Beyond the Sun

Many Glacier…

This area of the National Park is north of the Going-to-the-Sun Road on the eastern side of the park. To get there we take Highway 89 North out of St. Mary to Babb and travel 9 miles parallel to the Lower Saint Mary Lake. At Babb we turn East on Highway 464 which leads into the Many Glacier Entrance to the National Park. Twelve miles of intermittent rough road, loose gravel, and potholes pass the largest hotel within the park and dead ends into the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, an Italian style restaurant, and a campstore/gift shop.

As we bump along  Swiftcurrent Creek and Lake Sherburne, I take pictures, of course.

Some kind of pink Thistle, maybe…

The official boundary into Glacier National Park…

Lake Sherburne…

We lose the lake and continue to the parking area at the end of the road where the Swiftcurrent Motor Inn, built in 1933, loops back around.

Grinnell Point looms ahead…

Luckily we find a space just big enough to park our tiny car.

We walk back along the road to catch the Swiftcurrent Lake Trail at the Many Glacier picnic area. The trailhead to Grinnell Glacier is also accessed here.

Wildflowers show off their colorful blooms.

Indian Paint Brush and some kind of Aster

Alpine Leafybract Aster


We take a footbridge across Swiftcurrent Creek. Mount Wilbur, at 9321 feet, rises to the west.

Wynn Mountain looms overhead to the east.

Tree sculptures adorn the forest trail lined with aspens and pines.

Swiftcurrent Lake…

Another footbridge crosses a channel between Swiftcurrent Lake and Lake Josephine before looping back toward the Many Glacier Hotel in one direction or continuing beyond to Grinnell Lake and Grinnell Glacier.

Today, however, we are reminded that we are indeed in Grizzly country. The trails heading to the lake and glacier are closed due to increased grizzly bear sightings by park rangers. Later we learn that the bears are displaying signs of agitated behaviors. I guess they don’t like the crowds either.

We walk past a cabin for park personnel that tapers onto the shore of the lake just beyond the trail. The colorful scenery is a perfect photo op.

The tallest mountain rising on the left of this photo is Mt. Gould.


Can you find Mt. Gould?

We walk past the boat landing and hotel.

Northern Sweetvetch?…

We cross a stream connecting Lake Sherburne with Swiftcurrent Lake.

Here are 2 views of the Many Glacier Hotel seen from across the lake.

The Great Northern Railway completed construction of the Many Glacier Hotel in just 1 year. Considered the “Gem of the West”, the Swiss chalet-themed hotel opened in 1915  to promote this area as the “American Alps” and a posh tourist destination for the rich and famous. Rustic backcountry chalets were within an easy horse ride or day hike from the hotel to encourage visitors to experience nature. (

As we loop back around again to the Many Glacier picnic area where we began, I spy this brightly blooming beauty.

Pineywoods Geranium?…

I wish we could stay longer and hike more of the many trails radiating out in all directions.  Massive mountains, active glaciers, sparkling waters, a paradise of hiking trails, and abundant wildlife make this area of the Park a destination to explore by car, foot, boat, or horseback. (

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