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Helen Lake Trail



4.3 mile 6.9 kilometer point to point


Ascent: 314' 96 m
Descent: -118' -36 m
High: 5,103' 1,555 m
Low: 4,897' 1,493 m


Avg Grade: 2% (1°)
Max Grade: 9% (5°)


No Dogs
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Trail shared by Jake Bramante

A fantastic trail along a lake, up through forests, and alpine meadows to a picturesque alpine lake.

Jake Bramante

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Swimming · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Bring bear spray.


This trail starts from the foot of Elizabeth Lake and works its way along the west shore. Elizabeth Lake is stunning, and the views across the lake are up to the red rocks of Redgap Pass. You cross through a couple of avalanche chutes and small stands of short trees with stunning views of cathedral walls in every direction. You follow right along the edge of the lake giving you unobstructed views. The trail passes by the Elizabeth Lake Head campsite. It's one of the few sites that allows a campfire.

The trail continues along the shoreline and eventually breaks away from the lake to move up the valley. For the rest of the trip, it's more of the open meadows and sparse subalpine fir. At one point, you get to see Old Sun Glacier clinging to the top of one of Glacier's six 10,000+ foot summits, Mt. Merritt and the waterfalls descending from it.

Eventually, the head of the valley comes into view. Ahern Pass is straight ahead with Ahern Peak and Ahern Glacier forming the headwall. Helen Lake is tucked below this wall and is fed by waterfalls from the snowfields and glaciers above.

This content was created by Jake Bramante of Hike 734. Visit hike734.com for more expert Glacier content and maps that help you decide which trail to hike.

Flora & Fauna

Alpine flowers and trees such as yellow columbine, subalpine spiraea and subalpine fir are common. Moose are frequently seen as are bears. A wide variety of birds from waterfowl such as goldeneyes and mergansers to loons, eagles and a host of forest birds such as sparrows, warblers and chickadees.

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Jul 23, 2019
Eric Biro
Jun 10, 2019
Dan Fitzgerald
Jul 1, 2018
Melodie Prevost

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  5.0 from 3 votes


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Helen Lake. with permission from Mike Conlan
May 16, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
Helen Lake waterfall. with permission from Mike Conlan
May 16, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
View along Elizabeth Lake on the way to Helen Lake.
May 12, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT


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