“A highly-visited run to a pair of powerful, rushing falls that make for a nice out-and-back route.”
— Jake Bramante
Birding · Lake · River/Creek · Views · Waterfall · Wildflowers
Bring bear spray.
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.
Trail is busy, so an early start helps you get in front of groups of hikers.
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Due to the recent burn, the forest has been replaced by wonderful forest flowers.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.