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St. Mary / Virginia Falls

Easy/Intermediate

Trail

3.1 mile 5.0 kilometer out and back
89% Runnable
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 467' 142 m
Descent: -467' -142 m
High: 4,841' 1,476 m
Low: 4,555' 1,388 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 6% (3°)
Max Grade: 44% (24°)

Dogs

No Dogs
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Map Key

Trail shared by Jake Bramante

A highly-visited run to a pair of powerful, rushing falls that make for a nice out-and-back route.

Jake Bramante

Features Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers

Bring bear spray.

Overview

This is one of the more popular day runs in the St. Mary Valley. The route starts with a descent before meandering on level ground to St. Mary Falls, then up Virginia Creek to the taller Virginia Falls. Both falls are great spots to take pictures and to let the mist cool you down on a hot day.

Need to Know

This trail is very popular during the summer, so plan on either coming early in the morning or in the evening or taking the park's shuttle.

Runner Notes

Trail is busy, so an early start helps you get in front of groups of hikers.

Description

To access this run, if driving, park at the signed parking lot just east of the shuttle stop. Follow the signs down the horse trail cutoff to the Piegan Pass Trail and head west until you meet up with the St. Mary Lake Trail. If using the park shuttle, take it to the St. Mary Falls Trailhead. Head southwest on the St. Mary Lake Trail, descending through the forest.

After strolling through the recent burn with new views for just under a mile from the St. Mary Falls trailhead, you'll join up alongside the St. Mary River and follow it up to St. Mary Falls with a bridge over the river. All of the falls and cascading pools make for a wonderful water feature that is intricate and fascinating.

From here, continue on the trail for another two-thirds of a mile up Virginia Creek to see more small falls that lead up to Virginia Falls. It is a fairly tall waterfall that plummets with great energy. Look for the viewing platform that can be accessed using a small spur trail that is worth the short stroll. An outhouse on the other side of Virginia Creek across the bridge is available as well.

This content was created by Jake Bramante of Hike 734. Visit hike734.com for more expert Glacier content and maps that help you decide which trail to run.

Flora & Fauna

Due to the recent burn, the forest has been replaced by wonderful forest flowers. Birding is great in this area and deer, bear, or moose may be seen.

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Check-Ins

Jul 10, 2017
Michał Pawlak

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 59 votes

#3

in St. Mary

#101

Overall
  4.5 from 59 votes
5 Star
58%
4 Star
34%
3 Star
7%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
2%
Run Rankings

#3

in St. Mary

#6

in Montana

#101

Overall
47 Views Last Month
2,817 Since Jun 14, 2016
Easy/Intermediate

19%
46%
33%
2%
0%
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Photos

St Mary's Falls.
Jan 21, 2016 near Rising Sun, MT
Virginia Falls.
Jun 2, 2016 near Rising Sun, MT
St. Mary's Falls in the morning.
Sep 3, 2018 near Rising Sun, MT
Virginia Falls from the viewpoint.  A lot of mist kicks up, so be prepared to get wet!
Sep 3, 2018 near Rising Sun, MT
The trail as it passes through an area of new growth as the area recovers from old fire damage.
Sep 2, 2018 near Rising Sun, MT
Virginia Falls from below the falls.  It's beautiful in the morning, and there are a lot fewer people if you get there early.
Sep 3, 2018 near Rising Sun, MT

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