Saint Mary Falls Trail – Glacier National Park
On the Going to the Sun Road towards the side closest to the St Mary Entrance and Visitor Center is a lovely set of trails that are flat and provide views of St Mary Lake and multiple waterfalls! Due to the family friend and easy difficulty of this area, it is extremely popular and if you have followed along this Glacier trip you know I am about to say – parking is intense. That being said, there are multiple options for how to see this area.
St Mary Falls Trail is a 3 mile easy there and back trail that gives views of St Mary Lake, St Mary Falls, and Virginia Falls. There is a small parking lot at the trailhead and there is also a pull off a few minute walk away that accommodates parking as well. Sun Nature Trail is an easy trail that connects into the St Mary Falls Trail for a total of 6 miles. This trail gives more views of the St Mary Lake and adds Barring Falls to the walk. This is a less known trail and if you are able to add the additional miles to your walk, can be a great hack to getting parking at a trail head since it is not as known as St Mary Falls Trail.
Our intent was to park at Sun Nature Trail and complete that because I figured by the time of day we arrived, parking at St Mary Falls Trailhead would be impossible. Luckily, we did find a parking stop at the pull off location a few minute walk away from the St Mary Falls Trailhead so we opted to complete the 3 mile trail instead.
The trail starts off at a elevation giving a beautiful view of the lake and mountains in the background and quickly descends to the ground floor.
The scenery quickly changes into a lush forest with the floor plant life already starting to change colors for the fall. The trees looked charred and the smell throughout this trail was incredible – I absolutely love the smell of burning wood and it permeated the air. I wish I could have bottled up the smell!
About 2 miles in, we reached St Mary Falls which is a 25 foot waterfall over several tiers. There is a lovely foot bridge that makes for great photos of the falls.
Continuing on, less than a mile from St Mary Falls is the base of Virginia Falls and this continues for several minutes of walking to see all the tires that compose this fall. It is 50 feet at the largest portion but does traverse quite a bit of distance over the multiple tiers.
What a lovely trail! It honestly did not feel like a three mile there and back because it really was an easy and relaxing walk. This is good for all ages so it makes for a great family trail. This also makes it very popular and crowded so be mindful of the parking situation you may encounter.