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Morning Eagle Falls, Glacier County

Morning Eagle Falls is a less-visited waterfall within Glacier National Park, though it’s still popular among hikers who take Piegan Pass Trail. The waterfall may be accessed by the Piegan Pass (intertwining with the Continental Divide Trail) or the Morning Eagle Falls Trail via Lake Josephine/Lake Grinnell Trail.

The waterfall is situated in the park along Cataract Creek on the southeast slopes of Mount Gould in the Many Glacier portion of the park. You may hike the full distance out to the falls or opt for a partial distance boat ride across Lake Josephine.

A Guide to Morning Eagle Falls, Glacier County

Morning Eagle Falls is a beautiful multiple-cascade waterfall within Glacier National Park. The waterfall is reasonably popular, though not as well known as the roadside waterfalls or Virginia or Saint Mary Falls.

Morning Eagle Falls Stats

morning eagle falls stats

  • Location: Many Glacier region, Glacier National Park, Glacier County, Montana
  • Latitude: 48.73578
  • Longitude: -113.69835
  • Stream: Cataract Creek
  • Elevation: 5707 feet
  • Height: 220 feet
  • Season: Best during spring to autumn
  • Campgrounds and RV parks nearby: 20+ campgrounds located within the park or nearby, with hundreds of sites available

Recreational Activities Near Morning Eagle Falls

The Many Glacier portion of Glacier National Park is one of the most populated and easiest to access regions of the park.

All around, there are many exciting activities, tours, adventure options, and relaxation opportunities, all with an outdoor focus.

The park itself is one of America’s top tourist destinations for both Americans and international visitors, as well, so you won’t run out of things to do while visiting anywhere in the region.

Swimming

One of the first questions many folks as is can you swim in Morning Eagle Falls? The answer is no, sadly, but that’s because of safety reasons. Swimming in waterfalls is never advised, as they create an undercurrent that’s dangerous.

Instead, choose quieter, slower-moving waters like lakes and gentle sections of rivers instead. You’ll find many such locations in and around Glacier NP, with some of the most popular swimming spots being Bowman Lake, Waterton Lake, Lake McDonald, and Lake Josephine.

Many off-the-grid lakes and streams are swimmable, as well, though many of them have frigid waters since they are glacier melts and mountain runoffs.

Be prepared for cold water if you opt to go swimming in any of these bodies of water!

Boating

Boating is a popular recreation activity in Glacier National Park. You’ll find many companies offer rentals nearby, as well as a few in the park.

You can bring your own boats as well and launch from the many access points along rivers and lakes. Be sure to check regulations for where certain types of boating are permitted, though, if you plan to use anything with a motor.

If you need a rental, some of the most popular outfitters include

White Water Rafting

water rafting
Image: Troy Smith

If white water rafting is more your speed, consider booking a trip with any of the fantastic companies nearby. The various outfitters offer a variety of packages, with meals or snacks included, lodging, wine tastings, camping, or other fun add-ons.

Birdwatching and Wildlife Viewing

Birdwatching and wildlife viewing are also popular pursuits within Glacier’s boundaries. You’ll find many of the animals and birds “by accident” as you come across each other’s paths on hiking trails, near lakes and rivers, or at campsites. But you may wish to go seeking them as well.

The more remote the hiking trail (i.e., the less populated with hikers), the more likely you are to spot some amazing creatures.

Be sure to prepare safely for your ventures out, though, with things like bear spray, and emergency gear (flashlights, extra snacks, extra water, reflective vests, etc.). Along the way you might spot:

  • Elk
  • Bighorn sheep
  • Ospreys
  • Beavers
  • Wolverines
  • Marmots
  • Pikas
  • Harlequin ducks
  • Common loons
  • Mountain goats
  • Clark’s nutcrackers
  • Moose
  • Bald eagles
  • Mountain lions
  • Black bears
  • Ptarmigans
  • Bats
  • Coyotes
  • Lynx
  • American dippers
  • Swifts
  • Grizzly bears
  • Northern hawk owls

Scenic Drives

scenic drives morning
Image: Anselm Hook

Taking a scenic drive through the park is another popular, relaxing activity. You may drive slowly along certain portions of the road, keeping an eye out for stunning vistas and wild animals.

Alternatively, you can opt for a Red Bus tour and let someone else take the wheel, just book early as it fills up fast.

Photography

While out in the wilds, you’ll likely find many locales where you want to snap a photo. The stunning views, outlooks, and creatures you’ll spot could inspire thousands of photos, so be sure to pack extra memory for your camera or phone and plenty of batteries or a solar power bank for recharging.

Fishing

You may wish to fish while you’re visiting Glacier National Park. There are many guides to be found via Glacier Guides or Get Your Guide, or you can plan your own route and find fishing holes along these popular streams and lakes:

Cycling

Many of the trails within Glacier are excellent for a challenging bike ride. Not all are suitable, however, so it’s recommended that you study some topographical maps before heading out.

The MTB Project has many suggestions for finding the best mountain and off-road cycling trails while you’re in Glacier National Park, as well.

Trail Running

For trail runners, Glacier National Park is an absolute paradise! Many of the winding, twisting trails provide some of the most incredible views you could ever hope for while jogging.

For trail ratings, elevation gains, and more, check Great Runs and All Trails to find the right trail(s) for your running adventures.

Horseback Riding

If you’d rather let a horse do the work along the trail, you may want to book a ride with Swan Mountain Outfitters, one of the most popular horseback riding outfitters in Glacier NP.

They have three stables to choose from as starting points: Many Glacier, Apgar, and Lake McDonald. They also offer a number of ride lengths, amenities, and add-ons.

  • Lodgepole Loop – 1 hour – $60.00
  • Ride & Dine – 1 hour + dinner – $80.00
  • Glacier Gateway – 2 hours – $90.00
  • Cowboy Cookout – 2 hours + dinner – $165.00
  • Glacier Lookout – 3 hours – $115.00
  • Mountain View – all day – $225.00
  • Private West Glacier Trail Rides – varies – inquire for pricing

Museums and Educational Programs

educational programs
Image: GlacierNPS

Montana has some of the richest and most unique cultural and natural histories in America – and specifically, in the Glacier NP region, you’ll find fascinating art galleries, history museums, nature centers, and more, where you can drink in the beauty while learning about First Nations history and early explorers and settlers.

Some of the most interesting programming and museums include

Camping

Camping is one of the most popular forms of lodging within the national park’s boundaries. With hundreds of potential campsites around the park, ranging from RV park spots with full hookups to backcountry campsites you’ve got to clear yourself, you’ll find an abundance of choices to suit your needs.

Many of the campsites are reservable, but many works on a first-come, first serve basis. Some backcountry campsites are designated, with campfire rings and picnic tables, while others must be “created” as you make your way along the most remote trails in the park.

Prepare for the type of camping you’d like to do with proper supplies, emergency gear, bear spray, bear-proof food containers, and plenty of water for both drinking and washing.

Hotels and Cabin Rentals

If camping isn’t your preferred form of lodging, you’ll be happy to know there are many cabins, motels, and hotels within the region.

You can book spots in the park at Many Glacier Hotel or hang out outside park boundaries at any of the hotels, motels, or rentals available.

Be sure plan to far ahead, though, if you’re coming during peak season (May to October), as the beds fill up fast.

Trail Routes

trail routes morning

Morning Eagle Falls Trail Via Many Glacier Hotel

The easy route to Morning Eagle Falls is still technically a moderate trail, but it’s definitely easier than the other option via the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.

There are two options here, as well, from Many Glacier Hotel. You can either take a boat part of the way or you can hike the full distance – whatever best suits your desires.

For those taking boats part way, you’ll want to climb aboard the boat at Lake Josephine toward Grinnell Lake or Grinnell Glacier. When you get to the other side, you’ll part way with the crowds at the lake and ascend through the forests and meadows toward Cataract Creek Valley.

Along the journey to Morning Eagle, you’ll also pass the stunning Feather Plume Falls.

According to hikers at Hiking & Walking, Feather Plume Falls is a delicate, tall horsetail waterfall dropping between Angel Wing and Mt. Gould.

After this stunning waterfall, you’ll come to multiple cascades that make up Morning Eagle Falls, as it spills out over a red argillite rock face. The backdrop is the Continental Divide at Mount Gould and the Bishop’s Cap.

  • Distance: 6.4 to 9.2 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 520 feet
  • Difficulty level: Moderately challenging
  • Trail type: Loop

Continental Divide National Scenic Trail via Piegan Pass

Another, less direct route, to Morning Eagle Falls is via the Continental Divide National Scenic Trail (or CDT). This portion of the trail within Glacier National Park is considered one of the most gorgeous and exciting along the distance of the 3100 miles, with many incredible views to be had and intriguing wildlife to spot along the way.

94 miles of the trail go through Glacier National Park, traversing through alpine regions, meadows, mountain ranges, and, of course, alongside waterfalls, like Morning Eagle. This portion of the CDT intertwines with Piegan Pass Trail.

This trail section offers incredible views of Mount Siyeh, Matahpi Peak, and Going to the Sun Mountain, along with Pollock Mountain. You’ll also come across Bishop’s Cap and Mount Gould, when you reach the Morning Eagle Falls, for that spectacular view.

  • Distance: 12.4 miles
  • Elevation Gain: 2014 feet
  • Difficulty level: Challenging
  • Trail type: Point to point
  • Notes: Precise distance from the entry point to Morning Eagle Falls isn’t clear

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