I’ve lived my whole life in Montana, visiting Glacier National Park countless times, but it was only this last summer that I finally stopped in the Lunch Creek area, (located just after Logan’s Pass on the east side). The reason for this is simple, there isn’t an official trail at Lunch Creek, but this year we explored this area in greater depths because it’s home to a climber’s trail that accesses several peaks.
I wanted to write about it though because it makes such a beautiful place to stop and have lunch (go figure)! The creek comes burbling down out of the mountain, and both the wildlife and wildflowers are abundant. The wildflowers stay in this little oasis longer than anywhere else because it’s protected from the hot afternoon sun, and they’re extra vibrant being constantly watered by the creek.
As I was mentioning about the wildlife, rams especially seem to hang out in this area, and there’s a good chance you’ll see one. Please, please keep a good distance away because they can turn and charge if they feel threatened, and they’re huge! (You can refer to my Top 10 Tips for Visiting Glacier for more info.)
I actually almost got charged down by the giant ram in the above photo. It all happened so fast it’s still a bit of a blur, and I can tell you that I never saw it coming, (seriously just thinking about it, my heart still races)! I had stepped onto a rock about 8″ from the trail, and had squatted down to take some wildflower pictures.
Whenever I’m shooting I completely loose myself, and that’s how I almost got run over. I was only a couple minutes up the trail from the highway, but unbeknownst to me some rams got spooked while trying to cross the road, and came charging up the trail with people scattering left and right.
All of a sudden I heard people screaming, it broke my concentration, and I looked up to see that they were yelling at me (trying to warn me) as a gigantic full grown ram came charging at me head on, just a few feet away! I think it was even more intimidating because I was so low to the ground that he looked even bigger, and I pretty much airlifted out of my spot and tore off the trail.
I think my abrupt action startled him, and after he thundered past, (a mere feet away I might add), he stopped and looked back at me which is when I got the above picture, (on a zoom lens, I wasn’t right next to him or anything like that). So the moral of the story is to be on the lookout because you never know what’s coming your way, and definitely don’t go seeking it out!
Who knew that photographing wildflowers could get so crazy?
All crazy ram stories aside, this area is about as safe as wilderness can get, and it’s a great place to stop and have a nice picnic next to the creek. The unofficial trail keeps going up a ways to a second waterfall, (see above picture). After that it becomes more of a climber’s trail with route finding, and the use of both hands and feet to navigate.
As a side note, if anyone knows what this plant is called, please drop me a note – I’ve been trying to figure it out for awhile!
This picture is taken near the bottom, and as you can see there’s great slabs of flat rock where you can hang out near the creek.
This picture was taken up above the 2nd waterfall where it turns into the climber’s trail. You can read all about that adventure in my Piegan Mountain Scramble post.
If you happen to be in the area later in the day, it’s a fantastic spot to take slow shutter water pics along the creek.
Lunch Creek is not only a great place to hang out and have a picnic, it’s also the start of the climber’s trail I mentioned for Piegan Mountain, and several others. You can check out Blake Passmore’s popular Climbing Glacier books, his descriptions and route finding tips are invaluable!