Intro to Glacier National Park
Staying Safe in Glacier
Life at Rising Sun:
A Summer Spent in Glacier
Intro to NW Montana
Sights from Montana's Roads
Trail of the Cedars
Going to the Sun Road and Logan Pass
St. Mary Lake
-St. Mary Falls and Baring Falls
East Glacier and Two Medicine
Running Eagle Falls (Trick Falls)
Many Glacier and surrounding areas
Waterton Lakes Nat'l Park and Canada
Red Rock Canyon and Blakiston Falls
Police Outpost Lake
Animals of Glacier
Bear, Bighorn Sheep,
Mule Deer, Rocky Mountain Goat,
References and Links
All photos and content are by Alicia
Caouette except where stated otherwise.
Unauthorized use or reproduction is
strictly prohibited without expressed
St. Mary Falls and Baring Falls
There are several ways to get to St. Mary Falls. If you're coming from St. Mary Lake, your first option will be to take a boat tour of St. Mary Lake, which leaves from the dock across the street from Rising Sun. The tour stops at a seasonal dock by Baring Falls, allows tourists 30 minutes to look around and then takes them back. At Baring Falls the more adventurous may choose to take a guided hike to St. Mary Falls, which comes back to the dock and joins a different tour back to the start. Check the schedule at the main dock for when this option is available.
A second option would be to continue West along the Going to the Sun Road till you get to Sun Point, which is how I got there. Sun Point is nearly impossible to miss. It's the turnaround point for vehicles over 35 feet long, who aren't allowed over Logan Pass, so there's a lot of big signs. If you get to Sunrift Gorge, you've gone a bit too far. Turn left at Sun Point and park in the large lot (not visible from the road) designed especially for summer crowds and those longer RV's that have to turn around here. Get out and hike West, with St. Mary Lake on your left side. After 0.5 mile or so come to Baring Falls. A rather frighteningly steep trail climbs the left side of the falls for a different perspective. The first time I came here was my first day in Glacier. New friends and co-workers at Rising Sun, Emily and Rusty invited me to come along with them. We stopped at Baring Falls because it was getting late, but came back later in the season with more friends to continue to St. Mary Falls.
From Baring Falls, continue about another mile till you come to a junction: this is where the third hiking option presents itself. You will turn South (left) here to go to St. Mary Falls, which is a few minutes beyond.
Hikers who choose option three will speed past Sun Point in their cars and park just East of the Jackson Glacier Overlook at the Gunsight Pass Trailhead. Most hikers who start here plan to backpack on to Gunsight Pass and Lake McDonald. But to see St. Mary Falls its best to arrange a shuttle between Sun Point and the Gunsight Pass Trailhead. The advantage to doing this is that you'll pass by Deadwood Falls. Does any of this make sense? Best get a map before you head out...
Anyway, back to St. Mary Falls themselves. You'll come to a large fall (pictured above) with a bridge over it. Continue on another 5 minutes or so to come to another set of falls. When we came to these we were sure they were Virginia Falls, but friends later told me that Virginia Falls is actually past these. From here you can take the 1.75 mile hike back to your car, distance depending on where you've parked. Or you could continue and hike along the lonely South side of St. Mary Lake for at least 9 miles (probably more like 10) till you get to the town of St. Mary. Besides solitude, this trail has a couple more sets of waterfalls and brings you past Silver Dollar Beach. I never went this route, so I can't tell you much more about it than that.
Overall, St. Mary Falls is an easy hike with wonderful views of St. Mary Lake and several must-see waterfalls.