Are you looking for some of the most scenic hiking trails in the world? Well, you’re in the right spot.
Montana, often called “Big Sky Country,” is a paradise for hikers!
Its wide-open spaces, rugged peaks, tranquil lakes, and dense forests present a beautiful tapestry of landscapes that offer some of the best summer hikes in the country. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker seeking a challenging new trail or a beginner yearning for a scenic leisurely walk, Montana has a trail that will satisfy your wanderlust.
In this guide, we delve into the top 10 summer hikes in Montana, providing insights on their difficulty ratings, best times to visit, and dog policies.
One thing I’d like to mention about this list is that many of the trails shown below are located in Glacier National Park. See below for a list of sample itineraries that we’ve built if you’re considering a visit to Glacier.
- Glacier National Park 3-Day Itinerary
- Glacier National Park 5-Day Itinerary
- Glacier National Park 7-Day Itinerary
The 10 Most Impressive Hiking Trails in Montana
- Avalanche Lake Trail
- Iceberg Lake Trail
- Grinnell Glacier Trail
- Highline Trail
- Hidden Lake Trail
- Swiftcurrent Pass Trail
- Ousel Falls Trail
- Ross Creek Cedars Trail
- The Beaten Path Trail
- Mount Helena Ridge Trail
Without further ado, here is my list of the top 10 hiking trails in Montana!
Tucked away in Glacier National Park, this 4.5-mile hike is an adventurer’s dream. The trail takes you through lush forests, along roaring waterfalls, and ends at the enchanting Avalanche Lake. This moderate difficulty trail is best hiked from June to September. Remember, to preserve the park’s wildlife, dogs are not permitted.
Another gem in Glacier National Park, the 9.6-mile Iceberg Lake Trail offers a chance to witness the sublime beauty of a lake filled with floating icebergs even in summer. This moderately challenging trail is most enjoyable from July to September. Please note, dogs are not allowed on this trail.
3. Grinnell Glacier Trail
Experience the majesty of one of the park’s most iconic glaciers on this 7.6-mile trail. The strenuous hike rewards you with breathtaking vistas of the glacier and surrounding mountains. The trail is at its best from July to September. Dogs are not allowed on this trail for environmental preservation.
4. Highline Trail
For a more strenuous challenge, the 11.6-mile Highline Trail serves up incredible panoramas of Glacier National Park and the surrounding mountains. This trail is best explored from July to September. Dogs, however, are not allowed on this trail.
5. Hidden Lake Trail
This 3-mile trail may be shorter than others, but the views of the Hidden Lake surrounded by mountains are nothing short of spectacular. The trail, rated moderate, is best hiked from July to September. Dogs are not allowed on this trail.
6. Swiftcurrent Pass Trail
Also in Glacier National Park, the Swiftcurrent Pass Trail is a 14.8-mile strenuous hike that rewards with expansive views of the park and the mountains. Optimal hiking times are between July and September. Dogs are not permitted on this trail.
7. Ousel Falls Trail
Located in the Gallatin National Forest, the Ousel Falls Trail is a 1.6-mile hike that leads you to a stunning waterfall. Rated as easy, it’s perfect for families and is best hiked from May to October. Dogowners will be happy to know that their furry friends are welcome here.
8. Ross Creek Cedars Trail
If you’re a fan of ancient trees, the Ross Creek Cedars Trail in the Kootenai National Forest is a must-visit. This easy, 1.5-mile hike takes you through a grove of old-growth cedar trees that create a tranquil, shaded sanctuary. The trail is best explored from May to October, and dogs are permitted.
9. The Beaten Path Trail
For the long-distance hikers, the 26.3-mile Beaten Path Trail in the Absaroka-Beartooth Wilderness is a fantastic choice. As you traverse the trail, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring views of mountains, waterfalls, and alpine lakes. This strenuous trail is best hiked from July to September, and dogs are not permitted.
10. Mount Helena Ridge Trail
Situated in the Helena National Forest, the Mount Helena Ridge Trail is a 5.5-mile hike that offers incredible views of Helena and the surrounding landscapes. The trail is of moderate difficulty and is best hiked from May to October. Dogs are allowed on this trail, so bring your four-legged friend along for the adventure!
With its diverse landscapes and vast wilderness, Montana truly is a hiker’s paradise. From challenging, long-distance trails to shorter, more leisurely walks, there’s a trail for every type of hiker in this beautiful state. We hope this guide to the top 10 summer hikes in Montana inspires you to lace up your boots and immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of Montana’s great outdoors. Happy hiking!