St. Mary Lake Area, Glacier National Park

Date: June 29, 2011
Distance: ~2.5 mi (4 km) one way

St. Mary Lake

On my first day in Glacier National Park I arrived at and moved into the Rising Sun Campground, a small tent only campground about midway along Saint Mary Lake.  I then drove the Going to the Sun Road as far as I could, which was only to the Jackson Glacier Overlook.

Sunrift Gorge

From there I headed back down to the lake and stopped at the only place I could find somewhere to park, which happened to be at Sunrift Gorge.  This small narrow gorge was my favorite small feature in the park.  The gorge is only a few short steps off of the road and is definitely worth the stop.  After viewing the gorge I went downhill under the bridge and close to the lakeshore to see Baring Falls for less than a half mile hike.

Virginia Falls

I decided to keep going along the lakeshore trail where there were several good views of the lakes and many wildflowers.  The trail had a few ups and downs but was generally flat, hence being along a lake.  The trail then arrived at St. Mary Falls and continued uphill to the much higher Virginia Falls.  The trail was probably about 2.5 miles one way from the Sunrift Gorge trailhead, but there is a closer trailhead that would take about a mile off the hike each way.

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