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Baring Falls is an excellent example of the geology of Glacier National park. The falls pass over a layered rock formation that causes its crest to angle downward. The falls are about 30-40 feet (10 meters) and are located in one of the more accessible amphitheatres in the park.
The hike to the falls is accessed by the Sunrift gorge parking area and is very short. I apparently missed a few other waterfalls in the same area but I’m glad I got to see this one. I have a video I attached of this fall cuz the lighting was just terrible for photo’s.
Turnout and park at the Sunrift Gorge parking area. From there follow the trail under the road and continue to the falls in about 1 mile.
Updated Oct 18, 2008
The hike to Avalanche Lake is an easy 2 mile (3.2 km) one way with an elevation gain of only 500 feet (152 meters). The hike meanders through an evergreen forest and passes by many large Drop Stones and eventually makes its way to the lake.
Once you get to the lake you will be greeted by 3 extremely tall waterfalls and a very serene lake. The waterfalls, as best I can tell are called Avalanche Basin Falls and Monument Falls. These falls are both sited as being over 1500 feet (457 meters). Depending on your definition of a waterfall you may have a differing opinion.
One thing is for sure though; this lake is a noisy place to be. The water cascading down the cliffs opposite the access point make for a constant roar. Capturing the lake and falls in a good picture proved to be a difficult task for me since the lake is socked in by fog more than it isn't.
To access Avalanche Lake drive about 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Lake McDonald and find the well defined Avalanche parking area. From there take the 'Trail of the Cedars' to the cutoff trail and pass Avalanche Creek Falls along the 2 mile (3.2 km) hike to the lake.
Updated Oct 18, 2008
OK I know that is so cliché and corny but there really are some interesting mushrooms to see in the park. Over 1,000 species of fungi are said to be present. I didn’t see that many but after hiking a bit I couldn’t help but notice the variety.
It is illegal to collect mushrooms in the park and I always go by the rule of thumb that mushrooms are not to be eaten. Yes, of course, some mushrooms are edible. However, some are completely deadly and since I am not educated as to which are good and which are bad I steer clear completely.
Fungi are a vital part of a forests ecosystem especially in a northern climate. They serve to recycle decaying trees back to soil. It is estimated that in the McDonald Valley, (west side of park) the amount of fungus rootlets in the soil may approach 4,000 lbs per acre (1815 kg/ 4,000 sq meters). Thinking back it has also occurred to me that the all of the mushrooms pictured below were documented in that area.
Updated Oct 16, 2008
St. Mary’s Falls is one of the most accessible and easily viewed waterfalls in the park. It is also one of the more impressive. As a two tiered falls they are sited at 40 feet (12 meters) but my suspicion is that this falls is actually taller than that. The falls certainly provides a different feel in times of higher water which should be expected in June and July.
The teal blue color of the water is due to the presence of much glacial silt in the water which makes the milky blue color that is noticeable. The falls are visible from many different viewpoints. I would suggest getting a few of them to really appreciate the falls.
From the Going to the Sun Road, find the ‘sun point’ turnout 10.1 miles (16 km) west of St. Mary’s. From there follow the hiking trail for about .8 miles (1.2 km) to the falls.
Updated Oct 15, 2008
Open May 15 to September 30 - Maintenance variable and closed at Belly River Bridge from October 1 to May 14.
The Chief Mountain Highway is the primary route between Waterton Lakes and Glacier National Parks. The highway climbs from the grasslands near Maskinonge Lake to a viewpoint which offers a magnificent panorama of the Waterton and Blakiston valleys. En route to the international border crossing, the highway passes through wetlands and the site of the Sofa Mountain fire. Travellers can continue across the international border past Chief Mountain to the community of St. Mary, on the boundary of Glacier National Park.
Written Apr 13, 2007
For a great day trip from Glacier, consider taking a drive around Flathead Lake.
To get there, head west from the park on Highway #2 towards Columbia Falls. At the east side of C Falls, turn south onto highway #206. As you approach Creston, you will turn left onto highway #35.
At the intersection with highway #82, turn right onto #82 and head into Somers. When you get to Somers, you will have your first glimpses of the Flathead Lake. Somers is a great place to stop for lunch and some window shopping.
From Somers, you will turn left and go south on highway #93. The road will wind along close to the lake for about 2 hours, ultimately ending up in Polson. Polson is another great place to stop for a bite to eat, if you never did this in Somers.
From Polson, you will take highway #35 back north along the east side of the lake. This is the most scenic part of this trip, in my opinion. The road follows the shoreline for its entire distance. When you get to Woods Bay, you can stop in The Raven for dinner and a cold beer. They serve several local brews, some of which are made right across the street. The pub overlooks Flathead Lake and is a beautifully relaxing spot to spend an hour or two.
A short five minute drive brings you into Bigfork. If you're feeling tired, Bigfork is a great place to spend the night. Check out the Swan River Inn, McCabe's Mountain Inn or The Candlewyck B&B for a wonderful night's rest. The Echo Lake Cafe is a great spot for breakfast in the morning. Ask any local for directions - it's a favorite spot. Bigfork is home to many art galleries and you could easily spend your whole morning strolling around downtown before heading back north to GNP.
Written Jun 5, 2006
In my opinion, and the same thing goes for Montana’s Glacier National Park, if you visit Waterton, do it before you see the rest of the Rockies further north. Both Waterton and Glacier are magnificent, but they pale before the grandeur seen in Banff and Jasper. Waterton Hotel is pretty enough, even if a bit windy. The best hike by far in Waterton is the 17 kilometer almost 700 meter climb to Crypt Lake that you do with others, first catching the 9 or 10 am boat across Waterton Lake to the trailhead. The hike is anywhere from 6 to 8 hours and worth ever bootprint - see minorzwarpath’s Waterton Lakes National Park tips for more on this glory. Make sure of the boat schedule and prices before heading out at the website or phone numbers: http://www.watertoninfo.ab.ca/m/cruise.html
Box 126, Waterton Lakes National Park,
Alberta, Canada. T0K 2M0
$Cdn13 roundtrip -
Written May 1, 2005
Glacier has the greatest concentration of grizzly bears in the lower 48 states. We were lucky enough to see a few grizzlies from a safe distance (maybe 1/3 of a mile or so) on an opposite hillside.
I took this picture without a telephoto to show how small the bear seems and how well he blends with his habitat. Without binoculars we wouldn't have been able to see anything. On this picture the bear is a small brown blur in the center of the photo. He was feasting on wild berries.
Written Feb 25, 2003
Though Browning is an amazingly inauspicious location outside the East Glacier park entrance, it hosts two entertaining museums, the Museum of the Plains Indian and the wonderful collection at the Bob Scriver Hall of Bronze. You'll see examples of its wonderful sculptures outside and can't help but wish to step inside.
Written Feb 25, 2003
Look at these cutie pies!!! They just sat and basked in the sun, wondering who all those silly humans were with their cameras!! I just fell in love with the baby!
Written Apr 24, 2003
6 Reviews and 418 Opinions The largest of the Glacier National Park hotels. Situated near Grinnell Glacier and some incredible...