Ole Creek Trail
Includes Ole Lake
Ole Creek Valley, Glacier National Park
Ole Creek Trail
Includes Ole Lake
Trailhead: Lubec Trailhead
Distance: 25.0 miles (one way)
Elevation Gain: 2,210 vertical feet
Elevation Loss: 3,231 vertical feet
The Ole Creek Trail hike is definitely not one of the most popular overnight hikes in Glacier National Park, but this seldom traveled trail takes you into a very removed southern section of Glacier National Park.which may entice those of you who like exploring seldom visited places. Most of this Glacier National Park hike is through a fairly dense lodgepole forest, so the views for the most part are not spectacular... but for those of you who love to truly "get away from it all", this might be exactly what you're looking for.
Finding The Trailhead
The Ole Creek Trail runs between Lubec Trailhead and the Walton Ranger Station, which are about 25 miles apart. We prefer to start at the Lubec Trailhead and hike south to Walton Ranger Station, because the other direction is more strenuous for overnighters due to the steep climb out of Ole Creek and onto Firebrand Pass. Therefore for this page, we will begin at the Lubec Trailhead along U.S. Highway 2.
The Lubec Trailhead is 6 miles south of East Glacier Montana, near mile marker 203. There is an obvious place to park your car along the railroad tracks. The actual trailhead is located across these train tracks, so please be careful when crossing them... this is a busy track so make sure there are no trains coming!
The Hike To Firebrand Pass (mile 0.0 to mile 4.8)
For all the trail details from the Lubec Trailhead to Firebrand Pass, please see our Firebrand Pass page.
Shannon standing on Firebrand Pass, looking down at the Ole Creek Valley in Glacier National Park.
Once you reach Firebrand Pass and enjoy the incredible scenery, the trail then takes you down the south side of Firebrand Pass into the Ole Creek Valley. This is a rather steep descent with a fair amount of loose rock known as "scree", so be careful while hiking with heavy overnight packs.
When you reach the floor of the Ole Creek Valley, you will enter a lodgepole forest, and that's pretty much what you're going to be in the rest of the hike on the Ole Creek Trail. You will get the occasional views of the amazing peaks to the west, such as Mount Despair and Peak 8888 and more.
Ole Lake Campground and Ole Lake (mile 8.4)
About 3.6 miles south of Firebrand Pass along the Ole Creek Trail in Glacier National Park, you will reach the Ole Lake Campground and Ole Lake. Ole Lake is a nice mountain lake that is EXTREMELY mosquito infested during the warm summer months, so don't forget to bring your bug spray! Ole Lake Campground is a designated back country campground, so will have to get reservations from the NPS in advance.
This photo shows you the names of the mountains that you can see up the Ole Creek Valley from the summit of Elk Mountain in Glacier National Park.
Ole Creek Ford (mile 13.4)
About 5 miles beyond the Ole Lake Campground you will need to ford Ole Creek. Late in the season it's an easy ford, but early in the season this stream can be really swift, so be careful and know how to properly ford a mountain stream. For tips on fording mountain streams, click here.
Ole Creek Campground (mile 17.8)
4.4 miles beyond the Ole Creek ford, you will reach the Ole Creek Campground in Glacier National Park. You will also encounter the Fielding Coal Creek Trail Junction (west) near the campground as well, which runs perpendicular to the Ole Creek Trail and Park Creek Trail. About a tenth of a mile south of the Ole Creek Campground you will encounter another Fielding Coal Creek Trail junction, this time the trail heads to the left (east). Ignore this junction and continue heading straight.
A view of the Ole Creek Trail and Ole Creek Campground from the summit of Elk Mountain in Glacier Park.
Boundary Trail Junction (mile 23.9)
About 6 miles from the Ole Creek Campground, you will encounter the Boundary Trail Junction. At this junction, take a left. The Boundary Trail takes you to the trailhead near the Walton Ranger Station. Along this section of the trail, you will cross Ole Creek on a well built suspension bridge.
From this sign, you are only 1.1 miles from Walton Ranger Station, which marks the end of your Ole Creek Trail hiking adventure.
Walton Creek Ranger Station (mile 25.0)
This concludes your hike along the Ole Creek Trail. Obviously it's best to have a car waiting for you here, so you can drive back and pick up your other vehicle that's parked at the Lubec Trailhead.
This is the trailhead sign for those Ole Creek Trail hikers and Park Creek Trail hikers who are starting at Walton Ranger Station in Glacier National Park.
The Walton Ranger Station in Glacier National Park.