Florence Falls from Gunsight Pass Trailhead
ElevationAscent: 1,150' 351 m
Descent: -1,150' -350 m
High: 5,291' 1,613 m
Low: 4,638' 1,414 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 37% (20°)
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“A quiet run out to Florence Falls from the Jackson Glacier Overlook on the GTSR.”— David Hitchcock
As you follow the river, views of Dusty Star and Citadel Mountain spread out before you. Take a moment to sit and listen to wind blowing through the trees, the water flowing past, and the birds singing in the trees around you. Animals can be seen throughout this area, including moose along the river, deer on the trails, and bears feeding in the vegetation along the trail. Make sure that you practice good bear safety techniques (traveling in groups, making noise, carrying bear spray). At roughly 4.75 miles, the trail to Florence Falls breaks off to the right and winds through the woods until it climbs to the falls where you can enjoy a bite to eat. The views of the falls are great, and if you turn around, the views of the surrounding mountains are outstanding. From here, you can follow the trail back to the Going to the Sun Road or continue exploring the Gunsight Pass Trail and the beautiful views of Glacier National Park.
The trail drops down from the parking area and follows the road for a short distance before the trail starts to move away from the road. While you can still hear the cars for the first half mile or so, you can't see it due to the dense vegetation that surrounds the trail. The trail moves through the woods, which provide good cover during the day from the sun above.
Around 0.7 miles, the trail begins to near Reynolds Creek, and you hear it before it comes into views. The trail begins to open up at this point, and shortly after a mile, you come to Deadwood Falls, a 10-foot waterfall where you can sit and enjoy a snack before continuing your run. Shortly after the waterfalls, you come to a split, and you take the right fork and use a suspension bridge to cross Reynolds Creek. You pass the Reynolds Creek Campground shortly after crossing the bridge.
The trail rolls gently over the next mile as you make your way toward the St. Mary River. The forest is not dense, but bears have been known to frequent the area so make sure to carry bear spray, make noise so that you don't sneak up on a bear, and travel in groups. Around the 2-mile mark, the trail comes close to the St. Mary River, where great views of the river and Citadel Mountain are in front of you. Moose have been seen along the river, so make sure to keep your eyes peeled.
The trail enters the woods again before coming back toward the river. Around the 3-mile mark, the trail moves back into the woods for another 1.0 mile to 1.25 miles. Here, the Gunsight Pass Trail continues off to the left while the trail to Florence Falls breaks off to the right. The vegetation becomes dense again, as the trail is not heavily traveled. The trail begins to climb and the rush of the falls can be heard.
As you climb the last hill, there, is a log at the bottom of the falls that you can sit on and enjoy the view of the falls. If you turn around, views of the mountains that you went past spread out before you. It is a great place to eat lunch. From here, you can go back to the junction with the Gunsight Pass Trail and continue back to your car of continue out to Gunsight Pass.
While not the most picturesque run in the park, it does have several great views along the way. The Deadwood Falls at 1 mile and Florence Falls at the end offer great waterfall views. Due to the length of the trail, while the Gunsight Pass Trail may be slightly busy, the day we went, we encountered maybe 10 people over the course of the 10-mile trip. It's a great trail to get away from the Glacier crowds and enjoy a nice run in the woods.
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Land Manager: NPS - Glacier National Park