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Bird Woman Falls, Montana

Bird Woman Falls is among the largest waterfalls in Glacier National Park, Flathead County. It sits between Mounts Cannon and Oberlin, about two miles from the viewpoints along the Going-to-the-Sun Road.

This waterfall is over 500 feet though World Waterfall data claims the falls to have a height of 960 feet. While the falls’ height is disputable, there’s much to soak up within the area. The falls feature an initial fall, several cascades, and a second tier.

Hiking to the fall’s base is challenging and only reserved for skilled and daring hikers. Most visitors view the falls from the road pullouts west of the Continental Divide.

Bird Woman Falls is named after Sacagawea, meaning “Bird Woman” in Hidatsa. Sacagawea was a Shoshone Indian woman who traversed thousands of miles from Mandan-Hidatsa to the Pacific Northwest with Lewis and Clark.

She searched for edible plants, made clothes, and translated the local language for the explorers. In 1805, the explorers named Musselshell River “Sacagawea” or “Bird Woman’s River” after she rescued valuable items from their nearly capsizing boat.

The unique geology within the Glacier National Park and the area around the falls are worth visitors’ attention. A Glacier that occurred hundreds of thousands of years ago sculpted this area, leading to the formation of the falls.

Bird Woman Falls relies on a remnant glacier and snowfields on Mount Oberlin for water.

How To Get to the Bird Woman Falls Montana

get to the bird woman falls
Image: wp8thsub

Bird Woman Falls are accessible via the Going-to-the-Sun Road, traversing the park from east to west. Visitors can enter the West Glacier from US Highway 2 and drive about two miles into the park.

On the right side of Apgar Village is the Going-to-the-Sun Road that leads to the falls. The distance is about 25 miles past Lake McDonald and the Loop. The park at Bird Woman Falls Overlook is on the right and provides scenic views of the falls, about two miles away.

The Going-to-the-Sun Road becomes impossible to drive in the late winter and early spring due to heavy snow. The road remains open from early June to October.

Visitors can head to the falls in late spring to early summer when the falls flow is greatest. The area is usually overcrowded in the afternoons, so visitors should arrive early to find ample spaces for parking.

Attractions

Going-to-the-Sun Road

going to the sun road in montana

Going-to-the-Sun Road is a mountainous road located in the Rocky Mountains in Glacier National Park. The road bisects the park from east to west at about 50 miles and provides great views of Bird Woman Falls.

Driving and biking along the road are allowed. However, visitors can’t drive vehicles wider than eight feet or longer than 21 feet between Rising Sun and Avalanche Creek. The road from Logan Pass to the Loop is also tricky for cars over 10 feet.

Glacier National Park

glacier national park

Glacier National Park lies in northwestern Montana, encompassing over one million acres.

Visitors to this park can explore the Rocky Mountains, over 130 lakes, more than 500 rivers, thousands of different plant species, and hundreds of animal species. Animals that inhabit the park include mountain goats, bighorn sheep, grizzly bears, moose, wolverines, Canadian lynxes, elk, and white-tailed deer.

Exploring this park allows visitors to experience the geological events that occurred over 170 million years ago. The park has 25 active glaciers formed during the Little Ice Age. Hiking, mountain climbing, hunting, fishing, boating, and wildlife viewing are common activities in this park.

Logan Pass Visitor Center

logan pass visitor center

Visitors traveling along the Going-to-the-South Road can stop at Logan Pass Visitor Center before heading to the Bird Woman Falls. Hikers and backpackers wishing to explore the continental divide in Glacier National Park can use trails such as Highline Trail and Hidden Lake Trail.

Logan pass attracts hundreds of visitors, and the parking lot is packed from 8:30 am to 4:00 pm. Use the free shuttles to avoid problems finding a suitable pull-off or visit before 8:00 am or late in the day.

During summer, you can explore the nearby Clements Mountains and Reynolds Mountain. Grizzly bears, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, alpine plants, and wildflowers are common here.

 

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