It never surprises me to hear Iceberg Lake is someone’s favorite hike. It’s definitely one of the most stunning hikes in Glacier National Park! The glacial colored lake sits in an enormous mountain cirque. It’s actually so big, you almost can’t capture it.
We decided to combine hiking Iceberg Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel because they share the same trailhead, and we weren’t the only ones with that idea. We chatted with several people hiking both trails in one day, and got to swap traveling tips.
Iceberg Lake is 10 miles alone. Combing it with Ptarmigan Tunnel will add another 5 miles, (and a whopping 2,300 feet elevation gain). It was way too tempting to do both on the same day because otherwise they’re 10 miles each. However I think it was a lot to handle, especially because we no longer pack light with all the camera gear!
As we sat above the lake for lunch, we watched a group of climber’s start up Iceberg Notch. It’s is the tallest point in the above photo, (travel upwards from the grassy green knoll in the the impossible rock face, and that’s where they were). Someone at the lake asked us if they were crazy fools. But I told them it’s real climb, and they must be serious to have made it that far!
We took the scrambler’s trail to look down on Iceberg during lunch. Tyler decided to have a look around for a better camera angle. But the only problem with that, is you have to climb back up the shale, as you can see in the above photo.
This is the view you’ll see when you sit at the lake, (most people lunch here). This shot was taken on a full frame camera with a 16-35 wide angle lens, and I still couldn’t capture more than half of this amazing lake and it’s cirque!
The best time to go to Iceberg Lake in in late July or early August. Earlier in July the lake can be completely frozen over. And sometimes by the end of July or August the icebergs have melted in the lake. I’ve actually been to Iceberg Lake 3 times in the past. But I’ve always too late to see the icebergs. This year was my year to finally see the gorgeous icebergs floating in the lake!
Iceberg Lake is in the Many Glacier region, which is known to be bear country. You’ll definitely want to be prepared, and make plenty of noise when you’re walking up the trail. The day we hiked it was a Saturday, which is always a good bet for lots of people on the trail.
There were a total of 4 bear sightings on the trail just that day alone – 3 grizzlies, and 1 black bear, (we only saw the black bear). There are signs everywhere telling you the wildlife is dangerous, but people constantly disregard their own safety and that of others for a picture. On this trip we saw a grandfather posing his granddaughter right next to a mama mountain goat and her kid. Wildlife is extremely protective of their young, and even mountain goats can kill people.
Mid July through the first part of August, the trail will be lined with wildflowers, and it’s so gorgeous!
The view looking back to the Many Glacier Hotel from the scrambler/climber’s trail.
See you soon for and adventure to Ptarmigan Tunnel!