Top 4 Hikes for your Adventurous Glacier National Park Elopement
If you’re looking for a beautiful place to adventure on your elopement day, look no further than the Crown of the Continent, Glacier National Park. Grabbing your gear and hitting the trails to spend a day in nature is such an epic and fun way to elope and Glacier National Park boasts over 700 miles of trails… amazing right?! This means that there are countless trails for everyone and every ability that would be perfect to include as part of your wedding day – whether you’re eloping alone or have family along for the adventure.
Although helpful tools like the All Trails app and Hike734.com exist to show you all that Glacier National Park has to offer, a huge array of options like this can also be super overwhelming! I hope that this blog post can serve as a guide as you begin to map out your day. These are the top 5 hikes in Glacier National Park that I recommend to couples based on 4+ years spent exploring the park more times than I can count and adventuring with couples on the trails and doing some adventuring of my own! I go a bit more in-depth on the various sights to see and difficulty levels, but here’s a summary of the trails I’ll be discussing more in-depth:
Grinnell Glacier & Grinnell Lake Overlook:
Trail is located in Many Glacier which is in the north-eastern area of Glacier National Park
Grinnell Lake Overlook
Miles: 6 • Elevation Gain: Approx. 500
Miles: 12 • Elevation Gain: 2,100 feet
Hidden Lake Overlook:
Trailhead is at Logan Pass in Glacier National Park
Miles: 3 • Elevation Gain: 580 feet
Trail begins at the Trail of the Cedars which is located on the west side of Glacier National Park
Miles: 4 (to the foot of the lake) • Elevation Gain: 750 feet
Saint Mary Falls & Virginia Falls:
Located in Saint Mary on the eastern side of Glacier National Park
Miles: 3 • Elevation Gain: 450 feet
Grinnell Glacier & Grinnell Lake Overlook
Many Glacier, Glacier National Park
This is what day-hike DREAMS are made of. This hike is perfect for your adventurous elopement in Glacier National Park if you’re used to more elevation gain and want seeing a Glacier to be part of your wedding or elopement day. My husband and I did the hike to Grinnell Glacier during our anniversary trip in August of 2017 and it still holds true as one of my favorite hiking experiences to date! I will always say that my favorite color in the world is the color of the lakes in Glacier National Park and Lower Grinnell Lake (pictured above) is my favorite lake color of all. I mean, that turquoise blue is out of this world and almost doesn’t even seem real!
There is also the option to take a boat ride across Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine followed by a one mile hike to the lower Grinnell Lake. This is a fantastic option for including your families or having a less strenuous adventure on your elopement day!
Here are the stats for this hike:
Grinnell Lake Overlook | Miles: 6 • Elevation Gain: Approx. 500
Grinnell Glacier | Miles: 12 • Elevation Gain: 2,100 feet
There is so much potential along this trail, and in the Many Glacier area of the park as a whole, to see wildlife! It isn’t unheard of to see a moose taking a drink along the shore of Lower Grinnell Lake, to see Bighorn Sheep along the cliff edges, and to see so many cute other critters going about their day.
It’s always a must to come prepared on hikes in the park with bear spray in town, but I must say – this region of Glacier National Park is notorious for having a lot of bear activity in my experience.
There were also so many different wildflowers along the trail on our hike in early August! I’m forever thankful to have a supportive husband who is always up for a ton of stopping along the way to soak in the view and capture the little details that make me smile.
Can you spot the hikers ahead of us on this trail? I absolutely love how this image shows the magnitude of the beautiful mountains in Glacier National Park with the stark comparison of how small people are on the trail! In the back, that long strip of white is the Grinnell Glacier.
The hike to this lake is truly worth every step, mile, and foot of elevation gain along the way. Even if this is a bit much for you to hike in your wedding attire – I would highly recommend adding it to your Glacier National Park bucket list to complete during your visit!
Hidden Lake Overlook
Logan Pass, Glacier National Park
The parking lot at Logan Pass is one of the first to fill up in the morning, so incorporating this into your elopement day would require arriving before the sun or opting for a sunset adventure!
My favorite time to go is first thing in the morning because it feels like you have it way more to yourself and the tranquility on the trail (and passing the crazy amount of visitors on the way back) is always worth the early alarm in my book.
Here are the stats for this hike:
Hidden Lake Overlook | Miles: 3 • Elevation Gain: Approx. 550 feet
The boardwalk guides you through lush meadows and stunning Glacier National Park mountain views for the first bit of this trail. It’s a nice break for sure from the rocky terrain of most trails in the park and they also make for the perfect area to sit down and just soak in the views for a few minutes while you take a sip of water!
Every single time I’ve taken this trail, I’ve gotten to see bighorn sheep, mountain goats, and at least one marmot basking in the sunlight! The view at the end of the overlook trail is beyond stunning and the high mountains, distant lakes, and rocky landscape would make for epic adventurous photos on your elopement day. Usually, towards the end of July and early August, the beargrass (the white plants you see in some of these photos) is in full bloom around Logan Pass and is one of the staple wildflowers here in Glacier National Park!
Avalanche Lake and Trail of the cedars
located in the western region of glacier national park
Avalanche Lake was the first hike my husband and I ever did in Glacier National Park and it’s a tried and true favorite of mine that I do any chance I get! I love that it’s a lower-difficulty hike that begins in a beautiful, lush forest and ends at a breathtaking alpine lake. It’s also super helpful that it’s shaded most of the way because mid-summer in Montana feels unbelievably dry when the sun is out in full-force.
Here are the stats for this hike:
Avalanche Lake | Miles: 4 • Elevation Gain: Approx. 750 feet
Trail of the Cedars | Miles: 1 • Elevation Gain: little to none
The trail begins along a 1-mile loop known as the Trail of the Cedars. If you want a little bit of adventure on your elopement day but aren’t really feeling like hiking, I cannot recommend taking the time to go on a walk together on this trail. Especially on a moody summer day, it’s breathtaking and so filled with lush forest greenery.
Anyone else a crazy Twilight fan growing up?! Does this not give off super moody, romantic novel based in the PNW vibes?!
The best time of the year for the trail of the cedars is late spring and early summer before the crowds are too dense, but it’s also peaceful first thing in the morning and in the evening!
Whenever I go on this hike with couples, I love encouraging them to make a stop at this spot along Avalanche Creek to see the beautiful blue water rushing through the rocks and seeing how the has creek formed its path over years and years of erosion.
As you make the trek up to Avalanche Lake, you’re surrounded by a lush forest just like along the Trail of the Cedars. In the beginning, you hike near the creek and towards the end, you separate from the creek and instead are walking beside beautiful mountain landscapes.
The pictures absolutely do not do these views justice and every single couple I’ve hiked with to this spot has said that it’s so much more than they could have ever imagined once they’re physically there and looking around at the views. Like most hikes in the park, it’s best to do this trek in the early morning or later in the evening to avoid the crowds – it’s definitely one of the popular trails in the park and it can be tough to escape people as the day goes on!
I love every bit about this spot – from the beautiful lake to the high mountains and waterfalls even the lush trees that surround the shore. It’s the perfect spot for a post-hike picnic and snack, or donuts and champagne if you have similar tastes to Ali and Tyler, and is definitely a memorable location for photos to commemorate your day.
Saint mary falls and virginia falls
located in the eastern region of glacier national park near saint mary
If you love waterfalls – look no further than this beautiful hike on the eastern side of Glacier National Park! My favorite time of the day to do this hike is in the evening – and I think that beautiful golden light from above speaks for itself!
Here are the stats for this hike:
Virginia Falls | Miles 3 • Elevation gain: 450 feet
Although the hike concludes with Virginia Falls, it’s one of two breathtaking waterfalls that you get to experience on this trail. Saint Mary Falls is the first you encounter along the trail. It’s a popular stop for landscape photographers in the area (and it’s not hard to see why)!
I love stopping on the bridge and looking down at the rushing water and admiring all of the beautiful colored rocks just below the surface – it’s almost hypnotizing!
I took the hike all the way to Virginia Falls for the first time with two friends of mine a couple of summers ago and knew without a doubt that it was the PERFECT waterfall location for any couples looking for that kind of adventure for their elopement. I was absolutely blown away by the size of the waterfall and how you could feel the wind and rush of the water once you got closer. Can you say epic wind for elopement portraits?!
There is an adorable wooden bridge that leads you to the base of the falls and plenty of room along the rocks to have a refreshing picnic and explore the surrounding areas!
It’s almost impossible to go wrong when planning which hike in Glacier National Park to take on your adventurous elopement day!
Whether you’re not overly experienced with hiking or the trails are where you feel most at home – I hope this guide was super helpful to get you thinking about the types of sights that you’re interested in seeing on your elopement day in Glacier!
These 4 options just barely scratch the surface of what’s out there and if you’re interested in planning an epic, adventurous elopement day in the park, I’d love to find the trail that’s perfect for you both based on your abilities and what makes your heart sing!