Home to about two dozen glaciers from which it gets its name, Glacier National Park is a naturalist daydream with over 700 miles of trails along the park’s crackling creeks, roaring rivers, and breathtaking lakes.
Riddled throughout these glacier-fed waterways are some of the most beautiful cascades and waterfalls in all of Montana. In fact, the park boasts over 200 waterfalls within its borders, many of which are famous worldwide, while others remain unnamed.
Since it is nearly impossible to see all of the park’s spectacular landmarks in a single trip, we have compiled a list of the 12 most impressive waterfalls in Glacier National Park to begin your journey.
12 Most Impressive Waterfalls in Glacier National Park
- Saint Mary Falls
- Virginia Falls
- Baring Falls
- Beaver Chief Falls
- Lunch Creek Falls
- Bird Woman Falls
- Falls at Avalanche Lake
- Sacred Dancing Cascade
- McDonald Falls
- Florence Falls
- Twin Falls
- Waterfall at the Trail of Cedars
Perhaps the most recognizable of Glacier National Park’s waterfalls, Saint Mary Falls is also one of the park’s most striking and easily accessible landmarks.
Located only o.8 miles from the Saint Mary Falls Shuttle Stop along the Going-to-the-Sun Road is a 50-foot waterfall featuring two drops. The cascading turquoise waters are some of the bluest in the park and are a must-experience when visiting Glacier.
The easiest way to access Saint Mary Falls is from the trailhead right from the bus stop. The path is an easy hike and will bring you directly to a wooden bridge offering fantastic views of the falls.
From here, visitors can turn around and complete their visit as a 1.7-mile out-and-back hike, or they can continue their journey along the path to the next waterfall on this list.
The second most iconic Glacier National Park Waterfall, Virginia Falls is located only 0.6 miles from Saint Mary Falls and, in many ways, can be considered even more beautiful than its nearby sister.
Crossing the bridge in front of Saint Mary Falls, hikers follow the trail along Virginia Creek directly to this monumental water feature, passing by the Lower Virginia Falls along the way.
The falls feature a 50-foot drop into a series of cascades that produces light clouds of water at the base of the falls.
Overall, Virginia Falls offer a memorable experience and are well worth the extra leg work to reach it. In total, the hike to the falls is a 3.6-mile out-and-back venture along a well-maintained trail.
3. Baring Falls
Another fantastic waterfall located along one of the many creeks that feed Saint Mary Lake, the Baring Falls is located about a mile from Saint Mary falls.
It can easily be combined with the two other falls previously mentioned on this list for a breathtaking hike to Glacier National Park’s three most recognizable waterfalls.
While less traveled than both Virginia and Mary Falls, Baring Falls is actually much more accessible. Located only 0.3 miles from the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the most popular route to the falls is from the Baring Falls Trailhead.
However, those planning to pair their hike with a visit to one of the other falls should plan to start their journey from the parking lot near the Sun Point Trailhead.
While one of the most beautiful landmarks in Glacier National Park, Beaver Chief Falls does not experience the same volume of tourists as other waterfalls featured on this list.
This is largely due to the remote isolation of the falls requiring a minimum 7-mile hike to reach and an additional 7-mile hike to return to the trailhead.
Still, for those willing to venture the journey, Beaver Chief Falls rewards one of the worthiest views of one of the tallest waterfalls in the entire park. The waterfall plummets approximately 1,344 feet from Lake Ellen Wilson to Lincoln Lake below.
Easily spotted from the Going-to-the-Sun Road, the waterfall at Lunch Creek is one of Glacier National Park’s most beautiful cascades and has long attracted visitors as a popular resting point along the Continental Divide Trail.
While the falls are a fantastic option for visitors who prefer to avoid hiking, other guests wishing to get up close and personal with the landmark can make their way along Lunch Creek.
There are no officially maintained trails, but there are paths to the right of the falls that will guide visitors along the way.
Bird Woman Falls is considered to be one of the most dramatic waterfalls in Glacier National Park. And even though visitors cannot experience the water feature up close thanks to the absence of hiking trails, the incredible waterfall can still be observed from up to 2 miles away along the going-to-the-Sun Road.
Plummeting from the hanging valley between Mounts Oberlin and Cannon, Bird Woman Falls is claimed to be 492 feet tall but is believed to be much taller and consists of two subsequent falls according to topographic and Lidar data.
Once fed by a Glacier long since melted, Bird Woman Falls is now solely dependent on the region’s annual snowfalls. As a result, the best time to observe the landmark is in the Spring when the snowmelt is fresh.
However, by late Summer, much of the fall’s water supply is dried up for a significantly reduced waterfall.
Surrounded by verdant mountains, Avalanche is one of the most beautiful lakes in Glacier National Park. It features several waterfalls cascading their way down the rugged landscapes, feeding the lake.
While several waterfalls make this one of the most majestic destinations in the park, it is difficult to determine which of the falls is worthy of being deemed the lake’s best. Still, the tallest is Monument Falls, which stands over 1,800 feet tall.
Visitors will start their 4.5-mile out-and-back hike to access the falls from the Trail of the Cedars Trailhead. From there, they will follow Avalanche Creek through the lush landscape and pass a collection of lesser falls until they arrive on the shores of Avalanche Lake.
While a comparatively small waterfall, the Sacred Dancing Cascade is a beautiful, rapids-like waterfall along McDonald Creek and feeds the very popular McDonald Lake.
What’s even more fantastic about this fun water feature is that it doesn’t require a very long hike to reach. In fact, the Going-to-the-Sun Road runs directly parallel to the falls, and the cascades are within the views of passing cars.
Still, for a more intimate exploration of the Sacred Dancing Cascade, we suggest pulling off at the nearby parking lot and taking a stroll to the bridge that directly overlooks the landmark.
After visiting the Sacred Dancing Cascade, those looking for extra excitement can follow the short trail to McDonald Falls. Like the nearby cascade, McDonald Falls is located along McDonald Creek and feeds directly into the much large McDonald Lake.
While the best views of the falls are found along the Upper McDonald Creek Trail, those with limited time can catch glimpses of the landmark directly from Going-to-the-Sun Road as they drive by, or they can pull over to the side of the road for a better look.
10. Florence Falls
Situated along an unnamed street flowing from Twin Lakes, Florence Falls is one of the most unique waterfalls in Glacier National Park and features a series of small step-like drops along the cascading cliff side that span approximately 800 feet downwards.
The waterfall’s remote isolation results in far fewer tourists than some of the park’s other waterfall landmarks. It is preserved entirely for only the intrepid visitors willing to make the moderate hike to reach it.
11. Twin Falls
Nestled between six different mountains along Two Medicine Creek, the Twin Falls offers two beautiful waterfall landmarks for the price of one.
The 7-mile out-and-back hike on the Two Medicine Lake Trailhead will guide visitors along the shores of the picturesque lake before branching out to follow the Two Medicine Creek.
Along the way, visitors will venture through one of the most pristine corners of Glacier National Park and observe some of the preserved most abundant habitats for flora and fauna before arriving at the doubly beautiful Twin Falls.
For visitors who want to reach the falls without having to engage in the full rigorous hike, there is a boat that can be taken across Two Medicine Lake from the trailhead to cut 5 miles off of the journey.
Located along the Trail of the Cedars, which turns into the Avalanche Trail, this beautiful unnamed waterfall is a fantastic stopping point for hikers journeying to Avalanche Lake. Still, even if you aren’t venturing the entire path, the Trail of the Cedars’ Waterfall is well worth the 1-mile hike to reach it.
Following a boardwalk, the hike brings visitors through the mossy overgrowth of the region, which is considered one of the lushest corners of Glacier National Park.