Siyeh Bend - Piegan Pass - Many Glacier - Swiftcurrent Pass - Logan Pass
6,366ft Elevation Gain
5:26:32 running time
This was one of those spur of the moment trips, where you find out the day before you've got the weekend free and an endless plate of possibilities. I like it in that regard because there is no time devoted to searching route options, seeking beta, and other general planning. It's just, what's a cool loop run to do in glacier tomorrow, look at a map, and go. With the family staying in Washington to avoid a smoke filled Missoula valley, I headed up to Glacier on Friday August 23rd. Arriving in the park after 9pm, I found a spot to pull over near Lake McDonald and settled into the back of the subaru for the night.
By 8:30am on Saturday, I'd made the drive up and over Logan Pass and had started up the trailhead at Siyeh Bend. The first 4.5 miles are gradual uphill to Piegan Pass at 7,600ft, after starting at 5,850ft. The lungs were getting use to the altitude, but the body felt good and I could tell it was going to be a good day. This is a popular trailhead in the park as it starts high and in a short distance gets you up to one of the most spectacular passes in the park. I passed roughly 10 people on the way to Piegan Pass.
|Trail headed directly for Piegan Pass|
|On Piegan Pass looking north toward Many Glacier.|
|Waterfall between Piegan Pass and Many Glacier|
|Arriving at Swiftcurrent Lake looking north towards at the Many Glacier Lodge.|
|At Swiftcurrent Lake looking west towards the Swiftcurrent Valley (to the left of the middle peak).|
|Bullhead Lake looking up toward Swiftcurrent Pass.|
|On Swiftcurrent Pass looking west.|
|Trail sign at Granite Park Chalet|
|Highline Trail headed to Logan Pass.|
|Focusing on the trail.|
With a couple miles to go and the sun beating down pretty hot, I couldn't help but take a sip from one of the streams cascading down from the garden wall. I still had luke warm water in my bladder left, but this fresh burst of icy cool mountain water rejuvenated my energy levels for the final push to Logan Pass.
|Rocky and exposed trail section, with Heavens Peak in the background.|
My food intake for the run consisted of 3 handfuls of freshly picked huckleberries, 4 gels, and a handful of trail mix. After arriving at the car, I jumped into Siyeh Creek for a quick rinse off and iced the legs for about 15 minutes. I felt remarkably good and fresh after this run.
All in all, this is a great Glacier Park running loop. The views are Glacier spectacular, the trail is 100% runnable, and the climbing is not terrible. For those who want to tackle only a section of this loop run, it is very doable with easy access points at Many Glacier, and the Loop below Granite Park Chalet. I highly recommend it as it's a great way to take in both the east and west sides of the park.
I have extensive GoPro footage from this run, so maybe once the days grow short this winter, I'll spend some time putting together a video recap.
To see the detailed map and elevation profile of this route, visit my Strava activity, http://www.strava.com/activities/77240949
Stay tuned and happy trails!