Iceberg Lake Trail
Key information: Iceberg Lake Trail
- A beautiful walk through perfect alpine scenery, leading to the stunning aquamarine Iceberg Lake, surrounded by towering cliffs.
- Classic Glacier National Park wildlife can be seen along the trail. Mountain goats and bighorn sheep often perch on the slopes near Iceberg Lake, whilst undergrowth hosts chattering pikas and ground squirrels.
- A reasonably straightforward hike, but there can be ice and snow far into the summer, unpredictable weather is frequent and whilst you may welcome much of the wildlife, be aware of the dangers posed by grizzly bears. Come fully prepared.
- Walkopedia rating85
- Natural interest17
- Human interest0
- Negative points2
- Total rating85
- Length: 14km
- Day or less
- Maximum Altitude: 1,859m
- Level of Difficulty: Moderate
This is a beautiful, relatively straightforward walk through stunning alpine scenery to aquamarine Iceberg Lake and the towering cliffs which surround it. Glacier National Park's trademark mountain goats and bighorn sheep can be spotted in the area, bounding across impossible steep cliff faces.
The trail begins in the Many Glacier Valley, at the Iceberg/Ptarmigan Trailhead. This is a connecting trail, which after a short climb joins Trail 167; from here, turn left and head northwest. On the slopes above Wilbur Creek, the trail climbs gently, and the open terrain provides fantastic views of Mount Wilbur ahead, Mount Henkel and the green-tinged Atlyn Peak rising directly above the trail, and the Ptarmigan Wall as it stretches out across the western horizon.
Soon after entering sparse forest, a bridge over Ptarmigan Creek marks the halfway point of the outward trek, and provides an ideal resting place. After leaving here the route heads southwest, along the Ptarmigan Wall. This is an impressive section. The wall towering more than 900m over hikers at some points, and Iceberg Peak and Mount Wilbur looming immediately ahead, are a stark reminder of the grandeur of Glacier's scenery, with its vast and seemingly timeless geological structures.
As the trail opens up there is a short incline to the walk's highest point, and from here it is a simple stroll downhill to the lake's shores. Big hunks of ice (although not technically icebergs) float in the milky water, and cliffs tower high above, throwing deep shadows on the lake. The permanent snowfields at the head of the lake are the remnants of a glacier, victim to the climate change which is altering Glacier National Park so dramatically. This is a beautiful place in which to enjoy a relaxed picnic; take the time to soak in this Teton-like jewel before retracing your steps.
Ice and snow can remain on the trail here far into the summer and weather can be unpredictable, so keep an eye on reports. Also consider the danger posed by grizzly bears in this area. Come prepared and follow all official advice. A great source of information is the US National Parks Service site.
See our Glacier National Park page for detailed practical information and links to other nearby walks.
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Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.
Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.
Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.
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