St Mary Lake

West Glacier, Montana

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6 Reviews
5 out of 5
A backpack that follows the south shore of St. Mary Lake to Red Eagle Creek
Hiking Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks


Hiking Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks

by Erik Molvar (Falcon Guides)

A backpack that follows the south shore of St. Mary Lake to Red Eagle Creek

© 2012 Erik Molvar/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: West Glacier
Distance: 11.2
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Season: Best Spring through Fall
Local Maps: St. Mary, Rising Sun
Driving Directions: Directions to St. Mary Lake

Recent Trail Reviews


This was the highlight of our trip - make sure you've got good shoes. From Sperry to Gunsight is the best part of the trip.


This trail is awesome! Starting out at the trailhead, a gentle descent into the basin through heavily wooded trails was absolutely beautiful. Towards the bottom of the first leg of the trip, there is a great place to stop and take in some scenery. A stream that has cut away the rock in almost perfect circles leading down to a pool that looks to be 50 or 60 feet deep. The water is clear and the rock is green. The split in the trail is marked very well, as you start the trek along the river for a few miles. At this point, it is pretty flat, which makes for a quick hike with beautiful views of the glaciers. The ascent up to Gunsight Lake is a litte tougher, but not terrible. The lake is absolutely beautiful and clear. There are several deer that run through the camp, so keep your personal items close to you. they like to chew. There were also a few goats in our camp, but they pretty much move away from you. The camp layout is pretty straightforward. The food prep area and the food hanging area are well removed from the sites. Most of the sites are far enough away from each other so that you don't see your neighbors. Overall, the hike is pretty easy and you can make good time if you are moving at a good pace. I would definitely do this trail again. It would also be a good family hike for even younger kids who like to hike. Lots of good scenery, and not too many rough parts.


Classic Glacier. Been over Gunsight a half dozen times in the last 30 years. Long day hike. Good distance for an overnight. Leisurely 3 day trip. Camping at Gunsight Lake, Lake Elllen Wilson, Sperry. Overnight with style at Sperry Chalet. Glacier Nat. Park takes advance permit requests beginning April 1 each year. Sperry Chalet can be booked on line. East to West is the best route. Griz country through whole route.


Awesome hike, but make sure you are in moderately good shape, because after about the 5th or 6th mile you feel it. Incredible views and far from any road, you feel as though you owned the whole area. We stayed at the chalet and had an unbelievable experience. Very peaceful, and very fun. It is a must do in my book.


I hiked this trail six years in a row on Labor Day Weekend beginning 1972. Best trail I ever hiked. East to West over Gunsight Pass, stayed overnight at Sperry Chalet, up to the Glacier next day and down to lake McDonald,

Trail Photos

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Apr 2018