Iceberg Lake

Missoula, Montana 59807

Iceberg Lake

Iceberg Lake Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"A beautiful lake in a spectacular setting with more than its share of mountain goats and grizzly bears, and lots of humans.
More people see grizzly bears along the Iceberg Lake Trail than any other hiking route in this book, partially due to the high concentration of relatively unafraid grizzlies in the Many Glacier Valley. Be extra careful to make noise and stay on the trail.

Because of the high bear population, no overnight camping is allowed at Iceberg Lake. Technically, Iceberg Lake does not have icebergs, but it comes as close as any place in Montana. Chunks of ice float around in the lake, usually until September, but the “icebergs” are larger and more scenic in July and August."

More Iceberg Lake Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Glacier and Waterton Lakes National Parks (Falcon Guides)
Erik Molvar
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"A day hike from Swiftcurrent Inn to Iceberg Lake. The spectacular views and only moderate difficulty of the Ptarmigan Tunnel Trail make it a preferred route among local hikers accessing the Belly River drainage. The trail passes from Swift current Inn up the Wilbur Creek Valley, turning northward past Ptarmigan Lake. High above the lake, the trail passes through a knife-edge ridge and descends to the foot of Elizabeth Lake, after covering a distance of 9.8 miles. The Ptarmigan Tunnel itself may be a day hike destination from the Many Glacier area as well as an access point to the Belly River country."
Best Easy Day Hikes: Glacier and Waterton National Parks (Falcon Guides)
Erik Molvar
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"Iceberg Lake is a striking aquamarine tarn surrounded on three sides by towering cliffs. Ice-out may not occur here until mid-July, and the bergs for which the lake was named may be seen floating about well after that date. This stunning destination plus the brilliant wildflowers along the route make the Iceberg Lake Trail one of the most popular hikes in the park. It crosses fine grizzly bear habitat, and bears are frequently seen on the open slopes on both sides of the trail."
Top Trails: Glacier National Park: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone (Wilderness Press)
Jean Arthur
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"This hike, mostly along moderate terrain, leads westward where the jagged horizon of the glacial arête above is called the Ptarmigan Wall and where below lies well-loved Iceberg Lake. It’s often still iced over through June but is one of the park’s foremost attractions—for humans and bears! While this trail is susceptible to closure due to bear activity, it remains one of the park’s most memorable traces. As you hike, you may see places where the soil is disturbed or logs are rolled over where bears have sought grubs. Bears also seek the huckleberries, serviceberries, snowberries, thimbleberries, and buffalo berries that thrive in this lodgepole pine and aspen forest and in the wildflower meadows. Brilliant red Indian paintbrush captures your attention, as does the lantern-bright white beargrass waving in the breeze."

Iceberg Lake Trip Reports

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Like the description states, this is a great trail suitable for the whole family. The trail is generally wide, very well maintained and offers some great views. The trail is relatively easy and not too steep, but at about 3.5 miles one-way, it will still take 75-90 minutes, depending on pace. Beautiful lake and cascading creek at the end. Still patches of snow when we went in early August. Saw some good-size trout in the lake, but they weren't fooled by our lures.
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The tunnel (and the view from the other end of it) is an unusual finish to this mountain hike, which I did in 1986. As my wife was an inexperienced hiker then, this was the right length and altitude gain. If doing again, I would like to try the trail on the other side! We had a far off view of bighorn sheep from the pass.

Iceberg Lake Photos

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Skill Level
July through September
Views, Wildflowers
Glacier National Park
Local Contacts
USGS Many Glacier
Local Maps

Trail Log