“A wonderfully varied trail through a forest, past a lake, and up rocky slopes to a red rock pass.”
— Jake Bramante
Birding · Cave · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
Bring bear spray.
Check for late spring snowfields before attempting.
This trail is one of the few higher elevation backpacking routes that opens up early in the season. Before you enter into the Many Glacier area with the hotels, park at the Apikuni Falls Trailhead.
The trail takes off through the trees and spends time bouncing between forest and meadows as you gain elevation. Views are frequent and wonderful up onto the ridgeline and some out to Lake Sherburne. As you approach the top of the ridge, the trail levels off as you pass a surprise lake called Swiftcurrent Ridge Lake. The trail follows the shoreline for a short stint, then continues through a small pass, then begins to descend along the north ridge down to Poia Lake.
The trail descends the ridge fairly rapidly to Kennedy Creek, which playfully bubbles out of the valley. You follow this creek through large, limestone boulder fields that are perfect pika habitat. The views of the surrounding mountains are fantastic.
The trail goes through some trees again and to the campground, then emerges through some willows at the outlet of the lake. The lake is a fantastic place to take a swim with a nice pebbled beach and warm waters in summer. Continue on to a cool footbridge over the outlet of the lake which is a nice place to sit and enjoy the views up the drainage towards Red Gap Pass as well as the whitewater of Kennedy Creek as it excitedly exits down the valley.
The trail continues right along the edge of the lake giving runners more great views. At the head of the lake, you pass wetlands that turn to grass as you work your way up the valley. The trail is fairly level while you follow the creek further up and the grassy meadows turn more and more into trees.
The trail then turns up onto the hillside and begins to climb in earnest. You'll be climbing for quite a while before reaching the first switchback, but then the trail switchbacks like crazy. The trees begin to get less and less dense as it gives way to sprawling alpine meadows. As you get closer to the pass, the meadows give way to the namesake red rock.
As you crest the pass, the views are incredible with jagged peaks and glaciers visible in all directions. The trail descends through similar red rock and across a cool basin, then drops quickly down into the Belly River drainage through trees as it joins with the Ptarmigan Trail
This content was created by Jake Bramante of Hike 734. Visit hike734.com
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Flora & Fauna
On this trail you can see just about any of Glacier's megafauna from grizzlies to elk to mountain goats. Small mammals such as tree squirrels, pikas, marmots and chipmunks are also common. Birds such as boreal chickadees, clark's nutcrackers and some other fantastic forest birds as well as warblers and waterfowl call this area home. Flora is also varied from meadow flowers to dry forest plants and flowers to wetland and even low growing alpine plants.