St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Hiking Montana

 

Easy, scenic hiking trails lead to St. Mary and Virginia waterfalls along Going-to-the-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA.

 

 

On this day, effort will shift from longer, full-day hikes to touring along Going-To-The-Sun Road in Glacier National Park, Montana, USA between accommodation at Rising Sun and 6,646 ft. (2,026 m) Logan Pass at the crest of the Continental Divide with opportunities taken for short-haul hikes. 

Following a very early breakfast at Two Dog Flats, departure heads west.  Rising Sun is bathed in golden sunshine.  Many spectacular views unfold along the way.

 

St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Montana, USA Two Dog Flats Restaurant at the Rising Sun Motor Inn - Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

 

St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Montana, USA Sunrise over the Rising Sun Motor Inn General Store - Glacier National Park

 

St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Montana, USA The rustic semi-detached cabin at Rising Sun Motor Inn in Glacier National Park

 

St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Montana, USA The view west from Rising Sun Motor Inn - Glacier National Park, Montana

 

The first hike is a short loop of 3.6 miles (5.8 KM) round trip and gross elevation of about 600 ft. (183 M) from parking along Going-to-the-Sun Road to St. Mary Falls.

 

St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Montana, USA St. Mary Falls - Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

 

St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Montana, USA St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Montana, USA

 

The trail continues past several minor cascading waterfalls to the more impressive Virginia Falls.  In dense forest, light is tricky and early morning photography is challenging.

 

St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Montana, USA Approaching the more impressive Virginia Falls - Glacier National Park, Montana

 

 

St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Montana, USA Virginia Falls - Glacier National Park, Montana, USA

 

St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Montana, USA St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Montana, USA

 

The continuing drive west on Going-To-The-Sun Road, stops at all major view points until arrival at the very busy Logan Pass Visitor Center.  Vistas along the Continental Divide are breathtaking beneath clear sky and warm temperatures. 

The excellent packed hiker's lunch from Two Dog Flats is consumed voraciously while people watching from a bench at the Logan Pass Visitor Center.  Excellent advice from a young Park Ranger provides an alternative approach to tomorrow's planned Siyeh Pass hike.

Viewpoint highlights include Jackson Glacier and an impressive cirque below Peigan Mountain.

 

St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Montana, USA A view of Jackson Glacier from Going-To-The-Sun Road - Glacier National Park

 

St. Mary Falls and Virginia Falls – Glacier National Park – Montana, USA An amazing bowl along Going-To-The-Sun Road - Glacier National Park, Montana

 

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