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Piegan Pass Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.7 (6)

An incredibly varied epic of a trail from lakes to forest to alpine, past waterfalls and back down.


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Map Key

17.7

Miles

28.4

KM

Point to Point

7,573' 2,308 m

High

4,536' 1,383 m

Low

3,506' 1,069 m

Up

3,122' 952 m

Down

7%

Avg Grade (4°)

36%

Max Grade (20°)

Dogs No Dogs

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

Family Friendly Sun Point to St. Mary Falls is a great stretch for the family and can be paired with the park's free shuttle.

Bring bear spray.

Description

The entire trail from Sun Point to Many Glacier takes you from the shores of St. Mary Lake up and over Piegan Pass to the shores of Swiftcurrent Lake at the Many Glacier Hotel. This is the same route used by the early visitors who came over on the railroad.

The trail starts at Sun Point where an old chalet once sat. The views up and down St. Mary Lake are fantastic from this peninsula. From here it works its way along the shores of St. Mary Lake with fantastic views of the lake and the mountains backdropping it as it ducks in and out of trees. It then enters a recent burn as it veers away from the lake a bit and heads over to the foot of a wonderful waterfall called Baring Falls.

You continue on with some more great views of the lake and along the burn which has opened up more views, but can get hot in the summer. The trail reaches the junction with the St Mary Lake Trail that heads over to St. Mary/!Virginia Falls. It then heads up along the St. Mary River. It passes the trail to Gunsight Pass and continues on past Deadwood Falls. From there, the trail gains elevation as it works its way up to Going-to-the-Sun Road, crosses it, and continues to climb.

From here, the forest is wet and the views are scant, even as you cross avalanche chutes. You pass the junction with the Siyeh Bend Trail (the most common access for Piegan Pass) and continue your climb. Views from the trail get better as the trees thin and get shorter. You cross Siyeh Creek and enter into the foot of Preston Park where the trail for Siyeh Pass takes off. As you continue your traverse, you pass through incredible flower meadows as the trees thin, eventually breaking above the trees and onto the rock.

The trail from here up to the pass offers incredible views all around and they continue to get better. At the pass, you get your first look down towards Many Glacier with sapphire blue tarns at the base of incredible cliffs. From here, the trail heads back down through the rock and down to terraced alpine hills below the cliffs.

The meadows begin gaining more trees and you pass the amazing Morning Eagle Falls and continue along Cataract Creek, crossing it twice, once as a ford with the other on a bridge. Views decrease as you enter a lush forest and drop down. A few intermittent views dot the forest to the hotel.

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

Just about every flower Glacier has to offer can be found along this trail from arnica to beargrass to orchids to moss campion in the high country. Birds include waterfowl on the lakes, finches and warblers in the forest, falcons, hawks, and ptarmigans near Piegan Pass. Small mammals such as tree squirrels and chipmunks trade places with golden-mantled squirrels, pikas, marmots, and weasels in the high country. Deer, elk, moose, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and bears all may be seen along the trail.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jake Bramante

Trail Ratings

  4.7 from 6 votes

#8

in St. Mary

#5803

Overall
  4.7 from 6 votes
5 Star
67%
4 Star
33%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Trail Rankings

#8

in St. Mary

#152

in Montana

#5,803

Overall
18 Views Last Month
2,429 Since Sep 3, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
67%
0%
33%
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Photos

Piegan Pass looking toward Angel Wing & Mount Grinnell
Aug 24, 2017 near Swiftcu…, MT
Wildflowers on the Piegan Pass Trail.
Aug 24, 2017 near Swiftcu…, MT
A look back down the trail from close to Piegan Pass.
Aug 24, 2017 near Swiftcu…, MT
Coming down from Piegan Pass on the north side heading to Many Glacier.
Jun 14, 2016 near Swiftcu…, MT
Piegan Pass looking toward Mount Gould.
Aug 24, 2017 near Swiftcu…, MT
Beargrass along the Piegan Pass Trail.
Aug 24, 2017 near Swiftcu…, MT

Weather


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Check-Ins

Jul 31, 2020
Jamey Webb
Jun 28, 2019
Natalie Wannamaker
Absolutely stunning views all the way up! Rivers and meadows and forests and some snow. 10mi — 4h 30m
Jun 16, 2019
Cody Rickwalt
Hike portion between gunsight pass and st Mary falls trailhead as a pit and back to st Mary/Virginia Falls 5mi
Jul 23, 2018
Melodie Prevost
Aug 29, 2017
Rebecca Smith
Jul 29, 2016
Chaitanya Immaneni
Jul 12, 2016
Sam Morton
Aug 6, 2014
Chad DuBois