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Feather Plume Falls, Glacier County

Located above the sinewy Cataract Creek, Feather Plume Falls is one of the lesser-known sites of Glacier National Park – and it’s a beautiful feast for the eyes, to say the least.

While it has several major routes along its 1,500 feet drop, Feather Plume’s prime placement in Glacier near Angel Wing, Grinnell Glacier Overlook, and numerous peaks and valleys just may make it your next Glacier activity.

Well placed along the northeastern ridge of Mount Gould, we love Feather Plume, especially for its close proximity to a favorite neighboring body of water, the turquoise-hued Grinnell Lake.

Wispy as a feather plume, these skinny and unassuming falls were once on Blackfeet land, now owned by the United States National Park Service. But like much of Glacier, they still hold great meaning for the Blackfeet and other indigenous nations – and once you visit the falls, it’s easy to see why.

As one of the tallest water drops in the country, it’s certainly impressive and monumental, even from a distance. And as a side note, we highly recommend checking out the nearby Morning Eagle Falls for a bit of contrast.

eagle falls
Image: wp8thsub

Feather Plume Falls, Glacier County

A magnificent site in Glacier County, Feather Plume Falls is surrounded by recreational activities, campgrounds, trails, cabins, chalets, and a couple of nearby hotels. In this article, we’re going to share some of our favorite neighboring sites.

Whether you’re into fishing local trout, hiking up to the nearest historic chalet, or swimming in refreshingly biting lakes, Feather Plume Falls is a great starting point for your next Big Sky Country adventure.

feather plume falls stats

Feather Plume Falls Stats

  • Size and Scope: 1,500 ft
  • Season: Year Round
  • Hours: 24/7
  • Number of Campsites: None
  • Wheelchair Accessible: No

Recreational Activities

recreational activities

Glacier never disappoints with its numerous hiking trails, waterfalls like Feather Plume, and bountiful fishing and swimming sites.

But, our recommendations do change based on the season, location, and proximity to pit toilets (Real talk!).

Let’s get into some of our favorites below, from a mesmerizing turquoise lake to a choose-your-own-adventure chalet perfect for resting your achy knees.

Hiking & Biking

hiking

We’ll always recommend the epic Highline Trail to Glacier newcomers – and it’s well-traversed for good reason. It’s a busier trail, but worth it for the spectacular wide-lensed views.

Looking for something a little less populated? We recommend hiking to the southern Morning Eagle Falls or the northern Hidden Falls.

As the name suggests, you’ll find a bit more privacy at these spots – an opportunity to sit in reverence for the beauty all around you. The Grinnell Glacier Trail ends relatively close to the falls, so we’d also recommend it to break up the scenery.

And while bikes are typically only permitted on main roads, you’ll find a few exceptions, such as the Fish Creek Bike Path. We readily accept the challenge of biking throughout a national park, and if you’re up for it, be sure to have water readily available, as some camping spots and chalets may not provide potable drinking water. Enjoy!

Swimming & Fishing

swimming & fishing
Image: Steve

After a long day of hiking or exploring, there’s not much better than a dip in some cold water, right? And if you’re into cold water shock therapy, we’ve got the lake for you: the nearby Grinnell Lake.

It’s ice cold, gorgeous, stimulates all of your senses, and yes, we constantly crave its turquoise waters.

Just head to Lower Grinnell Lake for a wild trout fishing experience, or stay in Upper Grinnell Lake to take in all the beauty: there’s a lot of it to be witnessed.

If you’re heading to Glacier in the peak of summer, we highly recommend jumping into the neighboring Lake Josephine, another beauty accumulated thanks to past ice ages.

You’ll probably have luck finding trout and salmon at Josephine, but Lake Josephine truly is more of a hiker’s plaything. And due to its easier access than many other lakes, you may see a few people with float tubes, canoes, or kayaks enjoying the cool lake breeze.

The secret is out: Lake Josephine is gorgeous. Just don’t forget to bring your bear spray, especially around Grinnell Lake when fishing or swimming – they’ve been known to roam around and park rangers are protective of both their safety and yours.

Camping & Lodging

camping

Camping around Glacier National Park offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wake up next to wildflowers, mountain goats, moose, and some of the most beautiful waterfalls on the continent, including Feather Plume.

While Feather Plume doesn’t have any of its own campgrounds, we do have a few nearby favorites – chalets, campgrounds, cabins, and even hotels.

If you’re looking to get a good night’s sleep after a night of songs, rolling fire, and perfectly crafted s’mores, we highly suggest Cracker Lake Campground just a bit south of the falls. With only three available sites, you’re sure to have an intimate and personalized Glacier experience far from the bustling crowds.

You may even find some abandoned mining equipment here, so keep an eye out! Next up on the list? Okotomi Lake Campground is named for its abundant fish – so take advantage of its fishing and swimming access!

And of course, we also love the Rising Sun Campground even further southeast, which we love for its little gift store, personable and helpful camp hosts, and great views.

But like so many of the grounds at Glacier, Rising Sun is first-come, first-serve, meaning you’ll want to be one of the earlier birds. Just don’t give bears any reason to come snacking at your site and keep everything under wrap!

Looking for something even more panoramic and cozy? Check out the Granite Park Chalet, a historic accommodation built in 1914 to provide accommodations for folks coming through on the Great Northern Railway.

While it does offer twelve rooms and privacy, this chalet encourages you to bring your own food and water, as it has no water on-site and a very rustic kitchen.

This is no modern hotel, folks – Granite Park is definitely a rustic accommodation in the backcountry, but it’s perfect if you need to break up tent camping with a snooze-worthy bed.

In comparison with the nearby Sperry Chalet, another historic site, Granite Park prides itself on winning over the DIY crowd – she’s rustic but she’s got, class!

Be sure to bring your sense of adventure, because you’re gonna need it! For an even more lavish accommodation, check out the Many Glacier Hotel, which offers a head-spinning amount of rooms, some proudly featuring ADA-accessible accommodations.

Trail Routes

trail routes
Image: Steve

Grinnell Trail

grinnell trail
Image: Steve

Length: 7.1 miles: We’ve already talked at length about the frigid but delightful aquamarine waters of Grinnell Lake, but the trail to get to it is just as gorgeous. Why? Well, most of it is shaded by trees (hallelujah!), and you’re bound to see a few moose from far away.

This is our first choice thanks to its relative ease, making it a fantastic option for both small children and those watching their lower backs and unsteady knees.

Honestly, this trail is a great reset after so many days of hiking and adventuring on long and sometimes arduous trails. Just consider it a Glacier palate cleanser! Moving right along…

Piegan Pass Trail

piegan pass trail
Image: Anselm Hook

Length: 11.9 miles This one is a bit more challenging, folks, but Piegan Pass provides epic 360 views of one of our nation’s best parks – so you know we had to include it.

If you start at Siyeh Bend, you’ll pass through patches of wide forests and blissful little Wonderland-Esque wildflowers, but be warned that the trail opens up after a while. The trade-off for epic views here is a lack of shade, not great for the sweltering heat.

Because of this, we don’t recommend Piegan Pass for the height of summer, but early and late summer is absolutely stunning here. And be forewarned that the trek down can be a bit hard on the knees, so if you’re not looking for a steep grade, maybe stick with Grinnell Trail.

Be on the lookout for adorable marmots and other little critters!

Hidden Lake Trail

hidden lake trail
Image: Darian Wong

Length: 5.3 miles Ah, 5.3 miles – that’s better! A relatively short hike lasting just under 3 hours, Hidden Lake Trail has a beautiful overlook populated by park visitors, but if you go past, your view will become even more expansive, heading to – you guessed it – a well-loved lake.

Since your initial trajectory is down, you can probably imagine what the trek back up the path may be like. Get out that walking stick and stay motivated – you can do it! Mountain goats, batches of wildflowers, and a good, healthy challenge – we love it.

Keep an eye on grizzly bears here: they like hidden lakes just as much as the next mammal!

Highline Trail

highline trail
Image: Sathish J

Length: 14.9 miles Let’s end on a high note, shall we? This immensely popular trail offers numerous possibilities and trajectories, and it’s one of the most beautiful day hikes on the planet (Yeah, we went there – it’s that beautiful!).

If you’re interested in a more chill hike, exercise your buns for the first three miles before heading back to camp for some chili mac. Or, you can hike from the beautiful Logan Pass to the Granite Chalet, our favorite DIY accommodation.

Then, we recommend heading back down to the Loop, which is both enthralling and a bit arduous, so don’t forget extra water and Clif bars!

Let us know what you choose and have a great time at Glacier National Park and Feather Plume Falls!

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