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||>|| Apikuni Falls Trail
Includes Apikuni Creek Basin
Trailhead: 1.1 miles east of Many Glacier Hotel on the Many Glacier Road
Distance: 1.0 mile (one way)
Elevation Gain: 700 vertical feet
(See trail map at the bottom of the page)
The hike along the Apikuni Falls Trail in Glacier National Park is one of the shorter Glacier Park Hikes, but there is 700 feet of vertical elevation gain in a very short distance, therefore this Glacier Park hike is not
considered as "easy". However, if you're in adequate physical condition, you will enjoy this short but scenic Glacier Park hike.
Located in the Many Glacier Area of Glacier National Park, Apikuni Falls, which is approximately 300 feet in height, is best enjoyed in the early summer when there is a ton of water coming down it due to all of the snow melting above the falls in and beyond the Apikuni Creek Basin.
But even if it's later in the summer, the Apikuni Falls Trail is still very enjoyable as wildflowers seem to really like blooming along this trail all summer long. The trail to Apikuni Falls in Glacier National Park becomes quite rocky and uneven as it approaches the falls, so please be careful as you navigate the final 100 yards of your hike.
For those of you who like an adventure on rugged, primitive, and unmaintained trails, you can continue on from Apikuni Falls up and over the limestone cliffs where you will then enter the amazing Apikuni Creek Basin. This unmaintained trail eventually disappears, but not until you really get a good look at this remote section of the Many Glacier Area.
Finding The Trailhead
The Apikuni Falls Trailhead in Glacier National Park often times has wildflowers there to greet you.
The Apikuni Falls trailhead in Glacier National Park is located about 1.1 miles east of the Many Glacier Hotel, along the Many Glacier Road. You'll see an obvious parking area to the north, as well as large trailhead signs for Apikuni Falls Trail and Poia Lake. Make sure you take the correct trail... it's the one to the left (west). You'll probably see a fair number of cars parked here because this is also a popular trailhead for a multi-day hike that loops around Apikuni Mountain as it takes hikers to Poia Lake, Red Gap Pass, Elizabeth Lake and Ptarmigan Tunnel. The trail eventually ends up taking hikers to the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, which is about 1.3 miles from this parking lot.
Apikuni Falls Trailhead (mile 0.0)
Altyn Peak will dominate the skyline as you begin your hike to Apikuni Falls in Glacier National Park.
As you begin your hike along the Apikuni Falls Trail in Glacier National Park, if your timing is right you will enjoy a gorgeous meadow filled with wildflowers as you work your way across this broad open field. This
particular spot is great for many different species of wildflowers, and it is always a bonus as you hike to Apikuni Falls.
As the trail works its way northward across this flat, you can't help but notice the towering rock mass of Altyn Peak in front of you. Apikuni Falls is located just to the right of this giant wall of rock, and the trail will skirt around this wall as it begins to abruptly climb in elevation.
The Many Glacier Area is famous for its abundant grizzly bear population, especially during the berry season which is late July through September. And during the berry season, grizzlies love to hang around the exact area where the Apikuni Falls Trail is located. So please TALK LOUD while hiking in this area, and always remember to carry bear spray and know how to use it, just in case.
The Steep Part (mile 0.4)
Once you hike through the open flat meadow, the Apikuni Falls Trail in Glacier National Park begins to climb abruptly... in fact, it climbs 700 vertical feet in about 0.6 miles!
Once you hike through the flat and pleasant meadow along the Apikuni Falls Trail, the trail then rather abruptly begins to steepen. In only about a half of a mile, you will climb 700 vertical feet in elevation, which is definitely not considered "easy". In fact, make sure you take your time on this section of the trail, and rest whenever needed.
As you continue to climb in elevation along the Apikuni Falls Trail in Glacier National Park, you will begin to see glimpse of Apikuni Falls.
As you look back towards the south, you will be pleasantly surprised with the view. You will get a good look at Mount Gould, the Garden Wall and Salamander Glacier, as well as Allen Mountain and Grinnell Point. You will also see Lake Sherburne below you to the south, which is located on the other side of the Many Glacier Road. You will also get a glimpse of Apikuni Falls as you gain in elevation with each step.
Apikuni Falls (mile 1.0)
Shannon standing near the base of Apikuni Falls in Glacier National Park. Apikuni Falls (approximately 300 feet high) are very dramatic during the early summer snow melt. We snapped this shot of the falls on July 13th. By mid August, the water flow is dramatically less and Apikuni Falls are not nearly as impressive.
As the trail gets close to Apikuni Falls in Glacier National Park, the footing becomes a little tricky as it takes you through a rocky and cliffy ravine, so be extremely careful on this last 100 yards of your hike to Apikuni Falls. In fact, if you want to stand directly below Apikuni Falls, there is a short section of a mild scramble to get there... so use your judgment whether to attempt this short scramble.
You will be amazed at the towering cliffs looming over you, as well as the actual falls themselves. Apikuni Falls in Glacier National Park is especially stunning early in the season, when the snow melt is at its peak and there is a ton of water pouring down them. Later in the summer, the water flow is greatly reduced therefore the falls are far less dramatic. This is a great place to enjoy a snack and take in the beauty of your surroundings before heading back to your vehicle..... and please remember to TALK LOUD so you don't surprise any bears on your way down the Apikuni Falls Trail.
Apikuni Falls, Glacier National Park
Want To Go Further? Check Out Apikuni Creek Basin
If you really feel adventurous, and you enjoy hiking on extremely rugged, primitive and un-maintained "climber's trails", then you might want to consider continuing on to the Apikuni Creek Basin, which is a vast basin to the north, directly above the massive cliffs and Apikuni Falls....IF YOU CAN FIND IT! From the base of the falls, the "climber's trail" heads to the right and works its way diagonally up the side of the limestone cliff, angling to the east (right). If you cannot find the trail, STOP, because you will end up getting into some possible trouble on the cliffs. Note: This section of the trail is for advanced hikers and climbers only!!!
This is a view of the Apikuni Creek Basin from the east ridge of Apikuni Mountain in Glacier National Park. The camera is facing southwest.
Once you've reached the top of the cliffs, the trail enters an absolutely gorgeous alpine basin with
mountains surrounding it from nearly all directions. The large massive, reddish colored mountain to the
north is Apikuni Mountain, and the sharply pointed mountain to its left is Mount Henkel. The creek that you see to the left of you is Apikuni Creek, which feeds Apikuni Falls below you to the south. Apikuni Creek comes out of the foot of a remote alpine lake named Natahki Lake, which rests below the north face of Altyn Peak. It's quite a bushwack to Natahki Lake, and you really, really need to be aware of grizzly bears if you attempt it. In fact, be extremely "bear aware" at all times when in the Apikuni Basin, as this is very often frequented by grizzly bears.
Most hikers are very pleased with remaining in the open alpine meadows and enjoying the impressive views of the Apikuni Creek Basin. And by the way, we often times see bighorn sheep feeding on the alpine slopes in this remote section of the Many Glacier Area. As you will discover, the primitive trail eventually disappears, and this marks the end of the hike for most visitors exploring the Apikuni Creek Basin in Glacier National Park.
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