East Glacier as we made our way from the lake to the forest. So up we went for a bit before leveling out and passing by the first beaver pond. It was quite overcast and hazy today so the light level was low and my normal hike-by shooting ended up in some blurry pics. The flora were blowing like crazy too so it was hard to nail a good meadow picture. I tried to stay up with Ranger Pat as his commentary is quite informative and his stories are second to none.

We came to our first meadow and it was full of flowers, mostly whitish and slightly yellow blooming flowers. We had great hazy views to Rising Wolf Mountain and some of the other mountains around Two Medicine Lake. Toward the end of the meadow walk you can see this big bearpaw print on a tree :o . You will have to see the picture as it's pretty cool.

Ten minutes later we arrive at what Ranger Pat called a little Falls. I don't know what he classifies a little Falls but in my mind this was not that as it has three tiers and is said to be 20 feet tall. Needless to say I was pleasantly surprised. There was a family having lunch here; a perfect choice as there were some nice flat boulders to sit on right at the Falls.

In about 1/2 hour after walking thru the forest and hearing some more bear stories and such, we arrived at the suspension bridge above Paradise Creek. It was a fun bridge to cross :) ; I get the biggest kick out of these (cross one at a time). Getting down from this bridge on the other side was a bit challenging while filming as the logs were quite a bit apart and almost straight down back to the trail.

We continued to walk in the forest with 5 foot flora all around. We would see beargrass, subalpine spirea, foam flowers among the masses of thimbleberry. About 10 minutes later we came to the first avalanche area. They sure wipe the side of the mountains clean. Reminded me of how the flood scoured the canyon floor on the Jordan Hot Springs hike. There is lots of greenery sprouting up from where the trees once stood and of course the remnants of the trees was on the other side of the trail up against the trees that stopped the action.

We spent a good amount of time here as we also spotted some Big Horns up in an alcove to the right of a snowfield on Sinopah Mountain. Ranger Pat had his binoculars so he shared them with several of the group. They were a good distance away and even with my zoom, they were hard to see. I have to add that Sinopah which is photographed most frequently as it is at the other side of Two Medicine Lake, looks quite different from this angle.

We hiked again in the forest for a moment before passing through another avalanche area. Also I should note, once we headed south alongside and well below Sinopah, you can see Painted Tepee Peak in front of you and Never Laughs Mountain to the east. These mountains don't have a lot of trees from this angle. Within about 20 minutes of this last avalanche area you will arrive at the powerful Rockwell Falls 8) . The Falls that you can see from here drop 30-40 feet but there is an upper level you can't see.

I got my pictures and then asked Ranger Pat about getting to the top of the Falls as I had read about a use trail. He said he would like to go up but with this big of group didn't think it was prudent but I was welcome to go. I just had to keep going straight at the end of the first big switchback to take me over to the Falls. Well come to find out, it was really a trail that you take if you continue up to Cobalt Lake and further across Two Medicine Pass. The use trail was short and at the end of the switchback. I had a 1/2 hour to get up there, take my pics and get back.

It was up, up , up :sweat: from there but not too long as I was up there in less than 10 minutes. I did my bear bait chant just in case someone else was hanging in the area. It is so worth the extra effort to get up here. I could see the others far below me and zoomed in for a pic. They waved. I was careful around the Falls as sometimes you can't tell if the rocks are wet. Ranger Pat said he had helped rescue a man that had fallen in. Falling and drowning are the two top causes of death at GNP.

I look at my watch and see that it's almost 3:15 and thot the folks looked like they were getting ready to go so I headed back down only to encounter a group of them coming up saying I inspired them to come up. Me... inspire... on a hike :-k . Well very cool then. This way while they were up there, I could grab something to eat as I thot I might be out of luck in that department because of my side trip.

The hike back was pretty uneventful as we just kept going. On the way back I took only one movie of Ranger Pat crossing the suspension bridge and only 5 pictures :o . I enjoyed conversing with the parents of a family from San Diego and another gentleman from Cut Bank, MT who knew some of the political folks I was involved with in the mid-70s on the Reagan campaign in MT. He also knew my dad's wife as they owned the Glacier Motor Inn at Cut Bank for a few years back in the late 80s/early 90s.

The weather had gotten nicer as we neared the end of the hike, though still windy. There were a lot of hikers out today but the trails at GNP are so nice :) , it makes for an easy hike for everyone. Glad I got to hike again in Two Medicine and with Ranger Pat. He leads most of the hikes in the Two Medicine area and assured me I could do the elevation challenging Scenic Point Trail because of the way it was laid out (apparently by some engineers). I told him I really want to do the Firebrand Pass hike. He said they had to turn around that week because of a vertical snowfield that was insurmountable.

Three videos for your viewing pleasure:
Video 1 to the Bearpaw print on the tree - Ranger Pat tries to describe our weather pattern coming off the mountains into the plains too.
Video 2 including Aster Falls and the suspension bridge across Paradise Creek -
Video 3 Rockwell Falls -

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 East Glacier Park, MT: Take Hwy 49 into Glacier National Park via the Two Medicine entrance road.
From St Mary, MT: head south on Highway 89, turn right on to Kiowa Loop (Highway 49 or Looking Glass Hill Road).

Drive down the Two Medicine entrance road to the Glacier National Park entrance station at Two Medicine. Continue on Two Medicine entrance road to the Two Medicine Camp Store parking lot.
page created by tibber on Jul 30 2014 12:02 pm
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