Elizabeth Lake

Glacier Park

Elizabeth Lake

Elizabeth Lake, Glacier National Park

Elizabeth Lake as viewed from Ptarmigan Tunnel.

Elizabeth Lake

Trailhead 1:  Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, Many Glacier Area
(Iceberg Lake / Ptarmigan Trail)

Distance:  9.8 Miles (To Elizabeth Lake Foot)

Elevation Gain:  2,480 feet

Elevation Loss:  2,518 feet

This is one of several ways to get to Elizabeth Lake in Glacier National Park.  Most hikers who visit Elizabeth Lake are overnight backpacking, and the lake is a stop along the way.  By starting at the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn trail head (Iceberg Lake Trail Head), there is a 2,480 elevation gain and a 2,518 elevation loss because you have to hike up and through the Ptarmigan Tunnel.  This is definitely NOT the easiest way to get to Elizabeth Lake!

Trailhead 2:  Chief Mountain Customs (Belly River Trail)

Distance: 9.3 (To Elizabeth Lake Foot)

Elevation Gain: 475 feet

Elevation Loss: 741 feet

You can also access Elizabeth Lake by starting at the Chief Mountain Customs Trailhead (see above) and hike along the Belly River Trail all the way to Elizabeth Lake.  This hike is 9.3 miles in length and has very little elevation gain or loss.  These hikers then can back-track a few miles and then hike up to Ptarmigan Tunnel and then ending up at Many Glacier.  Or they can simply back-track along the Belly River Trail the whole way back to their car that's parked at the Chief Mountain Customs Trailhead parking lot.

Hikers who want to extend their hiking adventure can back-track 1.7 miles to the Cosley Lake Cut-Off Trail Junction, and begin their new journey into the Cosley Lake Area and beyond.

Trailhead 3: Red Gap Pass Trailhead (via Poia Lake)

Distance: 16.6 miles (To Elizabeth Lake Foot Campground)

Elevation Gain: 2,700+ feet

Elevation Loss: 2,500+ feet

If hikers are on the Poia Lake 29.4 mile "Loop", these Glacier National Park hikers started just east of Many Glacier a few miles, hiked first to Poia Lake, then Red Gap Pass, then are staying the night at Elizabeth Lake.  They will then head up to Ptarmigan Tunnel and end up at Many Glacier.  Hikers can also go the opposite way if they desire.  This hike involves over 5,500 vertical feet gained and over 5,500 vertical feet lost!!!!!!!  This is not a typo!

Helen Lake
If you're going to spend some time at Elizabeth Lake and enjoy the area, you may want to consider hiking to Helen Lake.  This is a great short day hike (3.7 miles one way) with incredible scenery to enjoy the entire way. Hikers can also spend the night at Helen Lake if they'd like, as there is a back country campground located near the lake.

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