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Piegan Falls, Glacier County

Located within Glacier National Park, Piegan Falls is a massive waterfall with several major drops descending from the slopes of Piegan Mountain and Piegan Glacier. The drops total 2,400 feet. The waterfall can be seen via hiking trail from above Siyeh Bend en route to Piegan Pass or potentially from a bushwhacking trail.

The falls form from the melting snow flowing off of Piegan Glacier, north of the Going-to-the-Sun Road. There aren’t many pictures of the waterfall – the bushwhacking adventures to reach the falls seem to put some folks off – despite the falls being one of the tallest falls in the whole of Glacier NP.

It’s suggested from Google Earth images that the reason hiking is so rarely mentioned for the falls is that the waterfall is located within the tight confines of a cleft in a cliff where the stream flows downward.

A Guide to Piegan Falls, Glacier County

Piegan Falls are tucked away somewhat near the trailhead for the Piegan Pass Trail. The location, however, makes it difficult for visitors to make it to the falls.

piegan falls stats

Piegan Falls Stats

  • Location: Near Piegan Pass trailhead, Glacier National Park, Glacier County, Montana
  • Latitude: 48.71
  • Longitude: -113.6779
  • Stream: Piegan Glacier melt
  • Height: Unknown
  • Season: Spring to autumn
  • Campgrounds and RV parks nearby: 20+ campgrounds located within the park or nearby, with hundreds of sites available

Recreational Activities Near Piegan Falls

Located within Glacier National Park, Piegan Falls is near many incredible outdoors focused activities and attractions you and your group may enjoy participating in. You’ll find many trails throughout perfect for hiking, mountain biking, trail running, horseback riding, or wildlife viewing. You’ll find roads that offer incredible scenic drives or rivers for fishing and whitewater rafting. There are nearly unending possibilities for enjoyment within the park boundaries.

Swimming

If you’re wondering, can you swim in Piegan Falls? The answer is no. It’s never safe to swim in a natural waterfall, due to the rushing waters that churn beneath the surface, creating a dangerous undercurrent.

These undercurrents can sweep you away and harm you, so they shouldn’t be risked.

Instead, choose someplace else within Glacier National Park that offers safer swimming. Consider one of the many lakes like Lake Josephine, McDonald Lake, or Ipasha Lake in the backcountry.

Do beware that many of the bodies of water in the national park will be frigid, though, as they are typically created by glacier melt and mountain runoff in springtime as the snow melts from the mountain peaks.

Boating

As in most areas of this nature, boating is an extremely popular recreational activity near Piegan Falls. The lakes, rivers, and streams nearby provide plenty of access to amazing boating opportunities with incredible views, wildlife spotting, and more.

Bring your own motorboat, canoe, kayak, paddle boat, paddle board, or other boats, or rent from a nearby outfitter. Some of the most popular companies nearby include

White Water Rafting

rafting

If you’re feeling a more adventurous boating experience is up your alley, consider booking a white water rafting trip instead. The many companies nearby work both in Glacier National Park and on nearby rivers, offering hour trips, several-hour trips, overnight trips, and multi-day trips.

Check out the many packages they offer for the unique add-ons that might help make options more exciting for you and the crew.

Birdwatching and Wildlife Viewing

Nature lovers are sure to get a thrill making your way through Glacier National Park in search of Piegan Falls.

Along the hiking trails, roadways, sitting and picnic areas, and everywhere else in the National Park, you’ll have the opportunity to spot any of the following commonly seen animals.

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

Scenic Drives

scenic drives

Glacier National Park is home to some of the most incredible views in the country. Many of these views may be enjoyed as you make your way, via car, through the park.

Take the drive slowly, stop often and enjoy, or you can book a seat on one of the Red Bus Tours and let someone else take the wheel. Just make sure you book these yours well in advance as they tend to fill up fast.

Photography

The stunning views in Glacier, along with the incredible wildlife, and the wonderful family memories, make Glacier one of the most photographic spots on earth.

Snag shots along your hiking trails or pop out of the car and grab a picture along the roadside when you spot a waterfall.

Be sure to bring enough memory cards and batteries or power banks to keep your camera going!

Fishing

Throughout Glacier National Park, fishing is permitted in most bodies of water. There are a few limits – so be sure to check regulations and restrictions before you plunge in with your waders.

If you’re not sure you want to fish on your own intuition, there are many guides you can book a trip with for a few hours or a day (or longer) via Glacier Guides or Get Your Guide.

Otherwise, you’re most likely to find the best fishing at

Cycling

The MTB Project and All Trails have created fantastic lists for the best places to take that mountain bike in Glacier National Park.

There are many rugged trails perfect for exploration. You may also book a lift-access ride with Whitefish Mountain Resort and enjoy mountain biking that way.

Trail Running

Many of the trails in Glacier National Park make for fantastic running trails as well as hiking trails.

Some are a bit rougher than others, though, so be sure to check the gradient, elevation gains, obstacle notations, and more using sites like Great Runs and All Trails.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is a popular activity in Glacier National Park, no matter your skill level. And thanks to Swan Mountain Outfitters, you have three different stables to choose from for your starting point: Many Glacier, Apgar, and Lake McDonald.

The company offers a variety of trail ride options, ranging from 1 hour for beginners or folks in a hurry to an all-day ride or private rides that cater to your precise needs and desires.

  • 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

Glacier County is home to many intriguing historical moments, cultures, and experiences. The best way to learn about these – along with the incredible natural wonders of the area – is through visiting museums and galleries and participating in ranger-led presentations held within the park.

You’ll also find three visitors’ centers and the Apgar Nature Center, which is open from mid-June to late August, in the park.

Nearby, you’ll find:

Camping

camping

Whether you’re thinking RV or backcountry camping, your possible camping locations in Glacier and surrounding areas are plentiful.

Many of the sites (designated) have campfire rings, bathrooms, and picnic tables, while most of the backcountry sites are designated but slim on amenities. Many of the sites may be booked online before you head into the park, but most are first come, first serve, so be sure to arrive early to snag a spot.

Hotels and Cabin Rentals

If you’re thinking a hotel is a better spot for you – or cabins – you can always book into the Many Glacier Hotel with the parks boundaries or one of the other many motels, hotels, or cabins nearby.

Trail Routes

routes

Unfortunately, due to the tight location of the waterfall in the cliffs around the stream, there is no actual hiking trail that leads to Piegan Falls. You can see the falls from the trail heading towards Siyeh Bend above the falls, en route to Piegan Pass.

The most logical way to see the falls under these circumstances is to either hike Siyeh Bend or start out from the Piegan Pass Trailhead.

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