Dawn Mist Falls, Montana

Kurt Norris
Last Updated: February 27th, 2023

Located just north of Elizabeth Lake in the Glacier County Region of Glacier National Park, Dawn Mist Falls is a beautiful landmark preserved for only the most intrepid visitors willing to venture the long and tiresome hike required to reach them.

Dawn Mist Falls, Glacier County Stats

dawn mist falls stats

  • Elevation: 4849 feet
  • Latitude:90797
  • Longitude: -113.7229
  • How to Get There: The Dawn Mist Falls, Montana, is only accessible along the Belly River Trail, which can be accessed via numerous routes through the park. The easiest method to reach the falls is through a 7.8-mile hike from the Chief Mountain Customs Trailhead.

Recreation Activities



Situated in Glacier National Park’s backcountry, where the absence of roads makes reaching iconic landmarks by vehicle impossible, the only mode of transportation is by foot.

Luckily, hundreds of well-maintained hiking trails are weaving their way through the park, with the nearest entrance to falls being the Chief Mountain Trail Head. But of course, other methods exist to enter the park’s trails leading to the Dawn Mist Falls as well.

The Iceberg Ptarmigan Trailhead is a fantastic access point for visitors that wish to see several other beautiful lakes, waterfalls, and landmarks along the way.



Several great fishing spots can be found in the region surrounding the falls, including the river that feeds the landmark.

The Belly River is a fantastic site for fly fishing and is populated with several native species, including Arctic Grayling, Bull Trout, and the West slope Cutthroat Trout.

Those luckily enough to catch the Cutthroat Trout should be aware that the species is protected as the official State Fish of Montana and is required to be released upon being caught.



Several backcountry campsites are found throughout the region surrounding the falls, which is convenient considering the long hike required to reach them.

For those approaching the waterfall from the south, the Foot Elizabeth Lake Campground offers a fantastic site for taking a break and spending the night before venturing the final leg to the destination.

Conversely, those following the Belly River from the Chief Mountain Customs Trailhead to the North should plan to spend the night at the Gable Creek Campground, located near the Belly River Ranger Station, only a few miles away from the falls.

Whichever campground you choose to stay in, it is important to register for your site in advance, as Glacier National Park does require permits for camping in its backcountry.

Trail Routes

Belly River Trail from Chief Mountain Customs Trailhead

belly river trail

The easiest way to reach the Dawn Mist Falls is by starting your hike from the Chief Mountain Customs Trailhead.

Located near the Canadian border, the walk follows the Belly River Trail along the water’s shore for 7.8 miles and leads visitors directly to the falls.

Along the way, guests will pass by the Belly River Ranger Station. Upon reaching this milestone, hikers can continue to the falls or spend the night at the nearby Gable Creek Campground before completing the final 1.8 miles the following morning.

From the falls, visitors can either head back to the trailhead or continue along the path to Elizabeth Lake and the many other wonders of Glacier National Park.

Dawn Mist Falls Via Belly River Trail and Ptarmigan Trail

Experienced hikers looking for a more challenging experience will want to start their hike from the Iceberg Ptarmigan Trailhead near Swiftcurrent Lake to the south of the falls.

Following the trail for 2.8 miles, hikers will arrive at a fork in the road where they will take the Ptarmigan Trail headed to the right. Continuing for 7.2 miles, the path will guide visitors past majestic lakes, beautiful waterfalls, and under the earth through Ptarmigan Cave before arriving at the Foot Elizabeth Lake Campground.

Whether resting at the campsite or not, hikers will continue along the Belly River Trail for another 1.3 miles before arriving at the falls.

From here, visitors can either return to the Iceberg-Ptarmigan Trailhead, continue Along the Belly River to the Chief Mountain Customs Trailhead, or venture further into the park along one of the many branching trails.

Related Articles

About The Author

Kurt Norris

A Canada-based freelance writer, Kurt acquired his bachelor’s degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Windsor. Upon graduating, Kurt left the courtside media desk behind and began venturing the globe. Throughout his journeys, Kurt enjoys partaking in slow travel and loves to explore the histories and cultures of each destination, which he shares with others through his writing.

Leave a Comment