Swiftcurrent Mountain

Glacier National Park (USA)

Epic side trip to one of the best views in the park.

Hiking Difficult

Distance
7 km
Ascent
530 m
Descent
530 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
2 km
High Point
2.6 km
Gradient
21˚
VIEW ON MAP
Swiftcurrent Mountain Map

Description

The summit hike to Swiftcurrent Mountain provides one of the best views in the entire park. From the summit, there are 360-degree views of the surrounding range. You can see for miles in every direction.

This route is located near two popular trails: Highline and Swiftcurrent Pass. Each of these trails is fantastic in its own right, but the Swiftcurrent Mountain side trip is the icing on the cake.

Surprisingly, most people who hike the Highline or Swiftcurrent Pass trails don't make the extra jaunt to the top of Swiftcurrent Mountain, probably because of the additional 1,300 feet of elevation gain in just over two miles. The constant switchbacks are relentless! Despite this, this trail should not be missed if you're in the area. It is a fun climb, and the views are just too good to pass up.

If staying at the Granite Park Chalet or the backcountry campground near the Chalet, the route could be completed on a separate day from the initial day hike in, which would be easier on the body. Staying overnight at the Chalet is a once in a lifetime experience, too. Its location is unmatched, with panoramic views of the park from the porch. It is a great spot to meet other hikers.

A bonus of reaching the summit of Swiftcurrent Mountain is the lookout tower. This tower actually houses a backcountry ranger on occasion, and this spot even beats the views from the Chalet! You can see across multiple valleys here, and all the way into the Waterton side in Canada.

Overall, this route is a difficult one, but the views make the trek worth it! This tough but spectacular side trip should not be missed!

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

High Exposure

3 out of 4

Some trail sections have exposed ledges or steep ascents/descents where falling could cause serious injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

June, July, August, September, October

Features

  • Alpine
  • Wildlife
  • Picturesque
  • Summit Hike
  • Wild flowers

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area