Located in the famous Glacier National Park of Montana, Two Medicine Lake offers gorgeous views of wildlife and nature. Situated on the east end of the park, the name of the lake is reported to have been taken from the name “Two Lodge Creek” as it was reported there used to be two medicine lodges on the sides of the creek.
The lake is about two miles long and has clear pristine waters near plenty of hiking trails. Nestled within the mountains, there are several wonderful views of nature across this area, including waterfalls, and the chance to spot wildlife such as mountain goats or bighorn sheep.
Once the lake was one of the most visited areas in the park, however, these days it is less popular as it is far away from the famous Going-to-the-Sun Road.
Although less visited than other parts of the park, we definitely recommend not skipping Two Medicine Lake, as it has a variety of spectacular experiences you can choose from such as hikes with breathtaking views or terrific boating opportunities.
Whether you choose to explore the water take a scenic hike that overlooks the lake, you will definitely not regret going off the beaten path and visiting Two Medicine Lake.
Things To Do At Two Medicine Lake
Whether you are a seasoned hiker looking for trails to explore or a tourist just hoping to see some breathtaking views, Two Medicine Lake has something for everyone. +
There are so many things to do at Two Medicine Lake, including fishing, hiking, photography, and boating.
Scenic Views and Wildlife Sightings
For those hoping to take in the views at the scenic lake, we recommend arriving before sunrise or sunset for a truly memorable experience. The lake glistens as the sun sets or rises making it the perfect view to take in.
This is also a great time to take photos of the lake if you’ve brought a camera. You can also drive up to the shore and set up your tripod for the truly perfect shot.
If you’d like to see the waterfalls without taking too long of a journey there is also a short hike that is less than one mile to Running Eagle Falls.
The hike is an easy trek with many children able to complete it. The rock formation creates a unique double waterfall that is a memorable sight to look at.
For wildlife sitings, it is best to come at dawn as this is when animal activity is higher. You’ll want to bring your binoculars and peek over at Rising Wolf mountainside.
You should have the chance to spot bighorn sheep or mountain goats.
Hiking at Two Medicine Lake
There are a variety of hiking trails in Two Medicine Lake, whether you’re looking for a simple short hike or a longer trek. Make sure to pack for whichever hike you take, bringing essentials such as bear spray and a water purifier. Don’t forget to bring sunscreen as well depending on the temperature!
As mentioned before when discussing the best views at Two Medicine Lake, Running Eagle Falls is a great easy hike for those who want a simple trek. However, there is also another easy hike to Rockwell Falls for those who want a longer trek.
The hike is about 3.4 miles and has a low elevation gain of about 375 vertical feet. It’s perfect for anyone looking for a simple day hike as it is not only not too difficult of a journey, but you’ll also be rewarded with a great view of the falls.
For the more adventurous and experienced hikers, the Dawson-Pitamakan loop is a day-long hike that offers great views of the mountains and lake. It starts at the Two Medicine Campground taking you to Dawson Pass, then Pitamakan Pass, and then finally ends back at the campground.
This hike is not for the faint of the heart, as it has a high elevation gain of about 2,935 feet and is about 18.8 miles. For those who are in good shape and confident in their hiking abilities, the hike is well worth it is there are amazing sights along the way such as views of Pitamakan Lake and the Pumpelly Glaciar.
Fishing at the Lake
Fishing at the Two Medicine Lake is considered a decent place to visit by most fishers. There are plenty of opportunities to fish for brook trout and rainbow trout. Most of these fish average between 10-12 inches.
You can bring your own rowboat or kayak to the lake to fish in. There are also boats available to rent from Glacier Park Boat Company. It can get quite windy at Two Medicine Lake, so fly fishing is unfortunately not ideal here.
You’ll need a permit to fish Lower Two Medicine as it lies within the Blackfoot Indian Reservation. The permits cost about $10 for a day pass, $25 for a three-day pass, and $75 for a season pass. You can fish year-round at the lake.
Can You Swim at the Lake?
Although you can swim at the lake, we don’t recommend it. The water is very cold, making for a rather unpleasant experience. For those insistent on taking a dip well visiting Glacier National Park, it’s best to visit Apgar Village, as the water is a bit warmer.
If you still want to experience the waters of Two Medicine Lake without freezing, consider renting a kayak or canoe to explore the lake rather than fully submerging under the water.
There are plenty of boats you can rent from Glaciar Boat Company. You can also take a scenic ride with them on their boat tour. The boat carries up to 49 passengers and is about two miles long. The trip is also very informative as visitors will learn facts about the lake along the way.
Camping, Cabin Rentals, and Hotels Near Two Medicine Lake
There are plenty of places near Two Medicine Lake where you can stay. For those who prefer to camp, you can do it directly on site, as Two Medicine Lake offers a campground. Camping is first-come, first-serve, and there are 100 single-family campsites.
There are RV campings pots available. Amenities include potable water and flush toilets, picnic tables and fire pits, and an on-site camp store. It costs $20 a night to camp here.
For those who prefer to not worry about the hassle of packing tents or bringing an RV but still want to be surrounded by nature, there are cabins nearby.
One such place nearby is Traveler’s Rest Lodge, a cabin just outside the Two Medicine entrance for Glacier National Park. These cabins have modest accommodations including dishes, silverware, full-sized coffee pots, and gas-log fireplaces. It typically costs around $160 a night.
If you prefer to stay in a hotel there are several options nearby. Some of the most popular hotels include Summit Mountain Lodge, Dancing Bears Inn, and Glaciar Park Lodge. It will typically cost you about $150 a night for a three-star hotel nearby.
There are cheaper options such as motels and hostels also available nearby, however, which include East Glaciar Motels and Cabins, Hostel Glacier Park, and Brownies Hostel and Bakery.
Regardless of which option you choose, you are sure to have an enjoyable time as most of the accommodations have good reviews and great views of nature.